Funny anecdote, when I moved to New York from Canada I thought that overnight I had lost my ability to spell. When I began working as a Learning Specialist here in Manhattan, every report and learning document I created came back hacked up from the editors. I was initially perplexed but began to investigate the differences between American and British spellings. It turns out I can spell, I just wasn’t versed in American Standard English. Therein lies the tricky thing about mastering the English language, not only is it not phonetic, but there are also multiple ways to spell certain words.
You can add the ‘e” in likeable in Canada or the UK, but in America they really would rather you left it likable. You can double consonants in travelled, modelling or counsellor, but on US soil they prefer you if you traveled or took up modeling. If you wish you can accessorize your outfit in L.A. but in Toronto you accessorise. You can head to the London theatre but you will go to a theater in Manhattan. Don’t even get me started on adding or omitting “u” in everything from favourite or colour. Mastering these nuances can be a challenge for any young (or old in my case) learner. Luckily we have some fun ways to learn to spell and build that understanding of English orthographic mechanics. Below you will find my latest article for the Yellin Center Blog.
Continue reading “Latest Article: Spelling Apps”
Another Ed Tech review is up on the Yellin Center Blog, this time about a suite of eBook and audiobook resources called TumbleBooks. You can head over to my review to learn about the ages each application is appropriate for, as well as all the teacher and librarian resources that are integrated right into the program.
However, what my review doesn’t elaborate is how vital eBooks and audiobooks are for developing the literacy skills of struggling or reluctant readers. Beyond being below grade level in reading ability, one additional challenge struggling readers have to combat is a lack of background knowledge. Often we glean vital information from texts that help us create connections, encode new ideas and enrich our learning experience across curricular areas. However, without exposure to this content struggling readers are unable to build a wealth of prior knowledge which can often lead to challenges in all academic areas. Therefore, when designing literacy interventions the lack of exposure to new vocabulary, a variety of content and diverse ideas needs to be accounted for. This is where audiobook and eBooks become an invaluable resource. These mediums allow students to access the same rich content as their peers, and build their knowledge base without hinging on their decoding or comprehension skills. I work with a lot of students with reading difficulties, and eBooks and audiobooks are two of my most recommended reading support strategies. Personally, I have witnessed a lot of success using alternative reading materials, but don’t simply take my word for it because research backs this evidence based practice also. So if you are looking to bolster your students interest in reading, as well as their content knowledge check out TumbleBooks because they offer a great variety of resources across grade levels and genres.
Another ed tech review is up on the Yellin Center Blog. This time it is for an incredible animation software program that has the power to assist educators in differentiating their instruction and cultivating a maker culture in the classroom. I was over the top excited to learn that one of my personal all-time favorite children’s authors has launched an award-winning software program titled Animation-ish. Peter H. Reynolds is the bestselling author and illustrator behind the incredible titles Ish, The Dot and The North Star. Each of the aforementioned held a very prominent and special place in my curriculum when I was a classroom teacher. Now, Mr. Reynold has moved beyond books and into the digital space with the launch of Animation-ish, which is described as “an easy-to-use animation software program that inspires creativity and enables children to show what they know.”
For more on how to use the app, its undeniable merits for the classroom and more unabashed praise singing of this amazing tool head over to my review at the Yellin Center.