iPods in Guided Reading

One of the funnest Guided Reading lessons I did this year was the day after our school received its first order of iPod.  I checked out six of them, and brought them to the reading table, setting one each in front of them and above their book.  As they read out loud to themselves, I picked up the iPod in front of each of them and began video recording them reading....and the rest as they say, is history.  I created the following iMovie to show you what happened after I began recording.

Not only did students receive real time oral reading feeback from me, but they also had the real-time opportunity to reflect on their own oral reading and self-monitoring skills.  By watching and listening to themselves on the iPod, it was like looking into a mirror and seeing what you want to fix...a hair out of place, salad in your teeth or the right earrings to match your outfit...students could see and fix their oral reading immediately.  The process was quite validating, as Adric says, "I look and sound like a reader!" What better reading confidence builder is that?  Because this day was the first time I had introduced iPods, their excitement and engagement was high...as they encountered problems or questions, they asked and helped each other...all on their own, which just goes to reinforce that learning is a social behavior!

BONUS: 30 Ways to Use the iPod Touch in the Classroom


Creative Commons: For Creators & Users

Creative Commons was designed to reduce the gray area of digital creation, ownership and sharing issues of original content on the worldwide web. In their words, "Creative Commons is a non-profit organization that develops, supports, and stewards legal and technical infrastructure that maximizes digital creativity, sharing, and innovation."

Sharing Creative Works by Roberts, Rojer & Phillips
What is Creative Commons? (short version) 

This blog is an example of web-based content, created by me, that is licensed under Creative Commons. The screenshot above shows how I feature my CC license the bottom of my blog page. With this license, anyone may use, copy, remix and adapt my work under these conditions.

are an example of how I have adapted and remixed the original work of someone else (Jessica Meacham), given proper attribution to the original content creator and licensed the work under the same Share-Alike conditions that the original creator wished. In this case, I am both a CC user and creator. 

As an educator, I'm always searching for images where the owners have licenced their images under Creative Commons.  When searching for images in Google Images, Yahoo Images and Flickr, you can select Advanced Search and select the button to only search for images with a CC license.  I share this method with my students to model and teach responsible digital literacy and show students how and where to give attribution for images used.  I, in turn, license my Flickr photos with the same CC license for re-use. 



Fountas & Pinnell App

Now available in the App Store is the Fountas and Pinnell Prompting Guide available for both the iPhone and iPad.  Have scripted prompts at your fingertips during guided reading or one on one reading interventions. "Fountas and Pinnell Prompting Guide, Part 1 is designed to provide you with language and actions that support the reader's construction of an efficient network of strategic activities for processing texts and writing stories. The prompts provide short, explicit support for the students to engage in successful problem-solving actions." The app is designed to support strategic thinking moves within the text.  



Blogging in the Classroom

This is my professional blog.  I created it using Blogspot, Google's blog hosting site, because I had completely run out of bandwidth (storage) on my Google hosted website, http://www.hellofirstgrade.com/.  I had quite a few followers on that site, and was really looking for a forum through which I could continue to share ideas and best practices in literacy.There are blogs about many kinds of things: hiking,  cooking, Montessori Moms and spirituality, to name a few.  (If you're still asking yourself, "What is a Blog?"- click here to view many different and varied answers to that question.)  Now with a blog, I don't worry anymore about not having enough space for sharing my stuff because there are plenty of free storage sites on the Internet now...two of my personal favorites are Google Docs and Dropbox.  The blogs I follow are in the right sidebar...besides Twitter, that offers a vast amount of information in a short amount of space and time, I generally follow the blogs of other teachers and educationalists that have the same interests as myself.  The following slideshow features many of the benefits of blogging. One of the things I love so much about blogging is that I don't have to re-invent the wheel, but I can find resources, share and link them with others that have created and shared before me using blogging tools like Slideshare and YouTube...and giving proper attribution, of course.
Student blogs are trickier to accomplish in elementary school with privacy issues, parent permission issues and student email address issues.  However, there is a way around it to protect student privacy. Using my iPhone4, I recorded Dawn Reynolds, a 2nd grade teacher at my school,  talking about how her students use blogging instead of morning work to write, read and respond to each other's lives and activities. I uploaded the video straight to YouTube, and here is what she had to say about her classroom blog.

As the students were working in the classroom this morning before the bell rang, I captured a few images of them blogging, it's one of the stations on the Morning Menu.

 Although every student in WCPSS has an assigned @wcpss.net email address, they are lengthy and difficult for students to remember.  So Mrs. Reynolds assigns each student a number (user 14 below) and for the "Email (required)" field, she has taught the students to enter lm@lm.com. This blog program does not seem to care that it's not a goodaddress but that it simply has an @ sign and .com in it.  It's difficult to read, but this student user is responding to Mrs. Reynold's prompt of "Tell us about your trackout" and has written the following so far..."what i did over track out was i was trying responsibility but my (brother....." so I guess you have to tune into Mrs. Reynold's class blog to read about what he did to try responsibility. 

The other type of educational blogs are classroom blogs by teachers for parents, sort of an ongoing, interactive, up to date digital newsletter of events, lessons and activities happening in the classroom.  It's certainly a great way to save trees and I've heard parents tell me, "I really feel like I'm there with my child and when she tells me about the activity with the clickers, or the frogs, or whatever, I know exactly what she's talking about."  One of my favorite classroom blogs for parents (and for other teachers to get ideas) is Mrs. Meacham's Classroom Blog.
Screenshot image captured using Jing

The one thing I have learned in the last 24 hours about blogging it that, like writing and composing, there is a process.  The blogging process has more digital and social components, and the cycle is best displayed in the graphic image below, definitely a nice "behind-the-scenes" look at what teachers must think about before diving into classroom blogging. 

Image courtesy of Rachel Boyd & Tania O'Meagher



Poetry Comes Alive with Technology!....Lucy Would Be Proud

The first grade classes created Poetry Slideshows for their Poetry Celebration after completing the Lucy Calkins Poetry Unit.  In the unit, students learned how to see things through "poet's eyes", they compared the describing words that a scientist would use and words that a poet might use.  They learned about the song and ryhthm of line breaks in poetry.  Students each selected one poem from the many that they had written to publish in audio and image form.  The literacy coach set up a "recording studio" in the classroom of the tracked out teacher and students could come in one at a time and read their poems out loud into Audacity.  They also created an illustration to match their poem.  The slideshow was created in iMovie with student voices matched up with the illustration of their poem.   With fruit roll-ups and graham crackers as a snack, students watched as they listened to themselves read their poems.

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