Sunday, October 27, 2013

Blogging our First Year with 1:1 iPads Week Eight

This has been the week of iPad randomness... no it really has. None of the stuff we did really connects at all to each other... not even a little.

First off I co-taught an iPad question and answer session with our teacher librarian  "Mr.T" during one of our early release PD sessions. During this session the amazing "Mrs. N" lamented about the fact that she really wanted to have her kinder kiddos do Lexia, but getting them downloaded and set up was a huge difficult task. I jokingly commented that I could send three of my most techy kids over to get the job done. She said "Great how about four!?"  Agggg what have I done I thought  to myself... first graders as tech support!?!?! That's insane!! After that initial moment of panic I sat down and choose the magic four ( hint... if you want to know who had mad downloading skills it's the ones with the most random junk apps on their iPads). Then I took about two minutes to go over what they had do across the hall.

Here we are taking a practice run

Then I sent my little "Geek Squad" (thanks "Mr.T" for the name)  out on their first job after they finished up their Daily 5 must do. It only took them about TEWNTY MINUTES to help all of  "Mrs. N's" kiddos download the Lexia reading app... WOW! They headed back for another twenty minutes at the beginning of social studies (due to slow downloading issues) to get all the apps set up and ready for use (some of our teachers haven't figured out this step yet.... just kidding...maybe...)

Here they are hard at work

They did an amazing job! "Mrs. N" was super excited, and super impressed. Thanks to my personal Geek Squad her kids are all set for Lexia.
(Please note we have an amazing teacher librarian and tech support guy ("Mr.T" and "Super S") who help with these things, but they are only two people... two very busy people).
Here is the coolest part about this... they are so proud of themselves, and I just LOVE that because for the most part these are not my "high kids" so I love to see them shine like this.  If anyone is interested they are available Friday mornings after they have finished their Daily 5 must do work. I may have to make a sign up sheet on Google docs... just kidding... maybe!

This week we also used Primary Writer as part of our must do for Daily Five. Our shared reading for the week was There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves and the must do task one day was to share an opinion to this question "Was it a good idea for the old lady to swallow all those things?". My kiddos are not your average whimsical kiddos, they are total realists. All but one of them thought it was a bad idea, and they also thought of all kinds of horrible things that could happen to her as a result. Here is "Miss.S" my new little Russian speaking friend. She has only had her iPad a week, AND this is her first English only environment!! She rocked this activity! If you don't speak 1st grade let me translate...

"It was a bad idea because she might die"

In other news ios7 has been declared compatible with mclass so I made the jump! It's not as bad as my little tech critics made it sound, I actually like it!

That's all folks! This is Ms. C and the Geek Squad signing off! Have a great week!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Blogging our First Year with 1:1 iPads Week Seven

Each and every week my kids amaze me! Sometimes it's hard to believe that they're only first graders. We had to download a new app (more on that later) a few kids have it, but the rest got it downloaded in less than FIVE minutes! Not bad for kids who had never even touched a tablet just seven weeks ago!

RIP spelling free! Last week our iPads were updated for security and ios7. This week we discovered that our spelling app didn't like ios7 so much. A+ spelling never really worked for us so I got my research on and discovered all the amazing things you can do with the Spelling City app.

This app puts all the power of the website at our finger tips. The app is totally free, but there are other options that can be set up on their website. I went ahead and got a premium membership! I've been wanting to do different spelling lists for some of my kiddos for awhile, I just didn't feel like I was differentiating enough! With one list for the whole class some were being set up to fail, and others were bored silly! I just didn't know how to fit in four different spelling tests each week. Now I can have four different spelling lists so everyone can work just where they need to be! They can practice all week with their own list, test on Friday during their Daily Five, and it just saves right to the system for me. I don't even have to grade it or record it. It's all automatic. They don't even have to e-mail it !!! The free version would be perfect for teachers who only want to use one list, but I wanted more!  The best part of this app... I can upload the lists one time each!! NOT one time per kid. THANK GOODNESS!

Practicing is fun! They love it!


Test success!

One of the my favorite things was when some of my kiddos shared the writing they had done  in Primary writer. Normally when they share they have a hard time reading loud enough for everyone to hear because they have to face the SMART board or the document camera. With our Air Server we just link them up and let them go for it!

We also had a great week in photography! It was a beautiful fall day so we headed outside to get some nature shots.

They like to show off their photos and watch each other edit with Air Server!

I also wanted to share two of the best photos the kids took  and edited this week!

These were taken by two of my older girls, aren't they talented!?!

To finish up our week we cuddled up with good books during Daily Five!

Life is good!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Blogging our First Year with 1:1 iPads Week six

Week six and we are still learning new things and going strong! Every week the kids get better and better at downloading the apps they need for class, and only a few still need help with their iTunes passwords. Before long they will all have it down.

Thanks to a teacher friend I found a great app for publishing, and Work on Writing (Daily Five). It's called Primary Writer and my kiddos love it so far.

They loved working with this app! I like it because it really shows them how their own writing should look...finger spaces, handwriting etc. The scary thing is that some of them type much faster than they write! Next we will use this app to publish our personal narratives.

Here is what "A" did during the first few minutes of Work on Writing.

The crazy/maybe scary thing is that tons of them type faster than they write. I'm not sure what to think about that one...

Another big step for us was sharing in Google docs. After our last Google docs experience I knew that if it was going to work it was going to be a small group thing. I took the four kids with the best iPad skills and taught them how to share things with me. They were all SUCCESSFUL sharing images (from primary writer, and quick documents they typed up!!!! Google docs can be so glitchy though ugg!! It will be a headache sometimes but we can make it work.

Miss "H" my biggest techie sharing her Primary Writer image it said "I love you Ms. C".This involved taking a screen shot which she could already do (I didn't teach her) this chica rocks her iPad!!

Two more of my more techie kiddos "A and D" typing up little notes to me in Google docs.

Because we do math games with the dual immersion kiddos on Fridays we have a small amount of time at the end of the day that isn't really long enough for anything so they have a few minutes where they get to choose between a couple of our math apps. This week it was...
line em up

Sushi Monster

and Slate Math

This week was also the first week of clubs at our school. I teach photography to about 16 kids in grades 1-6 every Thursday. Last year we shared four three (one was dropped on the black top) cameras which was not so much fun! We also had to edit with Picasa on old laptops... also not so fun! Now that they all have iPads things are so much better. This week we used Aviary to edit  their pictures.

"M" was in photography last year so she's an old pro! She edited this photo (minus the heart) herself.

Here are some of my second graders taking pictures to edit

More editing fun... "Miss H" caught on fast!

Non iPad bonus picture: Playing school during their "free choice" rotation during Daily Five
little miss "D" was doing read aloud...she even shared the focus from the focus board!
See ya next week!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Marvelous Math Apps

This past week we had a blast at our family math night! One of the things we focused on was math apps. I spent a lot of time researching, asking colleagues for their picks, and checking out what the kids had found on their own. Here is what I came up with...

This one is great for 1st or second graders. It really helps with anchoring to 10.

Fun easy fact practice for all grades with all operations.

The best thing about these apps is that four people can play at a time! These apps have something for every grade, and cover  tons of math skills!

Another fun way to practice facts.

This app helps students learn the strategy of using a number line while problem solving.

Sequencing for all levels

Just the basics for k-1

Fun practice for all elementary grades and all operations

Fact practice with fact families and missing addends

A white board style app for practicing place value. Great for Number Talks!

A rekenrek app for number talks

One of my student's picks, solve the problem... kill the zombie.

One of my student's picks, solve the problem... kill the zombie.

One of my student's picks, solve the problem... win the race.

Some of these apps we use at school during math workshop, and some of them they use only at home, but they're all great apps. Have fun with them... we sure do!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Blogging our First Year With 1:1 iPads Week Five

I want to be totally real on this blog so people realize that our journey with iPads is not all sunshine and roses. So far things have gone pretty smoothly but this week we really hit a wall! Due to reasons I cannot elaborate on kindergarten and first grade students are not being allowed to use e-mail at this time. This has been a real struggle for us because e-mail was the only way for students to share things with me, and my only way to comment on work done on their iPads.

This conundrum of them not being able to share things with me has really limited what we can do with the iPads. One of our tech goddesses "Mrs. H" had a great idea. She thought we could do our sharing through Google docs. This proved to be easier said then done. It took some time to get their drives set up, but it was doable with the help of "Mrs. H" and "Mr. T' we got it done. I could NEVER have done it alone!! Thanks guys! As a disclaimer my kids are VERY tech savvy and so am I, but  this Google drive thing is not something I would try alone with any primary kiddos, it was almost too much for us so unless your kids have high level iPad skills I would skip it.

Then, we tried to have them do an assignment I sent them which was way...way...way to hard. My kiddos just could not do it, and these kids are super tech savvy, and amazing on their iPads. So for now, even after all that HARD work I'm not sure we're going to use it much. I'm trying to create a visual step by step guide for them to use for sharing things with me, but when you look at it closely there are an insane number of steps required to create and share a goggle doc. I just don't think we're there yet! I ended up feeling very defeated. E-mail was simple, it has very few steps, and they were good at it. I miss it, but I can't change things so I'm trying to figure something else out! I will conquer this obstacle!!!
I'm thinking about asking approval for kMail, a free kid safe app where I could control who they can send and receive e-mail from.

The saving grace of our iPad week came on family math night. It was AMAZING!!! I spent hours setting up a SMART slide with all our math apps with icons and exact app names (some of them are really strange) so parents and kids could download things fast and easy. It worked great, before long they were playing together! I could not wipe the smile on my face! They had the most fun with the Math Slide apps

With these apps up to four people can play. It was so fun to watch our kids and parents battle it out!

My little friend "Miss. K" was starting to worry that mom would beat her!

Stay tuned for a post with all the math apps I shared with parents...