Saturday, January 31, 2015

IBooks for Read To Self

My last post explained how I use Dropbox to share documents and books with my students.  This week I took this a step further!

IBooks has some amazing features for "Read to Self" as well as for guided reading.  (I use the Daily Five model for my Reader's Workshop.)  After teaching my students about these features, it was impressive to see them in use!

First, we had to get our book from Dropbox into iBooks.  (My last post explains how to get a book into dropbox.  Our books are from Reading A to Z!)  This screen shows our book in Dropbox. Click on the blue box with the arrow, click on "Open in", then "Open in ibooks."
Now this book will be saved in the ibooks library!  We closed these apps, and opened the Settings.
Next we turned on "Text to Speech" in our settings.  We started by clicking on "General," then "Accessibility."

 Then we clicked on "Speech."
Turn on the "Speak Selection" by sliding the white circle over to make it appear green!  After this is on, you can slide the white circle to change the speaking rate.  We also have on "Highlight Content" so that the words read aloud are highlighted.

Finally, we went back to our book in ibooks, highlighted a word by pressing down on it, let go, and LISTENED to it by clicking "Speak"!  This is a simple trick that can help all readers when they are struggling with a word independently.

After learning about this, my students took a reading comprehension assessment using the cause and effect strategies they had been learning about all week.  They used the "speak" feature for words when necessary, and no one really abused this.  It helped them with their comprehension, and they felt more confident answering the cause and effect questions.  I will NOT have them use this all of the time, but it is great to have when they need it, especially for my students struggling with fluency or students with IEP's.  If you only have a few ipads in your room, this could definitely help those students who need fluency help!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Dropbox on the I Pad

Organizing documents for students is difficult using real paper, let alone documents on an I Pad!  An easy way to organize everything is to use the free Dropbox app.  Simple, but very effective to share items with students.  Dropbox is also free to use on any computer or phone.

ALL of my students are logged into one Dropbox account.  The first day, they opened the app, typed in a classroom Gmail account that I created, typed in a password that I created, and they were instantly in the classroom Dropbox.  The I Pad does not log out of this, so each time they open the Dropbox app, they are still logged in to see what is there!

This week my class is reading a book called "Alice's Birthday Cake" on the I Pad.  This book is from Reading A to Z.  Our grade level has a subscription to Reading A to Z, where we can find endless books and lessons to teach Common Core Reading Strategies.  This week my class is thinking about cause and effect while reading this book.

To put this in a Dropbox folder for my students, I first open the book on the Reading A to Z website.  It is a pdf file that comes up when I click on "Print single sided."  Once it is open, I tap the top of the book, and this pops up:

I click, OPEN IN, and I can open it in Dropbox!  All I have to do is tap on "Open In Dropbox"  (I can also open it in other apps as well if I wanted to save it somewhere else)

I click on the folder I want to save it in, and ALL of my students can see it!  It is wonderful because whenever I share any document in the classroom Dropbox, everyone can see the documents.

This is how we are all able to read books on the I Pad easily and quickly throughout the week.  I also have folders for Math, Writing, Science, and Social Studies so that I can share documents in these subjects as well.  We are loving Dropbox, and we are becoming more confident with our I Pads each day!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

More I Pad Math: Greg Tang Math

​Last year I had the opportunity to hear Greg Tang speak about math!
 Greg Tang is the author of such books as:

He has an amazing FREE website:

This is one of the links my students and I use for games everyday!  To find the games, click on the games tab at the top.  There are many games to choose from that reinforce  math fact practice as well as critical thinking skills.  We love Math Limbo.
There is also a special game entitled Kakooma.  To find this, click on the Kakooma tab at the top of the website, and the game pops up.  You can enter your class by signing up, or your students can play without signing in.  The game can be played live against other students, or your students can play with their class only.  They can also practice only without playing live.  I played as a whole class with my students to teach them how the game is played.
The goal of the game is to find the two boxes that when added, subtracted, multiplied or divided together equal a third box.  The basic version is just addition.  The answer is then clicked on to win that box.  Once you play it makes much more sense! 

There is also an app for each operation if you choose to buy the apps, but the online version is free.  Your students can create a link to the game that looks like an app by adding it to their Home Screen.  Just click on the blue box with the arrow at the top of the screen on the specific website so that it can be added to the Home Screen.

My students love these games, and the positive reinforcement given by the timing and points really motivates them to keep practicing!