Step into our 4th grade classrooms during Reading class and you'll see student engaged in conversation about books. At one table, the teacher is with four students. They are engaged in a lively conversation about the story they are reading using the strategies of reciprocal teaching . The teacher is holding an iPad in her lap, strategically positioning the camera to face the group. At another table, a group of four students hover over an iPad watching and listening intently to a video on an iPad. The video was recorded yesterday by the teacher during their conversation with the teacher. As the students watch the video recorded the previous day as they summarized, predicted, clarified, and questioned aspects of the story they all read together. As the students watch, they reflect on what they see in the video and document on a large sheet of paper the comprehension strategies they see themselves using. In addition, they respectfully talk about the conversation itself. It took my breath away as I watched these children discuss the discussion itself. They watched for how many times each of them spoke, how many times they used questions to get others to speak, how complete their answers were, how loud their voices were, did they answer in complete sentences, did they interrupt each other, and if the discussion got off topic, did they bring it back around as they made real world connections to the story elements.

There was no embarrassed giggles and the students approached the task in a very matter-of-fact way. Keeping in mind that they are around 10 years old, I questioned the teacher on how long it took the students to take such a business-like attitude about this activity. "Not long," she replied and pointed out that some students don't like to see their faces so she carefully positions herself and the camera to respect their sensitivity. I was so impressed with the value of this opportunity - providing direct instruction on how to engage in academic conversation.

Before iPads - students met in small groups and talked about their story. With iPads - students can be reflective learners who are responsible for their