Showing posts with label comprehension. Show all posts
Showing posts with label comprehension. Show all posts

5 AppyHour iPad Apps

My groups are paperless. How in the world do I pull that one off? Well, I have 4 iPads and students who have pushed me to think outside of the box. As the only K-3 Resource Room special education teacher aka Cross Catagories K-3 Special Education teacher, these guys may receive support from me for multiple years--that can be boring.

I was lucky last year when my building gave me 4 iPads. I could use them any which way I wanted from data collection or give them to students to use in class. Well, most of my grade levels work at some level 1 on 1 with technology; most grades its Chromebooks.

I have talked before about using SeeSaw as our main platform for students to turn in work or to get assignments but I have not shared their favorite apps. With their help, here are my students' top 5 iPad apps. They are not in any order nor are all of them free but they are used on a regular basis by my students which means more than anything they are user-friendly and once students are taught how the app works are off to the races.

One other note: I give students time to play with any app I introduce. After which they are expected to use it as taught. I help with troubleshooting but I don't manage the tech as it takes away from the lesson, my teaching, and what I want my students to get from the lesson. It has to be student user-friendly, no passwords and no weird operating problems.

Why paperless? Well, I do tons with SAMR. This idea focuses on why they are using technology to do the task and is more than plug'n play. (Which has its place.)

There are rules to AppSmashing. Wait-what?? Rules? Yes!! They make sense.

  1. Limit to 3 Apps
  2. Limit Time to 10 Minutes/App (I push for them to turn in something they are proud of and shows off their learning.)
  3. Allow Student Choice
  4. Allow Creativity to Shine
  5. Require Audio and Images



For math, fact practice my student's LOVE is Mathtopia+. Yes, it's plug 'n play (substitution) but I can track their progress, have them go back to a specific number in a specific operation to restate practice. I start my math groups with 5 minutes or so of fact practice as a warmup. It's fun and fast-paced. Plus, they don't think twice about practicing or going back to work on a different number.

Make a Scene from Innivo can be used for just about anything from speech/language support, writing, and math. Pair it with Educreation and you are working Modification.  Currently, my student's are creating multiplication story problems with Make a Scene: Farmyard, taking a screenshot, and then adding their work to Educreation to do the math work.

Educreation is freeish and can be found online and in the app world. I love this interactive whiteboard. Students can import a photo, do their work on it, add audio or a video, save it, and turn it in as either a video/audio clip or a photo. We also use Explain Everything and Chomp but not as often. Interactive whiteboards are important for students sharing their thinking and walk you step by step what they did to solve the problem.

 Adobe Spark Post was a life saver in helping a student create his book Movie Trailer. After much trial and error, this was the last app we tried to get writing on his pictures. The workflow to make it happen after so many problems was a challenge and took more time than I would have liked by the time was all said and done but the end product was beyond his wildest dreams. He never thought he could make a trailer like those he saw at the movies. But this app was dream saver. He had already had his pictures, so 1 by one imported them into Spark Post, added the text and resaved the picture.
Yes, there is a free version of Animoto videos. The free version is amazing. My students created Book Movie Trailers and loved the backgrounds and music options. You can also find it on the web. The downside, no adding text to pictures unless you already had it on there. Hint: Adobe Spark Post. Once you have your pictures, upload, follow the steps to create short videos that you'd think took some major work to pull together.

These are just a few of my student's favorite. What are your favorite apps for Smashing? To learn about more AppSmashing apps and how I use them with students be on the lookout
for a free course coming soon.

Happy App Smashing!
Until Next Time,

Three Guided Reading Groups in One

This week I'm changing one of my guided reading groups to not guided reading but guided reading. Confused yet? I was when I was asked to make this change. I have three readers that are outliers and if I had tons of time to give each one on one guided reading I would.

First off, I had to find a common overarching strategy that they all needed to work on but the text level didn't matter. After looking at their reading data and talking with my coach, synthesis was decided on.

Next, finding text that would fit each and allow me to target synthesis. This took some looking but after some time I found three that would fit the bill. Once, I had the books, I crafted questions that would target the skill. I put the questions on return address labels, so I could put the questions in each students reader's response journal.

Before starting the lesson, I told the group that we were going to do some playing. (As I had never done this before.) Because this was new and I would most likely be making changes as the week went on. They were cool with this and couldn't wait.

I started the lesson by creating an anchor chart. I made the pieces large enough to add specific story element information. We used Tacky the Penguin. I wrapped up the lesson by asking the girls to change the end of the story to where the hunters didn't run away.

Day Two: With the questions matching everyone's own books on stickies, students knew what they were reading for. They also had to complete--a four square. (character, setting, problem/solution) This gave me the time to go around, having each one read to me and a chance to ask specific questions about each book, clear up any confusion, and talk about the questions they had to answer by the end of the book. Just like any other guided group! (I got this!) I closed the lesson, by bringing them back to the anchor chart and talking about what they knew of their characters. They had not finished their books and I was laying the groundwork for the next day.

Some sentence frames I used for synthesizing:
-If _____________________, then then the outcome maybe _______________________.
-What would happen if __________.

Its important to remember that synthesis is taking multiple strategies to construct new insight and meaning as more information and ideas are added to a reader's background knowledge. My group of sixth graders, needed a visual to see what I meant when I explained  synthesis. I gave them a couple of different pictures like making cookies or a pizza. All the ingredients are comprehension strategies and the finished product is synthesis. This group of 5th graders sees synthesis as an banana split.

  This week we are going back and doing prediction. With the overall target being synthesis and the daily target being prediction. I'm hoping that this works as I continue to work out the kinks. I'll let you know. Have a great week.

Monitoring Mathematical Comprehension--Chapter 9

When I started reading this chapter, I was struck by how much this was like how I teach reading comprehension strategies. Laney Sammons, opens the chapter with a quote by Keene and Zimmerman, that they "describe proficient readers, these mathematicians "listen to inner voices, make ongoing connections, and adjustments, are are aware of how meaning evolves." Like so many students and more so those with exceptional needs need to have those strategies taught with precise precision and then retaught again and again. (Kenne and Zimmerman are the authors of Mosaic of Thought.)

She continues to layout in the chapter a sequence of teaching  the strategies to students. Her layout is a lot like "The Comprehension Toolkit." Starting with monitoring  thinking through metacognition. This is where students need to ask themselves "Does this make sense? Students who get math do this without thinking. Students that struggle in math-I think this is the hardest thing to get them to come to terms with. I think of my own students and if they aren't getting it-they just throw out answers and hope the right one comes out. (Any one else have students who do this?)

The first step in monitoring comprehension is monitoring conceptual understanding. Back when I learned math (which really wasn't that long ago) the focus was on the procedure needed to get the right answer not the understanding behind it. Now fast forward to Common Core and its ALL about the understanding and explaining your thinking. Its getting students to take responsibility for their own monitoring and know when they don't get it. Teachers can help by asking explicit questions like "How do you know whether or not you understand? What do you do if your confused?" Get them to identify where they stop getting it! One thing I do when I'm teaching math and a student tells me they don't get any of it is ask "Where are you not getting it? Which step don't you get?" I don't let them get away with telling me "all of it" any more. They HAVE to be specific.

Another way to help students monitor their comprehension in math is to draw pictures of the problem. If you can't visualizing the problem then you have a problem. I know from work my building has done to raise our standardized math scores, that being able to explain thinking two different ways--drawing a picture counts. And even better if students use numbers and a couple key words. Sammons's lays out several other strategies that include: identify unfamiliar vocabulary, rereading the problem, making connections to other math concepts, using manipulatives, and trying a different problem-solving approach.

Those in my mind are student actions. Strategies that I can teach  for my students to use. But what about teacher actions once these have been taught? Both in Guided Math and in the Gradual Release of Responsibility Model-you do modeled lessons and think-alouds. These are the perfect places to teach or reteach strategies on your thinking. Most of my math lessons start with a think-aloud and a modeled lesson. I get students to do think-alouds when I'm wondering if they are ready to do it on their own. One teacher I work with has his high students do think-alouds to the whole class. I think that the more students hear and see someone's thinking other than that of the teacher can only help. They may have a way of explaining it that helps the student get it.

I have created a set of Math Comprehension Strategy Posters with examples. Be sure to pick up your copy by clicking on the picture. Brenda's at Primary Inspired for more on Chapter 9.
I can't wait to use them with my students in the fall. I think that they will help students make the connection of the strategies I use in reading I can use to understand math. Stop by



Reading Comprehension Strategies and ELL Students--Freebie

This year, it seems like I have more second language learners in my small reading groups than in the past. Last year, I spend I lot of time using the Comprehension Toolkit for these small groups and had great success in using it. That success was not so great with the ELLs that may of been part of those groups. Reflecting on why, these students didn't grow as much as the others in the group, lead to me to look more closely at the language needed to use the skill.

Working with our building ELL Resource teacher, she suggested using sentence stems that target where students language and support them to learn how to use each strategy. You will find two sets of posters: one of the comprehension strategies and another matching set but with sentence stems to help students learn the language around the strategies.

Reading Comprehension Strategy Posters for Blog

ESL Prompts Reading Comprehension Strategy Posters

Reading Comprehension Freebie and Sale Time

I've been working on creating reading comprehension rubrics that I can use with my students. I like using rubrics because it helps to focus both students and myself. They tell me if I need to go back to reteach something or if students are ready to move on. You'll find one for "Making Connections" below. 

You may have heard but the HUGE back to school sale on Teachers Pay Teachers starts today--Sunday, August 12th and Monday, August 13th.  Everything on TPT will be 10% off using the code BTS12 and a ton of sellers will be offering even more discounts for up to a total 28% off your purchase.  My store will
 be 20% off.

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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