CBB and Reading Notebooks

iPad technology has changed the way my students and I interact with knowledge and information. I am all about the verbs in my classroom -- what thinking skill am I requiring of my students when I assign this task? How can I create authentic learning using technology that targets critical thinking and bravely and boldly  moves use hovering in the highers levels of SAMR. Just as the iPad changes what the physical classroom looks like, the iPad changes the physical construction and layout of what instruction looks like.

So what's on the plate for the fall. Creative Book Builder. What's Creative Book Builder-it's an app.(Creative Book Builder allows students to create books in epub format, which can then be exported to iBooks and shared with others. There are a variety of instructional uses for this app, from using it as a publishing tool for project-based learning to a summative assessment at the end of a unit.  Students can embed images, audio files, video files, and write text.  The advantage of an epub document over a PDF document is that all of the media will be preserved and available for readers to interact with when the final product is published.)

I'm going to have students use it this fall to replace their reading notebooks. Instead of having notebooks for reading comprehension with learning targets, essential questions, GRR scores, proof and reflections--student will build a book over the year. Over the summer as I play--I'll share the ins and outs of this app plus my examples. I think students will be able to do tons of things that they would not have been able to do in a notebook like add videos, work examples from other apps, and embed their proof. This will be something that I could bring to IEP meetings and conferences without having to tote several notebooks or binders with me. (YEAH!!!) It's also something I can share with teachers through iBooks. Since, sharing anything with them is always difficult.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: How Can I Be a Better Teacher Next Fall?

I think reflecting is a huge part of what teachers great. I'm always reflecting on what happened during x lesson or at y staffing. But reflecting back on the whole year is tough. I came across this on Edutopia and it got me thinking about what changes I was thinking about for next year. So much has changed since I walked in this past fall--I got iPads, new principle, and a new team mate. (Well next year I have a new principle and a new team mate.) Dr. Richard Curwin, points out somethings but I really liked the  idea of thinking about changes as:
           A. Major things you will definitely do
           B. Minor changes you will make
           C. Major things you will never do
           D. Minor things you will never do

I think when I break down things this way it helps to clarify what I'm wanting to take on next year and not take on.

So what things will I definitely do: I'm going to move to being paperless. I'm sure how but with 1 to 1 iPads in small groups-I'll find a way. I think that the benefits for my students would include motivation,  immediate feedback through our class email, and more timely communication with their classroom teachers. I'll share as I work out kinks. I think by moving to being paperless, will also help me to tighten up how I work the "science of teaching" but give me room for the "art of teaching." I"m also going to push for a four day seeing students schedule with one day being meet with classroom teachers, paperwork, testing, and all those "other" things that I have to get done during the week. I NEED to strength students knowledge of "how" and "why" they are using an iPad to complete instruction-so they can understand and explain to someone else why they are doing the assignment on the iPad and not on paper or explain why they chose to use a particular app over another.

My minor changes increase how my students use iPads. Now that I have my feet wet, I'm ready to dig in and make some big moves with how I use them in my daily instruction. I think being part of iPUG will help with new ideas and ways to use them. I'm hoping that maybe I can get more of my building teachers on board. Maybe-we're still worried ALOT about PARCC.  I need to create a better way to assign iPads to students if they are going to have more than one student on them. I'm also going to do more anchor charts and force students to use them as resources. We do them together but I don't always force them to use them-I give in and give them the answers but why should I when they were created as a group and have the information on them that students needs to be using in class. It might help the careless mistakes.

I don't have any major things I not doing. A minor thing that has gotten to me since Spring Break is the way students walk in and out of the room. I think I'm done letting them bring themselves as nice as it is it has started to drive me crazy-maybe I should have been more on top of it when it first started to fall apart after state testing. I'm not going back to interactive notebooks. I love the idea of the foldables and have encouraged other teachers to use them but if I'm going to move to a paperless classroom than they I think they are on the way out the door. My students loved them and used them during math since Spring Break but I'm not sure I see how they are work at there best if they aren't being used in the classrooms. I'm thinking on the iPads that I'm going to strip them down to only what we used this year, instead of having over 100 apps on them because I think we only used maybe 30 (if that) on a regular basis. I think would make it easier for me to maintain them--so they are look more alike.

This is something you could also do with students. It would interesting to see what they would have to say/ Anyone have changes they plan on making for next year? Have a great weekend.


A quick post to share a website, I stumbled across TextProject over the weekend. It's designed for beginning and struggling readers to high levels of literacy through a variety of strategies and tools, particularly the texts used for reading instruction. They have a variety of different reading resources. I love the vocabulary. This month is transportation-it has several current colored pictures that you can print off and use in a classroom. The vocabulary was created with QuickReads in mind to support ELL and Exceptional Learners. Which is great! The beginning readers are only a couple of pages with great real colored pictures to support the text---perfect to build vocab. I wish that there was some comprehension work like there is with QuickReads but a great way to build vocabulary.

I'm busy packing up for the end of the year. Have a great week.

An App-tastic Afternoon with iPads

Thank you to everyone who stopped and entered for a chance to win a copy of ETA's new Common Core Fractions. Congrats go out to Wezie Morgan-keep an eye out for an email from me.

Here at the end of the week, I'm off to present a 1 to 1 iPad presentation to an elementary school who will be using iPads in small groups next year. (Part of my new iPUG role.)  Pulling this presentation together was quite fun-I was able to pull in many of the apps and ideas that I came across this year. I was surprised at all I've been able to do with my iPads with students this year. I hope I don't send anyone running for the hills. This will give you tons of ideas to think about over the summer and play some :) Have a great weekend as the year winds down.

Fractions by ETA Hand2mind & Giveaway

5th grade Hands on Standards Common Core Fractions 

By: ETA hand2mind

This program is a hands-on fraction lessons created with differentiated instruction in mind. Each lesson clearly defines for the teacher the steps needed to give every student the tools for success. Each lesson demonstrates a hands-on exploration using manipulatives to help students get a physical sense of a concept and “see” the meaning. The students begin by using manipulatives, move on to creating visual representations, and then complete the cycle by working with abstract mathematical symbols.

From ETA Hands2Mind I received a copy 5th grade Hands on Standards Common Core Fractions. With this copy, I also had online access to the digital tools. Also they recommend the VersaTiles for Fractions, VersaMate, and a variety of fractions manipulatives. I had pervious purchased VerseMate for my iPad. With the exception of the manipulatives the other pieces are used as enrichment. I was able to down load students from ETA.

I used this program to reteach fractions to a small group of 6th grade exceptional needs students. This program reminded me of Scholastic’s Do the Math: Fractions. This book covers only adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing fractions. It doesn't provide any remediation to early fractions skills.

The program lesson plan laid out in a user-friendly why that builds on the gradual release of instruction model. Each lesson begins with building background knowledge through a whole class or focus lesson. The concept introduction builds upon the focus lesson of a quick whole class activity. Guided practice follows with reinforcement of the concept as a whole class. The closure asks for students to share out.  There is an assessment after each chapter but no pre-assessment for the book like there is in “Do the Math.” I’m able to complete a lesson in a 30 minute period with extra time built in for vocabulary work.

I liked how each lesson starts off by telling how to support my diverse learners with the vocabulary. I had to take extra time to build their background before beginning each lesson. Because of the time frame that I had these guys, I didn't use the warm-ups but can see the benefit in that they do help to activate prior knowledge. The directions both teacher and student are clear and easy to understand.

I used the guided practice and reinforcement activities together to provide enough practice for my students so they could explain their thinking and answer “how” and “why” questions.

I love using manipulatives in math. I think it’s a great way to help students understand concepts but in some lessons it was just too much. Needs three or four different ones to get through one lesson just plan confused them.

Overall, my students had nothing they didn't like. They liked the lessons. The lessons where broken down into small enough pieces that in many cases by the end of the lesson they were demonstrating mastery. But there was nothing built-in to each lesson to stretch their thinking to apply what they had learned. We had to wait to Fractions Explore Action. These were great but I needed to build this in to meet the rigor of my district teaching evaluation rubric in regards to asking higher order thinking questions of my students throughout the lesson.  This would be a solid addition to any grade level fractions unit where students need extra practice on adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing fractions.

I wish to thank ETA Hand2mind to this wonderful opportunity to review their 5th grade Hands on Standards Common Core Fractions. They will generously send one Teacher's Guide of either the 3rd, 4th or 5th grade Hands on Standards Common Core Fractions to one lucky winner. Be sure to enter the giveaway will close Wednesday at 6:00 pm mountain time. I'll let the winner know by email within 72 hours of the contest ending. Have a great weekend!

Tech Next Steps and a Sale

 As I reflect and plan for next year, I had an offer to become a member of my district's iPad Power User Group (iPUG). One of the goals of this group is to create a plan on how iPads should be used in classrooms. I have shared a number of ways to use iDevices in a way that has moved us from consuming material and creation. I have done this by using Blooms Taxonomy. The district is using the SAMR  model. The thinking behind it is very simiarial to Blooms thinking but I will tackle this over the summer.

Aditi Rao's thinking around how technology is used, I think best illustrates the direction we have to go in order to get the most bang for out buck when using tech. Her blog "teachbytes" as many great ideas and is worth stopping by.  
All these pieces will be part of my summer planning. I was given the gift of a one to one iPad this year and have created some pretty awesome produces and seen my students shine and take off. I can't wait for next year and where I can take it from here. 

PS: Everything will be 20% off May 7th and 8th. Use the promo code: TAD13 at checkout for 10% off everything on the site. Plus, add an additional up-to-20% off from the MANY Teacher-Authors who join in.

Have a great week. What do you take home to plan for the up coming school year?

About Me

Welcome to my all thing special education blog. I empower busy elementary special education teachers to use best practice strategies to achieve a data and evidence driven classroom community by sharing easy to use, engaging, unique approaches to small group reading and math. Thanks for Hopping By.

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