Our school is a school undergoing transformation and rejuvenation. Founded in the 1920's, the school has long been an important symbol of the town's history and culture. However, as a title 1 school, my freshmen students start their high school careers at a disadvantage to their local peers.
The resources and supports available to our students are affected by their circumstances in ways that are so discreet, they tend to be overlooked.
A student cannot stay after school for tutoring. They must ride the bus home because their family does not own a car.
A student cannot use online resources for research, because their family does not have internet access.
A student cannot type or print their paper because their family does not have a computer (or printer).
A student misses two days of school because their sibling was sick and mom still has to work.
And these are just a few examples.
As they enter high school, the students in my English and AICE English classes have a diverse set of needs. All students need exposure to reading materials which can be purchased and stored digitally. In addition, students need to find ways to refine their speaking & listening skills through collaborative discussions and video responses.
With these Kindle Fire tablets, students will not only have access to an extensive digital reading library, but they will also be able to record and review their own conversations to assess their ability to communicate orally in small group and presentation settings.
As we focus on areas that include the assessment and creation of speeches, debates and commercial rhetoric, students can use the Kindles for the following types of activities:
1. Students view, listen and analyze King's "I Have a Dream" speech, analyzing the connection to studies on sociology.
2. Students prepare, record & peer review a self-written speech on the importance of STEM in primary education.
3. Students create a "book trailer" after reading a non-fiction text about anatomy.
4. Students record their small group conversations in response to a text on genetic mapping, then use a rubric to score themselves and their peers on their responses.
The opportunities provided through a piece of portable technology are only as limited as their creativity. These Kindles would be a valuable and exciting tool that could spark the "fire" for interactive learning in the classroom.
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