Monday, December 24, 2012

I Can Do It, No You Can't--Little Ones Can Do It

I have heard by many visitors to my school and just people in general that little ones (let's just say K-3rd, but could even be younger, since I have a little one at home even younger than kindergarten) can not do that. They refer to using iPads, different apps and just general use.

I do not believe that the students are unable to do it. I take the approach that they can. My students are also using apps that the big kids (4-8th graders) are using. It is how it is introduced that is the key to success.

Here are some keys to success with little ones:
1. Show them and not just tell them. They are visual learners too. I usually show them how to do a program on apple tv, we walk through it together and then they can pretty much do it independently the next time.

2. Less writing, more pictures. Remember that not all children are able to read and are strong enough readers to gain information from the text. Pictures and print go a long WAY!!! So if you have rules about the iPad or computer, they should be in print for the big kids and print and pictures for the little kids. (Yes, it is more work, but they will "read" and understand it.)

3. Step by step is the key.  Think how you would describe how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Write it down and then try to make the sandwich based on only what you have written.  Did you say that you need a knife, to open the jar, etc. Probably not. We already know how to make a sandwich and so we don't think step by step but make assumptions that you use a knife when you say spread the peanut butter on the bread. We naturally make assumptions (not on purpose) and some of the little details are left off and then kids don't or can't get it.

4.  Don't assume that because they get it the first day that they will remember it tomorrow or the next day or the day after that or the week after that. Routines are key(!!!) for little ones. Give the same direction each time the same way (but you can explain it differently to them). They begin to memorize the repetitiveness of the direction and internalize it. Sometimes, you can even see or hear them saying those same words. This is why repetition is so IMPORTANT! They actually become independent because they are going over the same directions in their head that they heard the teacher say over and over again.

I hope this helps. I know my students have tried, tackled, and become successful at many challenging things because of these steps.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Cloning the teacher--Being in 25 places at once

So, today I took one huge step on flipping my classroom (not just baby steps). The students have about 10-15 minutes of iPad time right after lunch during bathroom break to work on their iPad. They usually work on a math app. NOW, I have created small videos personalized to the students that address each individual student's needs.

For example, in the previous day's math lesson, we talked about probability. They were given an exit slip. I had 4 students who did not get that correct. I created a 5 minute video about probability, clarifying possible (or known) misunderstandings, and providing more examples. The students then took another exit slip about probability. All students got the exit slip correct.

Another example, is a short mini lesson about counting on when adding 2 numbers with a sum larger than 10. We had already differentiated the addition exit slip for the different groups in the class. Some of the students who had the most difficult addition sheet had some difficulty with adding 9 + 4 or 8 + 3, etc and so I made a quick mini lesson video to directly address counting on from the bigger number. This video will be upload directly tot he students' iPad. They will watch this video the next day prior to the math lesson.

Each little mini lesson video is saved and goes into my library of videos. Initially, there might be some time spent on creating the videos but in the long run, they can be used over and over.


So here is how I did it. Each example was done a different way and both are super easy! Here are the two ways.

1. I used the Doceri app. It is similar to the Educreations app (that I have used and talked about in previous posts). Doceri is better for recording and making these mini lessons. It has the capability to change backgrounds including lined paper, insert pictures, and edit your video without starting all over if you make a mistake. Then save the movie. Drag it to your camera roll on the ipad. Import the video to your iPhotos. Drag to the iTunes library. Then upload the video to each student's iPad.

2.  I used the ipevo video camera (about $50 on Amazon) and Quick Time. I plug in the mini video camera (it has a stand so you don't have to hold anything and have both hands to write or show pictures, etc). Then I turn on Quick Time and begin a screen casting recording. When I am done, I save the video to my desktop and then drag to the iTues library. Then I upload the video to each student's iPad.

Okay, you may say that uploading individual video to each iPad may take forever, but it goes fast. You can upload multiple videos as well. The only reason I don't is that I find kindergartners aren't best at reading my titles (which are designed for me to know what is on them). To actually upload the video takes less than 1 minute per iPad. I am not doing literacy centers and other more time consuming prep work because I have iPads so it sorta is the same amount of prep time.

To inform the students that they have a video to watch on their iPad, I have laminated a picture of the Video icon on the iPad. The students know that they go to the video icon if they have this laminated picture on their table spot.

Here are some tips:
--Make the videos short little clips (about 5 minutes are less) as we don't want to be lecturing for long periods of time
--If you are giving the students an exit slip or paper worksheet to complete, you may want to tell the students to circle their name or mark the paper in some way to know if they actually listened to the video or just completed the work.

I am a novice when it comes to this but it was really quite easy. Practice speeds up the process. I have already made 6 videos in the last two days because they kids are excited to get a video to watch AND the students' work is benefiting from me being in 25 different places at once (via the video).

Monday, November 26, 2012

Recording student information about graphing

My previous posts about story problems showed the students' work on answering story problems. My hope is that the students would share their thinking while working out the problems. This has not happened as the students (at this age) are just concentrating on what they are drawing and not what they are thinking. I believe this will come but with practice, lots of practice.

This practice started with having the students telling me what they know about a graph they created. Each student was given a blank Thanksgiving graph and had to glue the different foods on the graph. Each student had a different number of the different food items so students had to complete on their own. Then they had to open up Educreations app and press record. The students were then instructed to tell the ipad (or me) what they knew about the graph. We talked about using math words like most, least, more than and less than. They were then reminded how to save their work.

Considering this was the first time, most of the students were able to complete this task. About four  students had one or two seconds recorded. I am not sure what happened there but these students will be a focus next time we do this to ensure they understand this process/task.

In the future, I would like to work on decreasing the background noise of each other. I think some of this will decrease as the students get better at doing this and understand the routine better and don't need assistance on the procedure to record. I also think I would give them cue cards on words or pictures of the different math terms we use to make sure they are incorporating them into their descriptions.

Here are two examples of the student's work and their description of the graph using the Educreations app:


I can't wait to see what they can do the next time.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Skoolbo competition

I have blogged about this app previously. It is a free app (yeah!). My students really love this app. One enticing feature is that the students can compete against their classmates. Each student has picked their own character. They play against others--the app picks their competitors. The students get so excited when they see their classmates. It really increases their motivation to do well.

I have a student that is very low academically and has a very limited attention span and this game keeps him "glued" to the iPad the whole time. He likes the competition and the activities. I also find that even though he is still working on the very basics, the questions are presented in a variety of ways.

I also like the data shown on this app. Here is a snap shot of the information. It shows the students names, how many questions they have completed, the time they have spend on the app and the last time they played.

Then, you can get further information by looking at each student's data.

You can get more detailed information about the different questions and concepts.

It has taken a couple of days for the loud cheering to become quiet excitement when they work on the app. I think all that is a good thing though.

Story Problems

I am beginning the process of having students record their thinking and explaining the process to get their answer. I say beginning because last Friday's lesson where I introduced this process felt like a stumbling block. The students had used educreations before where they drew the pictures about each story problem. We shared our ipad drawings using apple tv (this they really loved). It allowed any of the students to project their ipad on the screen.

I modeled how I drew my picture, shared my thinking aloud, and "recorded" how I got my answer. We did this multiple times. Then, we had a few students (who I felt confident could demonstrate this) actually draw the pictures and do the story problem. However, they were so engrossed in the drawing they did not speaking. I was so disappointed.

I think more work is needed and more practice. I also think that at this developmental level that they are so focused on the picture that talking about it and drawing it, they are just not ready to do.

More work is needed. More modeling. More practice. We will get it.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Differentiation with Everyday Math Dice Roll and Record Game

Here is another way I differentiate the Everyday Math (3.3) Dice Roll and Record Game. The directions of the game are for the students to roll a die and then record the amount of the die on the grid.

I could give the students all the same grid (1-6, see above) but I know that many of my students are more advanced than the numbers 1-6. I do have two students that are still working on one-to-one correspondence and identification of numbers 1-6 so this activity is perfect for them.

Here is how I differentiated this activity for the variety of students I have.

Here I gave the students 2 dice and they have to roll and record numbers 2-12. The students roll the 2 dice, count up the dice together and then fill in one square of the sum of the dice.

Here I gave students 3 dice and they have to roll and record numbers 3-18. They are working on teen numbers. This grid allows the students to have the opportunity to count the teen numbers. The students roll the 3 dice, count up the dice together and then fill in one square of the sum of the dice.

Here are the variety of dice I use. The big yellow and blue dice are for students that have fine motor issues and holding and rolling small dice is difficult. It is also good for those that need one-to-one counting as the dots are much bigger for little fingers. (I bought these in a dollar store.) They are also foam and so they make little or no sound. The red and white dice are smaller, normal size dice, but they too are foam and so they make little or no sound. This is important for those students that are sensitive to noise. With 24 students rolling dice, it can get quite loud. The two white dice are just normal dice. I have them in different colors so students sitting next to each other can have a different color than their friends at their table. This cuts down on determining what dice belongs to what person. The wood dice are hand-made. I had a local hardware store cut about 100 of these.  (I think it cost about $10.) I use them for a variety of games. In this game, to extend differentiation further I could have a student have one dice with a number and one regular dice. Students have to count on from the wood dice. I could also have larger or smaller numbers on the wood dice depending on the student.

When the students are done rolling the dice, they can share with their partner or the class which column has the most, least, etc. It turns into a graph that they can talk about.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Social Emotional Needs, Part II

This is a follow up to my last post about Calm Counter. Yes, it worked and I was skeptical about it. Was the initial response to this app just because it was new? Here are some examples of what I am seeing in my classroom.

My student that does not do well with confrontation or unstructured activities was trying to get in line for lunch (possibly running) and was confronted by lunchroom personnel about his behavior in line. He got instantly upset. I happen to be nearby when this episode happened. I took him out of line, called down to my classroom for my resident to bring my the calm down ipad. He brought it, I put the headphones on the student and in 30 seconds he was back in line for lunch. Other adults in the area were shocked by the quick transformation.

Another episode was this same student was in art (in our classroom) and was asking for an ipad. The art teacher did not realize that we were using this and asked me (I was outside the classroom working) about an ipad that this student was asking for. I went in, put the headphones on and started the app. She stated he had calmed down quickly. I was very encouraged by him asking for this ipad on his own.

Other students use it as well. Their response is very quick and they are able to get quickly back to work or join the group on the rug. I am still amazed. I hope the newness never runs out but I am always looking for other options just in case.

Monday, October 15, 2012

iPads and social emotional needs

I never thought that an ipad could calm a very upset tantrum throwing kindergartner but I was wrong today! This year one of my students has some difficulty with regulation and calming himself once he is upset. I found this app "Calm counter". I have now set up a calm down corner with an extra ipad. The app count backwards from 10 while there is a visual smiley face changing the expression from angry to happy in the countdown. It was quite amazing when I used it today. The student was crying and very upset. By the time the child got to 8 he had stopped and was starting to calm down. By the time he was at 1 and then told to take a deep breath, he was calm. I was shocked at how quickly that occurred. It was quite amazing. The Calm Counter!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

iPads in Guided Reading

Before a class set of iPads I was differentiating my literacy centers for guided reading. Here were some of literacy centers and how I differentiated them:
1. Word Study--At the beginning of the year, it is beginning sounds. As the year progresses it is ending sounds, short vowel sounds, blends, digraphs, long vowels, irregular verbs. The three students that come to this center listen to their individual tape player and complete their work. These tapes are direct feedback and have the students complete the work and then they check it at the end of the tape.
2. Writing-Differentiate based on ability with different levels of support
3. Computer-just simple phonics games (old computers, little memory)
4. Hot Dots-These are very cool and give students instant feedback (which is so important in kindergarten). You can differentiate these as well by buying different sets and making your own!
5. Rhyming--These are also tapes that give instant feedback and offer a wide range of rhyming activities and skills.

I made copies of the CD's or tapes so I would not use my originals in tape decks (so little hands would not ruin the tape by pushing record). Each child in the rotation had their own sequence of lessons based on where the students were in their word study knowledge. This took a long time for set up (rewinding tapes, switching tapes for each student, etc). The system worked well and the time it took to set up each day decreased with practice.

Now, I use iPads during guided reading. Instead of the students going to different centers, they use their ipad with different apps. They have head sets on and are working quietly. (I couldn't always say that when they were working in their centers.) I call my groups and then the students go back to their tables and go back to work on the ipads. The different apps that I use are also differentiated so students are working at their own pace.

Here are some of the apps I use. Each of the apps have an assessment component:
Teach me (toddler, kindergarten, first grade, second grade)
Smarty Pants

I am working on incorporating Raz-kids where the students will also be assigned leveled books based on their guided reading. I can assign a running record and different assignments as well.

Story Problems

Today I taught story problems to the students. In the past, the students had used white boards with markers on the rug. I remember taking a few minutes to pass out the materials--white boards, markers, and erasers--always having a few children who wanted a different color marker than the one received (though that can be an easy fix with each marker being the same color). This year, each student went to grab their ipad off their table (we had used then earlier) and came and sat on the rug. Less than 20 seconds. Ohhh, I like that timing.

The students opened their educreations app and we began. I had my ipad projected through apple tv on the white board for all students to see. I began telling story problems first introducing the class on how to represent the problems with pictures. I gave examples of how to quickly draw different objects.

I incorporated the students' names in the stories, which the students loved. I was also able to show the class each other's work by projecting their pictures on the screen for all to see. What was really cool is that the students started to use different colors when drawing their pictures demonstrating the different problems and solutions.

Here is are two students' work:
The story problem was "Willie and Sam have to share this 3 scoop ice cream. How many scoops will Willie and Sam get if they share it equally?" You can see how this student used red and orange colors to show who got each scoop.

The story problem was "Nyema had 2 cookies and Taylour had 3 cookies in their lunches. How many cookies did they have in all?" This student labeled the number of cookies and then wrote the number sentence.

I felt like this lesson with ipads allowed students to more easily and quickly learn from each (through projecting on the screen for all students to see and hear the answer from the student themselves). They wanted to share their work and have it projected. It also saved a lot of time with clean up and set up. They students just walked to the rug with their ipad and walked back to their tables when done with the lesson. Even though no instruction was given for the students to use different colors to help draw their picture representation, they used them and really added understanding to their representations. Finally, the attention to this lesson was high. I gave little if any redirection as they were VERY engaged. This is not always true with previous story problem lessons with white boards.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Differentiation in patterning

Okay, the only way I used the ipad in this lesson is to have the students explain their pattern to me (I recorded it on my ipad but in the future I could use theirs) and to take pictures.

This lesson was 2.6 in Everyday Math. I found that my students are advancing rapidly and the pattern lesson in 2.6 was just going to be to easy (and I wanted them to record their work, using the connecting level, and begin moving them to more abstract patterning.) This activity is a modification of Math Their Way. I often use Math Their Way activities to initially make the learning activities more concrete and manipulative based. The students were instructed to make a pattern identified for them on small index cards. The index cards had their names and 1 or 2 patterns on it. There were 2 patterns for many of them because if they were done early I wanted them to have the opportunity to make another. Almost all of them (all but 4) had the pattern written in letter form, AABB, ABC, ABAB, etc. The other four were written in the shape I wanted them to use (see Zachery's below). Here a bunch of examples of cards.


The students completed the patterns and I was able to observe. When I found the students with an error in their pattern, I just used their cards to jot down a quick note. See Kenyah's above. I wrote down her mistake with pencil. Here are the students patterns.


I am able to display their work and could use their cards as well next to them (if I didn't write on them). These cards can be used again by adding more patterns for them to make. I would have the previous patterns they made.

This is just a quick way to differentiate and record students' observations.

Recording science experiments part II

The FOSS lessons for our unit of study on rocks include experimentation of river rocks. On Day 1, the students sorted and explored river rocks. The sorting was more challenging that simple colored blocks but many students still were able to sort. The students recorded their observations on (all ipads were signed up to my account so I have access to each of their recordings).

Here is another student's sort.

Day 2, the students were told that highways and roads are made with river rocks but that they have to be sorted. How could we sort these rocks by size. After their suggestions, I then held up a large screen and asked how we could use the screen. The students then went back to their tables with the materials. They poured the river rocks through the large screen. We came back to the rug and discussed our results. The students then recorded their results.
The students labeled some pebbles, large on top of the screen. Below the student labeled rocks. Here is another student recording. They are able to change the color of the rocks too using educreations. However, there is no brown color.
Here, the child used the red to label and used black and gray to draw the different river rocks.
I am also able to instantly share their labels using the apple tv. Each child's ipad is on my network (the one named after me located in my classroom). I just project the child's ipad image on the screen (the same way I do mine).

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Recording science experiments

Yesterday, I showed my students how to use educreations (a 30 second lesson). They have seen us use this app for our intial whole group writing instruction but we have never talked about how to use the app. I just showed them how to end lesson, save lesson and name it. Prior to this I set up each of the educreations account on their ipad with my email address and password. Therefore, technically all their work shows up in my educreations account so I can review them all. We have disabled their ability to email on the ipad in kindergarten so they can't email me their work. This actually works better and saves an extra step. However, if I had to email (which my original intent was for the students to email me), I was inputting my email address so when they started to write my last name, my email would pop up.

The students are working with rocks. Yesterday, they were given a bag of 6 rocks, 3 different kinds, 2 of each kind of rock. they observed the rocks and sorted them. Today they made a hypothesis of what happened when they rubbed the same 2 rocks together. Then they were recording their work. Last year, I had a cute little geologist page where they recorded what they did. This year with ipads, they drew their observations on educreations.

Here is one student's work:

Here is another student's work:

On a side note, I used educreations for my word study group. They were writing 3 letter words. This is the second day I did this. The first day they had stylus and half of them had difficulty using the styles so I didn't use them today. It was amazing how they remembered how to save the lesson, name the lesson, etc. It is amazing how quickly they pick it up. I really didn't have to say anything but we are saving this lesson.

All of their lessons are on their own individual ipad but they are also on my educreations account too. If a parent wants to see their work, they can open the educreations account on the student's ipad and look at their lessons. Also, all of this work can be upload to three ring, an electronic portfolio I will use this year.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

New App: Skoolbo

I worked a little last year with piloting a new app: Skoolbo. I had difficulty because my old iPads were iPad1 and I really needed iPad 2 to use Skoolbo. However, I upload the app and had my kids use it so I could also still do the demo.

This is a free app. It can be used on the Mac, PC and iPads. It can truly be used at home or at school for all ages. The students get to pick their player by deciding the color of hair, skin, clothes, shoes, etc. Even though they compete against themselves earning points, they can actually see their friends in the "race" with them. My daughter and son were both on at the same time and they saw each other's names as they were playing.

The parents have to register the kids at and then set up their child's password. They are super easy to remember and took my little one about 30 seconds to remember "green" "dragon". They have to identify a color and picture (mostly of animals). The parents set up their own dashboard and then can invite the teacher to view the results. My teacher dashboard has all my students and I can see the number of minutes they have played, the percentage correct, the number of questions they answered and the kind of questions they have been asked. The dashboard will also show today's stats, the last month's total stats, and further back.

I also created a little guide sheet for signing up though it is so easy you don't need anything!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Protecting our investment

Now that I have 27 ipads, what about protecting them from the inevitable drops by a 5 year old? We decided to purchase the following cases. An expensive investment but when you consider the cost of the ipads, it is important to protect the investment. Amazon sells them for $33 each. We might have gotten a deal because we bought in bulk and school purchaser.

These are super cute but the real reason we got them is the ipads will be protected. The hands are easy for the students to hold. They are soft and can easily be gripped by little hands. The ipads pop in and when we carried them up the stairs swinging them (only as a test), the ipads didn't fall out. They were sturdy. 

Oops! While waiting for the sync cart and the cases, I realized that we never thought about fitting these cases in the cart. They do not! Yikes. Well teachers are creative and inventive and with the slats in the cart they do not fit. We figured out this situation by easily removing the slots. We had a bigger sync cart so they actually stand up while being synced. 

Last year, I put a colored piece of paper and number on the back of each ipad. I started this same label system this year until I got the cases. I was paranoid of dropping one of the ipads until the cases came. The students learned their numbers (I am not sure they even paid attention to the color) in about 2 days. When we put the ipads in the new cases, the number/color on back were hidden. We decided to just write with permanent marker on the front of the case (on the leg) the number of the ipad. I think I will also put it on the side of the case as well. Students can readily grab their ipad with the visual number. Also easy for me to grab them as well. The ipad cases will be good year after year.


I have clear plastic tubs with the students' folders and headphones in them. Originally the ipads were there too. They will not fit now. From another colleague, she had the suggestion to have a place on the counter or shelves where students can pick up their standing ipad. On the counter would be the matching number. Students would put their ipad on the corresponding number when not using. This is also good for departmental teachers who may have students from different classes using the ipads each period.  I don't have space for 27 ipads in a row but I have smaller spaces for 10 in each location. This will actually be better because then I can have multiple students getting ipads in different locations and they are not all crowded around one area. Save time, avoid conflicts--both things I love.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

REALLY becoming an iPad user--Changing my practice

I got my first iPad last year to use with my residents. I mainly used it for videoing them. I bought a bunch of apps that my own children enjoyed. I had a recommendation for Smarty Pants from another colleague and figured this would last my students most of the year learning sounds, letters, and sight words. I could implement iPads in my room, no problem.

Initially I only had 10 ipads. I used 6 of them during guided reading time for literacy centers. This wasn’t too difficult, I thought. Then I realized that the information on Smarty pants needed to be attached to the same student each time. Okay, so I set up a rotation. These 5 students are on one ipad, the next 5 students on another, etc. I had 10 centers so the 5th and 10th center were iPad centers. Worked perfectly. Students enjoyed the center with the iPads. I reviewed their data daily. I was happy with the results but I realize that I had nothing to compare it to.

In math, I used the iPads for math centers and at the end of the day if students wanted to use them during free choice time. I found a free app called Find Sums. I liked this app and I could differentiate it for each student.

In January, I was given a whole class set of iPads for limited time during the day. Ohhh, I was excited. Now the students could do Smarty Pants for literacy centers every day while my residents and I pulled for guided reading. This app was working with word study and sight words while I worked on reading at their level with them. So, this organization would require a little more thought to make sure all 28 students had their own iPad, clean up, set up, recording data (there was no way I could realistically look at 28 iPads daily). I consider myself very organized and a little over the top with organization too, so I had to figure something out to have the students manage this organization and take on this responsibility—it would take me way to long to do it all. Here is what I came  up with (that all students with varying degrees of ability could accomplish):

·      I bought colored file folders. These colors corresponded to the take home folder. The take home folders were organized by cubbie location. I have 5 sets of cubbies, each having 5 different sections, one for each kid. Since I have 28 students, some students share. The color of the folder eases the handing back of these folders since all the red are together, orange are together, etc. I wrote their name on the file folders along with a number. This number would be attached to their iPad.
·      Each file folder had assessment data inside. One for Smarty Pants, one for Find Sums but more could be added as more apps were used. On the front of the file folder was Velcro.
·      I took pictures of the different apps and the different sections in Smarty Pants. I made 30 copies of each, lamented them and put Velcro on the back. On the front of the file folder, I put the picture of the app/section that the child was assigned to do. Each child could be at a different place of the app. They would know where to go based on the picture of the file folder.
·      The assessment piece inside showed a picture of the assessment data on Smarty Pants so students would see where to get the information from.

Each table had a tub to store iPads, head phones and the assigned file folders for the children at that table. Pencils were also kept in the tubs. The file folder color and number corresponded to the back of the iPad color and number. Children would only have to learn one number. I also had a whole list of students posted in the front of the room. The child’s name corresponded to the color of their file folder. Names were put in numerical order based on the number of their iPad.

So this was working and then I realized that many students were almost done with Smarty Pants. What to do now? Yikes. I had to think quickly. I found TeachMe kindergarten and first grade. My own children were on these apps. I didn’t need an assessment sheet because the app keeps this data for me. I quickly took a screenshot of the app, make 30 copies, and laminated and put Velcro on them. The students easily switched to the new app when the app changed on their file folder.

Well, the school year 2011-2012 ended and the children make really good progress; more than I had ever had in the past. We took the MAP test and the number sense and word study showed great results! Maybe because of the iPads. Hmmmm! What else could I do next year? I needed iPads all day!!! Not just during guided reading.

Be careful what you wish for!!! The 2012-2013 school has started and I have 27 iPads in my room all day. They are all mine! Now what! I was excited BUT very scared!!!! I really don’t know what I am doing. It wasn’t so bad to have an app here or an app there. But to do it all day? I had a MAC book last year too (which mainly collected dust) because I am a PC user. I like my PC. I know how to do everything that I do on the PC. I used the MAC occasionally last year to sync. They put an apple tv in my room (I didn’t even know that wasn’t a real TV when I was trying to figure out where I was going to put it).

I started to not want all this stuff!  I couldn’t do it. I just was so frustrated with this MAC, with all of this. I am a high achiever and also do what I set my mind to do and this just seemed IMPOSSIBLE. My husband would often see me frustrated with this MAC, yelling at it, wanting to throw it across the room. How do you save a document? How can I change that margin?  I can’t even do the simple stuff, how was I going to master anything else? I converted back to my PC. I just don’t have 20 minutes to figure out margins. I’m done with this stuff.

Well, late nights didn’t help my relationship with the MAC, it really just strengthened my stable relationship with my PC. However, I know that I could do it, if I try. I am not a quitter, thought there were many nights that quiting sounded like a good idea to me!

So, I decided to put my friend the PC on a shelf for a little while. I would try to use the MAC all the time (even if it killed me). I started simple and started to do stuff that I was able to do the little stuff.

Now I had to try to tackle the iPad rules chart. Everyone else in my school who was 1:1 iPad had their rule chart made from teachers last year. The problem is that my kindergartners are not reading yet so I need to put pictures with the words. Ughhh! I wanted to cry. This was so unfair. I had to do this on the MAC!!! Okay, after calling around to people that new MAC, bugging my tech person at school for even the stupidest thing, I figured it out. I cheated a little, decided that this is just the way it was going to format and had a finished project.

Know I am using the MAC daily, and I still have my ups and downs but it is going okay. I synced all the iPads with my apps. I know I need to do this again because there are new apps I want and I will have to try to remember but I will do it.

Here are some more frustrations:
1.    Everyone using the iPad in my little 1:1 cohort has big kids. Mine students are little. There experiences don’t always help me and sometimes I feel isolated, alone with my experiences and problems. BUT this is what I have figured out to help me. I have done some searching for others with iPads in kindergarten and am now following 2 other blogs. I initially thought I don’t have the time (I am not a facebooker, tweeter, etc) but realize that some of these blogs will help me and the posts can be sent to my email. I don’t have to search. I didn’t know that.
2.    I have to be more organized and print friendly with my students. The cohort doesn’t. I again feel isolated and alone as they share their rules and other documents that they have made. I can’t really use much of their stuff. BUT this is what I have figured out to help me. I can use the MAC and adapt some of their work. I know that I have to be picture and word friendly to help ALL my students “read” the print. This is the right thing to do and it is all done for next year. I can also share with others and help other teachers who have felt my frustrations.
3.    I can’t figure out how to SAVE, PRINT, or other things. BUT this is what I have figured out to help me. I have gone on YouTube and seen some videos. I write everything that I learn down and make my very own cheat sheet for me. Some PC stuff relates to the MAC. AND when I get to show someone how to “right click on a MAC” and I feel just a tad bit smarter. I’m getting it I tell myself.

My job is not done. I still have a lot to figure out but I have begun.

If I am going to do this, I am going to do this with everything I have got. That is me. I am going to do this RIGHT! And exceed even my expectations.

My next task is to use the iPad all day and not just substitute it for paper and pencil task. I broke down my day into different activities and made a chart of those and worked with my residents on how to brainstorm iPad usage with each activity.
Breakfast in the classroom
Play soft music (classical). No pictures. Initially we had pictures of forests, ponds, mountains that come as screen savers during the music but we found for a few of our children this is a distractor.
Book boxes (independent reading)
Right now, they are just reading books that are in a basket. My thoughts are that there are free books that are leveled. I am planning on having a library for them on their iPad and they could read their leveled books. (I will share when complete.)
Morning Meeting
·      Second Step (character education program)
·      Flashcards
·      Letter to students (agenda)
Second Step is a program so no iPad use right now. Maybe show videos, music to supplement.
Flashcards (Working on making them on my iPad). I would need to be up at the screen when I point to the words and the students read the letters. Is there an program that I can point on my screen and the students will see the pointing? I am investigating this.
Letter to students. Right now I write it on chart paper, we read as a class and at the beginning of the year, we circle some of those sight words. If I project it on the screen, students could stand in front of projector while circling it and the words would be blocked by their bodies. Also, students could circle on iPad but it is seen differently from the board to the iPad, may be difficult developmentally to refind to a new location. All kids could possibly have this on their iPad and circle all of them on their own (OHHH, I just thought of this, have to figure out how to make it work.) But they all could do this and not wait for their turn….
Read Aloud and Content Integration
I read a book and I don’t want to totally get rid of this. They love to read books and is probably the calmest time of their days. They get engrossed and I like to READ.
But the science that can be connected….
As scientists, they need to record their work. We can have them draw and label. We can have them describe and draw and write/record their information to share with the class. Working on the details with the app and how to show all.
I am using educreations app right now. I project it up on the screen (and unlike an overhead I don’t have to be by the projector). I can be anywhere in the room helping one-on-one with a student, redirecting a student, etc and still continue my lesson. The students know where to look—the screen—and I am not always in their view.
This has been very helpful with students that have attention issues where I can be close to monitor. I can really address all their needs and not run back and forth to the overhead. I was just told about Doceri and downloaded that app. I will let you know what it goes. More tools for teachers I am told. (Educreations can be recorded so I can tape my lessons for my residents to listen to or even for me to review and catalog in my library). Possiblity for a long term sub, maternity leave, sick leave, too many options here.
Michael Heggerty’s Phonological awareness
Still just do it with the students. Maybe I can adapt to iPad for students that need accommodation and/or modification.
I have a bathroom in my room and have the students on a math app (right before math time) while we filter through the bath time. I can accommodate and differentiate at this time. They also don’t play in the bathroom because they want to work on their iPads.
I have not done calendar on the iPad yet. Still need to investigate this one. Any ideas? I teach Everyday Math and am incorporating ideas. Have a lot to work on with iPad integration. I have some good apps but they are limited use. Ideas are welcome. I know that we are working on this part in our 1:1 iPad cohort so this piece will improve.
Guided Reading
Explained above but will be using Smarty Pants, TeachMe K, 1st grade, and 2nd grade to meet students’ needs. Also looking into guided level readers.
Will use educreations for the students to write and then record their work with the instruction being recorded as well. Sorta like a worksheet but you get to hear all the instruction too. This will be sent and put in their electronic portfolios.
I had the students read into the iPad so I could assess fluency. This is sorta like a running record. I found I could be in many different places at once doing this.
Word Study
I know a colleague used Words Their Way on the iPad. I did a lot of adapting of WTW last year as I think some students are good at cheating on some of the sorts. I made some myself. Still need to adapt to iPads. I could envision something similar to Guided Reading but not sure yet.

Future Plans: I have a lot as you see above. I guess starting small and taking baby steps is my path. I feel like small successes fuel me to have bigger successes and push me even further.

I feel like I could one day say I was a MAC user and smile about it.

I feel like as hard as this seems on any given day or any moment of frustration or success, my students are benefitting from every baby step. They will meet and exceed all expectations. We can close the achievement gap. They will truly be 21st century learners.