June 13, 2014

Year End thoughts about K-1 iPads

Having 20 iPad for the first grades means that they are usually in sets of four in classrooms. The students have become independent on several math apps, spelling apps and others including Kodable and Doodle Buddy. Some of the time that I am in classrooms I have been able to help students work in pairs to access their Kidblogs and add entries (see http://roomonehundrednine.blogspot.com/). We met as a first grade team and winnowed the apps that we are keeping on all the iPads to the ones we agree are most valuable. Every few weeks we collect all of the iPads and use all 20 in table groupings in a classroom. The apps we are using most often are LetterSchool, Teachley: The Addimal Adventure, Word Wizard, Montessori Crosswords, Hungry Fish, Know Your Math Facts, Kodable and TeachMe: 1st grade. Sometimes we are able to access Skoolbo, other times it lags and is too frustrating. While some apps are free we have found that many of them are too limited or have too many ads and we have purchased the full versions.

We were pleased to find Addimal Adventure as it teachers the addition strategies appropriate for first grade and allows us to set up all classes on each iPad. It tracks the individual student’s progress and we had access to a pilot that gives us bi-weekly feedback on the class. The app will remain free next year, but the teacher dashboard will be an online feature by subscription.

We have allocated some time when we return to school in August to map out a plan for apps usage in first grade and look for ways to build more independence by students using the iPads for reading fluency practice and creation apps like PicCollage, KidBlog, Voicethread and Storykit.

The Kindergarten teachers received two iPads for a center in each classroom midyear. They started off with these apps:

  • Teach Me Kindergarten-Math and Literacy
  • Montessori Numbers- Math
  • Skoolbo - Math and Literacy
  • abc Pocket Phonics- Literacy
  • Storia - Literacy
  • Book Creator
  • Educreations
  • Explain Everything
  • Bits Board
  • Sight Words
  • 100s board
  • Word Wizard
  • Everyday Math Monster Squeeze
  • LetterSchool

The goal for the Kindergarten classrooms this year was to familiarize the students with a small number of apps and have students use them independently at a station with minimal supervision. They have found that "guided access" is helpful as then students didn't accidentally leave an app while they were at the station. We will be meeting in August to plan what else they want to do next year including story writing and recording for reading fluency.

One of the most informative experiences we have had in developing our plans and uses of the iPads was attending the Auburn Leveraging Learning Institute in November, 2013. We were able to send teams of Kindergarten and First Grade teachers to a day of workshops and learning from other teachers. This is link to the spreadsheet of apps that Auburn Schools have selected to fit with their learning targets and the presentation below explains the goals and rationale for the Auburn project.

1 comment:

  1. I just came across this now, and I am so happy that the kids are using Kodable! Be sure to reach out and let me know if you have any questions moving forward this year :)


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