Grade 2Maintained by:
Laurie Stock
Thomas S. O'Connell Elementary School
external image O%27Connell_School_Tigers.jpg


This month, my goal was to utilize the iPad for additional resources other than apps. The students were working on a writing piece for the prompt, "On evening at dusk, I was snowshoeing through the forest". The objective was to add descriptive words to our writing using our senses and to build suspense. The suspense was to be revealed at the end with an owl silently, swooping down from a branch above.


We read Owl Moon to see how Jane Yolen uses descriptive words to paint a picture in the readers mind and we discussed her use of similes. We then created a class chart while brainstorming ideas for what we might see, hear, smell, taste, feel (both physically and emotionally) while snowshoeing through the forest at dusk. I was able to use Google images that I preselected on the iPad to create different visuals while we were brainstorming. I preselected the images I wanted and put them into my photos by taking a picture of the screen. Thanks to Ben, I learned that if you press the home button and sleep button at the same time, the image on the screen is saved to your photo gallery. This not only saves time during the lesson but it also prevents any unintended photos from popping up unexpectedly. Here are some sample images I captured this way (click the play button to view the slideshow):

Having the images helped since our landscape is not looking very wintery this year. It also helped the students generate very different ideas depending on what the picture contained. For example one picture had heavy snow on pine tree branches while another photo had bare branches with the snow mostly on the ground. Even the lighting was different between photos which created different emotions. One photo had a brilliant pink sky created by the setting sun, while the other image was much darker, which made it appear much colder and almost a little spooky. These very different visual images created a good variety of responses to help create a wealth of ideas on our class chart.

We also talked about how good writers visualize their stories in their heads before they write. Many successful writers research the topics they are writing about before they begin writing. I used Jan Brett as an example because she has a web site with child friendly articles and photos of the trips she has taken and experiences she had before writing and illustrating her stories. We may not be able to take trips around the world before we write a piece but, we can utilize books and technology to learn and view as much as we can about a topic before we write. This helps us create better visual images for the reader. Just like we love to visualize while reading a good story, we have the power to create images for the person reading our work.

We then used Google images again when we were ready to reveal our suspense -----seeing an owl swoop down before us. Here are some sample images (click the play button to view the slideshow)

We were lucky enough to have seen an owl up close in a recent assembly on birds of prey. In preparation for the assembly, our grade 2 used the topic of owls to teach nonfiction text features within our language arts curriculum. Using nonfiction material the students had an opportunity to learn a lot of facts about owls while learning to utilize the table of contents/glossary/index and gain information from diagrams, chart, graphs and maps. We again discussed, that using all that we know about owls will help us create better visual images for the reader. I used the google images to help refresh their memories of the details about what owls look like and the comb-like feathers they have at the ends of their wings which create silent flight. I also found some images to display of owls in flight to gain a better idea of what owls look like during flight. We discussed what the different body parts would look like to us standing below.
Using images on the iPad in conjunction with an assembly and nonfiction texts helped the students learn that they can use a variety of resources, including technology to help them gain information about a topic to brainstorm ideas before writing.