As I embark on a new school year with 6 iPads in my classroom, I will also be watching to see how it influences student learning. More specifically, I will be they can support successful reading program, and how I can enhance student learning with the iPads and exposure to digital literacy skills.
Ultimately, my goals are to help students to be successful, and develop a growth mindset about learning.
My goals include engaging struggling readers in addition to readers who require extra supports to focus and further challenge their learning. Differentiation will be key. I will focus on the visualization process. We have access to digital texts, and interactive books – ie., tumblebooks, However, digital texts require different skills, strategies: new digital literacies.
Cuing Systems can be used:
- Audio support
- Word to word tracking
- Picture animation
- Recording themselves
- Physically interacting and manipulating texts to meet their needs
Being literate in the 21st century means being able to master 21st century technologies. This can be met with resistance. The goal is to educate and integrate new literacy skills in addition to important traditional literacy skills within the existing curriculum documents, and time frames. The question for me will be, because this is still not mainstream, how will I use my own professional judgment to discern what skills are the most important?
First, I will consider needs and wants of parents and community. I highly respect this. I will also consider interests and development with technology of my students. I can do this by google forms and activities to get to know the students on a deeper level. This will also inform how I will engage in the process of Differentiation with my students.
I will use TPACK model and SAMR model to help guide my thinking:
Great apps to meet these needs include those that will:
- Write on top of text or other backgrounds
- Record audio responses
- Add pictures from camera roll
- Insert symbols and stamps
- Facilitate collaboration
- Manipulate drawings
I believe that this is a model that can be applied to the integration of technology into literacy programming!
Finally, I believe in inquiry and aim to run my literacy program this year from a ‘workshop’ model – where students are engaging in different activities, asking questions, collaborating, sharing, setting and fulfilling goals. My job as a teacher will be to cluster appropriate curriculum expectations together and engage in assessment for learning with the students.
Language is about developing a deeper understanding of yourself, others, and the world
Through literacy, students learn more than just the ability to master basic skills. They learn to express feelings and opinions, support their opinions, research, connect with others in meaningful ways, and engage in inquiry in formal and informal ways.
Formally, students use language for essays, poetry, technical procedures etc.
Informally, language is used for enjoyment including texting back and forth with friends.
Sometimes, it is used formally and informally including podcasting, blogging, discussion forums, and sending braille messages back and forth in class.
Many people believe that math is a set of formulas that have to be remembered. However, math is very creative! Math is about visualizing patterns, creating solutions, discussing and critiquing formulas. It is connected to all other subjects and ideas! It is about communication and can even be thought of as a language.
Being good at math does NOT mean being fast at math. Computers think fast, but what we need is students to think deeply, make connections, reason and justify their answers.
Math is also not about performing and getting the questions right! It takes time to learn and is all about effort. A growth mindset is essential for math! Students need to know that they can achieve math at any level, and that there is no such thing as a ‘math person’.
A big part of how I teach includes encouraging students to believe in themselves. Growth mindsets are very important – it is essential for students to understand that they can learn anything and the more work they do, the smarter they will get.
We praise what students have done and learned, not the student themselves as a person.
Mistakes: Mistakes are highly valued! When people make mistakes, our brains are growing!
Questions: Questions are important! Research shows that asking questions is linked to high achievement! We also do not need to know all of the answers – we can take time and look them up whenever we need to.
I am going out on a limb this year in many ways – I am doing things differently than they have typically been done. I hope that as long as I have the research, the self-discovered PD, and that I know what I am doing and why, that I will be able to help my students to be successful AND have a growth mindset about learning!