Archive for May, 2010

Lesson Observation and iTouch

May 22, 2010

On Tuesday I have an observation (for my Performance Management) during a Literacy lesson. I want the iTouches to provide an effective addition to the lesson.

In my class, and school, we focus on  developing the children’s Basic Skills in many Literacy lessons as many have gaps in their learning. The lesson on Tuesday is going to revise parts of speech and increase & extend the children’s vocabulary.

For their independent work the children are going to use their iTouches and the app Mad Libs which I’m hoping will be a fun and effective way to allow the children to practice and reinforce their learning.

As a child I used to look forward to getting a new Mad Lib book. Mad Libs consist of a book that has a short story on each page, but with many of the key words replaced with blanks. Beneath each blank is specified a noun, verb, place, or a part of the body. One player asks the other players, in turn, to contribute some word for the specified type for each blank, but without revealing the context for that word. Finally, the completed story is read aloud. The result is usually comic, surreal and somewhat nonsensical.

This great activity has come to the iTouch as a free app. (The full versions are on sale for £2.99 each).

The children will need to come up with examples for each of the parts of speech as required.

If you click on the hints button you get examples of that part of speech scrolling across the screen. This will expose the children to words they may not have thought of themselves.

You can still purchase the books from Amazon or click here to visit the US Penguin site. (I’ve just order 3 for nostalgic reasons) You can also find imitation Mad Libs online, though in my opinion, these are not as good as the originals. Here are links to some of these sites. Wacky Web Tales and Crazy Libs.

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Update on The Wii Project

May 22, 2010

If you were at Games Based Learning Conference 2010 in London you may have heard Dr Jo Armitage, adviser for e-learning in Hounslow, speak about the Hold On To Sport project (HOTs2010).  Click here to watch her presentation and  here to see the slides of her presentation.

It was in order to enter this that I first started the Wii project with my class.

I received an email earlier this week with an update on the HOTs Project.  The great news was that it was now officially a London 2012 project!

Over 20 schools from across the borough had taken part from Primary, Secondary and Special schools and submitted entries for the first stage of the HOTs competition.

The judges are now looking at the work submitted and in each category: physio, trainer, dietician and Public Relations, bronze, silver and gold prizes will be awarded.

The last part of our project will be the HOTS Big Weekend running across the 3rd and 4th July at the Civic Centre in central Hounslow. At the beginning of the project each school had to select a team of athletes. These athletes will compete against each other during the Big Weekend on Nintendo Wii’s to win prizes for the best virtual gamer in the Borough. As Jo has said, “It looks to be a fast, furious and fun weekend!”

If you would like to view some of the entries submitted you can see them here. You can also find out more about the competition, their partners and how you might be able to get involved next year.

If you’d like a direct link to the work my class has submitted then click here.

Smiley Sight Words

May 15, 2010

I just came across an app called Smiley Sight Words (59p) which looks great! Many of the sight word apps have Dolch and Fry lists which are the lists used in America but this app also has lists for UK words broken into 10 levels each with 100 words. Level 1 words are the first 100 high frequency words such as: a, about, up, they, you and it goes to Level 10 with words such as according, ashamed, consequence, proceeded.
As well as these lists there are also lists of number words, colours, and names of shapes and you can also create customised lists.

You are able to set up to 5 players, each with their own level and you/they can choose an avatar from the 5 smiley faces on offer or you can add your own picture/avatar. Great if you don’t have 1:1 iTouches.

The child says the word aloud, checks it by touching the word, then they give themselves a thumbs up for correct or a thumbs down for incorrect.
There may need to be an adult to supervise until the child understands the need to be honest in their self-marking. I must say I have found that myclass are quite honest but this may have a lot to do with their knowing that their iTouch will be removed for a set period of time if they cheat!

When they have finished playing/learning they press the progress button and are given the option to save their progress in the photos section of the iTouch. This picture can then be emailed and printed as a record of assessment.

I look forward to trying it with the class next week!

Review of iTouch Apps by my class

May 10, 2010

My class wrote reviews of their favourite iTouch apps on their MLE/Fronter pages. I thought I would share them here.

A:
We have iTouchs in our  class. We use them for learning and sometimes we use then for fun. There’s a game called Angry Birds. You have to pull back the sling shot and let go to fire and you have to predict were the birds are going to hit the other birds.

G:
I’ve been using the ipod touch lately and have been playin lots of apps so it is so cool. I really like to play pop math.  It is a maths game that you put a number to a maths question and if you’re right the maths question will disappear. Then you just finish the rest. Another  app is fluid. It can really calm well (relax). It plays a type of dusk music and then you tap the screen and water slowly, calmly splashes like a small puddle.

J:
In Oak just last week we got ipod touches which helps us with our work and sometimes  miss lets us go on games. My favourite game is Touch Pets and  my favourite maths game is Pop Maths.

S:
If you are angry there is an app to calm down. We also have Touch Pets for free time. Sometimes we have Pop Math for Math.

T:
iPods are so cool. They have apps for when you are angry. When you feel like this you can use a calming app. One of them is called FLUID. You use your finger and rub the screen and it makes kind of an enchanting sound.

The game that I love is LET’S GOLF That game lets you connect to the people all around the world and people who are in the room with you.

Also you can play a good game called Angry Birds it’s fun and its a science Physic game because you have know where to hit the enemy’s buildings.

J:
We use the iPod touches for learning and there is a particular game which I  like called Pop Math. In this game there are bubbles and inside them are maths questions which you have to match with the answer. A game I like to play on the iPod touch is Angry Birds, where you catapult birds at structures to knock them down. I really like the Fluid app, it helps you calm down, it’s really smooth. I think iPod touches ROCK!!!!!

Using the iPod Touch in unexpected ways.

May 8, 2010

We have been using the iPod Touches in class for just over 3 weeks and I can hardly imagine not having them. I had planned on using them in a number of ways in the curriculum but the children have suggested using them in ways I hadn’t thought of!

Generally speaking there has been a significant improvement in the children’s behaviour in class and the way they respond to one another. This may just be a coincidence but long may it last ;o)

Due to the very nature of the children I teach there still has been the odd ‘moment or two’ where one child or another has become angry and has had difficulty managing their own behaviour. The iTouches have again played a significant part in helping them calm.

One child, who was having a ‘difficult’ day and came in from a playtime very angry, used the iPod Touch app Fluid as a calming activity. Essentially it’s a liquid water simulation which responds to your touch and generates ripples and little waves in response. There also is Zen music which plays quietly in the background. Being able to put earphones in his ears helped block out other sounds in the classroom and he was able to calm himself quickly.

Another good ‘calming’ app is Bubble Wrap. Not quite as rewarding as the real thing, in my opinion, but the kids seem to love it!

In a Maths lesson earlier this week I wanted the children to generate 2 digit numbers by rolling dice and then finding what number they need to add to this to get to 100. I had put dice on the tables (which always seems to cause all such excitement!) when a child said ‘Why don’t we use iChoose It’s an app that has, amongst many other things, dice. No dice flying off the table or getting lost. (It also has Rock/Paper/Scissors!!)

All of these apps are free and, so far, do not seem to have any advertising associated to them.

I would love to hear how other people are using an iPod Touch in the classroom.


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