The purpose of this blog post is to show how I manage the use of iPads in the classroom. I prefer iPads to other tablets when using them in the classroom for students to learn, create, and design, but some of the activities that I will refer to in this post can also be found in Google Play or on the internet. I have an iPad from CMS, my personal iPad, an iPad donated by a community member, and two iPad minis I received from Donors Choose. My school has a cart of 30 iPads that teachers can schedule for classroom use. We also encourage students to bring their own technology, but only about 30% of my students have their own devices.
- Raz Kids- Students can listen to books, read books, take quizzes, and record themselves reading. Raz Kids allows students to read books at their reading level. They can improve comprehension and fluency. This online program can be accessed through the internet, but if you are using iPads you must have the app downloaded because it will not run through Safari.
- Word Wizard-Students can practice spelling words that are grade-level appropriate or related to specific topics. Students have their choices written inside their Words Their Way folders so that when they use the app they know which words lists they can choose based on their spelling proficiency. Students are currently doing research on animals, so the students below are practicing words from the animals list.
- Coding-This basic introduction to computer programming helps develop critical thinking skills. Students can use the apps Kodable, Cargobot, or Hopscotch. They can also use the website www.tynker.com and click on Hour of Code. In addition to a learning station, I also use the coding activities with one of my students on a behavior contract. If he earns his points for the day, then he can spend 15 minutes coding.
- Book Creator-Students have used this app to design, write, and illustrate their own books. Some students who have become more proficient have started using iMovie. Two of my students who have recently become good friends created what they called a Friendship Scrapbook.
Wendy McElhinny is a third grade Balanced Literacy Teacher at Mountain Island Elementary School. She has been a teacher in CMS for 17 years. She holds her Masters Degree in Elementary Education and is twice National Board Certified. She is the author of the educational blog, McElhinny’s Center Stage. You can follow her on Twitter @McElhinnyMIE.