Friday, January 30, 2015

Five for Friday with PhotoBooth & Popplet

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs on the last Friday in January for another edition of Five for Friday!  Here's a peek into my week. :)
My 2nd grade RtI students have been working hard to improve their reading fluency in the past few weeks.  Below is a student using PhotoBooth on a MacBook Air to record and self-assess his reading.   

YouTube videos are a nice way to support students needing background knowledge.  They are especially helpful with a few of my ELL RtI students.  Below is a picture of a student learning all about the Venus Flytrap before reading "Venus: The Flytrap Who Wouldn't Eat Flies".  She also needed to determine the genre of her book.  If you'd like a closer look at the (free) genre poster, click HERE.
My 4th grade RtI groups learned about the characteristics of a Biography.  Through think-alouds and modeling, the students learned to pay attention to those features to help them read and better comprehend the genre.  They also researched additional information on the Internet to increase their understanding of the individual.

In addition, my 4th grade students used the Popplet Lite App (free version) on the iPads to record and present the information they learned while researching the particular individual in the biography.  Popplet is fun, engaging and simple for the students to use when responding to their reading.  
This past Wednesday I posted fluency ideas that incorporate technology in the classroom.  If your students have access to computers and/or iPads in your class, you can check out these *techy* ideas HERE . :)

Don't forget to link up your Five for Friday!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Technology and More to Support Reading Fluency

In need of some ideas to support struggling readers with fluency while incorporating technology at the same time?  Well, I'm here to share a few activities with you.

I've had this post sitting in my dashboard drafts for a while now.  I figured I better get it out of my drafts and into the blogging community.  I'm hoping readers out there will learn something new from this post, as well as share additional ideas in the comments below.  I'd love to hear them!  Fluency is the corner stone of comprehension, so you can never have too many fluency tools under your proverbial belt.  Right?  

Ever heard of Vocaroo?  If students have access to a computer, it's so simple to use and they love it.  The steps to using Vocaroo are below.  In my opinion, the best part about the program is the option to download student recordings via QR Code.  My students love to scan and listen to their peers' voices reading. :)
Step 1: This is what you see when you go

Step 2: When you "Click to Record", this pops up.
Click "Allow".

Step 3: Record your reading.

Step 4: "Listen" to your recording or
"Retry" if you'd like to *read a little more fluently*. :)

Step 5: Choose how you would like to save your recording.
I prefer QR Codes!

ShowMe, ScreenChomp and Dragon Dictation are Apps that allow for students to record their voices while reading.  ShowMe and ScreenChomp are interactive whiteboard Apps which provide an option to record.  These are also great Apps to use during Word Work time.  I have my students write words with various vowel patterns or phonics rules using each App's interactive whiteboard features.

Dragon Dictation is a little different.  When a student records his/her voice reading, text appears on the iPad screen.  The dictation does not recognize capitalization or punctuation like as iPhone does while texting.  However, this allows students the extended opportunity to use Skitch to correct any needed capitalization and punctuation.  Of course, this idea is venturing away from fluency, but it is an option.  *App Smashing* Dragon Dictation and Skitch is a great way to work on grammar without using paper.  Trees will love you for it!  All students need to do is take a screen shot of their dictation page and upload it into Skitch. An example is below.
Step 1: Take a screen shot of the dictation.

Step 2: Upload the screen shot into Skitch, 
then pick your editing tools.

Step 3: Use the tools to correct the dictation sentences. 
(Sorry for the picture quality, but it was tricky getting pictures of the screen.)
GarageBand is not just for musicians.  It's for teachers and reading specialists, too!  It can be used on a computer or an iPad.  My students use the program on MacBooks.  The steps for recording a student's reading are below.  It's simple enough for students to set up the recordings themselves.  

Step 1: Click "New Project".

Step 2: Click "Voice".

Step 3: When this box pops up, name your project.
Hit "Create".

Step 4: Click "Male" or "Female" voice.
Click the
red button at the bottom to record.
Ever heard of FCRR?  It stands for Florida Center for Reading Research.  This site contains reading centers incorporating activities for phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency and comprehension.  Educators can access activities for K-1st, 2nd-3rd and 4th-5th grade-level students.  All of the centers are *print-make-laminate-incorporate* type of activities.  My students are using Express It! in the pictures below. :)
Sometimes my students need a little extra practice getting into the habit of reading expressively.  When that's the case, I pull out my *Voice Jar*.  Inside the jar are cards telling the students what emotion to use while reading.  For example, the card may say, "Read like you are sad." Paying attention to a character's feeling in a story and expressing that feeling can be tricky.  These cards are a fun way to have students practice reading dialogue expressively.  If you'd like to view the expression cards I created for my students, click this link- Fluency Practice: Reading Dialogue with Expression.
Besides using *Voice Jar* cards, Deb Hanson's Fluency Posters are a wonderful, FREE tool I use with my RtI groups.  (Thanks, Deb from Crafting Connections!) The posters serve as reminders for the students to be accurate, to use expression, phrasing and punctuation, along with an appropriate rate when reading.  These components combined are a recipe for success. :)

Last, but not least, I have my students participate in Readers' Theater.  As you may know, Readers' Theater is another fabulous way to get students motivated to read because it combines practice and performance.  Teaming up with peers to perform a play seems to put smiles on the students' faces every time.  Timeless Teacher Stuff and Aaron Shepard have great scripts for kids, so check them out, if you're interested.  

I hope this post was helpful to someone out there.  Please share additional ideas in the comments below.  I'd really, really love to learn from you.  I would also like to thank Miss Tiina for the clipart banner strips in my picture collages.  

Thanks again for stopping by Literacy Loving Gals

Friday, January 16, 2015

Five for Friday with GarageBand, Phonics, Writing and more!

Happy Friday!  I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs for another edition of Five for Friday.  Thanks for hosting, Kacey!

GarageBand is a great program to use when trying to motivate students to read fluently.  After practicing the different components of fluency, I have the students record themselves reading a portion of their text and then listen to their recordings.  Students are asked to self-reflect on what went well and what could be improved.  I love how honest my students are with themselves.  They really want to become better and more fluent readers.  Promoting self-reflection is key for students to make progress.   

The posters I use to review the components of fluency are from Deb Hanson over at Crafting Connections.  I love how they are both adorable and useful! 

We practiced the three sounds of -ed this week.  After reviewing these charming posters from Teaching with Love and Laughter, the students read words with -ed and then placed them into the correct columns based on the sound they heard at the end of the each word. 

They really got the hang of it and were able to transfer their learning when writing in their notebooks! :)  

Earlier this year, I picked up a few rolls of writing paper at Target in the One Spot area.  The students absolutely loved responding to their writing on a roll of paper.  We also participated in some Interactive Writing, otherwise known as Sharing the Pen.  This is another fun activity for my kiddos because they love coming up to the board to *show what they know*.  I love how the little things motivate them so much!    

 I created a Winter Books themed bulletin board in the hallway for all students in the school to view.  I got the idea from Pinterest, one of my favorite go-to places for ideas.  I've been catching students hanging out near the board discussing the book covers.  Yay!  Anything to get students motivated to read or talk about books is a great thing. 

Are you on Instagram?  I just LOVE IG!  It's splendid for connecting with fabulous teachers from around the globe, as well as getting ideas and support for your classroom.   Anyway, I've been participating in an Instagram 6-Day Photo Challenge for teachers this past week.  Lots of fun!  I enjoy seeing what other teachers are up to and get to learn a bit more about them.  If you're on IG, the challenge is hosted by @highschoolteacher.  Here are some of my photos from the first 5 days of the challenge. 
Well, there's a peek into my week.  Don't forget to link up with Doodle Bugs for your Five for Friday

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