At the beginning of each day I have my students complete a Daily Oral Language sheet. This is a great way for students to practice editing and revising, identifying different parts of speech, and improving their language skills. Over the course of the school year I have noticed that my students are not as engaged with this activity. When I received my classroom iPad I was excited to try using Notability and AirPlay to project the DOL on the board and then have students take turns answering the questions and explaining their reasoning while using the iPad. The second I pulled out the iPad, all eyes were on me, and the students were completely engaged. They loved being able to write on the iPad and explain what they were thinking. Our discussions about the language amazed me. Even my quietest students were excited to explain their DOL.
Now came the difficult part…how do I choose who gets to use the iPad next? Luckily, I have a wonderful coworker across that hall that has a 1:1 iPad classroom. When I talked to her, she suggested the GroupMaker app. I downloaded the app, input my students, and immediately noticed a difference. My students enjoyed watching the app pick names, and were shocked to find out that they could be called on more than once. This kept the students engaged, even after they had been called on once. Plus, they didn't question the app like they would question me if I called on the same student more than once!
After lunch my students complete a Daily Spiral Review for our math curriculum. This review allows students to continue practicing math skills after we have already learned the skill. This has helped immensely with retention of different math skills. However, the students were getting tired of going over the spiral review. I had the same students participating each day, and the students that I was most concerned with continued to struggle with staying focused during this time. Since I've been using the iPad (again using Notability and AirPlay), the students are once again engaged and the discussions have been amazing.
On Friday we tried a new app: Too Noisy. During the winter it always gets a little loud in the classroom because the students aren't able to burn off that extra energy outside. When looking on Pinterest for ideas, I found several references to the Too Noisy app and decided to give it a try. I didn't say anything to my class, just hooked up my Macbook to the projector, turned on Reflector, and used AirPlay to mirror my iPad onto the screen. It took about 10 seconds for my students to notice and quiet down. They knew exactly what it was for! After a couple of minutes, we talked about what the Too Noisy app is used for, and I challenged the students to transition to the next activity without going above a certain point on the Too Noisy app scale (I just drew a line on the marker board). The students were shocked to see that simple things like pushing in their chairs would cause the noise level to spike above the line. This led to a great discussion about how noisy the classroom can become, and how difficult it can be to focus when it is too noisy. We were able to finish our reading testing in complete silence and the students did so much better on their tests! This is definitely an app that I will continue using!
So in one short week we have used: Notability, Google Drive, GroupMaker, Too Noisy, Google Earth, and iMovie. Next week we will be using Tellagami and Keynote. Students will be working in small groups and creating a Tellagami for the reading vocabulary words. They will also begin researching a state from the West and creating a Keynote to present to the class. I can't wait to see what my students create!