Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Our New Adventure

I took the Apple Foundations Training last winter and received one iPad to use in the classroom.  At that time we were told that due to budget cuts there would probably not be any classroom sets of iPads available for the next school year.  I was so disappointed, but still excited to have one iPad to use in the classroom.  My students last year loved being able to use the iPad to create different projects to show their learning (Keynote presentations, Stick Around puzzles, etc.).  At the end of August we found out that the district was able to purchase several classroom sets of iPads, and that any teachers that had completed the training could apply for a classroom set.  I quickly started working on my application.

Reading on the iPad!
We found out at the beginning of September that we would be getting iPads in the classroom.  My students and I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of the iPads and were so excited to get started!  We officially became a 1:1 iPad classroom last week!  I can't believe how quickly our classroom has changed!

Working on Keynote
Prior to the arrival of the iPads, I had to figure out the logistics.  I knew I wanted a place to store the iPads at night, and ideally charge all of them at the same time.  After talking with some of the other members of the iPad Academy, I picked a system that would work for us.  All of the iPads are stored in letter trays, and a charger is hooked to each tray.  Students are able to quickly plug in their iPad at the end of the day, and there is even room for the headphones!  It has been working perfectly!

Since we had been using one iPad in the classroom all year, my students were already familiar with some of the gestures (swipe, chomp closed, etc.).  This meant that when the iPads arrived, we didn't have to spend a lot of time learning how to navigate on the iPad, and instead were able to get started right away.

Working on Keynote

In just one short week the students have already started creating using several different apps to show their learning!  Each child created a Keynote presentation to show what they've learned about their reading vocabulary, they created a Popplet to show what they learned about a Native American culture, and are starting a project to show what they learned about a specific Native American tribe.

Sharing a Keynote presentation for vocabulary.

Sharing a Keynote presentation for vocabulary.
Sharing a Keynote presentation for vocabulary.

We have also started using the iPads to improve our math and reading skills.  FrontRow is an excellent app that helps with math.  The students are working at their independent level to enrich what we are already learning in class.  The students that need to be challenged are able to work on more complex problems, while the students that need more practice with a certain skill are able to practice.  Differentiation at its best!  We recently received permission to use Raz Kids with our students.  This app also helps students work at their instructional level in reading.

Reading a book using Epic!

One app that I recently found is called Epic! Books For Kids.  This app is free for teachers and students to use.  There are tons of books available for the students to read on a variety of different concepts.  I can pick specific books that go along with our curriculum to have the students read, or the students can explore all of the books to find a book of their choice.  All I had to do was sign up for a free educator's account on the website, download the app, and then make choices of what types of books I want to have available for the students.  Some of the books can be read to the students, which is a feature that many of my students enjoy.  Practice makes perfect, so Epic! is a great app for students to use to practice their reading skills.

Listening to a story in Epic!

I can't wait to see how my students continue to grow and what they create with their iPads!  I think this is going to be an amazing adventure for our classroom!