I had the opportunity to visit two elementary classes in two buildings recently, Heather Crandall’s Grade 2 class at Barbara Rose Elementary and Ted deBruin’s Grade 4 class at Arnett C. Lines Elementary.
During my visit, Heather Crandall's Grade 2 students were using iPads as part of their classroom "centers" for the day. As Ms. Crandall explained, when she selects potential activity center choices for her students, "it always starts at a need," such as spelling or reading.
Among the four students who selected iPads on this day, one student played a hangman-like game called Hangmouse (part of the SpellingCity app), a game to target the need for spelling practice.
Three other students used the Raz-Kids app, an online digital library with reading comprehension questions following each story. Using Raz-Kids, students log in to a pre-established classroom account and select from among an impressive library of age-appropriate electronic books (ebooks). Students read on-screen text and may also choose to follow along with the accompanying audiobook. After students correctly answer questions following each story, the app awards tokens students use to “purchase” accessories to customize the look of a robot who lives within the Raz-Kids app.
This video features Jack demonstrating SpellingCity’s Hangmouse and Sarah explaining some of the features of Raz-Kids:
I also had the pleasure of visiting Mr. Ted deBruin’s Grade 4 class. During class time, the students were creating maps on large sheets of paper corresponding to the origins of indigenous peoples of North America. Students used the Google Earth app to identify land features such as lakes, rivers, and mountain ranges, and also found cities and towns that now exist where indigenous groups once lived. For this project, students used both iPads and print books to construct their maps.
Mr. deBruin also shared a recently completed project in which students used iPads to create videos to demonstrate their knowledge of figurative language. Students used the app Chatter Pix to animate hand-drawn cartoons and demonstrate figurative language such as personification. Other students used the Do Ink app to demonstrate figurative language such as alliteration and hyperbole. Do Ink allows students to record video in front of a solid green background (also known as “green screen”) and then later substitute an image (or another video) in place of the green background.
This video features Madison introducing the figurative language assignment:
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