Tuesday, October 29, 2013

iPad Apps

For class, I was required to go through several iPad to discover some that might help within our classroom. Our ESOL teacher also just got iPads for the classroom as part of a grant so I can actually apply this knowledge. Woohoo! I am feeling a lot of frustration regarding the lack of apps in Spanish as, for many bilingual teachers, the use of an iPad for intervention with Spanish dominant students in language arts and math would be very helpful. However, I found two apps that seem really great (though they need to be purchased) that I decided to review.
iPhone Screenshot 1
This app, called Deep in the Rainforest , states that in it, "children will learn about the Amazon Rainforest through fun and games by traveling with Amanda. The  journey begins when Amanda meets a native boy, Yapariwa, who is looking for his lost brother Atu. As they walk through the rainforest they will discover interesting facts about animals and learn important values of diversity and respect. Our story includes animated text to encourage children's listening and reading skills." It allows students to jump around and play different games while learning facts about the rainforest so it allows for differentiation as well. This is also available in SPANISH--a huge and rare plus as far as apps are concerned. It connects to the Core Curriculum's Module 2 on the rainforest as well so I hope to make use of it.

Another, by the same company, called Amazon Rainforest teaches specifically about the Amazon and the unique creatures that inhabitat it.

The Barefoot World Atlas App allows children to explore:
  • A beautifully illustrated 3D globe with multimedia features, including zoom and animated icons
  • Music and effects soundscapes for each region of the world
  • 3D rotations of historial objects from the Royal Geographical Society
  • Live country facts from Wolfram | Alpha
  • Audio narration by acclaimed BBC TV presenter Nick Crane
  • Enhanced graphics for the new iPad
  • Available for iPad®, iPhone® and iPod touch®
  • Switch in seconds between English, Spanish, Catalan, French, German and Japanese

    This app is very individualized as well and allows students to explore the world in an interactive way.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Research Paper

As I reflect upon a research paper I recently did, I end up feeling quite frustrated. I was looking into any research done on integrating Spanish educational technology in the classroom and the research available was slim to none. While I thought this might happen, as I am constantly astounded by how many bilingual and Spanish resources I must make to supplement for my own students, I thought that perhaps more academic (and possibly slightly less helpful) research might be available. I did searches in both Spanish and English and hardly anything came up. I was forced to wax on about articles that only glanced over these resources and really didn't provide teachers with solid ideas and strategies for Spanish language technology for the classroom other than translation tools. Therefore, I began to look to other teacher's bilingual blogs and I was met with more success. In particular, http://spanglishbaby.com/ provided me with a multitude of lists of links for Spanish and bilingual websites, apps, and book lists. Overall, while frustrated, I did end up with more sources for Spanish educational technology than when I started, if not from a necessarily as credible source.
Spanglish Baby : Raising Bilingual Kids

Westward Expansion Board Game Webquest

For our next unit of Social Studies, we'll be studying westward expansion and, in my silly infatuations with webquests, I've created one that leads students to create a board game covering one of four topics: Lewis, Clark and Sacajawea; the Oregon Trail; the Pony Express; and the Transcontinental Railroad. These all correspond to migration which ties into our Core ELA study of Esperanza Rising. Hopefully, students will be getting really comfortable with the format of a webquest so that it's even more student centered and less teacher supported compared to our mock trials. Let me know if you make use of it! I'd love to know how it turned out. Here are links to the planning pages in English and Spanish and then click the button for the webquest pptx file itself. Make sure you're downloading everything to your computer from Google Docs instead of just printing from there (the formatting will be different).

Monday, October 7, 2013

Conquistadors Debate/Mock Trial Webquest

Sooooo, I used to feel as if webquests were an outdated format for students' exploration on the internet. How wrong I was! I created another one to help teach my students about the conquistadors: Hernan Cortes, Francisco Pizarro, and Christopher Columbus. They are going to stage a debate (trial) in front of the class on Friday. I'm hoping it goes well! You'll need to print a packet for the defense and a packet for the prosecution and then down the webquest. Let me know if you decide to use it! I'd love to know how it turned out.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Visual Learner Resources


In order to help out our visual learners with their writing project at the end of Module 1, Unit 2 for CC ELA on engageny, I worked on creating a comparing and contrasting web of the changes that Esperanza experiences during the novel. Also, because we're working on memoirs in our writer's workshop, I'll also share the story mountain we've been using to help the kids map out their seed ideas. We had them write the seed idea at the top of the mountain and then work backwards to see where they might begin their story and then finish up with the solution and conclusion. So far, this has helped a lot as many of our writers end up beginning with waking up in the morning EVERY SINGLE TIME they start a story and, thus far, this has cut this down to only about a quarter of the students starting that way. Thus far, they've been getting a lot better working in some descriptive writing. I'll post the rubric that I adapted to go along with the project some time soon!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Science Labs

This year we've been told we have 40 minutes in our schedule for science every day (this same schedule also builds in no time for transitions, dismissal preparations, or breakfast clean-up). I found an incredible resource for science labs, Inquiry in Action to teach chemistry that includes background readings and lab write-ups and the materials are totally reasonable for a teacher with a limited science budget and/or resource closet. I also created a rubric for lab behaviors since some of our 5th graders thought it was a good idea to eat some of the materials and we had to ban science labs for a couple days ("But, miss! It was salt and sugar!" It was also EPSOM salts, my dear, misguided student).

Map Skills and Mexican Review Game

I created a game to make the review process more fun for the students after having studied the following topics: the Rich and Poor of Mexico, the Mexican-American War, and the Mexican Revolution (these are all in Spanish). We also just finished up our study of geography including the continents and oceans, latitude and longitude, hemispheres, cardinal directions, and where to find the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and explanation of Alaska and Hawaii. This game is meant to be played in guided reading groups and is in English so that students can apply the knowledge they learned in Spanish to something in English to develop a bilingual vocabulary for the material.