Friday, June 13, 2014

One iPad, One Class, No Problem

IPads in the classroom . . . certainly a engaging tool for many learners.  However, unless you are a teacher in a one to one technology classroom, you have to exercise a certain amount of creativity and organization to make sure you students have fair access to the devices and you are utilizing them effectively.
For the past two years I have had one iPad in my class.  Not great.  I would love to have enough for a small group.  But, one is what I have and I am truly grateful to have it.
When I first got it, I started using apps right way during our Daily Five time and our math center time.  Months later, when my Apple TV was finally installed, my one lone iPad increased in functionality ten fold.
If you are not familiar with the Apple TV, it is basically a little box that attaches to your television which allows it to display what is on the screen of your Apple device (in my case-my iPad).  The cost of the Apple TV is about $100.  

Once the Apple TV was up and going I started trying to think of some activities I could create that would benefit my young learners.  Just so you know, these activities are not super sophisticated, but they did go over well with my firsties.

One way I used (and will continue to use my iPad) is taking pictures (or video clips) to teach a specific skill.  For example, taking pictures of various three dimensional shapes and having students identify the spades on their recording sheets.  
This summer I've been using this strategy with my daughter.  Earlier in the week, I took pictures of various three letter word objects around our house.  I took a picture of our dog, a bag, her leg, our fan, etc.  She wrote the word for each picture on her recording sheet.  It was great practice for my rising first grader.

 In class, I would use do this activity whole group with the Apple TV, but it could also be a left on the iPad for individual use or for partners.  For class purposes, I would create a document and view it in Keynote or access it through Google Docs.

I also found a iPad stand on Amazon that allows me to use my iPad (or iPone) as a document camera.  Again, you will need an Apple TV connection to use your iPad as a document camera.  But, having this capability makes your iPad an even better classroom tool.

Another little project my class used the iPad for was self pictures and descriptions when we started learning about adjectives.  Students took a selfie and came up with describing words about themselves on a recording sheet.
A  demonstrated this project.  She's a pro at self pics, so this activity was a hit with her.
This self picture adjective activity was super simple and easy to execute.  Something like this would be cute for display during Open House.

For whole group math instruction, I really like using a white board app (and again the Apple TV).  Often my students will use white board paddles to solve math problems as we go over the lesson.  I also like using pictures and real world examples of math ideas.  The iPad makes this very easy.  Sometimes I take my own pictures or videos and sometimes I find them online.  
One example of a way we used the iPad for math (not including apps-which we of course used) was to learn about where the touch points go in TouchMath.  I created a set of slides with the touch point numbers, I used them when I introduced the numbers.  Later I put the iPad out as a center where students practiced drawing the points on the numbers.

The ideas above are just a very teensy tip of the iceberg.  I'm excited to further incorporate these tools into my classroom next year.  If you are on the iPad path and thinking about quality ways to use it with your students, be sure check out Reagan Tunstall's post Effectively Teaching with iPads.  I have one word for this post . . . inspirational.

Thanks so much for stopping by.


  1. I'm getting 6 iPads for my classroom and really need help with this. I loved the selfie project with adjectives. Really neat idea!

  2. Amber, I LOVE this post! We have had Smartboards in our classrooms, but heard that they are going to be phased out for Apple TVs- so I bookmarked your post to save forever! :) Thank you! HAPPY SUMMER!
    Kindergarten: Holding Hands and Sticking Together

  3. I love the idea of using your iPad as a document camera. Details on the stand, please!

    1. Hi Lauren,
      The stand is from Amazon. It is model The Joy Factory Illustrate, Height-Adjustable MagConnect Stand with Annotating Overhead Projector App iPad 4th,3rd,2nd Gen. MMA112.
      Thanks for stopping by.

  4. For example, taking pictures of various three dimensional shapes and having students identify the spades on their recording sheets. Notes

  5. The methods used which are guiding the students to meet the future requirement of the education. Also the various components defined will form more of the objects.