An iTunesU Reading Course Created by Fifth Graders!

In our last wonderful coaching visit with Jennifer Kean from TCRWP, an observation assessment revealed that our readers lacked self-awareness of setting and achieving personal reading goals. I decided to ramp up/spice up our upcoming nonfiction unit of study by letting students pave their own path for their reading unit. Over a period of two weeks, my students set reading goals, developed specific reading strategies for their goal (i.e. determine author’s purpose by asking yourself “what is the author trying to say?”), planned their teaching points (yes, they know this term now!), and recorded their own mini-lesson. My teaching happened in conferences and small groups guiding students as they created a reading strategy that worked for them. With the power of technology, students used either the iPad camera or Doceri app to record their lessons. They then submitted them on Schoology and I uploaded it to iTunesU.

What we have now is an iTunesU Nonfiction Reading Course completely created by fifth graders ready to be used by other middle-grade readers to help with nonfiction reading. Each mini-lesson asks the reader to actively engage in the lesson by posting on either an iTunesU discussion board or a Padlet wall attached to the lesson. We’d love for your students to join our course so that our students can read their discussion boards and assess whether their strategy was effective and helpful. To enroll in the course, download the iTunesU app, click Enroll, and enter this code: FSF-AYZ-WFA.

Quality vs. Quantity seems to always be something I battle with when it comes to planning units of study. Do I teach a mini-lesson every single day or do I let a mini-lesson marinate for a couple of days? I still don’t know the right answer to this. However, what I do know is the learning felt much more tailored to each students’ needs this time around and students were able to consistently articulate their strategies as they read independently.

The Process

  1. We decided what nonfiction reading pros are good at doing.
  2. We decided what area we wanted to improve on ourselves. This became our personal goal!
  3. We read articles and spent time coming up with a reading strategy that we thought was helpful.
  4. We learned how to teach a mini-lesson just like the ones Ms. Hale does in her flipped lessons.
  5. We planned, practiced, and revised each part of the mini lesson using Doceri or Camera.
  6. Lastly, we recorded our lesson and used a checklist to help us decide if our lesson was a good one.
  7. We posted it on Schoology and Ms. Hale posted it on iTunesU for us!

Questions to Ponder or Share:

Have your students created an iTunesU course?

How do you individualize reading instruction?

How else can we utilize the power of technology to support authentic reading/writing instruction?