Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Retelling on the iPad

Big Question:  How do you listen to each student retell the story?

Answer: Have them record their retelling on Educreations and save their retelling and then you listen to all their responses at home on your couch! (I didn't have to try to juggle getting to each kid which would take forever.)  I actually listened to about 15 of them in 25 minutes during my prep. There were a couple of students who I identified right away as not recording because they had 3 or 4 seconds recording. I grabbed them during another activity to reinforce how this should look.

Here are the details of what I did.

We have just begun a unit on African Folktales and are focusing on reading books about Anansi. We decided that we will do multiple reads of each book to really focus on understanding these stories and to work on retelling and sequencing them. We spend a significant time asking questions and understanding the story on the first read. We read the book A Story A Story by Gail Hailey.

Today's activity was to retell the story (this is after a second reading). The students were instructed to get their iPads and go to the dropbox option in Educreations (see previous blog). We had dropped a screen shot of 7 pictures from the story in order with numbers on them into Dropbox. They had to download this picture, push record and then retell the story.

So here is how we made this work:
1. The picture had all 7 scenes from the story. It didn't need to be resized either on the app. We did not have the students put the pictures in order because our purpose was just retelling for this activity.

2. We had preplanned that each child would have a special "recording" place in the room. This was designed so students would not be too close and this would hopefully help with background noise. So, instead of 4 students at a table, we put two students. We obviously strategically picked students to stay at the table who needed more structure. The other students that normally sat at those tables we moved to areas throughout the room--by the carpet, by the door, by the cubbies, on the little couch, at empty tables, etc. This placement was very strategic.

3. We wrote Anansi on the board so they would know what to save the project as First Name and Anansi.

4.  This set up allowed the students to be independent and allowed the teacher to walk and listen to students and help them if needed.

I employ the "Just Do It" strategy where I show them and explain the process and then expect them to do it. We don't do a lot of practice. I find they don't need it. They truly are like little sponges and just learn it. This was the second time they have done Dropbox and they have never retold before.

Here are some examples:

Wynter's is more advanced in her retelling. She is able to expand upon the pictures and even go beyond them. She uses sophisticated language and really remembers the details. (Note her recording is over 3 minutes long)

Cameryn tells a very basic retelling and uses the pictures. He does not give as much detail and makes some errors (doesn't call the leopard a leopard, etc). I have experienced that calling him a tiger or other cat animal seems to happen occasionally with students.

I also send these retellings to their parents.

My future plans would be to introduce a retelling rubric to the students. One that they use to self assess and one that I would use to assess.


  1. Awesome idea! I was thinking of using the links of each child's rebelling to create qr codes . Can you view the educreations videos on the iPad?

  2. Figured it out ! Excited to try this.