Teacher talk: Enhancing language arts instruction with technology
My students become highly engaged when offered the opportunity to use technology in the classroom, and I'm constantly testing new ways to incorporate these tools into daily activities. In particular, I have begun using more technology in my language arts lessons and have already noticed a dramatic improvement in student response. Thus far, I've had my students blog, post to discussion boards, communicate with pen pals electronically, and develop PowerPoint presentations to share book reports.
I'm always pushing my students to examine current events, but trying to get eight and nine year olds to read a newspaper usually results in disaster. In an effort to protect them from inappropriate content, I've started using the site TweenTribune. This site enables students to log on, view age appropriate news articles, and share their thoughts or opinions in the comments sections. I can manage my students' discussions by approving their comments before they are posted online. This type of current event blogging makes reading the news fun and allows students to participate in constructive discourse, as they are able to read each other's posts and respond to comments.
Another way to integrate technology into language arts instruction is to invite students to become electronic pen pals with students in another classroom. Rather than sending letters in the mail, students can create their own email accounts and exchange notes via the Web. This gives them the chance to improve both their keyboarding and letter writing skills, all while sending and receiving instantaneous messages with a peer.
I also assign my students a book report presentation every school year. Each student is asked to present a 10 minute talk on a book they read, using PowerPoint or Prezi to develop an engaging presentation for their classmates. They create a slide for each of their talking points, which include character, setting, plot, conflict, resolution, information on the author, and whether they enjoyed the book and would recommend it to a friend.
These tools and others have significantly enhanced language arts instruction in my classroom. I believe in integrating 21st century learning skills into my lessons whenever possible, and these new approaches have already proved incredibly beneficial.
About the Author:
Christi Wilson is a credentialed teacher of highly-gifted students in Northern Nevada. She has 11 years of classroom teaching experience, a bachelor's degree in elementary education, a master's degree in education leadership, and has even taught K-12 education online. A mother of three busy boys, she knows how important it is to keep students engaged in the classroom and interested in a lifetime of learning.