We have been using Skitch with our Year 3 reading group work. Skitch is a free app which allows children to annotate their photos, maps or screen shots. It is very easy to use and it only took the students about 5 seconds to explore its capabilities.
Skitch work can be saved if you make an Evernote account but we have found it easier to simply take screen shots and store them in the camera roll on the iPad.
One way we have used Skitch:
- the whole class read The School Magazine and use their regular equipment such as highlighters, pencils etc to mark up text features as we discuss the article. (For example we may be focusing on predicting, finding the main idea or asking a question.)
- Then a small group does the same lesson but uses the iPad and Skitch in conjunction with The School Magazine. They zoom in and take a picture of the title and sub-headings for example. They then use the arrow tool and add text about their prediction of what the article is about.
- They may add p.1 for paragraph 1 or underline the key words of a paragraph using the Skitch pen tool.
- It is very easy for the teacher to assess the students as you can quickly note by their photo whether they understand the text feature you are teaching them about. And if they make a mistake, they can just press delete and take a new photo.
- Run out of photocopies? Just take a photo of last copy and ask student to complete work using Skitch.
Engagement is very high (as it is with all iPad use!) and students can work in pairs too – one person taking the photo and one reading/annotating.
Dictionary.com is another free app we seem to use all the time. We mainly like to use the thesaurus section of the app. Children type in their word and find synonyms for our descriptive writing tasks. I am not kidding when I say that two students who are in my lowest literacy group actually insisted on working through the first half of lunch as they were so entranced in all the ‘better words than black’ they found…and they published them on a sentence strip, too!
Looking forward to starting our descriptive writing unit based on the new curriculum and a visual text. Have found ‘The Literacy Shed’ to be ideal for videos on differing themes including visiting the very handy: ‘Picture Book Shed’.