iPad Apps that Enhance your Language Arts Program

Pete the CatJoined by a group of enthusiastic K-12 teachers and principals, we explored a number of apps at our District Pro-D session on February 21st. The feature story was Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin. After listening to the story and the oh-so catchy song, we used a strategy called Milling to Music to move around the classroom to share connections with different partners. Great energizing strategy to use across the curriculum!

Hover over the circle icons and you will get additional information.

This image was created using Thinglink, which takes images and embeds interactivity.  For more on using this in your class, click here.

Click here for a copy of the handout.

Click here for ideas on how to use Popplet.

We would love to hear how your students are using some of these apps.

App #9 of “10 Apps to Countdown Season”

App #9: In our effort to highlight the SAMR Model of integration of technology, we’ve been considering what activities might fit into Redefinition (technology that allows creation of new tasks, previously inconceivable).

app_tellagami

What activities might have significant impact to student outcomes? The “tell your story” concept remains one of the powerful ways we have to teach others, to increase audience, to learn new processes, to share expert knowledge in safe ways (consider also that shy student in your class).

Animations are live and well. While many are found in game environments, why not connect our learning outcomes above to the creation of animations – and no, you won’t spend a ton of time learning software!  Tellagami is an app for ipad or android (love that) and produces animated characters (much like Voki or other avatar programs) that can be saved to the camera library, imported into other apps or uploaded to a blog or other website.
tellagami_screen

Have students create a teaching session or speech (in another language like French, Spanish, etc.) and create a gami to deliver the content.  How about the significance of a historic event via a gami? Complete a biography of a personal hero? Tell a story from the first person perspective. Or how about in Special Ed, where a student might need lots of practice in speaking.  Capturing and “freezing words in time” offers a great way to reflect upon both speech and ideas.
What makes this app a ‘cut above’ are several things: ability to insert own backgrounds (including drawings), ability to save to camera library and no wifi needed unless you wish to upload to a site.  This allows for so many other possibilities to import to other apps like Explain Everything, iMovie or transferred to a computer (mpeg4) – now we have to talk about workflow.  (Stay tuned for more on this in later posts.)

What can you use Tellagami to do, to learn, to share?

A Year of Discovery

It’s June and I’m really not sure what happened to this year.  The ten months prior have whizzed by and here we are again.  I wanted to take this moment to share some reflections of the year and try to put things into perspective.

writing speech

 

Our Writers Workshop folks grappled with ideas related not only to what it means to be a writer but also what it means to be a writer on digital spaces.  Perhaps this arena requires a different set of skills, a different strategy to communication. Thank you to those who took the steps to question and ponder, to test the waters with our Google Apps for Education and to discover how this online environment allows for flexibility, choice, and deeper dialogue. We all grew from the journey.

blog-worldThis year we saw more teachers and administrators enter the realm of blogging or some kind of web presence.  Some started with a desire to share exciting events and learning in the school, others took up the challenge of using the space for their students to create their digital voice and footprint on the world.  Class accounts provided opportunities for these voices to grow in crafting their communication to wider audiences. How exciting for us to watch this growth over the year. Digital footprint portfolios!

online-writing-communityWhat happens if we offered a dedicated laptop and projector to a teacher to develop an inquiry idea? I can say that wonderful sparks happened.  In one class I observed such engagement and “shining eyes” (Benjamin Zander’s words) that I was blown away by the focused level of dialogue as students discussed their work.  Thank you for showing determination, persistence and purposeful actions to deepen practices.

balancing rocksWhat if you asked a group of secondary teachers to reach high and envision big! You get an inquiry team regardless of subject, who dreams big, reaches big and actions big. This small group from across multiple schools dove into strategies like standards-based assessment or flip classroom or refining questioning, all through seamless use of technologies.  Little did I know that excitement from this group meant that they were driven to share not only in their schools but to share their discoveries by rotating meetups at most of the secondaries where everyone was invited to drop in. What I took away from each of these added sessions was the power of collaborative conversation; conversation that started with honest sharing experiences (with all its bumps) and circled with audiences asking questions and challenging the notions. Back and forth until clarity was reached and what we thought we knew to be true of these strategies and environments was worked and reworked.  What I learned was the courage it took for these teachers to “risk big” not only privately but publicly in front of their colleagues.  In doing so, they shared the greatest gift, the gift of possibility.

headset_icon2Our Fast ForWord teams saw a boost and challenge in the delivery of this Tier 3 intervention program.  The move to an online environment meant that more schools were added, more students were included.  Teaching teams were challenged with a new approach in supporting reading achievement and student motivation each time we met as a group and during site visits. It was yet another humbling experience to watch the dedication and intense energy of this group of educators as they supported their students. One student stated “all I ever want is to learn to read”.  He came extra early to school to make sure he could get in his session. After years of struggle, he is well on his way. But more than anything it was the connection of a teacher who believed he could.

These are only a small number of the projects we were so privileged to be a part of the learning.  I truly believe  that what we lived was an experience in how we view the world, to live into the possibility, and grow beyond what we imagined.  We found champions who were there in our corners to bounce ideas, to challenge our thinking and to help us “dare greatly“.  As another year comes to a close, I leave you with Rita Pierson who spoke at TED – “Every Kid Needs a Champion”.
THANK YOU for being the champions of our students.