Friday, October 28, 2011

Recording a fairy tale

Objective:  Students will be able to read aloud using appropriate expression and pacing.

Students are going to choose from six simple fairy tale retellings from the MeeGenius app and listen to them being read aloud to them.  They will be instructed to listen carefully to how it's read and the inflection and tone used.
Then they will use iTalk to record themselves reading the same story aloud getting feedback from their partner about their expression and pacing.
They did a pretty good job with this task, though we did have a little trouble getting all of their recordings uploaded to Dropbox.  I spent some time after they left making sure we had a copy of each of their recordings saved in Dropbox.  I had students answer this question on an Exit Card:  Do you think it helps your reading to record your reading aloud and listen to it?  Almost all of the students wrote "yes" and focused mainly and how it helped them to hear their expression or lack of expression in their reading.  Only one of the students wrote "no" because "I have to point to follow along but I also skipped a page."  I think she will feel better as we go along and she gets comfortable "swiping" on an iPad.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Predicting with Evidence

Lesson objective:  Students will use evidence to make predictions about their reading.

Today the lesson was on using evidence from your reading to make predictions.  The students did a pretty good job with this and stayed focused while reading because they were anxious to watch the 4 minute video ending to the story.  I used the app 3:15 and the free story, "Buried Treasure."

We began by discussing the definitions of the words "prediction" and "evidence."  Then we watched the teaser for the story and read five pages.  Together we made predictions and showed evidence on a chart.  Then students were instructed to read the rest of the story on their iPads and fill out a form making three predictions at pages 10, 15, and 22.  They were also instructed to make an adjustment to their predictions as they continued reading.
As students finished reading, I checked their written work before I gave them headphones with which to watch the scary video ending.  It was great to watch their reactions to the ending:  several boys gasped and immediately and animatedly began talking to each other about the story.  One boy said he went ahead and read the story at home twice because he knew we would be reading it today and it seemed so interesting.
Unfortunately not all students finished the story, so next time we'll need more time to finish up the lesson.

Friday, October 7, 2011

First Lesson

Objective:  Students will be able to identify what good readers do when they read aloud.
I asked students to help me identify the reading aloud behaviors of good readers.  This is what they came up with:
1.  Read loudly
2.  Read clearly
3.  Pronounce words well
4.  Use punctuation
5.  Use expression in your voice
We talked about their list and I shared my list with them:
Reading Behaviors:
1.  Phrasing - the ability to read several words together in one breath.
2.  Rate - the speed at which we read.
3.  Intonation/Expression - the emphasis we give to particular words or phrases

Then students paired up with another student and were given the iPad they will share for class use during the school year.  We did a brief overview of how to take care of their iPads, including wiping down the screen before they hand them in to be put away.
The pairs were given a one page story to read called "The Princess Easter."  They read it to themselves first.  Then they used iTalk to record themselves reading about 1/3 of the story, listening while their partners recorded.  Finally they listened to their recordings.  We will keep these as their first recordings.  Students have been instructed to always name their recording with their names and the date.

Okay, then I found out that using the free version of iTalk was not such a good idea.  We couldn't save the recordings because they were too big to e-mail and I needed iTalk Premium to link it to a Dropbox folder.  I went ahead and purchased iTalk Premium using VPP, but it still won't let me upload the first recording the students created with the free version.  Oh, well, at least we'll be able to save all the recordings they do in the future.