Thursday, August 4, 2011

Making Summer School Fun!

We are coming to the end of our first of two weeks of Summer Learning Camp. And, I have to say it has been going really well! I do think that it helps having some pretty cool tools to use...iPads! I mentioned in my last post some of the ways I was utilizing the iPads to make Language Arts review a little more exciting for my 7-9th graders.

So, here is a bit of an update...

Grammar and Language Skills w/Google Docs-
Yep...still using that for a quick review/assessment of those FUN skills that we all love. But, honestly, the kids do not complain a bit. Even though they are directly from the workbook, the kids act like it's no big deal. Getting the necessary review in, one google form at a time. ;)

With this format, I have these students do some great writing and editing! We created a paragraph response to a question about character development and author's purpose. As each student submitted, we all helped them better their post by editing it with them in real time. They loved it! They students were so helpful to each other. One of my boys actually said to me, "I liked my paragraph so much more when we edited it together. It looked good!". So, that's pretty cool.

Also, I figured out how to award badges in edmodo. So far, students have earned First Day badges, Participation badges, and Excellent Writer badges. They love checking their status to see what badges they have earned. This is a really cool way of reinforcing students! I love it! I am definitely going to use these badges for SCIENCE!

Tomorrow, we will try our hand at back channeling during the read aloud. Back channeling is when students post comments about a given topic while the event is occurring. So, my students will be discussing the book with each other online WHILE I'm reading. Risky, right? Here's when I give my students control of their learning. What will they discuss? Will they stay on topic? Will they make connections? Giving them the power to lead in the learning process with this lesson will empower them.

Popplet app-
Students enjoyed using the Popplet app for creating a character web for one of the two main characters in our read aloud book, Dread Locks. The app was super easy for them to use. They enjoyed using colors, pictures, and short phrases to describe the characters. Really great tool on the iPad!

The author of Dread Locks, Neal Shusterman, tentatively agreed to connect with us in a quick Skype this next week! It will be a quick Q and A session, but we will be ready with questions and comments about the book! What a great way to show these students that reading has many levels, many possibilities. This will be an excellent way to wrap up our summer learning together! I will be posting pictures of that! ;)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


  1. How did you contact the author? What a great idea!I will definitely have to try the popplet app can't wait to get my ipads.

  2. I found the author on twitter, but didn't get a response. So, I emailed him. Normally, he charges a fee for talking to groups. But, hearing the circumstances of us being for just two weeks and being an intervention type program, he agreed to a quick, unofficial skype meet. ;)

    I think the best thing I can do for these students in the short time I have themis to help them see the excitement and avenues that reading can take a person! The grammar and writing work we are doing has value to get them back in that mode, but I feel like the read aloud work we are doing with this young adult book will be really beneficial! I hope. ;)