Blending Active Reading & Conversations with EDpuzzle

--Originally published at Baker's B.Y.O.D.-- Bring Your Own Device, Dog, & Deconstruction of Literature

As I integrate technology into my classroom, I want to make sure that my students do not have their faces in a screen all the time. Also, I want to capitalize on creating opportunities for my students to practice listening and self-pacing skills. Blending paper with digital media and face to face interactions with digital learning, I created checkpoints in an EDpuzzle video lesson that would encourage students to close read a text and "Turn and Talk" to answer text-based questions accurately.

Building on previous teacher-centered lessons from our reading of Richard Peck's “Priscilla and the Wimps” and Richard Connell's “The Most Dangerous Game” in which we actively read texts together, students encountered a text for the first time in such as a way as to practice self-pacing skills during an in-class flipped lesson. In an effort to flip my reading instruction and to encourage students to actively read, I edited a preexisting audiobook video on YouTube to include the text of "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" by James Thurber. I then uploaded the new version to EDpuzzle and embedded the checkpoint questions, tagging each with a NJ Learning Standard for ELA 9th grade (formerly known as Common Core Curriculum Standards).

Each student logged in to EDpuzzle on his/her class Chromebook, and then synchronizing with a partner, hit play and listened with personal headphones to the audiobook while reading along with a paper copy of the story.

As you can see from the EDpuzzle lesson below (go ahead, try!), at various points in the story, the video would pause and students were directed to mark up their paper copy of the text so that they could better understand the narrative structure, as well as answer comprehension questions. Students would turn and talk to their partner to discuss the directions and questions. I navigated around the room, listening to the partner conversations and seeing what students marked on their paper copy. It was immediately apparent if a student recognized the ellipsis or not, and I was able to quickly confirm or redirect as needed.

After marking up the paper text, students submitted their answers to the questions in EDpuzzle and were given immediate feedback on their accuracy, including an explanation as to why each answer was correct or wrong. I also tracked student progress in EDpuzzle and mark typed-in responses as correct/incorrect while students work through the video.

Despite the video being under 12 minutes, student conversations extended the lesson time. Those who talked too long or got off topic soon realized the consequence of not staying on task: Students who did not finish the lesson in class were instructed to complete the lesson prior to the next class meeting.

Even though the visual design of EDpuzzle’s site is different from PARCC or other online tests, the digital literacy skills students are using to answer standards-based questions will help prepare students for future digital standardized assessments. And by having students work synchronously with a partner, they are able to practice interpersonal, conversational skills.


  • This teaching method is a nice refreshing tool to use to allow our students integrate technology and content. The EDPuzzle video lesson allows the student to pause and look at their paper and verify certain sections of the reading. It allows the student to review what they are reading by answering reading comprehension questions. It’s a great activity that is blending active reading and conversation. This activity encourages the participant to be engaged and be ready to answer the next question. This is definitely a resource that I plan to share with our English department.

    • Hi Nora,
      Thanks for commenting! I appreciate that you recognize the purpose of this activity. I’m so glad that you will share this with your English Department. Please let me know how it goes or if your replicate the instructional design with another text.

  • Just discovered this tool – looking forward to using it with my classes – very easy to use and organise – a promising start for me!

  • Is this lesson on edPuzzle as a shared option? I would love to make a copy to use with my students. I’ve used edpuzzle for shorter videos, but never one at this length.

    • Hi Erika,
      In Edpuzzle you can make copies of already lessons to edit and assign to your classes. Simply search for the title of the video in Edpuzzle and you should be able to locate it.

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