Good morning, good morning! The puppy (old dog) wanted to drop by and say hello to you too! He’s busy having some doggie play time and we’ve been busy in our first grade classroom too 🙂
You know we are 1:1 this year with iPads. When the year started, I was really using the iPads as a substitution for paper. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing- and it’s definitely a place to start!
But as the year has gone on, I’ve tried hard to find ways to use the iPad to modify and redefine our learning in ways that wouldn’t have been possible before.
(***This words- Substitute, Augment, Modify, Redefine– are based on the technology continuum called the SAMR MODEL***)
This picture is from the source linked above. If you click the link and log into Thinglink, you can touch each one of those apps and learn more about it. It should also be noted that most of those apps can really fit into different categories, depending on how you are using it.
The goal of this model is to help educators- and ultimately students- use technology in ways that allow them to create and share things that wouldn’t have been possible before.
iPads to Redefine Writing Time
We follow the “Be A Writer” writing program in our school. It’s a weekly writing program based on a anchor text each week. The story we read relates to the writing idea of the week.
I love it and love the books we read through the program.
This week, we read the story “Down The Road”.
It’s the story of a young girl named Hetty, who wants to walk down the road all by herself to get eggs for breakfast. It’s a theme my firsties can really relate too- this is the age where they want to do EVERYTHING by themselves AND want to be a “big kid”.
So, our writing theme this week was writing about themselves and something they can do by themselves. Also, we’ve been working on writing stories with a beginning, middle, and end. That meant, this week the kids were suppose to think of something they can do by themselves and write a story about that with a B, M, and E.
Typically, we spend Monday brainstorming ideas. The kids work with their learning partners and orally tell their stories. Then the next day, the kids begin writing. I like this format….
…..but the trouble always is, some of the kids forget what they want to write about or lose the focus from the day before.
The other problem of most first graders in writing is, it’s very hard to get their ideas from their brains down onto the paper. And for my ELL class, it’s hard for them to write complete sentences, without leaving out words that help make the story make sense. (For example, they might write shorter sentences like “Play sister” instead of “I play with my sister”).
Enter the iPads. After we had brainstormed ideas and talked with partners on Monday, the kids got their iPads and recorded videos of themselves saying their idea.
We shared these videos and talked about how some students added details in their videos. For example, some students simply said in their video “I can ride my bike”, but some kids said “I can ride my bike. I ride my bike fast and I ride my bike slow”. After seeing these great examples, some kids went back and changed their videos to add more.
The next day, there was no kid who forgot their idea because they could instantly watch their video and remember!
After shared writing (doing an example like a team together), the kids were ready to write their own story!
We started by having students find a spot in the room. They brought with their iPads and writing papers.
They were told to watch their videos as much as they needed. Around the room you’d hear lots of videos playing, but the kids were totally focused and working.
Each time they watched their video, they better remembered and thought about their idea. And for my English language learners, the more they listened, the more they remembered all those little words to make their sentence make sense!
We started with drawing the pictures first this time, three pictures for beginning, middle, and end describing the special thing they can do by themselves.
After their pictures were drawn, they were able to write sentences about each part.
I am telling you, I had students writing and working in a way I haven’t seen them do before. Writing time is always quiet, but has never been this focused. I had students who seriously struggle with writing and putting down their ideas that were now EXCELLING! It was such a motivation for all the students, and a wonderful support for my kids who struggle with putting their ideas into words. By being able to watch their video again and again, they never lost sight of the main idea.
Also, they were able to hear all the words they needed to write. And, at times, they were able to hear themselves making oral speaking mistakes. I had one student who said, “Oh, I didn’t say that right”. They were able to hear their mistakes and fix it in their writing.
This was such an amazing beginning to our writing this week! Be sure to check back as I update this post to include additional steps to enhance this project- APP SMASHING!
Thanks for checking in on our adventure. Be sure to check back soon!