Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Once, Twice, Three Times the Charm

Objective:  Students will be able to recognize ways to improve their reading aloud.

For this lesson I spent quite a bit of time going over students' DRP® (Degrees of Reading Power®) scores so that I could choose specific books to match each individual's reading level.  Most of the students are in 6th grade, with a few in 8th grade, but their reading levels are much lower.  When students came in I handed each of them a book and an iPad to use.  This is the first time they're not working with a partner so I had to borrow some iPads from administration so that I'd have enough for each student to have their own.  Once again we reviewed what their focusing on for improving reading fluency: expression, pacing, and phrasing.
The students quickly got to work, recording themselves reading their book.  They recorded for two minutes, then read the same passage again recording themselves again.  When they finished their 2nd recording they listened to both recordings and evaluated themselves on sheets I had given them.  They evaluated what they noticed after the 2nd reading: did they read faster? smoother? with expression? and did they remember more words?

I was very impressed by many of the students and their critique of their own reading.  Here are some of their written comments after their third recording:

"I noticed that I did the better job than the first time.  I have more expression.  Still struggle in some words."
"I have to get better on the vocabulary to not stop in reading."
"I read with expression.  I read smoother."
"I noticed that I didn't read smoothly."
"I read smoother and read with more expression after I remembered more words."
After the 2nd reading one student wrote:  "mumble on some words and was reading too slow, but after the 3rd reading she wrote, "I was reading great."

Which Free Apps to Use?

These are the free apps I've downloaded so far:
 24/7 Tutor
Find My iPad
Google Earth
Google Search
Google Translate
International Children's Digital Library (ICDL)
Mad Libs
Math Skills
PS Express
Seattle Times
Sonic Pics Lite
Toy Story
USA Today
Word Pops Free

Some of these will be specifically for the reading and writing work with the students and some of them are word or math games for the students to play with when they have completed their work ahead of others.  I wanted to be sure to have some educational, fun games ready for them to use.  Many of the students seem to like Chicktionary and using the iPad camera, of course.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Reviewing Reading Aloud

Objective:  Students will be able to recognize ways to improve their reading aloud.

While students followed along on their iPads in MeeGenius, I read aloud the story "The Boy Who Cried Wolf."  I deliberately read aloud making similar mistakes that the students had when they recorded their reading last week, asking the students to write down errors they heard me making.  I also asked them to write down how I could improve.  They did a good job as a class, noticing things like:  read too slow, read too fast, read haltingly, read in a monotone, read without expression, skipped words, and added words.  They suggested that I slow down, read with expression, focus on phrasing, and focus on each word as I read.

After discussion on how my reading aloud could improve, pairs of students used headphones to listen to their reading from last week and recorded in writing how they and their partners could improve.  Having seen me model this for the class, they did a pretty good job of critiquing their own reading.  I asked most of them if they thought they could improve in their next recording and they all said they could.  They began recording the same story again.  Unfortunately we always run out of time before both students in the pairs could rerecord their stories.