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17 Feb 2012
Comments: 3

iSpy a Story

Tasked with the initiative to gather student products created from intra-district iPad Lessons, I sent out an email to my campuses that had multiple devices (see below).
 

Letter to My Campuses


 
Within a few minutes, I started receiving emails with student work attachments. Many times I have a specific idea or set of ideas for how an app can be used.
 

Blank Story Spine Template in app

Story Spine Teacher-Created Apptivity: It is always refreshing when I come across innovative and purposeful classroom integration ideas as the ones Ashley Solomon (8th grade ACL & Reading Workshop at Ed White Middle School) shared below using the app Story Spine:
  1. Grade Level: 7th grade
  2. Content Area: Reading Workshop
  3. Topic/Focus/TEKS: The focus was chronological order/sequence of events.
  4. Quick Summary of the Lesson: The book for this week was, “The Transcontinental Railroad.” I had them use the “Story Spine” app to write a story about the transcontinental railroad. I started them out with the first sentence, “Once upon a time many people traveled to California to search for gold.”
  5. Student Task or Product: They were responsible for finishing the story by looking for dates and keywords like, first, last, then, etc in their book. This was an independent activity. The product was their story.
  6. Teacher Notes: I asked them to email it to me and I printed them. I usually have 1 or 2 students volunteer to read their story. For my Reading Workshop kids, an activity like this would take about 30 minutes. So, it can be completed in one day.  I usually don’t print the same day so they won’t get to read their story until the following day.

 

Student Sample of Story Spine Project copied into Notes app


 
What really speaks testaments about this assignment above and beyond the purposeful use of technology and cross-curricular content integration is the fact that the students in her classes have not passed the Reading TAKS. Mrs. Solomon actively integrates the iPads at least three days a week to support and improve student literacy and reading comprehension and will be sharing further lessons over the next few weeks with the techchef4u diners. While she doesn’t believe any of them are “earth shattering”, I would have to disagree as I feel they present lots of app-tastic iPadsibilities. Another thing to note is that student engagement in her classroom is on the rise and paper waste is on the decline.
 
For more iPad Mad-Lib apptivities, check out these.


15 Feb 2012
Comments: 0

Voices from The Cattle Trail

Yesterday I met with Mrs. Aflatooni, the librarian at Ed White Middle School, to discuss how we could use the iPads to support a study on African American cowboys in Mr. Greeen’s 7th grade Texas History class.

Stations: Multiple stations were already set up to support the study of the Cattle Kingdom, Cattle Trails, and The End of The Open Range:

  1. Trace the development of the cattle industry from its Spanish beginnings.
  2. Explain how geographic factors affected the development of the cattle industry,
  3. Analyze the impact of national markets on the cattle industry in Texas.
  4. Identify the significance of the cattle drive.
  5. Describe life along the cattle trail.
  6. Analyze the effects of barbed wire and the windmill on the ranching industry.
  7. Identify the myths and realities of the cowhand.
 

Cattle Kingdom Stations: 7th Texas History

 

The Task: The original assignment was to read an article on one of the cowboys and either summarize it or answer a couple of questions. We decided that we could definitely access the article via the iPad and I immediately thought of doing a podcast. The original plan (as of yesterday afternoon) was to have students share three interesting facts and 1 item that they would  like to know that the article didn’t answer. When I got to Ed White in the morning, Mrs. Aflatooni suggested that the students actually interview each other (one would be the cowboy and the other the interviewer). I jumped on this idea!

Black Cowboys.Com


 
Task Card: Students were given a task card that provided them with the following directions:

  1. Go to http://blackcowboys.com
  2. Choose one of the following cowboys from the drop-down menu (2nd tab) to read about: (Addison Jones, Bill Pickett, Bose Ikard).
  3. Compose 3-4 questions (and answers) for the cowboy based on what you read.
  4. Add one more question that was not answered in the article and answer it as if you were that cowboy).
  5. With a partner, create an interview to answer these questions using the app iTalk Recorder on the iPad (one person will be the interviewer and one will be the cowboy).
  6. Email the interview to…

 

We made sure that we provided a list of cowboys that had enough meat (content) in the article that a student could easily generate 3-4 questions from. Students used the task card handout to script their interview and did a dry run before recording. Students created a general naming convention for the audio files (e.g. Addison Jones period 3) and included their names in the body of the email before it was sent.

Teacher’s Notes and Modifications: Naturally, we came across a few bumps with the first few groups but were able to remedy them for the next class periods.

  1. Difficulty Reading Article with 1 iPad: I noticed one group had put the iPad between them and were reading the article together with resized text while the other group had one student reading and then dictating to his partner what the questions would be. As we had multiple iPads to use with the groups, I thought it best to make the change to allow each student to use an iPad even though only one would be necessary for the recording.
  2. Size of File was too large with free version of iTalk to be emailed: I noticed that one group had a 47 second interview and had no problem in emailing it and another had a 41 second interview and was prompted to purchase the full version due to the size of the file. This was an oversight and easy to fix. Students had the option before recording to choose good/better/best and one group had chosen best and the other best. Since the bell was about to ring, I decided to use the voice recording feature on my iPhone to re-record the iPad interview and then email it. The sec
  3. Background noise was high: Even in the library, the background noise could be a little high so we tried to make sure we could isolate the groups in a corner or a smaller room if possible.
  4. Some students were not able to finish the article and interview in one class period: If you are limited on time, I suggest creating an additional station for reviewing the article and composing the questions prior to the recording station.

 

In listening to the final student products, it was interesting to see how the apptivity lent itself to multiple outputs while still essentially covering the same content.

  1. Some groups asked more than 4 questions.
  2. Some students customized their voice to pretend to be a cowboy during the recording
  3. Some groups asked more open-ended questions. (see below)
  4.  

Group A: 

Interviewer: “Were you born into slavery in Tennessee in 1843?”

Bose Ikard: “Yes.”

Group B:

Interviewer: “Today I am interviewing Bose Ikard. When were you born Ikard?”.

Bose Ikard: “I was born in 1843.”

 

For more History Lessons, click here.