Friday, April 11, 2014

Poetry and Math

I love going to visit elementary schools, they do so many cool things and the kids are just so much fun. They aren't shy that is for sure, I had several kids volunteer to show me what they learned today.

The teacher here has her children working on half a dozen different exercises at the same time. As the students finish their pencil and paper work they can read a book, order numbers, create math sentences, or use a variety of iPad apps.

In the old days, when I was a kid, if we finished our work we either read a book quietly or did the "extra" worksheet. Differentiation on skills was just not that personal.

I think we all know that apps are great at adding the sounds and visual elements that make learning more exciting for the students.

The can read words with the teacher

Read a story independently

She can quickly change levels for the student

The self check with computers is also one of the big bonuses. 

Tech tools are great, but students still need to touch and make contact with objects. Apps are great for bringing leveled content to students. This allows them to practice a skill at the appropriate level. But sometimes we just need open ended play to learn and explore. It also helps when two students of different levels work together, they can teach and learn from each other.

The students in this class have the option to use technology after they had finished some writing (one student actually was writing his poem in Word) This allowed students to transition from one activity to another at different times without disrupting the entire class. I like how the teacher didn't have students put away their electronic tools, they just closed the covers and left them on their desks because they would be going back to work on them soon enough. It isn't just a wasting time activity until the real teaching begins, it's a powerful learning tool that for a moment does not need to be used.

The activity may not seem like it included technology, but now that it is recorded and on youtube students can see how well they did and reflect or comment.

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