Thursday, December 1, 2011

The iPad as a Portable Word Wall

I work in the primary grades, and often assist/instruct my speech kids with reading and written language.  Most have high needs in this area (which makes sense---reading and writing are language based, so if the kids have language or phonological difficulties, they will have academic issues).

One of the key features of every primary grade classroom now is a 'Word Wall'.  Essentially, the alphabet is arranged on a wall, and underneath each letter are words that the students are expected to learn how to read and spell.  Here is a teacher's blog about her word wall. (I'm not sure who this teacher is, but she explains a lot about how she manages it.)  

I do appreciate word walls, and see the importance they play in the classroom.  Children refer to the words when they write, and when they are trying to find rhyming words, opposites, sound clusters, or anything else the teacher is teaching at the time.  I'm sure there are about a thousand other uses, but this blog is about my iPad, and not about the merits of Word Walls.

Sometimes I pull children into my room  (unfortunately, no word wall there).  In the past, I've copied the words with an actual pencil onto paper (seems a bit dated, right?) for use in my room.   This takes time, especially when the kids get older and classrooms have more words. Some days, I forget about word walls which is not great for the kids in terms of generalizing skills.  Today,  I worked with a couple of language impaired first graders who really needed to access a word wall, and learn how to pronounce and read the words.   I had a brainstorm---I walked around the classroom prior to speech and simply took pictures with my iPad---not only of the word wall, but of the 'morning message'.  My iPad became a portable word wall!  Simple, but soooo wonderful when I took my two first grade students to speech.  We practiced reading and pronouncing (final consonants) all of the words, and then attempted the morning message (they couldn't read it--good for me to know).  I was at least able to read the message to them, and have a conversation about the field trip which was mentioned. They weren't sure what 'field trip' meant.

The morning message carried into my room via iPad!
photo of word wall in first grade

photo of word wall in first grade
  The kids were drawn to the iPad screen, and easily scrolled through the word wall pictures, taking turn reading them....enthusiastically!  What is it about an iPad screen that engages kids so much?  For future activities, we plan on working on writing simple sentences--this portable word wall will be an immense help!!!  A simple use of the iPad, but one of the best uses I've found so far. 

1 comment:

  1. I really need to get the ipad2 I guess. For those of us with the old school ipad, maybe you could have a post on getting images off the internet (google image) and saved into the library. I have just starting using this app called Word Slapps and I feel like maybe I'm spending too much time getting images, perhaps there is a simpler way that I am not aware of?
    This word wall post made me think of how B now has his own personal word wall in his room (and duh, I should put them alphabetically). Last week he asked his 11 year old sister to spell a few words for him: "lemons" "Spanish" and "ice cubes" He kills me. Then today he typed on the ipad "watch tv while eat" (which is hilarious since he hates both tv and eating) and then "need go to Target"


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