Saturday, October 5, 2013

Our first week with 2:1 iPads

My students spent a lot of time this week familiarizing themselves with some apps/websites that they will access frequently throughout the year. They were so engaged this week and always ready for the next activity. The hardest part is remembering different logins. I have a "set" username and password for each student for websites/apps that allow for customized usernames and passwords. However, some sites/apps provide a username and/or password that I can't change to the "set" format. I know this is probably a great life lesson in the long run (create different usernames and passwords for each private website used), but it's a real challenge for 6 and 7 year olds. Yes, they all have small papers with their login info written down and a place to keep them, but it is so easy for those papers get lost despite best intentions...

The first is the website Biblionasium. (it works on iPads). It's free and allows students to rate books they've read and to add books to their shelf that they would like to read. It also gives students the opportunity to suggest books to each other. It's similar to the adult website Goodreads. In the past I've used Biblionasium as the reading log portion of their homework. I'm not doing that this year because I am using the paid version of Scoopad for online homework. Students complete all parts of their homework--reading log, math, ELA, and spelling--on this online site. However, students are still engaged with Biblionasium. It is helpful for me to see what they are reading and what they want to read because it helps when choosing books to add to the class library. I can also add books we are reading in class to their shelves.

My school has a Raz Kids subscription and students all had a chance this week to do some reading in class from those leveled books. We also have the leveled library apps that correspond with Raz Kids and I use those apps for pair reading.

For math we are using 2 websites/apps, both tied to the Common Core standards, Ten Marks and Front Row. Ten Marks is a website and Front Row is an app. I did not use Ten Marks last year and my students used Front Row last year just for the fraction portion of CC, because that was the only part of the math curriculum that was available. Front Row has done a huge amount of work over the summer and now has math curriculum for all the math CC standards for K-5.

Finally, my school's foundation paid for me to have the paid version of Showbie. I tried the free version of Showbie last year and really liked the concept. However, for 6 and 7 year olds it was too many steps to transfer an assignment to a different app, annotate, save it back, see comments from me and repeat the process for areas of work that needed to be completed or corrected. With Showbie Pro my students can annotate (and so can I) right in the app. Since writing on the iPad can be tricky I plan to use this in place of worksheets that don't require many sentences. Here are math and logic assignments 2nd grade students completed Thursday and yesterday.

Over the summer I attended a Buck Institute PBL training in Napa. I love the PBL format and one unit I've created for 2nd grade revolves around "What is a fairy tale?" We started that unit today. All of the fairy tales (about 15 for the 12 day unit) are read on the iPad. During the unit students will use various Tools4Students templates to respond to the reading. In addition this week they asked and answered comprehension questions in pairs using questions I created in a flashcard app. Rather than writing their answers they responded with the Tellagami app. This was their first experience with that app and I had several students tell me how much they liked it compared to writing on paper (I wasn't surprised).

Use of the Justand has been put on hold. I think I'm going to love it, but it doesn't fit on the current ELMO stand I have, so I need a new furniture configuration.

First grade students did an inference activity using Popplet. Each pair of students had a backpack with 7 items. For example, 2 mystery books, a set of Halloween stickers, a hair decoration, watercolor paint set, art project kit, and a piece of 2nd grade homework. Students grouped objects (or left them as a single object) and took pictures using the iPad camera within the Popplet app. They used the typing tool to add a caption to each Popple explaining what they could infer from that/those objects. For example, one pair took a picture of the Halloween stickers and wrote "it's fall".

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