group of Gr. 1 students working on ipadsAt Juniper Ridge Elementary in SD#73 (Kamloops), Grade 1 students are using iPads and the “Explain Everything” app to practice reading and to receive self-feedback.  The classroom received a SET-BC Tier 2 classroom solution this year in the form of iPads with Explain Everything, Do Ink, and Tellagami apps.  Sherri Hoffer, the Grade 1 teacher, felt this technology would help support her goals of increasing student engagement by providing them with multiple means of expression and action.

After receiving their equipment, the classroom teacher, teacher-librarian, and Learning Assistance teacher met with their SET-BC consultant to discuss how he might help the team implement the new technology in the classroom.  Because Sherri had completed projects in previous years with iPads, the focus for initial discussions became the extension of those ideas.  Through brainstorming and collaboration a plan was formed, and off they went.

For their first project, the class authored a “Best Part of Me” book.  Throughout the process, the students used “Explain Everything” to practice reading and to receive self-feedback.  The students quickly learned how to take a photo of their work and then used the app to record themselves reading.  These short videos were then uploaded to Fresh Grade, a digital portfolio tool, for their parents to see.  Knowing that their work would be viewed by their parents provided strong motivation.  As an unexpected bonus, the classroom teacher noticed that after a few weeks of using the app, the students’ writing improved markedly.   We guessed that the simple act of having to focus on each individual word when reading back made the students much more aware of their written work.  After completing the individual videos, the teacher used iMovie to stitch them together into a class showcase that was shared with parents during the end of project celebration.

2 kids playing on ipad at Juniper RidgeYou can view their class collaboration here:

Here are some other examples of the student’s work:

For their next project, the class will be completing an inquiry about cities around the world.  The plan is for students to gather information about their chosen place, and then show what they have learned in a variety of ways.  Students will be using “Clicker Docs” to write about their places and will be creating Guidebooks using “Clicker Books”.  In addition, the students will become virtual tour guides as they use “Do Ink”, “Tellagami”, and “iMovie” to create informational videos.

Sherri has provided the following feedback on how the technology is working so far:

kids working on ipad at Juniper RidgeFirst of all I want to thank SET-BC for providing my class with such an amazing opportunity this year. Having technology in my room has brought so much excitement from students, staff and parents. Over the course of last term the students explored many different apps to make their learning visible and to be able to share their learning with their parents on a regular bases. The process of sharing student’s work and projects was a concern because of the time that it can take.  However, I was introduced to Fresh Grade and it really changed my view on what I could share with parents and what students could produce.  Through Fresh Grade it took no time to share student’s works and parents have commented that they have never felt more connected to the classroom.

One of the other apps that I have used this term that I found was fantastic was the Explain Everything App.  Originally I thought it was a great way for them to display their learning in a presentation format, however something else happened.  Grade 1 students often have difficulty with any kind of self-reflection that includes the work that they produce.  Often they will only make a first draft, as editing work and reflecting on it can be difficult and needs to be scaffolded for some time.  However with the Explain everything app I noticed that students were very reflective on their video presentations and became concerned with two things in their presentations: reading fluency and editing their work.  Students would begin to read their work and realize they missed a word or did not quite sound out the word properly.  This was really surprising to me because I could probably ask a student to read over their work a couple of times and they would never catch the things that they were correcting themselves with on this app.  All of a sudden it become very important that what they were reading and pointing to on the tablet matched.  The other thing I found from this app was that the students began to read their work with fluency that models a good reader.  They would practice a number of times before hitting record and then when finish they would play back their reading and decide whether they would keep it or try again.  This really helped improve students reading fluency, as we know that research has shown that repeat oral reading helps increase reading fluency.  We were able to combine their writing and reading through this app and create our term project movie “The Best Part of Me”.

We have just started using Clicker Books which has been the talk to of the classroom, as the students are so excited to see their work come together in a digital format.  I am excited to see what they are going to be able to create on this app.  For the next term we will be using Clicker Books, Tellagami and Do ink for our green screen weather project. 

We can’t wait to check back to see what these Grade 1 students will do next!

UPDATE! April 2016 – Inspirational Use of Green Screen Technology

Sherri’s class continues to amaze us with their latest inquiry-based project. The class produced a short informational video about Green Screen Technology to introduce parents to the technology that they had been using. With a little support from their SET-BC Consultant, this video has been turned into an inspirational short that is sure to get teachers and students excited about doing their own Green Screen projects. ​Check it out!

Juniper Ridge Grade 1 Students Present Green Screen Technology

To learn more about the technology used in this SETstory, search for it by name in learningSET.