Challenge Readers, Yet Differentiate For All Students With iPads

““With a heavy heart, I turned and walked away. I knew that as long as I lived I’d never forget the two little graves and the sacred red fern.” Wilson Rawls; Where The Red Fern Grows

Growing up as a reader some books you enjoy, some you hate, and some resonate in your heart and stay with you forever.  That’s why I made it a tradition to read Where The Red Fern Grows in my class every year.  Last year was my first time reading this classic story to my students, and the feedback from parents was overwhelmingly powerful.

As a teacher, it is challenging to read a middle school level novel to students when individual student’s comprehension spans from 2nd grade to 8th grade.  One doesn’t want only a quarter of their class to “get it”.  The goal is for every student to experience the story and walk away with a love of reading.  This is why I don’t give a formal test on this novel.  In the place of a test, students earned a reading comprehension grade by creating a “Somebody, Wanted, But, So” project on their iPads.

The Red Fern

To get started, I sat down in small groups and had students brainstorm two scenarios in the novel that included the Somebody, Wanted, But, So outline.  They wrote a sentence using this structure in their writing journals.  Then, the greatest commitment of time for this project began.  Students were to illustrate using a tool of their choice the point in the novel that their project detailed.  I wanted students to focus on what was happening within the plot and give their illustration details from the story.

Where The Red Fern Grows project

Students used various apps such as Doodle Buddy, Whiteboard, and Drawing Pad.  While others chose to grab a  sheet of paper and color pencils.  The final step in the project was to load their image into ChatterPixKids and allow one of the characters to “say” their Somebody, Wanted, But, So phrase.

In the end, the projects were a HUGE success.  Check out some of our projects below!

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