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Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Reading, Spelling and Ofsted!


In Year 2 at Becontree Primary School the iPads have been used on many different occasions. In one of our Year 2 classes we have a child who hardly speaks any English and is at the very early stages of learning her letter sounds. When the rest of the class are completing their handwriting practice, this particular child uses the ‘iWriteWords’ app on the iPad, with the support of an SSA. This allows the child to practise forming letter sounds whilst hearing the sound of the letter as well. The SSA also encourages the child to say the letter sound as well in order for her to try and learn them. The only slight problem with this app is that some letters do not conform to the cursive handwriting style that we teach the children in Year 2. For example a ‘t’ and ‘l’ are slightly different to the way that we teach the children. Now that this child has become familiar with the app, she can use it independently if needed.

The iPads have also been invaluable during Reading and Spelling Workshop lessons, especially for the lower ability group. When the children are working independently in their guided reading groups, one group each day uses the iPads, on a rotation basis. The apps that they use are mainly ‘iWriteWords’ for children who need to practise their letter formation and learn their letter sounds as well as ‘Bubble Spell’ where the children are shown a word, which then disappears, and they need to press the correct letters to spell the word. These apps are perfect for this lesson where the children work in small groups and each child can have an iPad. The children using the iPads often work with an SSA but as they have become more familiar with, and able to use the iPads, they can work independently.

Recently, we had an Ofsted single subject inspection on ICT. As we are fortunate to have 6 iPads in Year 2 at the moment, these were used when the inspector came to observe a Maths lesson. The iPads were used during the starter of the lesson. The children were grouped into 3s or 4s and had one iPad between them. The remaining children in the group were given a whiteboard. The children used the app ‘Eggs on Legs’ which has questions relating to addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. There are also 3 difficulty levels for each area. The children focused on addition and subtraction on the first level. These games consisted of normal addition and subtraction questions as well as some missing number sums. This is an area that the children found difficult on their recent test. Once they were shown how to calculate the answers to missing number sums, all children were able to complete the games successfully. Initially, when the children were given iPads to use in groups they did not always work well as a team. The child with the iPad often dominated and the other children did not get involved as much as they could. They had to be reminded that they were working as a team and the children with whiteboards had to write the answer on that first, after discussing the answer with their group, before the child with the iPad pressed the answer. With practice, the children worked very well with the iPads and shared them sensibly.

The children in Year 2 love using the iPads and use them very sensibly. They understand how expensive and valuable they are. They are very good at sharing them, even when they haven’t specifically been asked to. There have hardly been any problems with the children using them. They are very user friendly and simple to operate.

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