Thursday, December 6, 2012

Popplet for text deconstruction

Popplet is a great tool to improve reading comprehension by focusing on the key skills of deconstructing main ideas of text, paragraphs and supporting details. By unpacking and summarizing the text students can compare with a Popplet you have made to ascertain their level of understanding. Students work in pairs , one with the text on the screen and the other with the Popplet App.

They work collaboratively to deconstruct the text speaking English. You can challenge learners to find synonyms to summarize the text. The visualization is so powerful they can answer many comprehension questions without returning to the text as they are no longer reading superficially. Reading is a cognitively difficult  task as you must retain the ideas of the text and then input more information in the form of reading the questions . Many second language learners struggle with these two short  term memory tasks as their vocabulary proficiency may be inadequate to retain or map the information in their second language compared to their first language .

 Mind mapping uses the right side of the brain to map spatial visual connections and concepts. A visual frame is provided to hang the ideas and details. I have noticed a rapid change in their reading proficiency. They are all "at risk" and were below their expected level and had failed the reading course last semester. Now the average % for their reading tests is above 70 %.

Forget the number, they are now different students brimming with self confidence and engaged. The greatest difference is their level of persistence and extended attention span when reading in their second language using an IPad.

The use of the mind mapping App for reading was rapidly adopted by learners. Their reflections referred often to the fact they  didn't realize how deeply they needed to understand the text to answer the questions.

It is also a great tool for me to instantly visualize the students understanding of the text and provide immediate intervention as they process the text.

 There are many tasks that follow from this activity. One of my favorites is to make  a screen capture in a Screencasting App such as Educreations or Screen Chomp  and pairs of students retell the text . They take turns with their partner actively listening and assisting in reformulating the language.

If they tweet their Educateations screencast across to another team, the team can transcribe their spoken text , peer edit and publish their final text summaries.

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