Kindergarten Teacher


iPad Tips: Getting Started Week One


One question I get asked a lot about the iPad is how to I get started and how do I teach my kids apps. I will try to explain my process in this post. It is important to note that I only have 3 iPads in my classroom. If we had a 1-to-1 classroom this might look a little different.

What apps to start with: As with ANY tool in Kindergarten I feel it is important that the kids have a chance to play before being asked to complete an assignment. The iPad is no different so I start my kids off with Felt Board and My Play Home. My Play Home is a virtual home living center and felt board is a virtual felt board where the pieces actually stick and don’t get lost. Both of these apps are great for letting the kids explore and have fun while also teaching them about using the device and working together. I also recommend almost any app by Toca Boca. You can find my complete list of apps for K here.

Teaching Apps: I introduce many of the apps we use each morning as the kids arrive at school, you can read about that process here. I also talk about using the bottom tray so the kids know what apps are “open” each week. The more important apps my kids use, the ones for creating and producing, are introduced during my teaching time. I use those apps (Popplet, Educreations, Skitch, Explain Everything) during my teaching and the kids learn by watching. When I think they are ready then those apps are introduced into centers for them to use as well.

iPad Center: Since I have three iPads they are almost always used in Literacy and Math stations. Each week I decide which apps will be used for each device. The kids can quickly tell what apps to use by checking the bottom tray on each iPad. In my room the iPads are almost always used in a collaborative setting (2 per device) when used for stations. The times they are not being used in stations I try to have kids work independently with them as much as possible to target specific skills. This happens during quiet time, reading time, snack, tutoring, etc.

Be Brave: I am talking to you the teacher. I hear a lot about teachers waiting until the kids are “ready” to use the iPad but really I think this is about the teacher being ready. Set up a few guidelines and let them go. Often I learn more about how I want to use an app by watching the kids interact with it than planning on my own. As far as kids treating the iPad with respect the only thing I tell them is that the iPad is important to me and that it can break. That seems to be enough for most kids to be careful. One day a kid will break an iPad in my room (and yours.) Say that out loud, take a deep breath and let them be kids.

Have some great tips for others? Please share in the comments.

14 Responses to iPad Tips: Getting Started Week One

  1. Marcy Rubio says:

    Thank you so much for your encouraging words. I am teaching Kinder for the first time. I have been a 2nd. or 3rd. Grade teacher for the last 19 years. I needed a change so I went to Kinder. I am a bit overwhelmed. Your blog really helps.

  2. Mrs. Parker says:

    Thank you for this timely post. We just started school. Like you, I have three iPads. This year, I’d like to do a better job implementing them throughout our day. Thanks for the tips. I will be carefully rereading this weekend.

  3. Roxanne Crain says:

    Thank you sooo much for sharing how u get started!!! Could u tell me the name of the app that u had on the document camera where a student was drawing a line to connect letters to pictures. Also could u specify one or two game apps u start with in the morning?

  4. Sounds like a great system. Thanks for sharing your list of apps!

  5. Klara says:

    Last year I decided to be brave and “just let them go” with the iPod touches we had – and AMAZING things happened. They even taught me things I didn’t know about some of those apps we started with. And how quickly they taught themselves to take pictures. We soon (sooner than I ever thought) started with videos and making our own newscasts!!!!

  6. Meghan Ling says:

    Thanks so much for the earlier idea of teaching the kids the apps in the morning. This was really helpful! I also like your idea of using the document camera, duh, I wish I had thought of that!

  7. Rida Ellis says:

    App Stations: Let the kids explore and then teach each other how to use the apps. Exploration goes a long way. I couldn’t figure out a feature to an app, walked into my office to a letter from a students explaining how it worked! I do work at a 1:1 building. We spend time at the beginning of the school year with iMovie, Educreations, and the Camera since we use those apps a lot throughout the school year. Sooner or later, the kids become the masters of the iPads and its ok to let them be! Thanks for this post Matt!

  8. Mrs Cates says:

    Any suggestions for regulating time on iPad? I have kiddos who want to stay on there the whole time. Most of mine never get the chance to experience an iPad skit is very overwhelming and exciting for them. Trying to figure out an easy yet effective way to move them on after so long. Have tried some different apps but non have done the trick. I need some thing easy that I don’t have to reset. Any suggestions?

  9. Buffy says:

    Hi Matt, Thanks for all of your tech information. I teach K and STRUGGLE with technology. My class used to go to the computer lab once every other week to do a project but now we have iPads so I must integrate tech into everyday teaching. I struggle because I want the children to interact with each other. I feel that kids have a lot of screen time at home so I want to get rid of ALL tech! The tech support at my school has shown me apps for math & literacy so children can use virtual manipulatives BUT I STILL want the kids to get the bucket of manipulatives instead of staring at a screen. I want students to actually feel the pieces and notice the weight, feel the corners, sides and edges, etc. and then talk about how things feel, how they are similar/different. I know that I have to do more tech so I am finding your site to be helpfull. This may possibly always be my struggle but something that I must overcome so thanks!

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