Student Achievement Data 2009-2010

How do we know any of this is really working for our students?

Here are the relevant parts from several presentations that we have been done about increasing student achievement using iPod touch in the classroom. We have been asked for our data slides by many folks, so rather than emailing them, we thought posting them for download might make more sense.

Download file "ipodachievementdata-20092010.pdf"


Innovation Grant: Gale Hipp

iPod touch 1-1 in 6th Grade Math
By Gale Hipp, 6th Grade Math Teacher

Here is a video explaining my successes this year using iPod touch with my 6th Grade math students:
Download file "TECH_CLASS.mp4"

Below are some of the thoughts and ideas that I share in my video narration. I will post the results of our state tests as soon as they are available in June, 2010.

“If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow.” by John Dewey. I love that quote and but then I hate it too. To remain on the cutting edge is hard. We already know that kids these day learn computer technology more easily than adults, it’s as if they’ve been waiting all these centuries for someone to invent their native language.

I was lucky this year to get a class set of iPod touches.

My essential question: What happens when students use touches in the math classroom.

  • I kept a journal and recorded memorial moments and general observations.
  • I gave two surveys that the students responded to
  • The Idaho test was given in October and will again in May for student gain in achievement.
Additional questions asked of the students were:
  • Do you enjoy math more while using the Touches?
  • Does using the Touches during math class help you to solve problems?
  • What have you learned from other students in the classroom?
  • Has using the Touches made math easier for you? If so, how?
Two journal entries I would like to share with you that I am particularly proud of are:

A struggling student who has been ‘gang identified’ and has just recently returned from a suspension for fighting asked me to get more of the ‘finger physics’ Apps. We got onto the iTunes App store and he helped me pick out some Apps he wanted to see on his iPod touch.

A student who struggles with concentrating was able to put on a pair of headphones and listen to music, while taking the first round of state testing, he came one point away from exceeding the state test - he didn’t pass in 5th grade......

What I am happiest with is before when kids finished their math early, I didn’t have much for them to do that they enjoyed, worksheets, coloring, extra credit, reading? They didn’t like it and now I can control what they are working on and know that it is education and they all LOVE to get free time on their iPod touches.

Although I am very proud of what we accomplished in math class this year with the iPod touches I have some additional goals for next year:

I want to know how to use Google Docs with responses from my kids using my blog
  • More apps regarding podcasting- make them and find them
    • want to find time to make videos & podcasts
  • Currently have plenty of Apps on Algebra, percentages, etc. what next?


Innovation Grant: Jennifer Hitchcock

In the elementary school library, fostering the love of reading is my greatest objective. Knowing that not all children will “love” to read, at least I hope to encourage the development of reading skills as a foundation for the other subject areas that they experience at school. Weekly library sessions are a time of choice, where students can select what interests them versus the classroom reading assignments.

I have observed various levels of interest and enthusiasm for choosing library materials. Many know what they want and where to find it. These students are generally confident learners or excited about what is found inside of books. Another population of students benefit from some direction or suggestions to help them make choices. A third group of learners include struggling or reluctant readers and a fourth group is made up of students who display no interest in selecting materials of choice. This fourth group includes learners with a variety of reading skills, many very capable, simply not interested.

In my second year on the job, with the help of a colleague, I introduced audio books on ipod as a library item for check out. The targeted audience was the emergent reader however student interest across the board was so high that we expanded the book selections to appeal to the greater community. These audio books serve their purpose well, supporting readers and providing pleasure or entertainment. Yet, there still is that fourth group of kids who find nothing appealing in the library. My research question is a result of this curiosity.

Q: What happens when students read and listen to electronic books?
  • Will students be newly motivated to read?
  • Will comprehension improve by hearing the audio book as well as reading the text?
  • Will reader engagement increase, shown by completion of books or students following through with the use of technology?
  • What barriers will arise that prevent students from having success with the electronic books?

Research Results

Journal notes: At weekly library time, demand for iPod touches increases when others observe iPod touches being checked out.
  • When I promote them, they are always in use.
  • Shy or reluctant readers, whom I hoped to attract, usually approach me to talk about an iPod touch at the end of the library hour, when I have another class coming in. I often have to invite those kids to return later, so we can complete a check out.
  • Students learn how to navigate the apps quickly, maximizing their efficiency.
  • They teach one another with ease.
  • Listeners can stop and restart the audio version at exact points, making the iPod touch much easier to use than the shuffle.
  • Economically, the Kindle version of books stretches my budget dollar significantly. The titles cost between $6 and $12 and can be played on 5 devices, with no wear and tear of pages, corners, or bindings and require no shelf space.
  • Titles that I purchased without printed copies, have not been explored as much as I had expected.
  • OBOB is taking place in the same time period, focusing the readers to particular titles.
  • My target audience of readers who show little interest in checking out materials, did try iPod touches but did not use AR tests to provide me with measurable data about comprehension or that would indicate that books were completed.
  • Feedback from teachers: A wide range of student reading levels are using the iPod touch
  • High interest level! Students were willing to work ahead to earntime to use the iPod touch.
  • Not disruptive to others.
  • Very engaging.

Barriers that I have noticed:
  • Keeping it charged, recharging at school must be done in a locked cabinet.
  • Students have to take the initiative to pick up and return a signed permission slip.
  • There is often a waiting list and kids do not have the freedom to come at will throughout the week to check out when it is not their class library time.
  • The one week check out is too short for the student who is reading a 15 hour book, or two.
  • The issue of security of the devices casts a dark cloud over the student as I coach them about responsibility, appropriate use, suggestions for safe keeping.
  • They are usually returned late.
  • Marketing the devices takes my time and energy.

The technology attracts some readers who may otherwise not select library materials for choice reading at all. The data collected by the library software, shown in graph form, supports this conclusion. In addition, my contact with such students has increased, allowing me to further encourage the use of library materials, or reading in general during our conversations.

From student interviews I have drawn the following conclusions:
  • Students find the size and mobility of the iPod touch convenient. It can hold great amounts of text without the bulk or weight of traditional printed books.
  • When students encounter an obstacle while using the iPod touch, they are resourceful, and seek a solution with no guidance from me. They communicate their issues and offer me the solutions that they have discovered.
  • The features of the iPod touch are much friendlier for students hearing full length novels than the shuffle. Users can change the narration speed, stop and restart accurately as well as fast forward or reverse, to reinforce a particular point in a book.
  • The use of the iPod touch as an electronic reader continues to increase in our library as new users are seen by other students with the device. When I promote it’s use, there is always a spike in demand.

From surveys I learned that even with very simple “If yes” instructions, students distort the results by not following directions. Survey writing allows bias to influence results.

Survey Results:
  • 33 % of the population has not provided the permission slip.
  • Another group of 39 % had no interest. 13% thought is sounded fun, 7% have their own iPod touch.
  • Of those who have checked out an iPod touch, the feedback was mixed, the data is attached. The process of giving the survey renewed interest for some, generating 2 new permission slips as well as comments that were added saying “ I forgot about it, left my form at home etc”.

Next Steps:
I have concluded that having iPod touches available as a library item for check out is valuable to our students. The operational difficulties are manageable, as we have responded to them and implemented changes to procedures. Therefore, I will continue to promote their use within the 5th and 6th grade classes by restating the need for the permission from parents, having current users offer verbal testimony at library time, and take requests for new titles that I will purchase. I will also speak with the four teachers of grades five and six about using the existing titles in small novel groups this spring. If it appeals to students who use the iPod touch for assigned reading in class, I would expect and increase in demand to check out an iPod touch for choice reading. While preparing for
this presentation, I created a printed catalog that students can view to see which titles are on the iPod touch, before deciding to check one out.

New Questions:
I wonder how I could manage sharing our books with students onto their personal devices. I would need to check into the licensing agreements. Surveys indicated that several students own an iPod touch so they did not wish to check one out. Of those students, I wonder if any have the Kindle app, own or borrow electronic books. How much more work would that create for me?
Although I have so few devices available, should I expand the check out period so that readers can finish more material before the due date? I would likely have a longer waiting list, which may cause students to give up on the idea or lose enthusiasm.

iPod touch interview

What did you like about reading books on the iPod touch?
  • I liked it better than reading a regular book.
  • It was easy to carry, no pages to turn or stick together. Nice and compact.
  • I could read in the dark.
  • I could mark my page, like dog earring paper.
  • It’s cool, cause its tiny.
  • It is easy and slim

  • The pages seem small, with only a few words on them.
  • It can be too sensitive, the pages turn with such a light touch, sometimes by accident.
  • It makes my eyes tired. The light dims quickly if you are not turning pages.
  • Can’t use finger to follow along or it turns pages

If you listened to the audio version while reading the text, please share your comments.
  • I could multi-task while listening and not pack around an actual book.
  • Narrators made the book sound more interesting.
  • I could speed up the rate of narration so it was read faster, or slow it down.
  • Listening also slows me down. It stops me from overlooking a section. I hear it.
  • I can see the word and hear the pronunciation.
  • It can be hard to end the listening and reading in the same spot.

Other comments:
  • I could have a bunch of books at once, with out carrying a stack.
  • I could change the screen brightness and color scheme, but more colors would be nice.

All students interviewed would recommend this reading technique/device to others.

1 comment

iRead Final Projects: Lee Elementary

Lee Elementary School

Zuleima Ardila, NLD Teacher

Download a PDF of my presentation:
Download file "iread-zuleima.pdf"

Lee Elementary School

Denise Chamberlain, ELD Teacher

Download a PDF of my presentation:
Download file "iread-chamberlained.pdf"


iRead Final Projects: Knight Elementary

Knight Elementary School

Amy Sebastian, ELD Teacher

Download a PDF of my presentation:
Download file "iread-sebastian.pdf"

Knight Elementary School

Lorena Zúñiga Roa, NLD Teacher

Download a PDF of my presentation:
Download file "iread-zuniga.pdf"


iRead Final Projects: Eccles Elementary

Eccles Elementary School

Michelle Davies, ELD/NLD Teacher

Download a PDF of my presentation:
Download file "iread-mdavies.pdf"

Eccles Elementary School

Manya Frazier, ELD/NLD Teacher

Download a PDF of my presentation:
Download file "Manya'a Project.pdf"

Eccles Elementary School

Patricia Browder, ELD/NLD Teacher

Download a PDF of my presentation:
Download file "iread-browder.pdf"


iRead Final Projects: Ninety-One School

Ninety-One School

Nicole Read, ELD Teacher

Download a PDF of my presentation:
Download file "iread-readn.pdf"

Ninety-One School

Ann Snow, ELD Teacher

Download a PDF of my presentation:
Download file "iread-snow.pdf"


iRead Final Projects: Baker Prairie Middle

Baker Prairie Middle School

Derek Thiem, ELD Teacher

Download a PDF copy of my presentation:
Download file "iread-thiem.pdf"

Baker Prairie Middle School
Victoria Harris, ELD Teacher

Download a PDF copy of my presentation:
Download file "iread-vharris.pdf"


iRead Final Projects: Baker Prairie Middle

This is placeholder text for your new blog entry. Replace it with your own.


iRead Final Projects: Ackerman Middle

Ackerman Middle School
Donna Diggs, ELL Teacher

Download a PDF copy of my presentation:
Download file "iread-diggs.pdf"


Innovation Grant: Deana Calcagno

A Class Touched by a Touch
By Deana Calcagno, 5th Grade Teacher

Download a PDF of my presentation:
Download file "Calcagno-ipod.pdf"

“To get through the hardest journey we need take only one step at a time, but we must keep on stepping”
~Chinese Proverb

Research Purpose:
The purpose of my research is to gather information from students as to whether or not using iPod touches through the use of digital kits can increase student involvement and achievement

YEAR OF BOAR - iPod touch timeline
  • Chapter 1 - January
    • downloaded Chinese New Year Music CD
    • Chinese Zodiac app.
    • dictionary to look up vocabulary words: Patriarch, Matriarch, squandered, Buddah, foreign
    • Google Earth to look up locations:
    • Chungking, China- couldn’t find it.
    • Great Wall of China
    • Chinese New Year Customs
    • Mountain of Ten Thousand Steps
    • River of Golden Sands
    • abacus
    • Shirley Temple
    • rickshaws
  • Chapter 2 - February
    • dictionary to look up vocabulary words: cringe, torrential, mocking, solemn, immigration.
    • Brooklyn Bridge- description of the history of the bridge.
  • Chapter 3 - March
    • dictionary to look up vocabulary words: ambassador, reputation, intimidated,interrogated, grimaced, writhed
    • PS8 name of a school
  • Chapter 4 - April
    • dictionary to look up vocabulary words: delicatessen, protruded, humiliated, acquired, murmured, forlorn, illustrious, sinister, billowing
    • Uses the touches to record how well they read aloud. They would listen to it and then try it again.
  • Chapter 5 - May
    • kowtows
    • stick ball
  • Chapter 6 - June
    • dictionary to look up vocabulary words.
    • Jackie Robinson
    • Ebbets Field
    • Yankees- stadium
  • Chapter 7 - July
    • dictionary to look up vocabulary words.
    • Dodger Fever
  • Chapter 8 - August
    • dictionary to look up vocabulary words.
    • Great Wall of China
  • Chapter 9 - September
    • dictionary to look up vocabulary words.
    • Chungking
    • Mountain of Ten Thousand Steps
    • progressive

What is next?
  • I am so excited to see the 5th Grade Oaks Testing results at the end of the year. I hope the touches have excited the students about reading.
  • I can’t wait to design another digital kit. I have a better understanding of what I should include.
  • I really need time to collaborate with other teachers that have had the touches so I can raise the bar on my digital kits.
  • I am anxious to design ways for my students to incorporate the touches in other subjects; especially in science and social studies.

“ Success is not place at which
one arrives but rather the spirit with which one undertakes and continues the journey."
~Alex Noble


Innovation Grant: Leon Borgmeier

Oregon Trail & iPod touch
By Leon Borgmeier, 4th Grade Teacher

Download a PDF of my presentation:
Download file "OR_Trail_ipod.pdf"

Origins of the Question

My fourth-grade students study the Oregon Trail as a major part of my third trimester social studies curriculum. Lectures, role-playing activities, and a simulations form the majority of the unit lesson plans. The lessons that require students to use critical-thinking strategies typically seem to be the most effective.


  • What happens when Apple iPod Touches are used to support student critical-thinking development?
  • How will student motivation be affected when iPod Touches are incorporated into the Oregon Trail lessons?
  • What will learning look like when students are using the iPod Touches?
  • How will I measure the affects of the iPod Touches in comparison to learning from standard lessons?
  • How will I distinguish between “learning” and “playing” when students are using the iPod Touches?
  • With eight iPod Touches and 22 students, how will I distribute opportunities to use the Touches against my more standard lessons?
Data Collection

Collecting data will be the most critical component of my research project. Therefore, I will rely on three chief sources of data collection. First, I will use student work. Comparing written responses of students who are using the iPod Touches to responses of students who are doing other activities will allow me to analyze the development of critical-thinking skills and expressive language. Another form of data collection I will employ will be student interviews. This process will allow me to use follow-up questions to help me focus on the specific information I will be seeking. Interviews will also provide opportunities for me to analyze students‘ attitudes, interest levels, and self-expression. Finally, I will record activities of students using the iPod Touches for Oregon Trail lessons and those participating in my standard Oregon Trail lessons and activities. While I may gather data from other sources (student surveys, anecdotal observations, my own journal), I will certainly base the outcome of my research project on the previously-mentioned sources.

Data Analysis

  • One finding I am certain of is the Oregon Trail game on the iPod Touch has my students anxious to study the Oregon Trail.
  • What led me to this conclusion? Observations and interviews convince me of the students’ level of enthusiasm.
  • Another finding I am certain of is I am becoming more aware of when “learning” is happening when students are using the iPod Touches.
  • What led me to this conclusion? I have listened to their discussions and observed the development of their reasoning skills.


The level of interest in The Oregon Trail on the iTouch is apparent when speaking to the students. I should note that at this time my students have only played the free version of The Oregon Trail app. I do not start my Oregon Trail unit until after Spring Break. By limiting them to the free version, they can experience some of the tasks and activities the full version offers, but they cannot go very far on the trail.

Interviews with the students produce responses like “I look forward to finding out more about the kind of people who were on the Oregon Trail” and “I wonder what is was like for a kid on the Oregon Trail.” In discussions with students after they have played free version of The Oregon Trail on the iTouch, I find they are not only interested to learn why pioneers headed to Oregon and how long it took, but they are also interested to learn details about how pioneers crossed rivers on the way, where the forts were along the trail, and what happened when people got sick during the journey.

One interesting observation I made really surprised me. During a social studies lesson on how a bill becomes a law, we had looked at a flow chart as a means of making the process clearer. When I was speaking to a group about their experiences with The Oregon Trail game and had them explain the reasoning behind some of their choices, they designed a flow chart to show where and why they made some of their choices. It was very organized thinking and showed some development I had not anticipated.


Innovation Grant: Angie Navarro

Using iPods with Dual Language Immersion Students
By Angie Navarro, Elementary Teacher

Download a PDF version of my presentation:
Download file "anavarroTech-preso.pdf"

First grade students + Dual Language Immersion + iPod touches + iPod shuffles + headphones + Angie Navarro = ?

What happens when I use iPod touches & shuffles, headphones during reading block in first grade?
What are all the possibilities? What about math time? What apps are the most interesting to my students? Are they learning?
I know...
  • all students are motivated and some are very motivated
  • students like the iPods
  • math games seem to be more popular than reading ones
  • students are getting more oral language input
  • students are on task when using the iPods
I know....
  • using iPod touches has forced me to integrate
  • technology and has made my practice more flexible
  • it is time consuming
  • the iPod touches have helped me differentiate my instruction
  • using the iPods have helped me get more teaching accomplished...
I wonder...
  • how to support others at my building with technology
  • what more could I be doing to support student learning with iPod touches
  • how to turn the care of the iPod touch more into student responsibilities rather than just mine

= Student engagement + learning + fun + creativity + rote practice + flexibility + reaching all learners + motivation


Innovation Grant: Joan Flora & Carley Stein

iPod-Supported Silent Sustained Reading
by Joan Flora & Carley Stein, High School Reading & Literacy Teachers

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
LeoTolstoy Anna Karenina

Download a PDF of the full presentation:
Download file "T-Research.key.pdf"

Research Purpose
Reading comprehension is more important than ever. Our students are engaged in a high- stakes testing-based educational system. Starting with the class of 2012, all Oregon students must pass a 10th grade level reading proficiency exam or demonstrate proficiency through work samples in order to receive a standard high school diploma. We need ways to encourage and motivate our students to do more reading because appropriately-leveled reading improves comprehension.

“In-school, free-choice reading studies show that more reading results in better reading comprehension, writing style, vocabulary, spelling and grammatical development.”
Stephen Krashen, The Power of Reading, 2004

Research Question
What happens when developmental high school readers listen to audio books while following hard copies of books during 20 minute, daily sustained silent reading?

Sub Questions:
  • Do audio books on iPod support increase comprehension?
  • Do audio books on iPod support improve oral reading fluency?
  • How does the management and time commitment associated with using iPods impact the teacher?
How We Measured the Data
  • Miscue Analysis Burke Interviews--name favorite author, genre,
  • book, what you’ll read next.
  • Exit Survey Teacher Observations Discerning the Main Idea (Carley only)
Student A
  1. Has never passed a reading benchmark Joan met one parent at January 2009 IEP meeting
  2. Parents are concerned about his literacy but baffled as how to help
  3. Student is embarrassed by his oral fluency and by his spelling
  4. Student admits to fake reading in school to comply with teachers
After 6 months with iPod-supported SSR
  • Books read this year: 8
  • Favorite genres: WW2 and Realistic Comedy
  • Favorite author: Jeff Kinney
  • Next book: A Long Way Gone
  • Goal: Working on fluency one-on-one with Joan during Spring term tutoring
  • Quote: “SSR is the best part of my school day. Thank you.”

Student B
  1. Took 7 attempts to pass 8th grade reading benchmark Before 8th grade had never passed a state reading test
  2. Has concerned parents who care deeply about his reading —504 plan--contacted me Feb. 2010
  3. He’s embarrassed by his oral reading
  4. He admits he hates reading and writing and has worked to avoid both as much as possible; never read outside of
  5. class.
After 6 months of iPod-supported SSR:
  • Books read this year: 6
  • Favorite genres: World War II and YA Adventure
  • Favorite author: Neal Shusterman
  • Next Book: The Maze Runner
  • Goal: Is working on fluency with picture books and reading to his young siblings
  • Best quote: “Reading is like watching a movie now.”

Student C
  1. Tested above grade-level until 8th grade on reading benchmarks
  2. Listening to oral reading / retelling told me another story, as did summary writing
  3. Missed 10th grade benchmark by 2 pts in Fall 2009
  4. Loves reading for pleasure
  5. Exaggerates reading prowess by huge margins
  6. Has a seemingly rough home situation--parent contact has been limited to emails about thievery
  7. Fits classic definition of a “fake” reader

After 12 months of iPod-supported SSR:
  • Books read this year: 52 (my records show 10)
  • Favorite genres: Romance, paranormal romance, horror, fantasy, and manga
  • Favorite author: Sarah Dessan Next Book: City of Ashes Goal: Continue to read for pleasure
  • Quote: “Reading is my strongest subject. I love reading because it’s relaxing and gives me a chance to escape reality for a while. My attitude toward reading hasn’t changed.”

  1. The percentage of Self-Corrected miscues to Uncorrected Miscues increased for two of the most struggling students
  2. Uncorrected Miscues decreased for all three students Retelling skills for all three students increased dramatically
  3. Fluency skills remained flat for Student A, improved slightly for Student B, and increased for Student C
  4. All students were able to name favorite author, book, genre, and what they’ll read next
  5. All students took bigger risks with their oral reading
  6. Parents are painfully slow in contacting a reading specialist about their concerns for their students.

Motivation for reading dramatically increased:
  • Students finished more books with dramatically less book abandonment
  • Students willing to give books a 15-20 page try before abandoning books
  • Students able to enjoy and follow complicated plotlines
  • Students able to read what their peers outside the Strategic Reading class are reading.
  • Able to engage in conversations about popular books with their peers
  • More peer recommendation of books to read next
  • More successful, fluent student book talks
  • Student beg for 30 minute SSR on Fridays
  • Students ask for new titles; get excited about next books
  • Students see themselves as readers
  • Students come early to class to read
  • Students like the books better than the movie versions of the books
  • Students are willing to work harder and longer on state reading tests
  • Stephen Krashen’s edict that “reading begets more reading” is true for frustrated high school readers who have historically hated and avoided reading
  • Our students are proof that it’s never too late to build a reader

Time Management/Other Issues:
  • iPods require a structured system for loading, charging, maintaining, and repairing
  • iPods require tighter room security iPods put more pressure on a substitute teacher
  • Still not enough iPods for all students
  • Headphones need to be cleaned and replaced
  • It’s disheartening when an iPod or headphones are stolen
One Caveat:
Technology has certainly eased the way for our readers to access books they have come to love...but, we believe passionate, skilled, life-long readers are deeply assisted by irreplaceable passionate, skilled, hard-working teachers.

What we don’t know:
  • Is reading with an audio book that’s 2 - 3 grade levels above the student’s independent reading comprehension, but that the student enjoys, growing them in vocabulary, comprehension, text structure, story-telling, sentence structure, and spelling as much as Allington and Krashen have found to be true for students reading without technical support?
  • Are we creating a dependency on audio books for students?
  • Does a focus on fictional narrative comprehension transfer to improved comprehension of textbooks for struggling readers?

Allington, Richard. What Really Matters in Response to Intervention: research-based designs, 2009
Davenport, Ruth. Miscues, Not Mistakes: reading assessment in the classroom, 2002
Krashen, Stephen. The Power of Reading: insights from the research, 2004.
Shagoury, Ruth. The Art of Classroom Inquiry: a handbook for teacher-researchers, 2nd Ed. 2003


Innovation Grant: Lorena Zúñiga Roa

Impact of iPod nano on Low-level Reader's Fluency

By Lorena Zúñiga Roa, Elementary ELL Teacher

Download a copy of my presentation here:

Download file "Lorena Zuniga Roa.pdf"

I. Purpose

My purpose in conducting this research is to determine the advantage that a student with certain difficulties to learn to read and write may gain when using an Ipod Nano to record her voice while reading aloud and listening to herself after recording. Since this third grader was at level 16 DRA in September, I want to see if this technology implementation will enhance my understanding of her reading and writing process to find the right accommodation for her in class.

II. Research Questions

What happens when a teacher implements Ipods nanos to accelerate a student with certain reading & writing difficulties?

III. Discussion

My school district, like many other school districts in Oregon and throughout the country, is extremely aware of the legal problems when classifying a specific student with a learning disability or difficulty to learn. My research has led me to be exceptionally careful when “labeling” a student. On the other hand, one student presents undeniable characteristics of dyslexia and, as teachers, we need to find ways to help her to overcome this issue. Moreover, this student is Hispanic who is learning English as a second language, which makes the process of teaching and learning a little bit more challenging each day.

According to the International Dyslexia Association, dyslexia is a neurologically-based disorder which interferes with the acquisition and processing of language. It is characterized, according to the National Institutes of Health, by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition, and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. In other words, dyslexia comes from a shortage in the phonological component of language. This means that a dyslexic student has poor reading comprehension, lack of growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.

Among their reading characteristics, a dyslexic student “does not make random reading errors”. They follow a pattern and are repetitive. Regarding writing, dyslexic students present an evident visual-motor integration problem, which lead them to illegible handwriting. They also have difficulties matching what they want to say with what they write down.

The first time that I met this student, who I am naming M for confidentiality purposes, I was impressed by her determination to learn to read. In January 2009, she was reading at a level 4 DRA. Her mother did not understand why her daughter was so behind “compared” to her cousins. She was trying to read faster, inventing words/stories from the pictures while reading. It was hard to see her suffering with every book in her hands. Working one-on-one, we reached level 16 by June 2009. In September 2009, M was in third grade and still at a level 16 DRA. In October she started to use Ipods Nanos, which allowed me to see if by listening to her voice after reading, it could help her to overcome the anxiety and improve her phonological connection and eye-printed word recognition.

My research about dyslexia has taught me that:

  1. dyslexia comes from auditory processing problems instead of visual problems. This means that I need to teach M to develop her auditory memory, get understanding of phonemic awareness (not phonics), and to work on word retrieval from English-Spanish.
  2. dyslexic students look at the shape of a word instead of looking carefully at the letters. This means that, according to Susan Barton, they read a word that has a similar shape, insert or delete sounds, or get the sounds in the wrong order. They ignore or change suffixes, they switch vowel sounds, and they are very confused about silent sounds.
  3. most of dyslexic students have dysgraphia, that means that students have difficulty writing letters on the line. Letters have an odd beginning and ending, they cannot write in cursive, or copy from the board.
  4. writing is the weakest strategy because it demands the use of many skills that the student has not mastered. They have difficulty spelling words, so a syllable may become a whole word that the student cannot recognize to read later, and use repetitive sentence structures (sometimes fragmented).

M matches all of these characteristics which leads me to think that she has a disability that has not been tested and this research may help me find a way to improve my teaching skills to support her learning process.

IV. Methods of Data Collection:

Since I see M everyday, I record her progress weekly on the Ipod. She is in my third grade NLD class from 10:35 to 12:05 for reading and writing in Spanish. Then I see her again from 2:40 to 3:00 for Reading Intervention and before that, she works with an instructional assistance under my supervision from 2:20 to 2:40 in another Intervention. This gives me the chance to teach her the phonemic awareness she needs to improve her reading skills. I will teach her how to listen to single words or syllable and break them up into individual phonemes. She should be able to take individual sounds and blend them into a word, change sounds, delete sounds, and compare sounds in her head, according to Susan Barton. In this way, she will be prepared to write them later. To teach these sounds, I have used:

  • Simultaneous multisensory instruction; visual, auditory, tactile, and kinesthetic.
  • Intense instruction with ample practice
  • Direct, explicit instruction; that is to say, one rule at a time. After mastering it, she will continue with the next one.
  • Systematic and Accumulative; when M does not understand something, I must go back to the very beginning and create a solid foundation with no holes. The idea is to present a rule and practice it until she internalizes it automatically and can fluently apply it when reading and writing.
  • Synthetic and analytic; how to connect the letter or sound with the word.
  • Diagnostic teaching; I must constantly check if M applies the rules without problem. Otherwise, I have to re-teach everything again.

I intend to gain information about her progress by going through her work, interviews, and questionnaires.

Surveys: I will use three kinds of questionnaires: Visual, Auditory, and Motor Processing questionnaires (See appendixes). They will be completed by her teachers (general, PE, Music, Art, and ELD).

Student work: I will look over her voice memos, around 20 so far, to see if there has been improvements since we started this research back in October 2009. Then, I’ll transcribe one minute of her readings (20 minutes in total) and I’ll record what the books says against what she reads. In this way, I’ll check accuracy and speed/words per minute.

Interview: To get more in-depth responses, I will conduct audio interviews of her mother, student, and teachers. These interviews will provide emotional, social, and other views toward this student.

V. Tentative Timeline

January 05, 2010: talk to the principal and present the research.

January 11, 2010: start to teach reading according to Susan Barton

January 14, 2010: start interviews

January 29, 2010: start to analyze data from interviews

January 18, 2010: start to handout questionnaires to teachers

February 12, 2010: gather answered questionnaires to start to analyze them

February 26, 2010: last voice memo recorded by the student work

VI. Reflections Before Beginning

I think I will document enough information to present to any specialist in diagnosis of dyslexia. I am not labeling M under any category and I just want to learn how to help her better during this year.

VII. Resources

Barton, Susan. 1998. Bright Solutions for Dyslexia, Inc.

The Inernational Dyslexia Association. [November 12, 2002]

National Institutes of Health. [Last updated March 12, 2009]

Mater, Nancy and sam Goldstein. 2001. Learning disabilities and challenging behaviors: a guide to intervention and classroom management. Baltimore, ML: Paul H Brookers Publishing.


Innovation Grant: Lori Craig

Presentation First SlideWalking Fitness, Nike+ & iPod touch
By Lori Craig, Special Education Teacher

Download a PDF of my presentation here:
Download file "innovationgrant-lcraig.pdf"

My Research Questions
What happens when students in the Structure Learning Center use iPod touch devices and Nike + sensors to learn about personal fitness?
  • Does physical fitness improve among the students?
  • Are the iPod touch devices an appropriate technology to teach fitness concepts to individuals with developmental delays?
  • Will the use of the technology create management problems for the teacher and staff?


Innovation Grant: Kristina Scott

The Apple iPod touch: Information Tool of the Future
By Kristina Scott, 6th Grade Teacher

Download a PDF of my presentation here:
Download file "kscott-Action Research Presentation.pdf"


iRead Final Projects: Trost Elementary

iREAD: Trost Elementary

iREAD is a program that encompasses using iPod devices to help students record their own voice, track their own progress, and use audio in powerful ways in order to acquire better skills in both reading and writing. Although initially focused on fluency and comprehension, teachers in our ELD (English Language Development) and NLD (Native Language Development) program branched out and used the iPod devices (both iPod nano and iPod touch) in many exciting ways.

The project included getting the technology into all ELD/NLD classrooms K through 12th Grade. Here are the final presentations of those teachers involved in the project for the 2009-2010 school year.

Joyce Brown Presentation Image
Joyce Brown, ELD teacher
Apple Keynote file:
Download file "iread-brown.key"
PDF of presentation:
Download file "iread-brown.pdf"

Holly Sarich, ELD teacher
Apple Pages file:
Download file "Retelling a story with sequence rubric.pages"
PDF of rubric:
Download file "Retelling a story with sequence rubric.pdf"
Video of students practicing their English numbers:
Download file "numbercountingexample - Computer.m4v"

Darcy Steele, ELD teacher
Apple Keynote file:
Download file "iread-steele.key"
PDF of presentation:
Download file "iread-steele.pdf"


Innovation Grant: Kelly Turcotte

Cafe Reading Success
Written by Kelly Turcotte, 4th Grade Teacher

  • What happens when students use ipods iPods in reading class?
  • Are low-level readers more motivated to read? (attitude changes & genres)
  • Do they ask for more time for silent reading?
  • Do they choose longer and more difficult texts?
  • Does reading fluency increase?
  • Does comprehension increase?
Download my café menu here:
Download file "turcotte-CafeReadingSuccess.pdf"

What I now know:
I know that my students are motivated by reading audio books on the iPods. They have asked for more silent reading time, they are reading longer, higher-quality books, reading fluency has improved beyond what is expected, and they have done very well on OAKS reading tests. I know the iPods have had a positive effect on reading to learn.

How I know:
I know they are more motivated through feedback on reading logs. I am able to tell they are reading longer books. I have recorded statements made by my students asking to have more time to read telling me they are reading for longer periods of time. I have DIBELS data regarding fluency. The average increase in fluency is way beyond expected growth for fluency over a 12-week period. I also have OAKS data for my class. The majority have already passed the state reading test. The few who have not YET passed have made excellent gains from the end of 3rd grade the 1/3 they way through 4th grade.

Next steps/New Questions
Next up for my reading class is getting our blogs set and ready for use. I want a more enticing and effective way for them to show me what they’ve learned. I want them to write journal entries and answer high-level questions through writing on the iPods. I’ll be looking at the length and depth of entries as students write about their reading.

Spring tests--I’m giddy with anticipation. I’m confident the students will continue to show improvement in reading comprehension through OAKS test scores and well as continued increases in fluency.

I must find more efficient ways to plan using this technology effectively. I use a lot of personal time at home to look up support on iTunes to enhance the text. The more I’m able to find the more excitement and improvement the students show. It is very time consuming to prepare all the iPods. Each of the iPods requires individual attention when adding on or taking off apps, tv shows, videos, and podcasts.

Having the money provided by this grant was essential to its success. To ensure future success teachers would need a way to easily receive an iTunes gift card to purchase curriculum apps, music, and shows.


Innovation Grant: Julie Johnson

Through the Eyes of a Child in the 21st Century

Written by: Julie Johnson, 3rd Grade Teacher

How do we reach them? How do we engage them? How do we ensure that they will remember most of what we teach them?

The students that walk into our classrooms each September are evolving year after year into young men and women who have more life experiences, more insight to popular culture, and more advantages than we ever did as children. Yet, they seem to be lacking in communication skills, independence in conflict resolution, and guidance on how to be a curious learner. Within the last year when I was given the opportunity to use the latest technology in my classroom as an educational tool, it changed my teaching viewpoint from “me to them” to “them to each other”. I quickly found that students, when given choice and opportunity can be responsible for their own creative academic outcomes and curious learners have emerged within the classroom.

Below is an outline of my research journey that has changed both students and teacher and how they learn.

Research Question:
What happens when students use digital kits with iPod touches?
  • How does it engage TAG/Average ability students differently?
  • How do the students view using the iPod? Tool for Learning? “Cool” factor?Another resource for unanswered question?
  • Should I concentrate on a few students or the whole class for the best results?
    • I decided to choose a few students from my reading group at different academic levels for my research. The class will be my control group.
Download my presentation here:
Download file "innovationgrant-johnsonj.pdf"

What I know:
Through my research I have discovered that the iPod touch devices may have had a “cool’ factor at first, but now it is primarily used as a tool to find unanswered questions in all curricular areas. The accessibility of it right at their fingertips gives students the opportunity to quickly be independent learners. These devices become an extension of learning in their hands just when they need it.

Digital Kits:
  • Fairy Tales
  • Primary Source Documents
  • Historical Fiction
  • Health and Nutrition
  • Life Science
  • Multiplication
  • Earth Science

How I know:
A recent survey that asked students what their favorite resource was when they had a question showed that 19 out of 29 students preferred the device over a book from the library. Most noted that facts were easier to find, apps were easier to use for written errors, and pictures were more accessible when they needed to see what they were looking for.

Student quotes from survey:
“The touch is like a little computer and it gives you so much information on everything.”
“You could find the right answer, a lot of facts, and it always has the answer you are looking for.”
“It helped me because there are many different apps and it tells me what I need to know.”

Student Achievement:
Scores reflect difference from a pretest to a post test:
  • Fairy Tale Unit....Scores went from an average of 33% to 88%
  • Historical Fiction......36% to 93%
  • Multiplication.....53% to 90%

Next Steps:
  • Since every student learns differently, I would like to individualize each touch to better reach their independent needs.
    • Auditory learners......audiobooks, apps with soft music for working
    • Visual podcasts, graphic apps
    • Advanced learners.......apps that are above grade level
    • Special Ed......apps at their level, audiobooks, video podcasts
    • ELL......Spanish audiobooks, video podcasts, non-language apps
    • ADHD......apps with soft music for working, video podcasts
  • Continue to create a bank of digital kits using the new content standards
  • Searching for Spanish language apps and quality audiobooks
  • Creating a tech support group within the district
  • Maintaining a reflective blog of my experiences: