The most important thing about reading is comprehension. Readers should always be thinking about the story as they are reading, and what the author is trying to say to them. Sometimes it is tough for kids to explain or retell what happened in a story. Teachers work on some great strategies to help students retell stories. Strategies like "Somebody Wanted But So" help kids organize a fiction story into a way that makes sense: the "somebody" is a character, they "want" something, "but" something got in the way (the problem), "so..." they do something to overcome the problem (the solution.)
For the past few days my class in summer school, second graders becoming third graders, looked at a just right story really deeply. We broke it down, found the characters, and did our "SWBS" retell. For our final activity we turned the book into a play. We worked as a group to create a script. We had to sequence the story and add details that may not have been clear in the story. After we had created our script, we got together with smaller groups of actors, and we did a few read throughs. Finally we created a Puppet Pals movie of our adapted play. I was confident that anyone in my class could retell the story they read with exceptional detail and understanding.
If you haven't used Puppet Pals in the past, it is a great tool for kids to retell stories and create their own. It comes with a few stock puppets, but students can snap a picture and use it as a puppet just as easily. It is a free app available on the App Store. Using Puppet Pals to reinforce comprehension is an excellent example of technology integration that truly enhances learning.
At our fourth and final Learn and Share event, we had a great showing of dedicated staff. Many teachers again attended this event on a beautifully cool summer Tuesday to spend time exploring the iPad and all of the great opportunities it provides for the kids here at Brandon. Mr. Phillips led a great discussion about the power of iMovie. iMovie can allow teachers to blend learning more effectively and create videos to aid in their teaching. Everyone was excited about the possibility of making great educational movies and opening up opportunities for kids to make movies and be creative too.
It's awesome to know how prepared the staff at Harvey Swanson and Oakwood will be because they are taking time during the summer to explore technology. I'm proud to work with such a dedicated staff.
What a great day for the staff at Harvey Swanson! We received our staff iPads and loaded them up right away with lots of great apps from the Math Learning Center. This was our third Learn and Share meeting of the summer, where teachers from Oakwood and Harvey Swanson have been coming in for a couple of hours on their own time to learn about technology best practices, great apps, and other ways to enhance our kid's learning for next year. We have an awesome group of teachers, who are truly dedicated to growing every year for the benefit of Brandon students. The iPads are going to be great tools for communication and student engagement next year, but what really drives the success of students and our new journey into technology is the dedicated teachers from Brandon!
Instructional Technology Coach