Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Using a Digital Word Wall to Support Student Writing

This week in KA, we introduced a digital word wall! We realized that the physical word wall wasn't as effective as we would have hoped for two reasons. First, because of the placement and the size of the room, the word wall wasn't visible from all writing spots. In addition, especially in Kindergarten, some students can't read all of the words. So for instance, if a student wanted to write 'with', even if they knew it was on the word wall and that it started with a w, they were having trouble figuring out which word was 'with' on the word wall. Therefore, we created a digital word wall for the iPads. On this word wall, when the student presses on the word our voice says the word for them so that they can ensure that they are using the word that they intend to. The file was created in SMART Notebook, and uploaded to Dropbox. Students then downloaded it onto their iPads and were able to use it independently!

It was really exciting to see students using the word wall in a more purposeful way. Also, after a class discussion, they understood that they didn't all need their iPads at the same time. Instead, they retrieved their iPads when they were ready to write!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Classroom Charts

I have been thinking quite a bit about the charts our first graders use on a regular basis and those that just seem to be there because we created them together. The walls can quickly become covered with charts which are a history of our learning, but do they help students? Charts are on the walls to build independence. They should be alive and front and center so our students can use them with ease. I follow the Chartchums blog and this month the authors shared an amazing podcast. I thought I would share it with all of you. It really helped me sort through my ideas about charting and rethink some of my practices.