Friday, June 22, 2012

Using the iPad/iPod Touch to Assist Students in meeting Writing Expectations

My students and I recently embarked on a new journey with the iPad/iPod Touch. I learned about an app called Lifecards - it allows users to create imaginative & creative postcards. With the end of the school year coming to a close many of my students will be travelling this summer so I thought it would be appropriate to put this app to the test!

The students will create a postcard that is related to our school, and write it to someone in our school community (e.g. friend, teacher, administrator, parent volunteer, etc). This app cost $2.99 and it works on the iPad and iPod Touch - this is an ideal situation.

The following Ministry of Education Writing expectations are addressed in this assignment:
  • write short texts using several simple forms
  • confirm spellings and word meanings or word choice using a few different types of resources
  • make simple revisions to improve the content, clarity, and interest of their written work, using several types of strategies
We started off by taking a quick look at the app - I projected it onto the whiteboard to show them what it looked like. We then created our success criteria to guide our journey:

After the success criteria creation, I took some time to reflect on how to teach my students how to write a postcard (in a systematic way). After coming up with a 'rough' idea of an anchor chart that would support their learning, I created a model for them to follow:

After showing them the model, we took the time to create this anchor:

On Wednesday my students were formally taught how to use the camera that is built-in to the iPads/iPod's. We talked about the importance of being are able to explain why they chose the picture(s) that they end up using on their postcard (one of the expectations is that they are able to confidently explain the choices they make in creating their postcard). After teaching them how to use the camera and how to access/delete photos, we set off to take some pictures that may be used in their final product. It was a proud moment for me as I walked around the school (mainly the front foyer where our religious artifacts are kept) watching them use the technology and talk about their choices.

Today the students were hard at work with the 'text' portion of their postcards. It is very satisfying to see them so focused and working together. I am looking forward to posting some of their work so you can see where their imaginations led them. In fact, I have a rough draft for you to view -

The two students who created this will meet with me on Monday and we will talk about their work and compare it to the model I created, the anchor chart (how to write a postcard), and the success criteria - we will assess their work. After providing them with feedback, I will send them off to tweak their work and/or discuss their options before seeking me out to formally evaluate their work. Hopefully I will have some more postcards to share with you next week.

Feel free to leave comments/suggestions/questions if the mood strikes you!

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