Saturday, 10 November 2012

Graded readers for YLEs + iOS devices

 I wanted to give my class a break from their usual routine & recent prep for YLE, and exploit one of their OUP Story Tree (Graded Readers) a bit more.

The blue series is just about right for this class - some vocab they have not met before, but by and large they can get their heads around the story & make astute guesses about what they don't 'know'.

We had not listened/read this book before, so I played the CD and asked them to follow (fingers) - they each have a set of the books. They were hooked and enjoyed the surprise ending. They know most of the characters. This particular book introduces the 's' on the end of present tense verbs for third person singular subjects...but they don't need to be told that; going to let the penny drop (maybe next week if it doesn't clatter to the floor today!)

This time around, I 'played' a sentence from the book on my iPhone - it was playing the audio function from a quizlet set I had earlier made for the book (an old teachers' trick of cutting up sentences for students to put back together again!). Instead of my voice (familiar), or CD (tricky to cue) the US accented voice was a new challenge (didn't need a speaker either - new iPhone's inbuilt ones loud enough close up). Their task = find the page the sentence came from (and re-read it out loud). Books well and truly thumbed!

Next, in pairs/3some, showed the children how to plat 'scatter' on iPhones (via dedicated #Quizlet app) to match pairs (in this case, the sentence halves) e.g.
  • Chip....goes on the swing
  • They....look at the swing
I though they would do this as a scattergun exercise and basically wallop the screen until things matched up. Not at all! They were extremely careful to make the right choices & referred back to the book constantly. Great! Book getting read endlessly! As a co-operative task, I know an iPad would be much better option. Nevertheless, this worked nicely with children negotiating roles of finder/reader/typer, and checking spelling etc. The first run through took quite a while and was nice, quiet, gentle reading pace. Once they realised there was a timer and they were horribly slower than the other group...lights & action!

Unfortunately, the Quizlet app right now does not support images, so we were 'forced' to switch tech & go to the PC interface. All good - still a lot of learning & still mining the same simple story. Turn-taking continued as they dictated to each other, helped find letters on the key board & whack each other when they kept making the same mistakes eg 'i' instead of 'l'. I lost count of how many times they must have read each page - a lot more than "Yeah, know the story, bored!"

Check out the flashcard set for The Rope Swing here and find all our other great flashcard sets from "LunaTeacher"

Oh, nearly forgot! The grammar thing - didn't occur to anyone, so we'll use the board next week - and I really want to use Skitch app for that! Stay iTuned :)