An edublog about integrating technology into the classroom.
Help Me 2 Learn: Grammar 1
What it is: Help Me 2 Learn: Grammar is an outstanding way for students to learn the difference between nouns, pronouns, verbs and adjectives. Help Me 2 Learn is actually a pay for learning website, but Grammar 1 is a full demo of the grammar game for FREE! This is an incredible interactive that...
What it is: Scholastic is constantly sneaking new great resources for the classroom onto their site. The other day I learned about one that I haven’t seen before from @rmbyrne on his great blog Free Tech for Teachers. Listen and Read has fantastic online reading activities for early learners. There are 54 nonfiction read-along books that include words, images and sound. You can sort books by subject including: Community, American History, Animals, Civics and Government, Environmental Studies, Plants and Flowers, Science and Social Studies. You can also sort books by level (A or B).
How to integrate Listen and Read into your curriculum: Non-fiction can be hard to read in the early years. It often includes unfamiliar words and vocabulary and concepts that students don’t have a lot of prior knowledge of. Scholastic’s Listen and Read is fantastic because it helps students navigate their way through non-fiction with the support of a read-aloud, sounds and images. These interactive books help students better comprehend content because they aren’t focused on the words they are stumbling through. At the end of the book students can click on the unfamiliar new vocabulary to hear the word said again. This follow-up exposure reinforces word recognition, vocabulary and ideas.
Scholastic Listen and Read can be set up on classroom computers as a reading center. Students can read and listen independently with headphones. After reading through the story, students can discuss with a partner (or as a whole class) what they remember about each of the “sound it out” words from the story.
If you don’t have the ability for students to read these non-fiction books independently, use a projector connected computer or interactive whiteboard to read as a whole class.
Tips: Some of the titles are offered in both A and B level. This is great for a little differentiation within the classroom (while gaining the same concepts).
Please leave a comment and share how you are using Scholastic’s Listen and Read in your classroom!
What it is: What makes technology SO great is the way that it can make life (and teaching) more productive and fun. Over the years, I have found so many ways that technology can make reading more rewarding for both kids who love to read, and kids who dread reading. Today, I created an “Extreme Speed Booking” website for @michellek107′s class at Anastasis. I created the site quickly using Weebly, an awesome WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) website editor. Drag and drop website building is where it is at! The idea behind the site is to introduce students to a variety of books and form classroom book groups. How does Extreme Speed Booking work? A whole lot like speed dating. Students spend a little time with each book and then rate them accordingly with “I want to read more”, “Interesting”, “Not for me”, or “I’ve already read”. Students can also make a note of how interested they are in reading the book (maybe a 1-10 scale)? This process introduces students to a variety of books, genres and authors. Students may come across titles and authors they wouldn’t otherwise find. It also helps teachers form classroom book groups that are of high-interest and investment to students because they had input.
For our purposes at Anastasis, I created the Weebly website with a link to the “look inside” on Amazon. Because all of our students have an iPad, this was the simplest way to get the book preview into the hands of the students. Don’t have technology? No problem! Just make sure that you have enough copies of books so that each student can sit with the physical book during the Extreme Speed Booking sessions. If you have classroom computers, you can do a blend of both.
Explain to your students that they will have 2 minutes with each book. During that time, they can choose to read the introduction or first chapter, read the book jacket, or flip through and look at chapter titles and pictures. The goal during this time is to discover whether this is a book that they would like to read. It is okay if it isn’t a book they would want to read…the goal is to find out which book they are most excited about. After the two minutes is up, sound a bell that signifies it is time to switch. Before they switch, students can quickly make a note of the Title and rate the book. Continue on until students have had 2 minutes with each book. Collect the notes students have made and formulate book groups based on interest in the book.
I’ve added a few extra pages to our Extreme Speed Booking website including places where students can explore other books that they may like to read (Shelfari and Book Wink). I’ve also added a form that book groups can fill out as they are reading. The form gets emailed directly to the teacher. Our students will probably be blogging quite a bit of reflection about their reading. I thought it might also be useful to have a place for groups to answer questions, make comments, or update their teacher with their progress as a group.
@michellek107 created a Google form for her students to fill out while they are speed booking. Great idea! She is so smart. This will make it easy to collect all of the responses in one place to form groups.
Suggestions for books:
Choose books from a variety of levels, make sure you have a few book options for each reading level in your classroom.
Choose a variety of authors and genres, this is a great way to expose students to authors and genres they don’t normally seek out on their own.
Set up classroom computers with some book trailer videos from a site like Book Wink…this is a great “introduction” to a book or genre and acts much like a movie trailer.
Choose a variety of books from ONE author. After students have completed reading in their smaller groups, they can come back together and do an author study as a whole class; each group contributing something a little different.
Choose a variety of books from ONE genre. Students can read books in the smaller groups but discuss common features of the genre as a class.
Choose a variety of books on a similar topic. Students can read books in the smaller groups and then discuss the different character perspectives, author approaches, etc. This would be really neat to do with historical fiction, Holocaust fiction, etc.
Use non-fiction books that reinforce topics and themes that you are using in other academic areas.
Use biographies of presidents, change makers, authors, etc. Students can learn about a specific person in the smaller reading group and share what they have learned with the larger group later.
Tips:Extreme Speed Booking is a lot of fun with tech, but equally doable without tech! If you have access to a 1-1 tech environment, or can reserve the computer lab for a round of speed booking, you can use my technique above. Weebly makes it very easy to do this!
If you haven’t already, check out Shelfari and create a virtual bookshelf of book recommendations for your class or school. You can see our Shelfari shelf for Anastasis below. If you teach 3rd-12th grade it is worth checking out Book Wink!
What it is: I am constantly learning about cool new website tools for the classroom from my PLN (Personal Learning Network), today I learned about an animated comic creator called Stage’d from fellow Blogging Alliance member @MrR0gers. Stage’d is a tool that helps students to tell digital stories in a new 3-d way. Students can create a stage full of characters and dialogue as if they are directing their own digital play. They can choose characters, costumes, animations, set design and provide characters with dialog. When the 3-d comic has been saved, it can be emailed or linked to with a unique url. Stage’d is perfect for use in any classroom, to save a comic requires no personal identifying information or even an email address. All students have to do is type in the name of the director (first name only or a pseudonym).
How to integrate Stage’d into the classroom:Stage’d is a seriously fun creation tool, students are going to love directing their own 3-d comic plays. Stage’d makes a great digital story telling tool.
Publish their own fiction (or non-fiction) writing pieces as a 3-d play
Re-tell a story to demonstrate comprehension
Illustrate vocabulary words
Illustrate historical events
Create mock public service announcements
“Interview” an important person of interest
Create short persuasive video commercials
Illustrate story problems in math
Practice a foreign language dialogue and vocabulary
Stage’d is very easy to use and the results are absolutely fantastic. Create your own Stage’d creations to introduce a new topic or concept to your students. This is a fun introduction that will grab their attention in a hurry.
Tips:The creators of Stage’d are constantly adding new features and options so check back often.
Please leave a comment and share how you are using Stage’d in your classroom.