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Nessy Apps

I’ve had a good play with all the Nessy Apps on my android Smart Ultra 6 phone and they all run pretty smoothly. The Hairy Words apps are particularly good for High Frequency Words. Check out more information on Nessy products.

 

If you use the code ‘red dragon’ at the cart, you’ll get 10% off.

A Gamechanger – Osmo

Last year I signed up to get an Osmo, a little bit of genius kit utilising the Ipad‘s camera and aspects of augmented reality, the camera and Ipad recognising and responding to objects (letters or shapes) placed in the field-of-view.

It came in October and since then has caused the dropping of jaws of both pupils and adults. Some adults scurrying off to get others to come and see it in action. Why? It’s magic, well the kids (and quite a lot of adults) think so.

lpool

There are 3 (so far) ways to use the kit, a Tangram puzzle where you have to recreate shapes shown on the screen, firstly the shapes are delineated to practice, then just the silhouette shows. A physics game, Newton, where you have to draw lines on paper, but I use a whiteboard, to bounce balls to hit targets, the difficulty increasing all the time. And Words- this is really where it is a winner for me and my work with kids with all manner of literacy difficulties.

manu

‘Words’ works by simply presenting a picture on the Ipad with spaces for each letter of the word. The kids/adults have to place, throw or flick the right letters into the field-of-view and the camera/Ipad responds by inserting the letter(s) onto the screen. It’s like a hi-tech hangman really. Each pre-made picture set has several levels of word-difficulty from needing just an onset, medial, or final letter to needing all the letters to complete the word e.g. for a picture of an ‘egg’ it may present ‘-gg’ so just an ‘e’ is needed or ‘—‘ where all letters are needed. Scores tot up and whoever gets to the winning post gets bragging rights. There are already several sets of pictures that can be downloaded e.g. from cvc words, cvcc, ccvc words, ABC, fruit and veg, colours, geography, rocks and minerals etc. etc.

stokec

You can make your own sets with your own pictures, I use Search Creative Commons all the time. The difficulty of the word can be set as stated earlier simply by bracketing what letters you want to appear onscreen, none, a couple, lots etc. As you can see I’ve done some Premier League football teams and immediately, pupils (including difficult kids, I mean really difficult kids) are in there trying to complete the words. It can get chaotic with several pupils, but in the best possible way.

Segmenting, blending, phonics, listening, engagement, peer-coaching, motivation, turn-taking, cooperation, collaboration, this device brings it out in bucketloads. If you’re a teacher, just buy one for every class in the school, it’s a no-brainer.

 

Disclaimer- I have no affiliation with PlayOsmo whatsoever.

Simple Collaborative Speech-To-Text Use

If you have a 3rd generation iPad, Android phone, tablet, or indeed any device with microphone input facility on the keyboard then this might be a useful tool using Google Drive/Docs, either web-based or phone. Download the app and get an account if necessary.

Logo_of_Google_Drive

Open a new document and name it whatever. By sharing the link with whoever you want to, using the microphone key on the keyboard, anybody can input speech that will turn into text in the document. Make sure to allow ‘anyone can edit’. Indeed this approach could be used with any format of shareable document.

1413649164_Microphone_1

This could be useful for e.g. brainstorming ideas, recording answers quizzes/questions, ALN/SEN students who require alternate methods of inputting/recording work, I’m sure there are a plethora of uses. Whilst you may end up with a bunch of random unlinked sentences using with a lot of students, the redrafting, organising and proof-reading could be an integral focus of the lesson for some students.

Chimp Fu and Nessy

Just in time for summer hols, Nessy Learning Ltd have released a new app on both iTunes and Google Play– Chimp Fu! Chimp Fu press release

Chimp_Fu_app

Chimp Fu takes an aspect of the Nessy Learning System and provides a games-based graded approach to ‘chunking’ or segmenting words into syllables. The player is introduced to strategies to help break up words then can play a series of games. I’ve played it with some of my pupils and they seem to enjoy the games and progression. The neat thing about Chimp Fu is that if you have a Nessy.com account, Chimp Fu will sync to it allowing pupils to pick up progress on any device. The App costs £1.99 on iTunes but is FREE on 17th July for 24 hours, don’t miss out!! It’s £1.79 on Google Play.

|||***If you use the code ‘Red Dragon‘ for ANY Nessy product, then you will receive a 10% discount***|||

Chimp_Fu_word_chop

 

Whilst it’s aimed at KS 1 & 2 pupils, many older struggling readers may benefit from using the App.

The Nessy Learning System is now available online as NESSY READING and those of you who use Nessy Learning System will welcome this extension. Pupils can access the program from home, with the 1000s of worksheets and printable card games included in the program, it’s a steal. Even better with the 10% discount, just quote Red Dragon.

Nessy Reading is a pretty comprehensive online teaching resource and whilst nothing’s perfect, it ticks lots of boxes for engagement and motivation for those struggling with literacy and the humour running throughout is an endearing feature. There is plenty of overlearning and repetition of patterns and strategies. Don’t be put off by the KS1 & 2 focus, I’ve had plenty of KS3 pupils happily using the games and worksheets to reinforce lesson content.

You can play for free here

 

NB. I have delivered training for Nessy but receive no commission for sales, I just think it’s a good tool.

 

Social Media- Peers Help Spelling?

This morning I taught 2 year 7 pupils, one was late into school so I had some time 1-1 with Hanalise. I’ve just set up zondle logins for all my students so went through that first as an icebreaker. Every  now and then I check up how their High Frequency Words are coming on and they devise mnemonics or other ways of remembering tricky words. Just out of the blue I went over Hanalise’s check list and asked her to spell orally some she got wrong at the end of January/beginning of Feb, she scored 60/100 then. She spelled several correctly so I continued, at the end of the process I counted up how many she had correct of the ones that were incorrect lat time, she scored 94/100. I was intrigued but thought there has to be some reason that such a jump has been achieved.

I recorded this audioboo after listening to her explanation of why there was such a big jump in her score.

I was a bit under in my estimate of how many more she got right! I am always a bit skeptical about ‘test’ scores but her improved oracy and confidence (she was an elective mute in the past) and and inclination to participate has been quite something to behold. Obviously this is a snapshot incident, but it was exciting to witness her undoubted self-confidence in her newfound skills and also watching her imaginary ‘air- typing’ as she went through the process of remembering how to spell certain words.

Later in the day also, a year 9 became animated at the prospect that he could now blog from home as I set him up as a contributor to my Pupils’ Blogs. His comment? ‘oh,rather than writing on paper i’ts easier to write on keyboard’ < paraphrased, I did record his soundbite but mustn’t have saved it properly, doh!

An interesting day!

Callum’s Letters

Callum (year 5) is trying really hard to remember all the initial letter sounds and the digraphs sh, ch, th and ck.

He’s doing really well using a format based on multisensory methods and short lesson sessions as advocated by the Catch Up literacy program. I have no commercial interest in Catch Up, but as Callum in his baseline assessment knew 13 initial sounds and ‘ck’ (given that he’s now year 5) I thought I’d try the quite systematic approach Catch Up advocates. Obviously as he has such complex needs, I’ve adapted the program somewhat, using the Nintendo DS and MSPaint as recording mediums and one sound per lesson as well as revising previously learned sounds.

I’ve made him write using his ‘magic’ finger, and the stylus on the Elitebook Tablet. He’s written the letters on the desk, tablet, NGFL_alphabet, Nintendo DSi, the walls, the carpet and paper. I’ll post more as the program unfolds.

He blended a n d today to read ‘and’ and as he blended the sounds to make the word, he exclaimed it like it was the first time he had really read it, rather than remembering the ‘and’ word. ‘I’m getting good at reading now’, was his comment.

After a few weeks he’s now recognising and distinguishing between h, t, sh, n, m and u (which bodes well for the future but it’s early days yet!)

I am convinced he is more motivated and engaged in literacy using the Nintendo DS, NGFL Alphabet and the Paint/Stylus input, time will tell.

DSi and Games Based Learning – some more

Last week I asked my pupils  to bring in their Nintendo DS games consoles in to lessons and some of them did this week. On Tuesday, my small (3) group of pupils (all identified as having SpLD) used them to play a spelling game using the Pictochat feature. I gave 1 pupil a word to give another (ck endings in this case), the pupil wrote it down and zapped it into the Pictochat screen. The asker then copied the word and also zapped it into the screen. All the pupils could then see if the spelling was correct. The next pupil took his turn and so it went on. The pupils reviewed and acknowledged success and helped correct inaccuracies with not so much a sense of ‘that’s wrong’, more of a ‘it’s right this time’ positivity. I felt a great satisfaction from removing myself from the scene once they were up and running, the pupils’ motivation and engagement in the task was, to say the least, intense.

Obviously the same task could be done with pencil and paper, but I firmly believe the fact they were holding these little boxes increased their participation and sense of  ‘flow’ in an activity that I had previously not witnessed. As only one pupil had brought his in, the other two said they had lost theirs ‘in the house somewhere’. It will be fantastic if they find them for next week!

There was a similar pattern to lessons on Wednesday, but today was probably the most exciting development.

H, (am keeping her anonymity for the time being, hopefully the PTB will assent that I can start these pupils blogging asap but there appears to be some red-tape to pass through first….) is a year seven pupil I have taught since September. She is very timid, almost an elective mute, rarely speaking but reads quite well albeit barely audibly.

The week before last she asked were we bringing our DS’s in? I said yes but last week the whole school was on ‘theme day’ so I didn’t have any pupils. This week, the other pupil who attends with her was absent. She  had been learning spellings with the ‘or’ letter pattern and sat down and immediately got her DS out and fired it up. I noticed a picture of a hamster on her start-up screen. She wrote this with no prompting;-

H1 (Medium)

As well as the dialogue on the DS she appeared hugely more animated than usual, and as we started checking her  ‘or’ spellings  this then appeared.

H2 (Medium)

And smiled, this sense of humour had never revealed itself before, the spelling dialogue continued. Here are some more images of the screen towards the end of the lesson.

H3 (Medium)

I used the opportunity to correct some High Frequency spellings which she then altered, each time noticing what the mistake was.

H4 (Medium)

This final screen I think illustrates the power that this little box could have on her learning.

H5 (Medium)

I couldn’t help being genuinely flabbergasted by the amount of interaction, intensity and motivated engagement she showed in the activity. This was the first time I had used the DS with this pupil. The multi-modality of the communication, both her increased speaking, and the dialogue via the DS was quite extraordinary in comparison with previous lessons.

To witness a pupil using the entertainment technology they use everyday to enhance their learning, was possibly never more powerfully apparent to me than today.

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