Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Exploring the iPad

I am constantly amazed at the number of apps available for use in the classroom! We have continued using Notability, Google Drive, GroupMaker, and TooNoisy, as well as adding on some new apps.

Using Notability to complete our Daily Spiral Review in math:

Using Notability as graph paper to fix a math assignment:

As we do not have a full class set of iPads, many of the things that we are doing can be used on the iPad or on the computer.  I recently downloaded FrontRow on the classroom iPad and was excited to find out that it can be used on any computer with Google Chrome.  FrontRow is a math application that is aligned to the Common Core standards.  Students take a short diagnostic to see what they already know about a concept, and then the computer or iPad sets everything up from there.  The thing that I like the most about this app is the amount of data I receive about my students.  It tells me exactly what concept the majority of my students are struggling with so that I can guide my instruction.  FrontRow also groups the students based on what areas they are doing well in, as well as what areas they need more instruction on.  It even creates practice sheets for each individual student--with answer keys!  I had my students use FrontRow in computer lab the first time so that everyone could access it at the same time.  In the future, this will be an app that my students can use on our classroom computers or on the classroom iPad.

Using FrontRow in the computer lab


In December a coworker suggested trying KidBlog with my students.  This is a great way for my students to practice writing and get comments from other people.  The students enjoy reading the comments from other people, and have been excited to see that people in other parts of the world are reading their blog.  Click here to visit our class blog.  We would love some comments!

One new app that we explored was Keynote.  This is similar to PowerPoint, but it is much easier to use.  Last week I had the students work in groups of three to create a presentation about one of the reading vocabulary words.  They had to write a definition, a sentence, and find a picture to represent the word.  The kids were so excited to include real photos, and enjoyed sharing these presentations with the class.

Working in groups to create a Keynote presentation about the reading vocabulary words.

This week we used Keynote in a different way.  I quickly created a presentation with the reading vocabulary word and definition on a slide, and then we got started with our game.  The students took turns holding the iPad over their head so they couldn't see the word, and then the other students in the classroom had to provide clues so the person could guess the word.  I had them provide definitions, synonyms, antonyms, and even act out the word.  This was a great activity, and the students definitely know this week's vocabulary words!

Playing our vocabulary game using Keynote.

My students finished creating their iMovie to introduce our class to our pen pals in Arizona.  They had so much fun planning what they wanted to include, writing a script, and then recording what they wanted to share.  Click here to see our video.

Last week I had the exciting opportunity to sit in on a Google Hangout with Tony Vincent, the creator of the Stick Around app.  The Stick Around app is used to create puzzles.  This app is wonderful for review activities.  I had the chance to create a measurement review puzzle, and my students enjoyed this new format.  Since I only have one iPad, my students completed it using marker boards and then we answered the questions as a whole group.  It was nice to try a different format for our review, and the students were more engaged with what we were doing.

Using Stick Around to review converting customary measurements.

This week we are finishing up our unit on the West region of the United States.  Usually we review by filling out a study guide and talking through the information.  This time we tried something new.  I used the website to create QR codes with the study guide questions.  I borrowed iPads from many of the other teachers in my building, placed the QR codes around the classroom, and then let me students move around the room to scan the QR codes and answer the questions.  The kids were more involved with the review, and seemed to really enjoy this new format.

Scanning codes for our Social Studies QR code review.

We've had our classroom iPad for three weeks now, and I am amazed by how much it has changed our classroom!  I am loving all the changes, and I know my students are enjoying the new things that we are trying.


  1. Awesome post, Brittany! I love, love, love all the ways you are integrating technology into your curriculum. Way to use a single iPad in so many fantastic ways. Additionally, I love the way you are using the computer lab too. Keep up the great work and keep blogging it out!

  2. Fantastic post, Brittany! I am so impressed with how you are using your iPad to enrich and enhance our district curriculum!