Yesterday, I was developing my unit plan for our new novel study, I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore. As I was doing this, I was trying to figure out the best delivery model for the assessment pieces (vocabulary, comprehension, collaboration). I found this teacher’s wiki: http://e2socrates.wikispaces.com/Novel+Study+-+I+am+Number+Four. This was exactly as I wanted to do. I started recreating it on my wikispaces (which I hardly ever use), but then realized I had everything I already wanted at my Google Site. My ELLs are already pretty comfortable with getting on the site. We’ve saved it to our home screens for easy access. I currently use the site for uploading class files and giving them their warm-ups. All I had to do was grant them access to edit and we were set for the collaboration piece. I created pages for the vocabulary and the comprehension. I left the vocabulary blank, because I want this to come organically from our reading. I bought the book as an iBook. Students will use the highlighter tool. We can then add these words to our google site and do the student-friendly definitions and translations. As for the comprehension, I wanted it to look like a discussion forum. Google Sites does not have this embedded (yet), so I had to create an outside one and use an iframe to embed the forum. I chose Lefora based upon a recommendation. I emailed the students invites. Hopefully, this all goes smoothly. We shall see today at 1:06. #wishmeluck
Long story short, I was trying to buy I am Number Four as iBooks for my class set of iPads through iTunes. I thought I was being all legal and whatnot by trying to buy 17 copies. As it turns out, you only have to buy 1 copy per account and you can share it with ALL devices under the same account [Verified by speaking to an Apple rep on the phone]. Whoopee!! This means in a school setting, if all iPads/iPod Touches etc. were under the same account (even if it’s 100s) they could all have the same ebook (and audiobook and movie). Wow! Thank you, Apple. Once again, I bow to you.
Next, I decided to do a unit on Little Red Riding Hood. Perhaps I was inspired by the new TV shows Once Upon a Time or Grimm, but I knew the story would translate across cultures and we would be starting with already developed schema. This unit is leading into reading a novel, so I want to shore up my students comprehension for that.
First, I introduced the story of Little Red Riding Hood by viewing a YouTube video of a British version. I then used a SmartBoard activity I found on SmartExchange to go over the characters, setting, problem, and solution of the story. We then viewed Lon Po Po on YouTube and completed the SmartBoard lesson. Next up was a Reader’s Theater script. The next time I do this type of activity, I would use GoodReader, but instead we did paper version so the students could highlight the script. Now we were ready to use the iPads for creating a project. Students went to Google Images and saved images of each of the five main characters and three settings in their camera rolls. They then used Puppet Pals (buy the Director’s Pass– it’s worth the money over the free one). Each student was responsible for adding their characters and setting them up properly into the app. The students then broke into 2 groups and recorded the actions and voices for the puppets. The key language learning that went on during this part of the activity was they students had to take the reader’s theater previously used and simplify the script. They also had to make the actions represent the words which demonstrated deep understanding of the text. The ELLs did a great job with this. They even incorporated humor, which was amazing for these low beginners to intermediate students. Lastly, the kids exported the movies into iMovie, connected the clips together, and exported once again to my YouTube channel. Wow, did they ever work hard!
Yesterday, I wrote about struggles we’ve had with deployment, but today I want to look at all the good we’ve accomplished so far. Everyone always wants to know what apps schools are using, so I will give you that list, but I also want to explain what activities I done with them. That is the hard part. There is so much great technology out there, but to make this be all about the learning, this is the key. I have attached the current complete list of apps we use on the iPads. Some are just for me to use as a teacher, like AppStart and EduTeacher, but most are for student use.
As for activities, we began with a tutorial of using the iPad. I couldn’t find one online that started with the basics and moved on, so I had to create that from scratch. Next, we began a researching project. Every student chose a local college, university, or trade school to research. They compiled images using Google in their Camera Roll and then used Popplet Lite to create a graphic organizer of the school. They then used Evernote to write a paragraph about the school and recorded their voices reading the Evernote. Finally, the students showcased their Evernotes and Popplets on the screen for everyone to view, read, and listen.
After we completed this activity, we moved on to an Idiom unit. We showed videos on YouTube introducing the concept of idioms: Ziva from NCIS http://youtu.be/dyd9-8ZYsIA and one other for which I’m still searching. We then read the book More Parts by Tedd Arnold and used some handouts from Read Between the Lines! Learning Idioms by Themes by Mary Conger for Super Duper Publications. If I were to do that part again, I would make a PDF and have the students use Good Reader to annotate the answers. We then read In a Pickle and Other Funny Idioms by Marvin Terban. This was PDFed (is that a word?) and given electronically for the students to follow along. Students were given time to play the idiom game on FunBrain. We discussed the origins of idioms and of course their literal/figurative meaning. Finally, we used the app English Idioms Illustrated by Robot Media SL to show comic strip version of these origins. We were finally ready to begin creating our own comic strips of idioms. I taught the ELLs how to use StripDesign (or in some cases, they taught me!). I then let the kids choose their own idioms (from a pre-researched list) to research. We used the website The Phrase Finder and students began the research. They utilized iTranslate and Google Translate to read their research. They then began looking for images on Google to represent the story of their idioms (or literal meaning) and figurative meaning. Students then created comic strips with Strip Design. I think this turned out really well. Unfortunately, we did lose some student data with a sync problem, but we’re working on making sure that doesn’t happen in the future. I would post their final product, but there were names and in one case, a photo used of all the students, so ethically, I can’t. I am going to wrap this up and continue the description of activities in my next post. Next up, Little Red Riding Hood.
This year we went forward with using our Title III funds to purchase an iPad for each of our ELLs in the ESL 9-12 classroom. There are currently 12 students in that class and 1 teacher. We have 17 iPad2s and intend to buy 3 more to complete a 20 set. We’ve had an interesting beginning of the year roll-out. I’ll lay out some issues we’ve been having. My next post will be the successes (including what projects my students have been working on).
* We are still waiting for our iPad cart to arrive from Griffin Technology. It’s going to be 2 10-dock charging/stations which we will put on a mobile cart with a designated Macbook to help sync with iTunes. Without this cart, charging is a miserable experience and syncing is even worse. We expect the cart to arrive next week.
*We created a Master iPad and used iTunes to back-up and restore to create clones for the other devices. However, without the cart, we cannot sync the folders where apps are organized and we lose all app data. For instance, Strip Design lost the strips the students had been working on when we tried to restore to get all the iPads to look identical. In addition, when we do sync the pads together, students then get into the email account from the one student’s iPad we used as a Master Student device. We have some ideas for how to correct this including Mobile Device Management software or creating a separate iTunes email for each pad. Since these iPads are 1:1 and with high school students, we want them to be a consumer device for each student, but easy to manage apps as well.
*We are looking into how to create a wireless iPad projection. We currently have SMARTBoards in every classroom with a mounted projector and a Mac Mini. The obvious way to project the iPad2s are through AirPlay and Apple TV. However, ATV does not work with VGA, which is the only component the projectors use. We tried two converters (Sewell Direct and AVDemand) and neither worked. We think the issue is needing to go HDMI to VGA, not the reverse. We think we found one that will finally work. I will update when it arrives and is tested.