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 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: 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. The 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.
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.
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.
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.
Last week marked the final week of our nonfiction unit in reading and writing. Because the students enjoyed doing the EAL News production, we recorded another newscast, this time about the world’s strongest animals and what it is like to be a firefighter. Enjoy!
Lesson Two: Create a digital spider concept map for ‘Healthy Living’
Our Primary Years Program (PYP) unit in grade 2 right now is: Healthy Living. The students are learning what the body needs to be well-balanced and how to make informed nutritional choices for maintaining good health.
For my large beginner and intermediate EAL class, I wanted them to create a concept map for the words, ‘Healthy Living’ using either pictures or text.
We started with a hardcopy first. The task was to draw a box in the middle of plain paper and write the words, ‘Healthy Living’. The students had to link up to five boxes with either pictures or words representing what ‘Healthy Living’ meant to them. We generated ideas as a group and I wrote those on the whiteboard for the beginner EAL students.
The students then learned how to create this digitally using the iPads. I choose a mapping application called Popplet Lite as a platform for the students’ ideas. They started with the center box and then joined five additional boxes.
I showed them how to type text, use the pencil to draw, change the size of the boxes and link the boxes to each other. Several of the students figured out on their own how to change the color of the boxes and change the size of the text in each box.
Here are some of the finished spider maps:
This was a very successful 90 minute lesson. Once the students understood the basics and were able to create boxes, link them to the central box and edit their work, they were extremely focused. I liked the fact that the beginner EAL students could draw their ideas and others could add text. It really showed those students who are only thinking of healthy living in terms of nutrition or exercise.
The teaching point of this lesson was ‘Good poets change their poetry by changing their voice’. I started the lesson with a couple of clips from Creature Comforts and If Animals Could Talk BBC to get them thinking about what animals would say, if they could talk. They wrote various poems from an insect’s or an animal’s point of view. The iPads were used to film and then project so they could get instant feedback.
Recently, the EAL department received 10 new iPads through the Inspiration fund. This fund was established at AISB to sponsor additional challenging and innovative academic programs.
Second grade has just started a new unit of inquiry: Insects. As part of an insect research activity, I had the students use the enchanted learning website to answer specially designed quiz questions about insects. Some of the students were familiar with the technology of the iPad (due to having them at home), but for some this was the first time using the touch screen interactive. It was extremely motivating and encouraging to watch them working independently, searching for information through pictures and text, and transferring that knowledge to paper.
The next activity was for them to choose one insect they were especially interested in, read about it in depth, draw and label the insect on paper and then use that diagram to sketch it using a Draw app. on the iPad. Again, it was extremely motivating for the students to get to the drawing activity using the technology, and forced them to be very detailed in their paper diagram.
Here are some of the drawings they created using the Draw Free on the iPad app. One of the girls had an idea to take a picture of the paper drawing with the iPad, and then use that as a background for them to trace. I think some of them turned out really well!