Oak Mountain Elementary students use a new Nook tablet.
In 2012, Oak Mountain Elementary students were welcomed back to school with a nice surprise. Kindergarten through third grade students incorporated Nook tablets made by Barnes and Noble into the classroom curriculum this year.
The school purchased more than 200 Nooks for use in the classrooms. Teachers spent many hours over the summer and during professional development days training with a representative from Barnes and Noble on how to best incorporate this 21st century teaching tool into all subject areas. Teachers researched websites, apps and e-books that would enhance their grade-specific content.
“We just started using the Nooks with Spelling City,” second grade teacher Allison Kinchler said. “This is an interactive website that kids can use to practice spelling and vocabulary words. They have practice tests and games they can play with their words. They also have access to the site at home. The Nooks give more kids in my classroom the opportunity to use the site and get familiar with it as well as using the technology. We are also using Tumblebooks to read books. The books are engaging and make reading come alive for the children!”
Principal Debbie Horton said that without the enormous support from parents, PTO members and the community, the initiative would not have been possible.
“In order to keep students actively engaged in learning, we must provide them with learning opportunities that will challenge them, cause them to reflect on their thinking, collaborate with their peers and defend their knowledge,” Horton said. “Most of our students know how to navigate a smart phone, iPad or Nintendo DS, so it just made sense to incorporate this technology into the school day. I am amazed at how the students have responded to the Nooks.”
Using Nooks, older students can collaborate with younger students to work on projects, read books to them and share their knowledge. Second and third graders are leaders and have an opportunity to capitalize on these skills. “Nook Buddies” meet weekly to develop a rapport with younger students and share their knowledge.
“Every child, regardless of learning style, educational needs or achievement level, can benefit from the use of Nooks in the classroom,” said second grade teacher Melanie Hogan. “Students with special education needs, struggling readers and ELL students benefit from the read-aloud and font-size dynamics of the devices. Higher achieving and gifted students have access to materials that the rest of the class may not be ready for, alleviating classroom boredom and increasing self-study skills and achievement.”
Horton added that the ability to have multiple titles at the touch of a button means instant access to an entire curriculum. Incorporating Nooks in the classroom eliminates “down time” because there are always specific lessons, skill reinforcement, math games and activities or books for students to engage in when they complete assigned activities.
Submitted by Oak Mountain Elementary School.