Monday, December 19, 2011

"Twas the Night performed

On Friday I went to the ELL students' classroom to play the Moving Tales "Twas the Night Before Christmas" with the students' narration.  They really seemed to enjoy hearing themselves and each other.  As soon as someone started narrating, they called out the name of the person.  I narrated one page and the vice-principal narrated the last page and the students seemed tickled that he participated.  They applauded when the book was done.  I really do think I'm hearing improvement in their fluency already.  I'm going to look for more interactive book apps which will allow us to record their voices and then project the book.  It would also be nice if I could save a copy of the recording.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Still "Twas the Night

I wanted to be sure to record as many students as I could reading aloud in the Moving Tales app.  I pulled some of them out during lunchtime today and they recorded a page of the story, so that tomorrow we'll all be able to watch it again with the students' narrating the whole thing.  I might have to sneak in narrating the last page.  Today their teacher, Ms. Sigler, told me she said to them, "I don't remember what we're doing tomorrow,"  and they reminded her, "Ms. Fox is coming with the iPads!"  I love that they're so motivated by this project.
One thing I realized I have to constantly remember is to always write down when I download a free or paid app.  The free iBook app I downloaded to all the iPads last week costs $1.99 today.  I'm keeping a spreadsheet with all the apps and dates that I download them, so that we don't run into any problems.  As an individual I can purchase an app and put it on five of my own devices, but since these are for a school, I'd need to purchase one for each iPad.  When I get them for free I have to be sure to keep track of that in case they start charging money for the app in the future (like what just happened).

Friday, December 2, 2011

T'was the Night

Objective:  students will know how to use tools in iBooks on the iPad to improve their reading comprehension.
Continuing Objective:  students will focus on reading with expression, with correct phrasing, and at an appropriate rate.
One of the apps' companies I really like is Moving Tales.  They create a cross between a book and a movie in app form.  In the future I plan to use The Unwanted Guest and The Pedlar Lady of Gushing Cross, but today it's going to be T'was the Night Before Christmas.  'Tis the season, you know.  I did just find out they have a new book app called This Too Shall Pass that I'm going to have to check out soon.
When the students came in I told them we would be having holiday fun today reading a story/poem by Clement Moore.  First I did a brief lesson on contractions and archaic English, so they would understand the word 'Twas.  As part of the introduction, we also talked about rhyming couplets.
Then the fun began.  We watched, listened, and read the Moving Tales version of "Twas the night Before Christmas," and I asked the students to be attentive to words they might not understand.  After viewing the story, we switched to a free version of the story that I had downloaded to iBooks.  It was a version they could also listen to.  I modeled how they could use the iBooks magnifier tool to define a word - we used it to define "coursers."
Students then worked in pairs practicing reading aloud while using the magnifier to define words.  While they were doing that, I called up individual students and used the Moving Tales app to record them reading pages of the story.  I would play the app with the narration, have them practice, and then record them.  We ran out of time to record all of them, so I'll keep you posted on how we followed up.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Toy Story

Objective:  Students will be able to read a children's story with expression.

Today we had some fun with the free Toy Story app.  Using the Apple VGA adapter, I hooked up my iPad to the LCD projector and we all watched and listened to the interactive book, Toy Story.  I told students they would be expected to read it aloud themselves next so they needed to pay close attention to the narrator and how he showed expression with his reading voice.
Afterwards students were paired up with an iPad and assigned two pages to practice reading aloud.  I showed them how to use the recording option within the book so that they could listen to their own recording.  Some of the students came up to me fairly quickly telling me they were ready, but when I reminded them that we would all be reading aloud, they quickly said, "Oh, no, I'm not ready.  I'll practice more."  I overheard one boy tell another, "You need more expression."
When they were all done, we read the book aloud as we watched it, taking turns to read all the pages.  Even before we started the first boy who was to read, stood up and said, "We should stand," so all students stood to read as their turn came and tried to show expression in their reading.  When we were done, one of the students said, "I didn't do very well.  Can I do it again?"  We went back to his part, he stood, and read it again doing a much better job.  I was thrilled that he took the initiative to critique himself and publicly reread and improve.