Thursday, January 27, 2011

iPod Classroom Observations

On Friday, January 21, Jennifer Lane, Maricopa County Technology Integration Specialist, and I spent some time observing in iPod classrooms. We went to several different classrooms at different schools and got to see the iPods being used in a variety of ways.

Two of the classrooms were using the iPods during their reading centers. Students were doing reading fluency recordings and evaluating their recordings with an oral reading fluency rubric while others practiced their reading fluency by buddy reading using the K12 Timed Reading app. Other students were recording themselves reading their high frequency words flash cards on the iPods. Yes, we can have two things open at once on our iPods! One of the teachers created a flash card fluency recording sheet for students to use to keep track of their progress. Several other students were practicing grammar skills using several of the apps we have installed on the iPods.

A couple of classes were working on the reading Essential Performance Objective for the week: graphic features in expository text. They were learning how maps, diagrams, timelines, and tables help them understand expository texts. In one classroom students were creating graphic features books using the StoryKit app. They inserted pictures of different graphic features into the books pages, labeled the features, and then recorded what the feature was and how it is used in texts. Another classroom used the SimpleMind Express app to create mind maps about graphic feature vocabulary.

We also saw the iPods being used for math. In one class the students were practicing math fluency. They used several math apps to build their multiplication skills with speed and accuracy.

The current math Essential Performance Objective is on geometric shapes. We observed two classes working on these skills. One was creating geometry books in StoryKit. The students inserted a geometric shape onto a page, name the shape, and described the attributes of the shape, such as the number of faces, edges, and vertices. In another class the students were going online to find real objects that represented the shapes – cubes, rectangular prisms, square pyramids, and so on. Once they saved the shapes into Photos, they inserted them in DoodleBuddy, traced the characteristics of the shapes (e.g., highlighting the edges of the cube), labeled the type of 3D shape, and then took a screenshot so they would have a record of their work. The teacher did a great job of modeling the project and had very specific directions for the students. While they worked, she was able to observe, ask questions, and help students that were struggling.

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