Little did I know how lucky I was to be sitting next to Keri Ewart at the BringIT Together Conference! We started chatting and she began to sharewith me the work she was doing with her Grade 2 students in the Peel District School Board as part of her PhD in Education. She was researching the impact iPads could have on reading. I knew I needed to visit her classroom!
Starting in September, Keri had worked with her students to introduce the structure of Guided Reading Literacy Centres in her classroom. At the same time, she began introducing the features of the iPads and several apps with her students. By January (when I came to visit her class) the structure, criteria, and expectations of the Guided Reading Centres were well established. She has written a few articles about her work including this one Helping Struggling Readers Succeed.
Guided Reading Centres
The Guided Literacy Centres change on a weekly basis. I have used this interactive ThingLink to share the instructions for each Learning Centre that I saw during my visit as well as the apps and technologies used throughout each centre.
How Does This Work?
There are 5 Guided Reading Centres
- Strategy Identifier
- Word Wall
- Guided Reading
- Writing Workshop
Each centre has a task for the students to complete, choice of apps with which to demonstrate their learning, a metacognitive component (video blog), and the opportunity to receive and provide feedback once students have posted their work to Edmodo.
As Keri explained to me, it’s impossible for her to know the ins and outs of all the apps that are available and so every month, the students explore 5 apps in 25 minutes (5 minutes per app). The students investigate each of the 5 apps for 5 minutes. The students then share what they learned – and their recommended classroom applications – together at the end. The students have become quite sophisticated in selecting, recommending, and critiquing the suggested apps.
Students are also working to build their personal digital portfolios of their work throughout the year. They select artifacts of work that demonstrates their areas of greatest growth, work they are most proud of, and areas of growth and next steps. These portfolios are then used during their Student Led Conferences.
One of the most impressive aspects of this grade 2 classroom was the independent level at which the students worked. They were uploading videos to their private YouTube channels, providing descriptive feedback based on co-constructed criteria, accessing various apps and then sharing all of their work in their Learning Management System, Edmodo.
Parents were fully engaged throughout the process starting with a Parent Technology Evening to introduce the classroom routines and expectations. Parents are invited to attend the Homework Club and get extra help with the technology so they can support the students at home!
Keri was kind enough to invite me into her classroom to observe her students in action. How do I “pay it forward”?
I’m exited to bring this work back to the teachers in the Toronto District School Board, particularly those involved in the Digital Technologies in the Early Years project I am involved with. After all – if these students can do it, so can ours!
In addition, Keri & I decided to start a Google+ Community called iPads & Tablets in the Primary Grades where we want to build a community of learners interested in sharing ideas, posting resources, and connecting as a Personal Professional Learning Network. We want to keep this partnership between two boards in Ontario working and sharing from each other.
Thanks for sharing an amazing day of learning with me! I can’t wait to visit again.