Who knew that iPods were for more than music??? Well, apparently a lot of people knew, but none of them ever told me, at least not until this past September. The thing is, I’ve never much been into music. I mean, I love listening to my niece, AJ, and my nephew, CS, play the cello and I love listening to my nieces and nephew singing, but really, other than that, music is a non-entity in my life. If music is playing in the background, I find it distracting. I just can’t think with the music going, and as a writer, I’m always thinking, plotting, creating scenes and scenarios in my head, so music is like my kryptonite.
Anyway, I entered a new classroom this year and found waiting for me,
forty iPod Touches. “iPods,” I thought. “What on earth am I going
to do with these? How am I going to use music to teach my students
English? Well, actually, I do use music in the classroom to teach both
English and skill concepts, but still. Forty iPods? How often does my district think that I use music??”
As it turns out, there are these nifty little things called apps that
you can download to your iPod and those apps teach all kinds of amazing
things! WHO KNEW? Well, like I said, apparently an awful lot of
people, but not me!
In any case, I’ve been using the iPods for PWIMs. That’s
teacher-speak for Picture Word Inductive Model. In other words, I
upload photos of vocabulary we’re focused on in the classroom, children
pull up the photo in Comic Touch and label the photos with target
vocabulary words. From there, we write paragraphs describing our
work. It’s really amazing, the work the kids have created. I have
some amazingly talented artists in my classroom as well. In lieu of
using the photos I provide, many students draw their own pictures in
Doodle Buddy, then import those pictures into Comic Touch and label
Two other apps my students love are Stack the States and Stack the
Countries. I don’t know why, but as a country, we don’t seem to put
much emphasis on geography anymore — how many people in this country
really know where Djibouti or Myanmar can be found? My students are no
exception — they really struggle with geography. Many of them don’t
even understand that Kansas is a state and the United States is a
country. They have no idea where Mexico is in relation to Kansas or
where in the world Australia can be found. These two apps have helped them to really develop their understanding of the world and our place within it.
In the end, I’m simply amazed. iPods are so much more than just
carriers of music. They have become purveyors of knowledge and tools
for teaching. WHO KNEW??