After calling the kids to the carpet, I will hold up an iPad that is turned on to Minecraft, the game.
Does anyone here know what this is?
(Of course they all will because the kids around here are obsessed with the game lately.)
Well we are going to be learning and reading about iPad apps today.
(Prepare yourself for thunderous applause!)
For this unit, students will be helping me choose which iPad app to purchase for use in our 4th grade classroom. I let them know that they are going to get to help me with this process. To start out, we will hold a class discussion about the qualities that make the most popular apps so popular.
How many of you have used an iPod or iPad before?
How many of you have used the school iPads?
What is your favorite iPad app here at school?
What is your favorite app at home?
What are the qualities that a "good" app has?
Next, I let the students work in small groups to create a list of qualities an app needs to be a great app. (I create tables out of their desks because I love to have the kids work in groups. I attach their name tags on the desks with Velcro so that the seating arrangements and groups can easily be changed often.) The groups held discussions about the features and characteristics that an app needs to be a successful 4th grade app. Each group made a list of these characteristics and qualities.
After each group had a chance to make a list, we talked about the qualities of a great app as a class and made a big list on the board.
I had previously researched app that would be appropriate and beneficial to 4th grade learners and narrowed it down to 4. I printed out the descriptions, reviews, etc. from the iTunes app store (Apple App Store website) for each of these apps. I made enough copies of the app descriptions that each group received one copy of each app description.
I handed out a copy of each of the iPad app descriptions to each groups. (So each group received 1 copy of each of the 4 app choices.) I instructed the students to assign 1 person from their group to read each app description in its entirety and also the app reviews. I also gave each group an iPad and told them the could look each app up on the iStore for more reviews and info.
Students then worked together in their small groups to read and research information about each app.
The app descriptions were taken directly from the Apple App Store website descriptions of each app. Screen snapshot photos taken from each app were also included.
After reading about each app, students will discuss in their group which app would be best suited for our classroom. I always appoint a group leader to take charge of the group discussion. That group leader changes each time we do group work. Their ideas must be supported by evidence they found in the text.
Students will compile a list of textual evidence to support their app decision.
After the students had a chance to work in small groups, reading and researching the apps, I pulled them back together as a whole group. This is one of the first lessons this year we have had on backing decisions by citing evidence from the test. I wanted to make it clear to them how to do that. So we will talked about what decisions each group came to and had them share the evidence they found in the text to support their decision.
What app did your group find to be most suited for our 4th grade class?
What evidence in the text did you find to support your decision?
How do the claims made about the app your group has chosen compare to the list of qualification of a good app we made together on the board?
We then took the lists of textual evidence and used compared the lists to the qualifications that we had brainstormed on the board at the beginning of the lesson to see how close they were to the qualifications we thought made a good app.
Over the next couple of days, the students will learn how to compose a persuasive letter. They will write a letter to try to persuade me to purchase their app.