My goal is to help children learn and grow in a way that empowers. I want the learners to have control of their education and be able to make their own choices. This includes whether a learner utilizes an iPad, paper/pencil, or an art medium to demonstrate learning. This also includes the manner in which they practice reading skills.
We all have different moods, good days and bad days, and the right to push ourselves or take a day to relax. I want the children to recognize these moods and choose how to handle their feelings. If they are feeling a little tired or frustrated, they have every right to choose an application or activity that doesn't push them too hard. On the other hand, they can also take opportunities to try and push themselves on a harder application when they feel up to the challenge. I feel I am providing the children with power and life skills when I help them understand their moods and how their learning in the area of reading relates to their feelings.
We utilize a daily five setup in the classroom, as our school has adopted this management system. I wanted to continue an open, learner-centered environment during this time (as well as an inquiry-based system the rest of the day, but that is another story). The children are allowed to make their own choices within the daily five rotation (I do not assign their activities). They will choose the area to work, the skill they want to work on, and the tool that they want to utilize. They have the power, and I am there to support them in their learning.
I have folders numbered on their iPads from one to eighteen, for easy reference in kindergarten. Each folder also has a name. In the area of reading, there are folders labeled for many different skills; letters, sounds, grammar, quick words, etc. There are also folders for drawing, writing, creating ebooks, or presentations. With this setup, learners can choose any application within the folders to work on skills or create a project. We talk about choices they can make when an application is too easy or too hard, such as keep trying, ask a friend, or try something different.
In the specific area of listening to reading, we utilize some eBook applications such as MeeGenius, Storia, and TumbleBooks. I have also uploaded more than 100 books into our iTunes library from CD and the learners get quite good at finding the title of the book because they are in alphabetical order. I do not want to spend money on eBooks (at least not much) as there are so many free applications available in this area.
I look forward to seeing what others have posted this week. Thanks to all that have shared!