Diverse Learning Assignment
I went to the MACUL conference last year and attended two days of sessions. Many of the sessions were about using iPads in the elementary classroom. I was able to pilot using 5 iPads in my classroom for 9 weeks following the conference and set up many apps for the children to try. This year I was given th3 5 iPads back to use in my class of 22 students.
One app that many of the presenters spoke about and recommended was Raz-Kids. I asked my administrators about getting it for my classroom. It was $89.00. Finally this fall, my principal arranged for me to get it for my classroom. I am in the process of figuring out how to best use it. I thought it would be a good focus for this part of my assignment so that I can spend some time figuring out how it can best support both struggling readers and the rest of my class as well.
With Raz-Kids, children can be assigned to a Book Room of books at their “just right” level. They can either listen to the book or read the book. I was hoping that they could get help with single words that they can’t figure out but I have not found out how they can do that yet. There are also quizzes they can take and they can record themselves reading. I can assign running records that they can record and send to me. I have been investigating that feature so I can start assessing in that way in addition to the running records I already take. Some of the other features I want to learn about are “Parent Access” so that kids with the proper technology can access the book room at home. There is also a Summer tab. I haven’t explored that yet but it sounds like a good resource for kids during the summer. Raz Rocket is a incentive feature. I prefer the kids to find authenic incentive because they enjoy reading but I might investigate this to use in a limited way!
Raz-Kids is a part of Learning A-Z. I believe that for an additional fee (quite a bit) you can have access to many more books and resources. For the moment, I’m going to focus on Raz-Kids.
I have found iPad reading to be another way for kids to practice and enjoy reading. The children always look forward to their iPad day and have been reading several books in that format. It is motivating and enjoyable for them. I look forward to using Raz-Kids to assess and make sure that the books are at the right level.
I discovered training videos on the Raz-Kids site. I watched them and sent some questions to them. I’m not finding all the tools available on the iPads. I was able to try out the running records on my desktop. Worked really well. I have also not had the children take any of the quizzes available. I really want them to spend their whole reader’s workshop time reading.(You get good at what you practice!) I’m thinking about other times when they might be able to take quizzes or perhaps limiting quizzes to one each day would work. (Many first graders read several books in a day.)