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Tech Tools Supporting C.R.I.S.S. Strategies

CReating Indepence through Student Owned Strategies has helped countless numbers of students improve their reading and writing skills. Today, teachers don't have to rely on transparencies, butcher paper and markers to model these strategies for students to begin applying and internalizing them. Using tech tools to teach many of the C.R.I.S.S. strategies make the strategies even more student friendly and applicable.


Project C.R.I.S.S. focuses on strengthening these literacy skills:

Understanding and Untangling the Author's Craft

Activating Background Knowledge

Active Learning

Organization for Learning



Modeling and Explanation


Teaching for Understanding


Here are 5 C.R.I.S.S. strategies and tech tools which support each of them. 


C.R.I.S.S. Strategy for Active Learning 

1.) KWL Charts- 

K-What Do You Know? W- What Do You Want to Learn? L-What Did You Learn?

The KWL creator by ReadWriteThink allows students to save their work as they complete each step of the KWL chart. One of the best features of the KWL creator is students can embed links to show examples of what they learned.


Wallwisher is another tech tool which supports KWL charts since students can create virtual "sticky notes" for each of the KWL stages as well. Wallwisher also allows students to embed links  to show evidence of what they learned. How cool is that?! Goodbye poster paper and lost sticky notes!


2.) Graphic and Pictorial Organizers

Whether you need a Venn Diagram to compare and contrast two characters or concepts, a Sequence Map to track events, or steps in a process, a Free Form Map to help students organize information, or a Fishbone diagram to analyze cause and effect, has every type of diagram template your students may need to engage in critical thinking tasks. frees teachers from the drudgery of copying graphic organizer templates, and empowers students to use graphic organizers not only to organize and retain information, but also to collaborate with a virtual global classroom! Hope you'll check out and begin using it for all your diagramming needs!


C.R.I.S.S. Strategies for the Conversation of Learning


3.) The QAR Strategy- Question Answer Relationships -

The QAR strategy - I created a short video to model this critical strategy: If we want our students to have meaningful discussions, they must learn to generate their own critical thinking questions. The QAR strategy teaches students how to ask the right questions, how to answer different types of questions, and how to infer meaning from texts so they can generate thought-provoking questions and lead their own conversations about text. - is one of the best tech tools to help students internalize the QAR strategy and teach students how to lead their own discussions. With students engage in collaborative learning either with their peers inside the classroom or with students around the world. Students ask original questions about a specific topic to engage in deep conversations, and answer questions posed by other students. lets students safely apply the QAR strategy outside the classroom in cyberspace so they can have in depth conversations with classrooms only the teacher chooses to invite to discussions. Students can also embed text links, videos, images, and graphs as textual evidence to support their answers. eliminates every excuse for not holding critical thinking discussions.  All students at every age of development should have the opportunity to pose original questions and learn to lead their own discussions. Both the C.R.I.S.S. strategy: QAR and can make this happen!


4.) Think-Pair-Share - 

With, students can watch, listen, or read already uploaded content or upload content in the form of video, images, documents, presentations, or any combination of these. Students then add their written or verbal comments to the media in the particular file. The Think-Pair-Share C.R.I.S.S. strategy takes on a digital edge since students "think" about the featured content in the Voicethread file, "pair" up with another student or with a small group of students who have access to the same file, and all participants "share" their thoughts, questions, comments, arguments, opinions and more. lets every student be an active participant in the conversation around any type of content. Think-Pair-Share is an ideal C.R.I.S.S. strategy to use with this tech tool since students collaborate with their peers to show what they know, or to ask what they want to learn.   


C.R.I.S.S. Strategy for Understanding Pattern and Structure

5.) Selective Underlining/Highlighting- helps students understand how to properly find relevant content, underline/highlight that content, and then remember it. has add-on tools for a variety of browsers,  so students can collect specific content while browsing the web and then add it to the My Library Cloud in the server to be accessed again and again. When students find information they need, they can digitally highlight the text, add an interactive sticky note with their comments, or questions, and save it to My Library Cloud for future use.  Students can also bookmark a page and organize pages by tags. They can label a page mark to read later if they want you to approve the relevancy of the text first, and even archive a page so it's there forever.'s facilitates active e-reading because of the annotation feature using e-sticky notes as well as the capture feature which lets students capture an image of a particular section of text, then use shapes, arrows or text for students to annotate. takes the C.R.I.S.S. strategy of selective underlining/highlighting to the nth degree because not only can students revisit their highlighted content using their computer, I-Pad or smart phone, they can also share their selected content with others for collaborative projects.



C.R.I.S.S. strategies have helped changed both teacher and student mindsets that students need to be taught how to learn, and once they learn how best to learn, they can be successful readers, writers, speakers, listeners and thinkers. As more and more tech tools emerge and evolve, we must continue to uphold this mindset, and find ways for using tech tools to help students discover how they learn best.

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