iPads! Last spring a child visited my classroom to begin the transition from pre-school school to Kindergarten. The child had an iPad. So I started to see and watch as the magic of this tool began to unfold.
Right away many of the kindergarten children went to the visiting guest and started talking about the tool she had and how it worked. As I watched and listened some of the children were demonstrating to others how the iPad works because they had one at home. Amazing! So I started thinking about how this tool was going to enrich and enhance learning for the children.
Our school purchases 30 iPads! Wow! So now I am really thinking about how, what and when this new tool is going to be a part of Kindergarten Life.
My journey begins….
In July I was visiting my parents, (retired doctor and nurse, )78 & 80 years old. They each had their own iPad. What was so wonderful about this was that I had a unique opportunity to learn about the iPad, it’s use and impact for connecting, learning and collaborating. I love how I was in the position of being the learner here, just as I was in the late spring when the iPad first made its way into Kindergarten.
As an educator I feel that I am always learning and keep an open mind to the possibilities that exist when new things appear. Through these experiences and exposures no matter how in-depth it seems, a small spark ignites and I begin to think about application, impact and learning outcomes. So here I am in the 20th day of kindergarten and already the iPad is becoming a seamless, everyday part of kindergarten life. A tool that children are comfortable with and are beginning to use to help support, enhance and reflect on their learning.
During our Math Workshop we introduced a new math station, iPads! The children are using an app called,”Finger Count.” This is a great app to use as it helps us with our oral counting, number identification and the understanding of the concepts before and after! The sound is great as it gives feedback while the children are touching the screen.
After the children have had an opportunity to explore a little with this app, I have asked kids to count forwards, then when they reach a certain #, let’s say 20. I would say, now count backwards. The trick here I have found is to have the child touch one # while counting backwards, if they do not another # will appear in counting order as I believe that is what the app is programmed to do.
Another thing I tried and was successful in doing was to have the kids count to 10 or whatever # you wish, depending on the level of the child and then to ask the child to touch the # i say, like press 10, etc. Nice for # ID. Then I tried having the kids place #’s, 1-10, 9-21, etc. Then I ask the children to touch the # that is either before or after a certain number. This was also very successful and fun for the kids. Again, having the kids being careful to press 1 # otherwise the app will produce the next # that appears in counting order.
Doodle Maker has been a great app for us to use on iPads. It has helped us learn how to form our numbers correctly. On the app we use it has a small icon that helps guide us to make sure that we always start at the top! iPads are now part of our math workshop rotation! The children use the iPads to help reinforce basic numeration skills, numeral formation and skip counting!
The more we explored with iPads, the more children had to share about what they observed and were learning. This is what they children had to say;”wow! You can hear animals real voices, I can write letters, Look, I am tracing my name, I can make capital and lower case letters, I can see lots of numbers, this is so cool, I like this, Look, it is like counting by 1’s, I can find number patterns”. After we learn how to navigate the iPads, we will then begin using them in a safe and responsible way that supports our learning! But, I think this is already evolving through our exploration and experience.
During our Reader’s Workshop and Writer’s Workshop time we discovered that iPads are able to video us and our learning discoveries. The children were able to create a couple of videos of each other reading and writing. Later we were able to watch and listen to how we sound and what we look like. Children begin to develop reading and writing habits through this type of authentic feedback and experience. As a teacher this tool is an awesome way of capturing behaviors and habits of what I want children to do to help them become a life long writer and reader.
The children were practicing lots of different reading and writing strategies. This way I was able to capture the children using these strategies and provide a vehicle for them to showcase/share their experience with themselves and others. This is where it was also a bonus having a SMARTboard. Not only could the children watch themselves, but some of the children interacted with some parts of what they saw by making marks using the tools on pictures or parts of the video that they found interesting.
Today the children used an iPad to log onto their kidblog! Wow! The children were creating a title and making a post about anything they wanted to share. This was happening a lot earlier than what I had originally planned. I had a parent and a grandmother in Kindergarten bookmarking the kidblog url on all the ipads so that the children could access easily.
As a class we came up with some helpful tips/hints to think about when creating a post;
1. Let your child sound out the words they want to say. This may be bbbbb for ball, 2222 for 2, or random letters for a word, this is okay!
2. Tell your child to press the space bar after they write each word.
3. Create a title.
4. Blogging is like reading a book, it has a title and words about the title of the book.
5. When we blog, we write. Our writing looks the way we want it to look. It has a message.
6. Submit your post for Mrs. D. to okay!
More about iPads and kidblogging!
The children had another opportunity to create and design their own post on their kidblog about what they liked about our presentation from the Audubon about insects. Many of the children used familiar books to help them write new or unknown words. Children also used their inventive writing to write their post/message.
This is another example of how we use our literacy skills to show what we know by using technology in a safe and responsible way.
The children started working in their scientific investigation journals today! Each child drew a Monarch Butterfly and labeled 1 body part. Then they named their drawing. When we create scientific drawings we use pencils, colored pencils, crayons and rulers. The photos were taken with a camera and some with an iPad!
This is a nice way to share a child’s ah ha’s and discoveries with family. Nice and easy way to build relationships and make connections! I love this!