Teacher Enhanced Learning Activity – Starfall Oriented Spelling, Reading, and Writing Activity

Class/Grade Levels: Special Education Grades K-3

Time: 1.5-2 hours

Materials include:

– 4 in class computers connected to the internet http://www.starfall.com/

– 1 pre-teaching and reinforcement computer

– Supplementary handouts for different level learners http://www.starfall.com/ni/download/level-k-bl/bl-abc.pdf, http://www.starfall.com/ni/download/puzzles/classification/saclassification.pdf, http://www.starfall.com/n/N-info/level-b/art/vangogh.htm

– Joysticks and alternate interfaces needed for students with physical disabilities

Rationale:

Due to large gaps in learning abilities within the special education we will use the internet learning tool Starfall to reinforce student’s spelling, reading, and writing skills. It will also give them the opportunity to strengthen their computer and internet using abilities. Computer use will be supported by assigned exercises and handouts relating to their reading and writing level prior to and after time on the computer. The grade level work is based on the student’s individualized education program (IEP), which correlates with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Highline School District policy.

The NETS Standards used in this activity are:

1. Creativity and Innovation

a. apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes (higher level students).

b. create original works as a means of personal or group expression (higher level students).

2. Research and Information Fluency

c. evaluate and select information sources and digital tools based on the appropriateness to specific tasks (all levels)

5. Digital Citizenship

d. advocate and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology. (all levels).

e. exhibit a positive attitude toward using technology that supports collaboration, learning, and productivity (all levels).

f. demonstrate personal responsibility for lifelong learning (all levels).

6. Technology Operations and Concepts

a. understand and use technology systems (all levels).

b. select and use applications effectively and productively (all levels).

Lesson:

We will pre-teach any students that have difficulty with using the mouse, accessing the web, and using the program. Due to large gaps in students learning levels we separate the class in four ability group to coincide with Starfall’s (2007) 4 reading levels:

1) ABC’s, Let’s get ready to read

2) Learn to Read, Zac the Rat and other tales

3) It’s Fun to Read, About Me, Art Gallery, and more

4) I’m Reading, Plays, Nonfiction, and more

Groups will be from 3-4 students. While waiting for their turn on the 4 main computers the other students will either be being pre-taught basic computer use on the extra computer, or practicing their skill level exercises, such as reading and writing letters, words, and sentences. Each student will have 15-30 minutes of actual computer use on the Starfall website, and with mentoring will be able to move up to different levels as applicable. The first level focuses on spelling and writing letters, but also contains simple games and even sign language. The next two levels work up to reading individual words and sentences, and also has games and puzzles. The fourth level contains reading, and prepares them for writing. Along with the exercises, puzzles, and games are animated videos that can be used as rewards for positive behavior. After the computer use the students will practice the learned skills using handouts from the Starfall website. The handouts correlate with the exercises and games, and in the upper levels provide prompts for writing. Repeating this activity at least twice a week will give the students time to feel comfortable with the games, and build upon their learning.

Variables:

Timetables for this activity may be manipulated to best fit the special education classroom or even the individual student. For instance a student with ADHD might benefit from using the activity early on Monday morning when they might be the most excited, or Friday afternoon when they could be distracted by the upcoming weekend. Whereas some other students might need time to adjust to the classroom setting, and Monday morning might not be the most appropriate time setting. Other variables include time allotments for the activity. Computer and handout times may need to be shortened or broken in smaller increments to accommodate student’s ability for quality concentration on subject matter.

Objectives:

– Students will work with teachers and paraprofessionals on the computer to finish skill level games, exercises, and puzzles.

– Following their computer time students will complete their handout exercises, which apply directly to the computer work.

– After their computer use students will be able to show improvement on their skill levels (letters, words, reading or writing).

Assessment:

Teachers and paraprofessionals will assess exercises before and after computer time to study improvements. Students will be observed on the activity website to evaluate comprehension and ability.

References:

International Society for Technology In Education.(2007). The ISTE National Educational Technology Standards (NETS•S) and Performance Indicators for Students. Retrieved from: http://www.iste.org/Content/NavigationMenu/NETS/ForStudents/2007Standards/NETS_for_Students_2007_Standards.pdf

Starfall Education. (2007). Starfall.com, Where children have fun learning to read. Retrieved from: http://www.starfall.com/

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