Monday, April 7, 2014

Technology and Tutoring

I started this post last week but didn't get it finished because I ran into a couple of issues but I think I have it figured out now. Last week I had a great tutoring session with one of my kids and wanted to blog about it.
I tutor on Tuesdays and Thursdays. One boy on Tuesday and then 2 girls and 1 boy on Thursdays. They are mostly my ELL kids that need a little more small group instruction. Last week I cancelled both days because I wasn't feeling that great and it makes for a long day. Plus the student I tutor on Tuesdays wasn't all that great the last time we worked together. He just wanted to play the whole time. Now I try to make things fun but we still have some learning to do. But today he was great and I think that's because we were on the iPad almost the whole time. I let him play whatever he wants to on the iPad while I'm out at buses. There are all learning games on the iPad so he's learning. He likes to play the Super Why app and Grandpa's Workshop. I like both of them  for him. Grandpa's workshop is really for younger kids but it works well with his language. Super why is an expensive app to me. It costs $3.99. But it is a great app for kids that works on letters, words, and reading. Grandpa's Workshop costs $1.99. (I was lucky enough to get a grant from my PTA to purchase some apps to use)
We usually start out with a sight word game. All we do is turn over a sight word flashcard and if he knows it then he gets a skittle. I use this to give me some words to work on. So at this point, we go back to the iPad. I usually let him use one of two apps. Either Doodle Buddy or Magnetic ABCs.
He writes or builds the words and then we use them in sentences. He needs a lot of practice with the oral language component too. After we've practiced writing the words and using them in a sentence, I'll use the magnetic letters to scramble the letters in a word and he has to unscramble them.
This picture is from a while ago but it shows the kids using the Doodle Buddy App to write the sight word. Here's a screen shot of the magnetic letters with a scrambled word.

 Usually we put the iPad away and work on some other skills. But today I was noticing how he was making a few letters and I thought it was a good time to try out another app I had found, Letter School. This was the first time I worked on this app with a student. We both loved it. You can pick from uppercase, lowercase letters and numbers. We worked on both upper and lowercase letters. The app won't let him make the letter the wrong way. You have to start at the top and you have to follow the path it wants you to. You practice three different times and each time the app makes them a little more independent. It was a great and fun way to practice handwriting that kept him engaged. I forgot to take a screen shot of this app but I did take a screen shot from the app on the app store. This app costs $2.99 but I think it's worth it. Especially for kids who are forming the letter incorrectly.

With this particular student I work on math as well. He still needs some practice with one to one correspondence and numbers passed 14. So we opened up the doodle buddy app again and used the stamping feature. I let the student pick out which stamp he wanted me to use and then stamped a set of them on the screen. Then he counted them and wrote the number. It was good because I was able to work on these less fun skills in a fun way.
Then we worked a little on addition problems. I wasn't sure if I should work on the addition since we've not quite gotten numbers 11-20 yet. But that's what we're working on in class and I wanted him to have some strategies when we work on addition. I wrote a number sentence and then he used the stamps on Doodle Buddy as manipulatives to solve the problem.
I love having my iPad in my classroom and sometimes I bring in my personal iPad. I let the kids play on apps when we have time but I love finding ways to use the technology in a little more meaningful way. It can be a novel tool to help students with skills that can be a little boring.  I have had several people ask me about the apps that I'm using in the classroom. I hope to make a list soon of the apps and how I'm using them. I'm not sure what apps are available in droid or kindle apps but maybe some of them will be comparable. I would love to hear what kind of technology you have in your school and how you use it.
I'm linking up with Techie Tuesday over at the Technology Tailgate. Be sure to check the party out.

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