Friday, April 25, 2014

iPads in First Grade?

Be Careful for What you Wish For!

At the end of last year I applied (wished) to have ipads in my classroom for this year.  At the end of last year I was teaching third grade.  I found out at the end of summer that I would be teaching first grade this year.  I was really nervous about moving to a new grade with such little people and on top of it having ipads in my classroom!  It has definitely been a learning process, but with a lot of help from colleagues, I did find fun and engaging ways to implement ipads in my classroom.  I am amazed at how quickly the students learn how to use the apps and I am so glad that I did "wish" for the ipads after all!
Whole Group Lessons

I have used the nearpod app this year for several math lessons.  I take the information from our Math Expressions teacher manual and implement it into my nearpod lesson. What has been great about nearpod is that I can use examples from the teacher manual to see how my students work them out. Since they must share an ipad, they also have to collaborate before they submit their work. I love being able to pull up students work for the class to see.  It really lends to the “math talk” that we encourage so much with common core.  Students can comment on the work of other students by sharing if they “agree or disagree”.  It is such a learning tool for students to be able to explain how he or she came to a solution, or even where a mistake was made.


I have also used  Kahoot! this year. Kahoot is a game based classroom response system which is very engaging! It reminds me a lot of the “clickers” I used to use for whole group review.  Students in my classroom have to be partners, but they love creating a team name.  Once all students have submitted their team name, they put in a pin number and the Kahoot begins. With Kahoot, you can create questions for a quiz or as a survey.  In the survey format, it shows how many “teams” chose a certain answer and it lets me know if the majority of my class is familiar or unfamiliar with a certain topic. I have created a survey in Kahoot as a pre-assessment before a lesson on telling time. I have also used Kahoot in the quiz form for a science review.  It is time based and it has fun music that gets the kids really excited. Kahoot is not an app, but I turned it into a QR code and students can just scan the code to take them right to Kahoot!


Small Group Lessons and Stations

In small group lessons, such as guided reading, I like to use edmodo to upload books for a couple of my reading groups.  The students amaze me at how quickly they go get their ipad for guided reading time and log in to get to their book.  I also have used educreations to follow up on guided reading activities by uploading some of the Reading A to Z graphic organizers, such as the Venn diagrams and the cause and effect boxes.  It saves paper and copies and the kids love it!  It is a bit time consuming for them as they learn how to insert the text box and type, but they are getting faster!

In stations, I love, love love using QR codes!  I have created many math stations with QR codes.  Again, since I don’t have enough ipads to go around, they must share which means a lot of collaborating!  My students know they still have to work out their problems in their math journals before scanning the QR code to check their answers.

During the reading stations, one rotation is to read a book, take an AR quiz (also on ipads), RAZ kids or go to Scootpad reading.  I have recently found “free” QR codes for online reading books.  Once a week, I allow them to scan what looks like a little iphone and it takes them to some online reading sources.  I have them differentiated for students.  One of the resources takes them to articles and stories from the Highlights magazine. They can choose to read it on their own or use headphones and it will read it aloud to them.  If time permits, they are asked to fill in a story summarizer to keep them accountable for their reading.

It has been an amazing year of learning how to implement the ipads, I feel the biggest impact the ipads have made in my classroom, is the ability to differentiate for my students.  If I have a student who is really struggling in an area, I can find something or create something that can give that student extra practice during his/her station time.  Everyone is so busy working on “what is best for their own learning” that students respect what each other is doing.


  1. Our G1 and G2 teachers will begin a 1:1 adventure next year, and are excited and nervous. I will share your blog with them - you have some great ideas here. Have you seen Easy Blogger Jr? It's an app myself and 2 teacher colleagues created specifically for young students in shared ipad environments. If you want a smile, check out this video from one of our Pre-K students created and uploaded with the app.

  2. I would love to apply for a grant to have IPads in the classroom. Did you find it is easier for your students to use a tablet rather then a laptop? I love how differentiated learning can be when implementing technology! Thank you for sharing examples of the programs you used in your classroom. Extra math is also a great free resource to teachers...I think 4.99 to buy as an app that allows students to practice basic math facts at their own pace. Just throwing out another resource!