Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Ideas for Using Computers and Tablets for Reading and Writing Centers in K-2
Using Technology for Reading and Writing Centers
Think for a minute about how you're already using your computers or tablets for writing and reading practice. Do your students only use apps or webpages? There are many great free and paid apps I could recommend you use for reading and writing in your classroom. This post isn't about them! Instead I'm going to share some simple ideas for using your device's built in features and apps for center work; in my classroom I call it word work.
Use 'Contacts' for a built in classroom dictionary/thesaurus.
A colleague shared this idea with me- and I was blown away by its' simplicitly.
Open the built in contacts app or address book (on most devices). If there are already entries in your contacts, you'll need to go to settings, and then accounts, and turn off the accounts that are associated with the contact app. Your Contacts should be empty now.
Enter (or have students enter) your sight words/spelling words/vocabulary as they are introduced. Then, during work time students can write them in alphabetical order, use as a reference for spell checking their writing, or for spelling practice. Add pictures saved from the web (or pictures drawn by students in another app) to illustrate the word list. On the iPad students can type the words directly into the note section. Students or the teacher can also write a sentence using the words in context into the notes section. Add student names and pictures so students can correctly spell classmates names. You can also add building staff and pictures/names the children bring in (or have parents email to you) of their families/pets so they can write using those correctly spelled. Add any words the student consistently misspells.
Use the Camera/Device to 'write the room'
Do you have a print rich environment? If you're not already having students 'Write the Room' it's an easy word work center to create and maintain. If you already have students do this, add using your device's to the center. In my classroom I have 6 clipboards (attach a pencil to the clipboard using yarn and tape). The students walk around the room and write words they see. It might be off the word wall, posters, anchor charts, books, cubbies or desks, etc.
Spice up writing the room using devices! This activity involves mobility so it's suggested to use with tablets, not laptops, of course! However, laptops with a camera CAN be used with your traditional write the room center. Once the students have written their words, they can use the camera on the laptop to record a video of them reading the words. Or, after writing the room, they can type up the words in a word processing application or use them in sentences.
Using the tablet students can type sight words/spelling words they find right in the built in notes app. Many of the note taking apps have the ability to insert or take photos too- they can write and photograph where they find the photos. They can email you or their parents the note if you've entered the emails already.
If you want them to still write the words on paper, have them take pictures of the words they write on the clipboard to show where they found it. Review the words in group time (or have them share with partners) for additional review.
Read the Room
An alternative to write the room is read the room. As students move around te room looking for the words they can read have them take pictures of the words.
Have students focus on sight words and find the same word in four different places/fonts (walls, books, posters) and snap pictures. Or, they can read the room and video record their voice as they read the word.
Practice Fluency using Video Camera
Have lists of sight words, cvc words, spelling words, phrases or books for students to practice their reading fluency. Students can record themselves or a partner reading, replay to listen and self evaluate. Then they can rerecord. Teachers can record themselves reading too: have the student read with the recording. Read and record slowly and then faster and have students read along as they listen.
Type type type
Many beginning writers struggle to use 'fingerspaces'. I've used all the usual strategies with the few who still forget by January and don't use them. I will always remember the first time I used typing as one of my strategies... And it worked! One of my students who just didn't get it no matter what, finally had it click. I asked the students to type a simple sentence using sight words and asked her to reread what she'd typed.
She wasn't able to read it of course, so then I pointed out the space bar, its size and together we went back and added the spaces and read her sentences.
I am Olivia. I am six. I like my mom. I love my dad.
She was SO excited to be able to read her own writing, and the learning transferred from typing to writing. Ever since, I point out the importance of the space bar and get the kids typing earlier in the year and I've noticed a huge improvement in use of the spaces.
Have kids take a picture of the word list they need to work on and type them up in the note taking app or in a word processing program.
Make word patterns.
Have students type their target words in an ab or abc pattern. For example:
Look cook took look cook took look cook took.
Or have them type out the words adding one letter at a time and then taking them away:
The repetitive nature will help them memorize the words!
Do you do Making Words lessons with moveable alphabets? Have the students use their note taking app or a word processing program to follow along in a small center or whole group. If you're doing it as an independent center have a recording of you leading the lesson and they can type the words as you go through the list.
An example of a making words lesson is:
Using a handful of letters students manipulate them to create words the teacher says a word, uses it in a sentence and then the students type or move tiles to make the word.
Using letters amptsi
Spell the word at. I am at school. At.
Now add one letter to spell the word mat. I sit on the mat. Mat.
Change one sound to make the word map. Find my city on the map. Map.
Change the letters around to make the name Pam. Pam is my friend. Pam.
And so on... Making word lessons are so powerful for students in K-2. Be sure to look up Patricia Cunningham's books, Making Word Lessons for ready made lessons and more support on getting started.
Have an idea to share of how you're using your basic technology to practice literacy skills? Comment below!
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