Friday, February 7, 2014

Best conference tool ever!

I don't know how many of you are familiar with balanced literacy.  It is a collection of teaching strategies designed to teach students reading while they interact with real literature rather than basals. There are many components to balanced literacy such as mini lessons, guided reading, shared reading interactive read aloud and conferencing.  This year I have been honing my conferencing skills.  In a reading conference a teacher meets one on one with a student, listens to the student read and shares a teaching point to add to the student's literacy "tool-box".

I discovered that the iPads and an app called RazKids are fantastic tools for creating an environment ideal for conferencing.
(Click on the link to learn more about RazKids and the Reading A-Z

  • Students are engaged in practicing reading skills because duh... they are on iPads
  • Students are reading on their unique reading level
  • Comprehension is assessed with instant feedback by quizzes at the end of each story.

I had some marvelous conferences while using these tools;

  1. Student A - taught me how to zoom in on nonfiction text features,which allowed me to help student B focus on text features to help her understand the text.  We also got to "do math" because the text feature was showing a pictograph.
  2. Student C is not a very fluent reader.  He found a microphone where he could record himself reading and listen to himself read.
  3. Student D discovered that you could look back into the text as you were taking the assessment so he could reference the text.  Which allowed me to show student E how to reference the text when he was stuck on a question.

In other words every discovery that was made by one student helped me to help another student.  Cooperative learning at its finest!

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