Reading is a process of gaining meaning from print…that just makes sense. But in order to make meaning we actually need to have some background knowledge about the subject we are reading. A lot has been written about the need to “activate students’ prior knowledge before they start reading” and it is not uncommon to find children with comprehension problems also lacking a broad general knowledge or vocabulary. It would be great to say that ….”there’s an app for that” but that would be too easy. However the simplicity and speed of an internet search on the iPad is a great advantage.
Why not try a “Quest of the Day or the Week”? Just give your students an inspirational question that could be linked to your current literacy focus or inquiry unit or aimed at building general knowledge or based around current events. Not only would this build general knowledge and encourage rich classroom discussions but you can use this to help your students develop good online searching skills.
Or you could regularly use some great apps that come free and bring you interesting information each day and they would also form a great start to a quick learning quest.
This app will send you a funky free animated movie every day on a huge range of topics. It also follows up with a quiz that covers both literal and inferential questions.
Find out what happened on this day throughout history or on any selected day. It includes selected day photos, illustrations, music, and speeches. You could even link this to a “Quest of the Day”
This app was actually voted one of the 50 best apps of all time in Apple’s Hall of Fame. It was created in collaboration with the UNESCO World Heritage Centre. There are amazing images every day with lots of associated background information