Happy snow day, everyone!
OK, so it’s my turn to add to the blog post - yikes! I am not a Blogger or a Tweeter or a Facebook member, so I have no experience putting my thoughts out there into cyberworld. Here goes!
What a great experience it has been being part of the TLC group this year and having the opportunity to explore the use of iPads in the classroom. In 2-3, we feel fortunate to have six iPads for our program in addition to each teacher iPad. Having iPads easily accessible in our space certainly facilitates our explorations. We have all found that Futaba, Pyramid 13, Pop Math and Telling Time are useful tools for practicing Spanish and math skills. Some of us have used PuppetPals and Toontastic to enhance story writing. I have used Phonics to customize decoding practice for a couple of students who benefitted from the extra reinforcement that the App provides. I have also used VoiceThread with some students.
Just having an iPad nearby enables us to do a quick search for information to add to something we are reading about or studying. Yesterday, while working with a small group of students on telling time, I was able to provide each student with an iPad to look up Leap Day and explore the reason why we need to have an extra day added to our calendar every four years. With each child able to have their own iPad, we could access the information in a more interactive way than just having me project the site on the SMART Board. We all went to the same site; each child could view the information and graphics on the site as we read the information together. The kids were fascinated with the math involved and with a graphic that showed the elliptical rotation of the Earth around the sun that creates the need for the extra day. The information sparked some calculations and discussion of how our Gregorian calendar was devised and what Leap Year is all about.
I played around a bit last weekend with the Explain Everything app after reading the “iPad Screencasting” article on Diigo. I thought Explain Everything sounded familiar and discovered that I already had it on my iPad. I must have installed it when it was mentioned by someone, but never took the time to try it out. So I made a little presentation about my trip to Tucson with Cindy and Michaela over vacation to visit Shyla. I included maps, photos, text and voice. It was not too tedious a process to put it all together. Now I just need to show it to the kids to test it out. I would like to further explore other uses of this presentation app in 2-3, keeping in mind, of course, that a premade presentation is no substitute for teacher-student connections/interactions, as mentioned in the “ ATech-Happy Professor…” article. Thank you to everyone who has sent along articles for us to read.