Have a new iPad or want to know some more tips on setup or management tricks?
I have a Pinterest board with 75 resources for you. Click here or the image above.
Have a great website you want your class to visit on their iPad and wish you could make the link an app on your iPad? Well you can and it is very simple. My favorite website is Wonderopolis (read more here) so the images in this post show you how to add that site but it will work for any website.
1st- Enter the website name you want in the Safari browser. Then click the icon with the rectangle and arrow (image above)
2nd- click add to home screen (image below)
3rd- Type the name you want displayed on the icon (image below)
4th- Click “add” and the app icon will be added to you iPad
Pretty easy right? I know many great websites are flash-based and not useable on the iPad. Well of course there is an app to fix that. Read about the Puffin app here.
The more I use Doodlecast Pro ($2.99) the more I like this app. My favorite app for recording audio on a screen has always been Educreations (Free) because of the simplicity of the app. The two things I think Doodlecast offers over Educreations is the ability to have multiple pages and the ability to export the videos directly to the camera roll. I love that the iPad gives me different ways to document things that are happening in the classroom. I plan to use Doodlecast Pro in this way and share the results with parents at our last conference. Here are a few ideas I had app…
Reading: I wanted to document the kids reading their decodable books or leveled readers in a different way than just a simple video. My goal was for the parents to be able to see the story, hear their child’s voice, and know where their child’s eyes were looking. So I took a screen shot of their readers and added those pages to Doodlecast. Then as the kids read the story I asked them to touch under the word just like we do during our reading groups. I think this does a great job of documenting their reading. As I get more and more reading samples I plan to make a library of videos that the class can use as a reading center. I know they will enjoy reading along with their friends. (example below)
Writing: I basically did the same thing as the reading example except this time I took a picture of their journal paper. I like this idea even more than the reading one because I think it will give great insight into their story making process and writing ability. I wish I had done this at the beginning of the year to document their growth. Next year I plan to make one writing sample each month. (example below)
*I decided to leave in the “made with Doodlecast Pro” at the end of the video for these examples. I will be removing that part of the video with iMovie before saving the final product for my class or parents. I will make a separate post soon showing how easy that process is
What other ways do you see using this app for writing or reading?
If you are on the Twitterz and hang around Kinderchat at all you have probably seen #blameMatt a time or two thrown around by my friends there. A while back I suggested they all try a new app and told them they could blame me if it did not work out. That concept stuck and I have been blamed for many things since. Tired of hearing about the fiscal cliff, upset that the Canadian penny failed, or frustrated trying to convert from Fahrenheit to Celsius… yep #BlameMatt.
It is of course almost always done in jest but blame is an important topic. I think the blame game is the second most important predictor to success in the classroom (relationships being most important.) Todd Whitaker sums it up perfectly in his book What Great Teacher Do Differently: “Good teachers consistently strive to improve, and they focus on something they can control: their own performances… Great teachers look to themselves for answers, while poor teachers look elsewhere” This concept has to be part of EVERY aspect of teaching. Not just lessons but also behavior, classroom management, relationships with kids, relationships with parents, relationships with colleagues, schedule, planning etc. When I was a new teacher I was not very good at this and I got sucked into the blame game often. I have improved a lot but still have a long way to go. Have you heard someone say ”kids these days (insert negative comment)…” I have and I think these statements undermine real progress.
The past two years I have strived to focus on controlling the environment instead of the child. Changes have included removing rewards from the class, focusing on relationships, removing all but one rule from my class and reaching out to parents more. My classroom resolution this year is to continue this growth towards always looking at myself first when things are not going well. I know lessons will fail, parents are not perfect, my ideas will not always be supported, testing will frustrate, and there will be kids that push me to my limits but I can not control those things. I can however control my response. I have to always remember the most important thing is that the kids enjoy coming to school and that they are having fun. I am confident that when that happens the learning occurs.
If you are looking for a space full of wonderful teachers that are always self reflecting, asking difficult questions and pushing themselves and those around them, look no further than Kinderchat. The space is full of good friends, great teachers and of course the perfect place to #BlameMatt
Here are the top three posts on my blog this year…
Apps We Use In Kindergarten - List of apps I actually use in my class, I will be posting an update to this list soon.
Just Dance Video Mix- My class loves these, easy to see why it is a favorite. Great for inside recess or just to get the kids moving.
Web Games For Letter ID and Letter Sounds- These 40 computer games are all organized and easy to use with Symbaloo. Best part about Symbaloo is it is free and you do not need an account to use it. Search Symbaloo on my blog to learn more.
These three posts didn’t make the top lit but they were my favorites…
Making Books with StoryBuddy App- This post is about more than the app, it also showcases the power of having a global classroom. I am still in awe that my class connects with classes as far away as Japan.
I Lied, We Do Have Treasure- This is a follow-up to my Reward Free Year post. Curious how a Kindergarten class works without rewards Take a minute and check out my thoughts.
I Want Parent to Know This- One of the first emails I sent to my parents this year. I was tired of seeing the condescending lists others were posting. Teaching is about relationships and we have to work to build those relationships.