Archive for March 2013

Launching Fairy Tales with Little Red Riding Hood

We have launched our new reading and writing units: Fairy Tales.  The students will read a variety of different fairy tales, compare versions of the same fairy tale and write their own fairy tale.  The units link nicely with our current unit of inquiry: What a Beautiful World!  Here the central idea is: People of all cultures express themselves though different art forms.  We will be reading a variety of fairy tales from all over the world, focusing on key characters, settings, magical elements, cultural elements and lessons learned.  The EAL students come to school knowing a lot of the stories from having read them in their own language.  Having so much background knowledge allows them to read texts that otherwise would be beyond their abilities.

In my EAL reading group, we will be focusing on a new story each time.  I decided to start with Little Red Riding Hood, as  all but one of the students knew the story.  I used Trina Schart Hyman’s book little red riding hoodfor a read aloud as the pictures are so detailed and there is lots of dialogue.  I had them sequence the story with pictures and in writing.  I then found some Little Red Riding Hood printable masks and they colored them, cut them and stuck them onto wooden sticks.  They decided amongst themselves who would play what character and then collaboratively we wrote the play.  I projected my screen and typed while they retold the story, including dialogue.  I printed the script, enlarged it and we read it through twice as a group and then they acted it out.  They only had to redo a couple of scenes.  Overall, they did a fantastic job.  All in all, this lesson was about 3x 50 minute periods.


Little Red Riding Hood play from AISB Grade 2 on Vimeo.


Bird on a Wire: Nouns and Verbs iPad App

Part of this month’s word study has been focusing on parts of speech: nouns, verbs, and adjectives.  We have been using a great app on the iPad called Bird on a Wire Bird on a Wire They have three different apps: Verbs, Nouns and Adjectives.

All of them have the same format.  You press start and are given a page of definitions and examples: 2015-2-birds-on-a-wire-verbs  You then click on the ‘games console’ on the bottom menu bar and you are shown three little birds each with a word under their feet.  verbs previewThe learning objective is to identify the verb and click on it.  The little bird flies away with the verb and a ‘Good Job’ sign.

There are perhaps 30 different pages.  At the end, the students can click on the ‘paint palette’ and they are presented with a verb that they can then sketch a picture to match.

The EAL kids were highly motivated by this part.  They did an amazing job of understanding the verbs and then representing that in the form of a digital drawing.  We did the same lesson with Bird on a Wire: Nouns.

2nd Grade Student Reflections on Creating eBooks

When the students finished their ebooks on the iPads, I emailed them in the form of a PDF with side-by-side pages to my home account, so I could print the books.  In addition, I emailed them without side-by-side pages so I could use Issuu to publish their books online and link each file up to this blog.

We then spent a lesson reading each other’s books and learning from each other’s work.

I had them share something they learned from which ever book they had chosen to read.


They also had to share something they can do with Book Creator in making the eBooks


For reflection purposes, I also asked what they would like to try next time they make an ebook and what they would want to make an ebook about.
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I think they enjoyed reading each other’s work.  The information was much more accessible and they were able to present information they learned in another format – with a digital book.

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Whizz Kid Inventor eBooks

Following the success of the famous inventor and invention ebooks, I gave the students the option of creating an ebook about their own invention presented during the Invention Convention.  Not all of the students finished their first ebook in time to create a personalized book.  But, for those who did, they were able to take photos of their invention as well as have other students take photos of them – to include in the ‘About the Inventor’ page.

Click on each of the ebooks below to read them on your computer.  Please note:  They will not show up on iPads or iPhones because of the format of the files.

Seyeon: Choice Paper

Steve: Super Crusher

Sofia: The Super Cleaner Automatic

Imri: Super Net



Using Sentence Builder app on the iPad

Lately, the second grade EAL kids have been focusing on building sentences.  We started by looking at a simple two-word sentence.  For example, Jill ran.  Then I asked them questions step-by-step (how did she run?  Where did she run?  Why did she run? When did she run?) and we stretched the sentence into something like this: Last Saturday, Jill ran as fast as a cheetah around the park because she was being chased by bees.

We then moved to the iPads and looked at Sentence Builder for iPad  sentence builder

This is a great app from Albitalk which allows you to construct sentences.  There are two levels and a create your own section.  Each level gives you a list of sentences following a specific pattern, for example: subject+verb+adverb.  The app shows a picture with individual words surrounding the picture.  There is an audio option and the student can then drag the words down under the picture to make a grammatically correct sentence.  For example, there is a picture of two people running and the words run we and a full stop.  The students have to put the words in the right order to get a diamond.

We Can Run The app will tell the students whether they have written it correctly or not.

The next stage is for them to construct their own sentences.  They have the option of either taking a photo, using pictures already saved in the app., using a photo from the camera roll (and therefore anything from the internet) or drawing a picture.  They can then write the matching sentence and even record their own voice reading it if they want.

They were so excited about building their own sentences.  They were soon moving around the room snapping pictures of this and that (mostly me talking and drinking tea!).  I would highly recommend this to any teacher working with iPads in the class.  The basic version K-2 is free and then the next one up is $2.99.

Here are some pictures of the students enjoying their time:

Sofia writing the sentence

Sofia writing the sentence

Maike putting words to her picture

Maike putting words to her picture

Minseo adding words to her sentence

Minseo adding words to her sentence

Kuba deciding what format his picture will be

Kuba deciding what format his picture will be


Imri putting together the sentence he created


Erik decided to create a sentence for one of the app’s saved images


Imri putting together the sentence he created for a photo he took of Seyeon and myself. It’s always funny to see yourself used in their work!

Inventor and Invention eBooks

Do you know who invented the telephone?  Who was Bessie Nesmith and why did Seyeon write a book about her?

Both my Emerging and Developing second grade EAL students have been working on using Book Creator on the iPad to create an electronic book about an inventor or invention.



They used a paper template to plan their books.  They were able to plan what the cover, table of contents and each page would look like and then they typed into the Book Creator.




Here are some of their finished books.  Click on the links to expand the book and read their work!

KUBA: Jan Szczepanik

SEYEON: Bessie Nesmith

MAIKE: Cameras

MINSEO: The Personal Computer

SOFIA: Terrific Telephones

STEVE: Henry Ford

IMRI: The Wright Brothers: The Men Behind the Airplane

ERIK: Elisha Otis Graves

Using Book Creator to make an ebook

Our latest Inquiry theme  is Where We Are in Place and Time and the unit we are focusing on is called Changing Times: Inventions.  So far, it has been an exciting area of study and the students have been generating all sorts of interesting questions regarding who invented what, when and for what reason.

We have looked at how transport, communications, technology, toys and household objects have changed over time.  They learned a little about ancient inventions from the Stone Age – pottery and hunting tools.  They have researched an inventor from their home country in order to present to the rest of their class.  They have discovered who invented the telephone, the light bulb, the airplane, the elevator brake; important inventions that have had an impact on the world in one way or another.

In EAL class, we started with an inventor/invention matching hunt.  I taped various cards around the room depicting an inventor and his/her invention.  They had to go on a hunt to find the cards and match the two pieces of information.  They could then choose an inventor they wanted to know more about and use the iPads to research using Kidrex (a kid friendly search engine).  They were given a template to record the information.

The next step was to use this information and create their own little booklet, or ebook, using Book Creator for the iPad.  The students were given another page template to map out what each page would look like.  They learned how to search for images on the internet and save them to the camera roll.  They learned how to add text to the pages and insert a photo from the camera roll.  They can change the color of the page.  They can edit the text size, font and color.  They can add page numbers and have a front cover.

An ebook I prepared for them as an example:

Here’s Kuba working on his ebook: 
As the students work on their ebooks this week, I will post more photos, along with their finished publications.

Connor McGovern Jersey