Work with them

house planner

Runs in several languages

Image: Home Design 3D app

I walked into class with a pile of cartridge paper under my arm. This will be interesting, I thought. I was neither let down nor disappointed. My year 8 students know we cannot use a computer room because of the rebuilding program. We have had to be inventive and flexible. A pile of cartridge paper seemed like I had gone back into the dark ages before I knew I could do something to save the planet. I brought in the iPads. We were about to start learning house vocabulary in French. I normally use and and it’s an assignment the students love and they learn their vocabulary quickly. I have taught these students all year and so they know that sometimes we have to be clever and pool our ideas to get the best learning out of the tools and situation we have. I started from my board. I put up a picture of a house and they had to match the words up there to the labels on the house. This was different. We hadn’t even learnt house vocabulary. I told them to use their brains and really think it out like a puzzle and that would pronounce it as we went along. There was silence. They were looking at me and then at the board. You can do it. Just look and think ! We got the first word, then the second, then the third. They muddled a couple and then we had all the labels done and we pronounced them all again and I gave them a quick oral test to see if they could remember. They could. I could then move on and say we were going to do paper dream houses and not the computer houses we could see pinned up from last year. The prize would be a lovely new school and we would just manage this bit. We got to work and some students still had their iPad conversations from last week to show me on the iPads. This is the next generation of students. They love working in pairs and they love showing me things on their phones and iPads. It makes them very enthusiastic and they are in their element. Two of them had a great conversation they had made with Puppet Pals but it had voice sythesisers. They had used iTranslate and so tomorrow they are going to show me just exactly what they did to make that conversation. They love showing me and I love learning something new. In the meantime other students had been busy and two more came out to show me apps they had found and would I please download them because they were free. They would be like the house planning sites I had written up on the board that we had used on the computer last year. Already the students were looking for the tools which would solve our problem. The apps were great and so now I have iPad versions of what I use on a computer with a class. We have choices! Two students in front of me had found a fantastic website on their iPad which would help with house language and wanted to show me. It  really was fantastic. I put it up on the board so they could all find it if they wanted to. We have to find the vocabulary to be able to create our paper houses this year. The iPads have made it easy because they are more dynamic than a dictionary. They know I have plenty of resources to teach them about houses and that our lessons will be practising this vocabulary and creating our dream homes. What keeps them focussed is they know they can share the really good things they find and that I will share that with the class along with my own resources so we are a constant pool of content sharing and information passing. Create content, share and get feedback. We work as  a team to keep that going. So now we have the work arounds. The younger students want to be part of the process and want to be able to use computers and devices to show and share. My job as a teacher is to lead the way and organise the information coming in. Love it!


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