Sunday, January 29, 2012

TumbleBooks: Week Three

There's a lot to think about when setting up new routines with a first grade class in the month of January in any given school year.  To that end, we have experimented in trying different ways to roll out the iPad read-alongs found on the TumbleBook page of the Portland Public Library site.

The first week, I chose two books that I wanted pairs of children to read.  I helped them to navigate the site so that we could find the books quickly.  Students worked in pairs and were able to manage the iPads in a rather independent way.  Whenever possible, they problem-solved challenges together if I was in the middle of testing or they went back to working independently in the room until I was available to help.  This was surprisingly easy to manage but in my mind it didn't seem exciting or playful enough...

Last week, I decided that I'd give the kids a chance to peruse the ABC lists of iPad titles which are stored on links on the TumbleBook Read-Along page.  Each child was able to practice clicking on an alphabet letter and then expected to choose a book by scrolling down through that letter's list of titles.  (For example, if they clicked on the B-C list of titles, they might choose to read Boomer Goes to School.)

This was fun but I realized early on that some of the books children chose were too long and some of the books were not as interesting as others.  At least two children were sort of disappointed because to them--their choices weren't what they had expected.  With this observation, I realized that for the time being, their searches needed to be a bit more guided.  In the near future, we will have time as a group to determine shared criteria as to what makes a book worthy of our time.  Then, as soon as testing is over, we'll create "feed back" sheets to share opinions about specific titles.

In the meantime, I'm calling the next two weeks, "Treasure Chest Books" weeks.  Each week, I will choose two snappy titles that I know from experience all first graders will enjoy.  The pairs of students will be expected to problem-solve their way into and within the site--calling on classroom experts for help when needed.  In theory, exposure to these books will help us to develop a list of criteria as to what makes a book worthy of being recommended to others.

Please try to check our blog throughout the week because I plan to post daily pictures of the children reading in our iPad Nook, as well as, reading around the room during Reading Workshop.

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