Appy Hour Rewind: How Subtext Supports Common Core Standards

March 18, 2014
Kelly Mendoza Director of Professional Development
Common Sense Education

CATEGORIES Common Sense News, In the Classroom, Tools

Subtext is a collaborative digital reader students can use to access, annotate, and engage with any kind of text. The iPad app lets teachers access, purchase, or import any text, and annotate, highlight, comment, and add instruction to texts. And best of all, it supports ELA Common Core Standards.

This month, Sue Thotz, Common Sense Media's School Program Manager in Chicago, hosts Appy Hour in collaboration with Educator Innovator. Her guests were Tricia Monticello Kievlan, Director of Academic Support at the Convent of the Sacred Heart High School in San Francisco and Common Sense Education Reviewer, as well as Jen Krause, a National Board Certified English teacher at Palatine High School in Illinois. Educator Innovator, our partner and cohost for this webinar, is both a blog and a growing community of educators, partners, and supporters powered by the National Writing Project.

Tricia starts off the Appy Hour by providing an overview of the main features of Subtext. She explains how Subtext added value to the 1-1 iPad integration at her school, pointing out how well the tool works with the iPad's built-in features. Subtext allows teachers to import texts and annotate them by adding quizzes, questions, and comments. When the teacher pushes the text to her class group, students see the teacher’s prompts and can respond. When students respond to the prompts and see others responding, “It’s really powerful, and it’s really exciting,” Tricia says. In addition, the app has a simple and straightforward interface, provides a dashboard for teacher tracking of student activity, and can even integrate with Edmodo.

Jen explains how Subtext has transformed her teaching while helping her meet ELA Common Core Standards. With Subtext, she encourages teachers to start out small and build from there. Jen uses the app with her students in three ways: 1) during class reading, 2) after reading to make sure students understand the text, and 3) when students are collecting articles for research. Jen then shows how she embeds elements of instruction such as polls, quizzes, and discussion starters into any text. She also demonstrates how teachers can use the Common Core tool in Subtext, which tells teachers exactly what standard they are meeting, how to meet it, and tracks student progress. “No other app has changed the way I work with kids more than Subtext,” Jen says. "Hands down it’s the best tool I’ve used.”

Jen also uses Subtext with colleagues to share articles on writing instruction and best practices. She encourages anyone who is new to Subtext to join her training group. To do so, log into Subtext, click the plus sign, and search for the code CBDDRLJQ. In this group, you'll find Jen's guide, “Getting Started with Subtext."

To see how you can use Subtext, watch the webinar here. You can also read Tricia’s review of Subtext for more details.  

Note: This video refers to Graphite, the former name of this website.

Are you using Subtext with students? Tell us about it. Write a Field Note to share your review!