Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Padlet and iPads and Spiders...Oh My!

I can't tell you how excited I am about using the iPads as tools to support our learning.  Yesterday we used Padlet to share our schema as we kicked off our Spider Week.  If you are not familiar with Padlet, here is a short video from their website.

 I have used Padlet before but never with the iPads.  So yesterday at 5 o'clock in the morning I had a brainstorm- I think I do some of my best thinking during the wee hours of the morning!- and created a wall for my kids to share what they know about spiders. I was worried about them typing in the URL, but luckily Padlet generates a QR code to use for sharing the wall so I just made copies of that.
I loved watching my little friends' excitement as the QR code "magically" took them to Padlet and as they shared their knowledge about spiders.  Typing is still difficult for many of them, but they perservered and we have our schema wall!

On another exciting note, our Donor Choose goodies have started to arrive!

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Saturday, October 25, 2014

iPad Love!

I could start this post by offering excuses for why I haven't blogged in 3 months, but rather than getting into discussing the "challenges" presented by my class or changes that are keeping me at school later than ever, I'm just going to go on and discuss what's good about this year so far!

Thanks to the generosity of our PTA and a grant that I received, I now have 6 iPad minis in my classroom.  This has allowed me to have a couple of iPads available for independent activities during Daily 5 and math workshop while the others can be utilized by my small groups.  I really want to see my students doing more than playing games on the devices, so my goal this year is to show them how the iPads can be used to share their learning with others.  I've started slow and introduced 3 tools so far.

First I introduced using the camera and PicCollage. We have used PicCollage to show combinations of numbers and for story retellings so far.

Next we used Popplet Lite. Popplet is a great tool for organizing information.  We used it to share the steps for making applesauce during our apple unit.

I introduced Educreations this week.  One of my math groups used it along with Make a Scene: Farmyard to model subtraction stories.  I love using these 2 apps for demonstrating math concepts or documenting students' work in math!

Friday was an especially productive day!  Because some of my students attend a GT class on Fridays (and unfortunately I had a couple students home sick)  I was able to pair up my students and, by using my own personal iPad, each partner group had an iPad to use.  We had time for each group to freely explore some of these apps, and I was able to observe and guide as necessary.  It was incredible to watch as they encouraged each other and solved problems together!

Then my day got even better when I received an email informing me that Chevron had donated to my Donors Choose project, and it was now fully funded!  So in a few weeks I will have the materials to set up a STEM station in my classroom complete with building materials and another iPad.  Now I have to get busy planning exactly how the station is going to look and what I want my little scientists and engineers to accomplish!

I'll be back soon to talk about our next big iPad experience- learning to code!
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