A big goal of the project centered around nonfiction reading, writing and research. Because many resources that students would need are available only online, we wanted students to transfer the strategies they use with all reading to the reading they do on digital devices. We started out by giving students time to play with annotation tools while reading articles that we converted to PDF format. Because we are a Mac district, students are able to annotate any PDF using the Preview tool. Playing with the tools helped students see that readers do the same kind of thinking, no matter what device they are using to read. The video below shows the ways in which the tools can be used. Students had time to practice using these tools with a nonfiction article.

Then the students gave it a try--first with Preview and a PDF document. We read about Winter the Dolphin as we practiced tracking our thinking as we read.


After students were comfortable with the annotation tools, we introduced them to Diigo, a social bookmarking site that allows educators to have private protected accounts. We created diigo accounts for each of our students and taught them to bookmark and annotate online articles and posts that they found. Students also learned about tags and began to tag their bookmarks. This tool allowed students to bookmark, collect notes, and revisit articles connected to their topic throughout the research project. Below is a sample of a student's bookmarked items with a few notes for each article.