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Get Cross-Curricular with Speakaboos

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

First grade teacher and Speakaboos Teacher Ambassador Julie DiBenedetto recently shared her experiences teaching cross-curricular lessons using Speakaboos. Read on for Julie's advice to instructors wishing to integrate reading into school subject.

"Hello Speakaboos Fans! My name is Julie DiBenedetto and I am a first grade teacher in Ohio. I am now 14 years into teaching the grade that I most adore…. First Grade is unlike any other. It is truly the year of many firsts…. First time reading. First time writing. First time using meaningful technology to extend learning in the classroom. As I have stepped further and further away from traditional basal reading programs, I spent the last 3 years fine-tuning what I like to call 'Theme-Based Teaching!' It is the most natural way to push in all those common core standards across content-areas in a fun and practical way. Without the heavy anchors of being tied down to a weekly basal program, I had the freedom and flexibility to choose the reading tools that would be necessary to harness that 'lightening bolt of excitement' for my young learners. It is a big responsibility but finding the right support systems (like Speakaboos) makes that cross-curricular planning so much easier!

One extremely important piece of weekly interactive reading in my first grade classroom is using Speakaboos. Friends, let me tell you that Speakaboos has taken read alouds to a whole new level this year!

As a Teacher Ambassador for Speakaboos, I wanted to find cross-curricular ways to maximize the use of this platform in my classroom so my first graders would find that same passion for reading that I have AND share those teachable moments with other teachers like you!

How do I use Speakaboos?
It has become an integral part of our 'Listen to Reading' time every day during Daily 5 rotations.
I have 2 iMac computers in my classroom and this 'Listening Station' is always full!

Each student, based on their personal preference, can choose what type of read aloud experience they are looking for: Read to Me, Read and Play, or Read to Myself.

There are also stories that I 'list' for students to read for the week like this one called 'Find It: Shapes All Around Me.' To bring in that cross-curricular piece, in Math this week we are exploring 2 and 3 dimensional shapes. This Speakaboos story is the perfect fit to reinforce what students already know about that content AND to investigate new shapes they are interested in learning more about.

More Math Stories that we love – 'Time for Sleep' and 'Time to Eat' are wonderful for telling time and making a class schedule.

'The Changing Seasons' and 'What Is The Weather Like Today?' reinforce measurement and we love making weather graphs to record daily weather data after watching this read aloud!

Speakaboos on the iPads is a blast! I definitely think the students prefer working and reading from the iPads.
I have noticed such a huge jump in reading readiness and comprehension this year!

I tend to use my teacher iPad to work with a small group of students during Guided Math.
I will introduce a particular math concept with the interactive Speakaboos story. This is the perfect opportunity to make 'real world connections' concrete with a read aloud that is so interactive. Then, when I am working with one or two of those students on assessing that math skill, the remaining 3-4 students go back and reread the Speakaboos story on the iPads for fluency and comprehension until it time to switch roles and repeat.

This process elevates the age-old problem of 'What Do I Do Next' because there is always another story to read if I happen to run over with my first group. Can you say, 'HAPPY TEACHER!'

Side Note: Just last week, we were brainstorming words for our newest Hunk & Chunks for the Long Vowel E:

(ee) and (ea)

Tons of great words were collected and the favorite was 'Speakaboos' because it has become such a valued part of our daily learning!

If you are a teacher like me, and value these 'Teachable Moments' then Speakaboos is a cross-curricular must-have for your classroom!

What’s coming next in my classroom using Speakaboos?

Fairy tales!

I can’t wait to share these amazing classics with my first graders!

If you found this post to be helpful, I would be honored to have you follow my teaching blog – FirstGradeCritterCafe.blogspot.com

Happy Teaching!

Julie DiBenedetto"

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