Though the Starling was designed to count the number of words said to a young child, second grade teacher Amy Arce has developed a creative use for the Starling that fits perfectly for her classroom’s needs. And her students have been loving them!
With a generous grant available to all the teachers at her school, Amy was able to order four devices for her classroom. She has been using them both in class and sending them home with her students. Her goal is to encourage her second graders to gain comfort and fluidity when reading out loud, while making the learning process fun and exciting.
During quiet reading time, the students rotate through a number of reading stations, one of which is a read-aloud station with a stuffed animal. One of the Starling’s is clipped to the toy, and the student at the station reads their book aloud. At the end of the day, the students get a chance to review their progress on Amy’s smartphone to see how many words they read during the twenty minute station. The student who read the most words wins a classroom monopoly ticket.
“The purpose of the activity is to promote active reading, and encourage students to read books that are best suited for them. Many students get caught up in the peer pressure of reading books that are too challenging and cause them to get stuck and frustrated, while others read books that are too easy for them. Using the Starling during this exercise gets the students excited to read books that are at their reading level. It has certainly led to a number of interesting conversations when the app shows that students read over 10,000 words in just three twenty minute sessions! But the students love the competition with themselves more than anything,” Amy explains to our team with a smile.
The Starlings also go home with students for a week at a time, and parents are encouraged to download the Starling app and look at their family’s data. “A lot of parents are shocked by how many words they say on the first day they have the device, and then how it drops off during the week.” The data has helped many of her student’s families start prioritizing more read-aloud time at home, as well as dinner time conversation and other forms of engagement.
Amy says that the Starlings have been a great addition to her classroom, and she will be purchasing more when the next grant application rolls around!
The Starling team loves learning about creative uses for the Starling! How are you using your Starling?