Hyperdocs: How to’s and Tips for Teachers

Lisa Scumpieru on episode 187 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

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Lisa Scumpieru, 10th-grade Literature Teacher, gives us a crash course in Hyperdocs. She shares lesson plans, ideas, and tips for getting started quickly without hassle

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Below is an enhanced transcript, modified for your reading pleasure. For guests and hyperlinks to resources, scroll down.


Enhanced Transcript

Hyperdocs: How to and Success Tips for Teachers

Vicki: Today we have Lisa Scumpieru @LScumpieru, who’s a first grade English teacher from Maryland, and we’re talking Hyperdocs.

What are Hyperdocs?

Lisa: Hyperdocs are normally a doc or slide that you build for the students. They give an ability for the students to work collaboratively. They can then work through the topic or problem at their own pace and you can give them choices within it so that they can evolve around that central question or concept or problem.

Vicki: Okay so how is this different from just a normal doc? Is it that you’re giving them an assignment? Is it an activity? Are you making templates for them? Do they each have their own personal copy? What’s it like?

Lisa: Well, usually what they do is when somebody builds one, you have the introduction for the students. It gives him some background information. When I used to teach it, I used to almost do the same thing I do in a Hyperdoc in a lesson. I would give them some background information. Sometimes in the Hyperdoc then, you can do like a flipped classroom type of thing, where they can access the Hyperdoc. They watch something prior to coming to class, and then they can do something with it.

They can reflect on it. They can prepare some questions for the actual class. Then when the teacher has them go through the Hyperdoc, they’re basically walking them through the learning process, so that students…

For my type of teaching now, I don’t do a lot of “sage on the stage,” talking the entire time. I walk around and I make sure that they’re not confused, that they don’t have questions. But I’m more of a facilitator, making sure that they understand what’s going on. That Hyperdoc helps them through it, because it goes from where they’re just beginning to be introduced to the topic. Then they delve into the topic. And we even have things at the end of Hyperdocs, usually, that are extensions.

Vicki: OK, so is it like… I learned to use a learning management system. And i’ll have these long pages. So is it almost like somebody’s in Google Classroom, and the doc is like a page or a webpage you would have in your LMS? Or are kids actually editing and writing on the page?

How Do HyperDocs compare to a Learning Management System

Lisa: They can edit and write on the page. Now, what I do is in Google Classroom, I will give them the Hyperdoc, and then I will make a copy for each student. Then they’re able to access the material that I want them to. Maybe, let’s say on the left. Then on the right, they have an opportunity to either take notes or reflect, or with a Hyperdoc what’s nice is that they have the things hyperlinked for the students.

So they’re only going to one doc, but everything is hyperlinked the videos, the other activities they have to do, the choices that they have — whether they do an iMovie or a FlipGrid or they go to a GoFormative — everything is in one. They see the process and where it’s leading to, and they see the end before they get to it, so they feel a little more confident about what they’re doing.

Vicki: Can you give me an example of a recent Hyperdoc lesson?

A recent Hyperdoc Lesson in Lisa’s Classroom

Lisa: Yeah. So today I teach tenth graders, and they had a narrative that they’re writing. I made a Hyperdoc for them to make it easier for them. I told them that we were going to “Mad Man Write,” which is just writing really quickly something down for 15 minutes and seeing if that’s going to be your narrative.

I have the link for them to know what a Mad Man Writing was, and I had what dialogue looked like. I also had the rubric that I was going to use, but I showed them today and tomorrow they’re writing. On Monday, they’re going to peer edit. I showed them the entire thing and told them, “If you want to go in and see what the peer editing looks like, so that you know where you’re going to go with your writing… Nothing is a mystery. Everything is there for you to look at and see where you want to go with this.

One Click to Find Everything

Vicki: I totally agree with this. One click. Everything should be right there. Kids should never have to hunt for it. They shouldn’t have to navigate for it. It should all be right there.

Now you’re excited about how Hyperdocs and this interactivity is being built into other tools. Give me an example.

Hyperdocs interactivity is being built into other sites

Lisa: I use it in docs and slides, but I also use it in Google Sites. I’ve done it for a digital breakout with kids. I had them read a story that was a mystery, and then they had to crack codes and figure out everything. It was fun!

I’m building one right now on a Google site for students where each page is going to be something that they can go to if they choose. There’s going to be choices, so if they choose to go to the next part of the adventure, they’ll go to that page. So it will sort of build out on that Google site.

Also FlipGrid is evolving so that teachers when they create their grid, they can embed docs in there. I’ve embedded entire Hyperdocs in there, so the kids can access the Hyperdocs as they are on FlipGrid. You can embed video. You can also embed images, or even like a prompt in there so kids are being steered in the right direction.

So you just don’t have to have everything on your board. I used to have kids take a picture with their phone or with their iPad of the board of what they were supposed to do for FlipGrid that night, and they’d then have to access that at home. Now when they go home to do their FlipGrid, they have all of the directions right there.

Vicki: So, Lisa, is there a mistake that many educators make when they start using Hyperdocs?

Lisa: When I started making Hyperdocs, my mistake was that I tried to do it from scratch. I didn’t really look at any. I looked at some and said, “OK, I think I get the basic premise. Let me start from scratch.”

When I made my first one, it was for The Great Gatsby. I did it with my students, maybe two-and-a-half years ago. I remember that they were looking at me like, “Wow. This is a lot to do. We did it for two days. They were very impressed with it, but then they also said, “This was a lot for us to do.” They gave me some suggestions.

Then, what I did the next time was I started looking at some. Lisa Highfill @lhighfill has a wonderful Hyperdocs site. I also used my Google Keep, and anything that is shared out on Twitter with Hyperdocs — there’s Padlets and all kinds of stuff — I put it in my Keep. I look through them, and I’ll sometimes make a copy of them, strip them from what they have, and work from there — because I like the layout, or I like how it looks.

Vicki: So you’ve given us the suggestion to look at other examples. What is the most wildly helpful suggestion you have for teachers who want to use Hyperdocs?

Tips for Getting Started

Lisa: I would say, “Make sure when you use Hyperdocs that you are OK with failing forward, because the kids might need a little bit of help. This year what I did, prior to even doing anything within Hyperdocs with them, is we did a Hyperdoc together.

I said, “What do you think this thing that’s underlined in blue is?”

And they’re like, “A link?”

For some classes it was dead air, and I was like, “This is a link…”

And we actually did a Hyperdoc together, and that gave the students the comfort level that they needed.

So I would say, make sure the kids are comfortable. Don’t expect that it’s going to be perfect the first couple times, because they’re getting accustomed to it. But eventually, they’ll appreciate the extra effort that you’re making.

Vicki: Last question, Lisa. Some people have to go to their administrators or curriculum directors and convince them that it is worth trying something new. What is the elevator pitch for why educators should be using Hyperdocs?

Lisa: I think educators need to use Hyperdocs because the whole thing in our building is the UBD, the design planning with the end in mind. I’ve even Hyperdoc’d all of my units. I make sure that I know where I’m going with everything. I Hyperdoc all of the ancillary materials I’m going to use during that unit. It just helps me see the end in mind, plan for a purpose, and be able to see where I’m going with the students.

Vicki: Well, educators, we have something new to try for this Ed Tech Tool Tuesday. Hyperdocs! Check the Shownotes and take a look. Tweet out your Hyperdocs, so that we can all share!

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford


Bio as submitted

I have taught for 23 years at North Hagerstown High School in Hagerstown, Md. I am originally from north of Pittsburgh. I have always looked at myself as a life-long learner and Twitter has helped me strengthen my PLN and my teaching. I am a Google Certified Trainer, Flipgrid Ambassador, Formative Educator, and CommonLit Advisory Board Member. Our school is 1:1 with I-pads and I am incorporating a lot of project-based learning, hyperdocs, and diverse seating. I am a fan of not teaching the entire book, but giving students the meat of the text and reading Shakespeare from the middle. My inspirations are: Matt Miller’s “Ditch the Textbook”, Dave Burgess’ “Teach Like a Pirate”, and Joy Kirr’s “Shift This”. I love to share my work and help others improve their teaching.

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.) This company has no impact on the editorial content of the show.

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