Wednesday, March 5, 2014

We Are Officially iPaddling Through Our Day...(Part One)

WOW! looking at the date of my first post, many would assume that I've been completely disconnected with this journey, but that is the complete OPPOSITE! Life in fourth grade is busier than EVER! I figured I'd finally publish this draft---especially since I have four others sitting in the draft "back burner" waiting to be complete! This post will be a two-part post, just due to the sheer fact that there is so much information to share. Please be on the look out for the second post in a couple of days.

Our iPads were officially delivered to our classroom on Thursday, January 25th. Thankfully, that was our day of no specials, so we were able to really sit down and break apart the basics of the iPad. We spent the majority of our time discussing the basics of the iPad, i.e. turning it on/off, navigating the screen, exploring the settings, and scrolling and finger swiping the screens. It was nice to have a hard copy of the iPad Basics to give the kids. Thanks to Ann Feldmann, my awesome coach, for providing us with that handout! I still see the kids take them out from time to time to review the basics. Below is the image that was included in their handout.

The following day, Ann popped into our room to introduce herself to the class. The kids were excited to finally meet our tech coach! 

With Ann's help, we were able to help the class create folders, all while dragging and dropping their apps into their designated folders. We also spent a great deal of time introducing their Google Mail and Drives. Ann and I decided to have the students set up shortcuts for their BPS emails, which has been such a blessing! Gone are the days of waiting 5-10 minutes for students to plug in their emails. With a shortcut such as "JS", John Smith's email pops up! We then took some time to answer any questions the kids had.

Fast forward a few weeks, and I am happy to say that my kiddos have done a phenomenal job with the transition into a 1:1 classroom. We are now utilizing our new tech tools in 75% of our day.  Below is a short blurb of each app the kiddos are using on a daily basis.

Khan Academy: 

My class has been working with this app since Day 2.  Khan Academy allows to differentiate Math concepts for each of my students. Students have the capability to practice math at their own pace. You can start at 1 + 1 and from there, you can jump right into whatever topic needs some brushing up! One thing I greatly appreciate about this app is that each problem is randomly generated, so you never run out of practice material. (Reminds me somewhat of our MAP assessments!)

With each concept, students are allowed a "hint". If you need that hint, every single problem can be broken down, step-by-step, with one click. If students are still having difficulties and need more assistance,  they can always watch a related video. Independent learning at its finest!

My favorite part of this amazing app? The immediate data and feedback I receive! I have access to all of my students' data. I can get summaries of our class's performance as a whole, or dive into a particular student's profile to figure out exactly which topics are a challenge. From there, I can quickly figure out and determine how to best spend my time working with my students, as well as make sure to assign the appropriate lessons to my kids. What a time saver!

Spelling City: 

Students now utilize this app as they study their weekly word lists. On Mondays, I have students complete a "Pre-Test" by using the "Test Me" activity in Spelling City. Once finished, students highlight the misspelled words in their planner. This gives them immediate feedback on which words to spend some extra time on studying during the week. It also provides my parents simple information in terms of what to really focus on while studying. 

On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, in addition to completing their assigned Spelling Practice Book pages, I asked the students to complete various activities within the Spelling City app. Depending on the difficulty of the list, how I assign the activities change weekly. Some of the activities include, "Hang Mouse", "Word Scramble", "Word Search",  "Alphabetize", and "Audio Word Match". 

As for Thursdays and Fridays, we continue to use the same procedure as before. Students will complete their Spelling Pre-Test on Thursdays via Spelling City's "Test Me". If students receive their 100% that day, they have officially tested out for the week. If students do not receive a 100%, they will retest on Friday. I am so amazed about the immediate feedback both students and I can receive with just a click of a button. It is truly amazing! 

Explain Everything:

This app has been a staple in our classroom since Day 1!! For those of you who know my students and myself, we are absolutely obsessed with this app! Explain Everything gives my students the opportunity to create presentations, or slideshows, all while having the capability to use the record feature to explain what is happening. We have been using this app for:

-Creating math videos and explaining the process and concepts we've learned. As students record their problems and show their work, they are "voicing over" what is it that they are doing. The students are literally walking me through their work! It's been a great tool to monitor my students' learning. Are they truly understanding the material? If not, where did they go wrong?  It's a simple, yet amazing, diagnostic tool!

-Creating vocabulary journals with our weekly Reading selection vocabulary. Students say the word, state the meaning, use the word in context with a sentence that makes sense and relates to the Google image they found. The students take pride in their journals and more often than not, ask to work on their journals instead of playing during indoor recess. How awesome!

Please be on the lookout for my next post soon.  We will discuss: Notability, Google Earth, KidBlog, Popplet, and Stick Around! 

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Courtney! You are doing an awesome job with iPads in your classroom! Keep up the great work!