This week I had the opportunity to work with a group of second and third-grade students using the iTunes U course I created about fables called Animals and their Stories. The teacher I was working with explained that she wanted to teach the class with fidelity and wondered how I intended to implement the ideas to the students. She was surprised when I began teaching the course using strategies I would use with any other lesson. Yes, students would watch a video lesson, but I would set a purpose for the reading, have them watch, discuss and guide their thinking. All things this wonderful teacher did on a day-to-day basis. I told her that technology is just a tool, and we are still the teachers! My intention is never to plug kids up to the iPad and let the app teach them! That is my job! Relief swept her face, and her shoulders relaxed as the realization hit that the technology was not going to be in charge of her room!
We had a lot of fun working with the students. One of my favorite activities was the lesson on using a glossary and dictionary. Using the fables as a mentor text; students would take a fable and choose five words they either didn’t know, found interesting and record on their corresponding sheet.
They read the fables from the iBook I created called Animals and their Stories. In iBooks, there is a feature in which students can look a word up by highlighting and click “define” to view the definition. Unfortunately, some of the definitions are not kid-friendly, so we discussed the importance of understanding the meaning of the word rather than copying a definition. We also discussed making sure their definitions matched the context of the story. The students would write the meaning on their sheet and then search for an image to save to their iPad. Sometimes they would have to think of different ways to search for the word to get what they wanted. For example, in the fable The Crow and the Pitcher, some students chose the word casting. Well, the first definition stated a way to pour liquids into a mold to create various metals. However, this did not match the context of the story. So students had to get creative to find a way to search for an appropriate picture. It really took their thinking to a higher level.
Students were collaborative, problem-solvers, and reflective. It was an incredible experience. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to work with these students and teachers! If you are interested in trying this unit out in your classroom, you can find it by clicking on the picture below. It is my very best seller! Remember you don’t need technology to teach this unit. I provide alternative options.