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Available for Purchase Now!

In “Innovate with iPad: Lessons to Transform Learning in the Classroom” primary teachers Karen Lirenman and Kristen Wideen provide a complete selection of clearly laid out engaging open-ended lessons to change the way you use iPad in the classroom.

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Connect, Collaborate and Create with Twitter in the Classroom

This article originally appeared in the Spring 2014 issue of ETFO Voice.

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Course Description

In this grade two 3-D Geometry iTunes U Course, students will explore attributes of 3-D objects using concrete materials and drawings. Students will also build and construct 3-D objects and models as well as develop language to describe geometric concepts.

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One Best Thing

Discover how to keep parents informed, connect globally and link to your curriculum. This One Best Thing leads your primary classroom students through the creation of a learning network on Twitter.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Spatial Reasoning Inquiry

Download Task Card Here
Spatial reasoning has long been an area of interest in the development of mathematical understanding for young children. Researchers are just beginning to understand the interplay between spatial reasoning and mathematics learning. In my role as a Math Coach this year, I got the privilege to work with 4 Kindergarten Educators who were interested in exploring how spatial reasoning tasks could support their students at a diverse, multi-cultural school. Educators at the school were looking to explore mathematical tasks that could provide entry points for all students, create opportunities for mathematical discourse and would support the development of conceptual understanding of important early mathematical concepts.
We decided on the following factors: 


  1. Pre and post assessments using Leaps and Bounds (Number Sense) and in Taking Shape (Perspective Taking observation)
  2. Specific and intentional math spatial reasoning tasks with at least 1 centre at all times available for students. 
  3. One guided spatial reasoning lesson a week. 
  4. ‘We Share Math’ during Whole Group Circle to support vocabulary use and procedural instructions (I built this by …).


Many tasks from the book Taking Shape were used in the classrooms.  We also had a collaborative Pinterest board that we pinned spatial reasoning ideas to.  If you are interested in seeing the pins, check them out  here.  Teachers also documented what they saw by using the app Pic Collage.  Here are a few examples:








All educators noted that this Collaborative Inquiry led to more student mathematical language, more student interest in math, and increased use of manipulatives. Students were more engaged and reported that they enjoyed the centres and often asked if they could engage in the spatial reasoning activities. Educators observed that there was more focus on math in general in their classroom and consequently more mathematical discourse. They noted that an intentional focus on math definitely led to more student participation and use of language ( I used these rectangles and triangles and turned it (flipped it) to make the shapes.).Because educators provided more challenging and more variety in math tasks, students had the opportunity to problem-solve and be creative and innovative in their learning. Educators participation in the inquiry and their personal professional learning led to the creation of a library of resources to support spatial reasoning.  Over 70 different spatial reasoning learning activities were collected.  

Participating in this inquiry has only brought up more questions to ponder about this fascinating topic.  I can't wait to continue this journey in September!






Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Check out Vicki Davis' New 10 Minute Teacher Show!

Karen and I are so excited to be on Vicki Davis' new PODCAST: The 10-minute Teacher Show.  We are especially excited to be one of the first guests on her new show.  Check out the podcast and have a chance to win our book Innovate with iPad and a chance to win a Maker Bot Mini!


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Innovate with iPad is Available on Amazon Today!

I am giddy with excitement that Karen and I's book is launching on Amazon today!  This book has been a labour of love for Karen and I since last year and we are so proud of the completed project.  This book has a complete selection of clearly laid out engaging open-ended lessons in math, literacy. social studies, science and self assessment.  We have chosen a handful of apps that are used for every lesson so you don't have to download dozens of apps onto your iPads.  Another wonderful thing about our book is that WE are teachers just like you and we know that your time is precious.  

Each page is a laid out lesson plan with the majority of them having a finished picture of the project, a link for a task card that can be printed for your students to use (you get the password in the book to unlock all of the task cards at www.innovatewithipad.com) and or a live student sample.  So busy teachers can open to the table of contents, find an idea and run with it.  

Whether you have access to one iPad for your entire class or one for each student, these lessons will help you transform learning in your classroom.  If you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave a comment, email me or send me a tweet @mrswideen






Monday, June 13, 2016

Shape Detectives - Pairing Literature, iPads and Math in the Primary Classroom

I love using literature to engage, inspire and make connections in math class. A colleague showed me the book, "The Secret Birthday Message" By Eric Carle. This wonderful book is about a boy who receives a letter written in code.  The boy decodes the secret message by following the shapes in the letter.  I thought it would be the perfect read aloud for an iPad lesson that I created this year for a kindergarten/grade 1 classroom called Shape Detectives.  Students take a photo of somewhere in their classroom that has many different shapes.  They then open an app that they can annotate on the picture like Draw and Tell, Skitch or Explain Everything to name a few.  Students then find the shapes in the picture and trace over the shapes.  Finally, have students record themselves naming the shapes.
A quick tip:  When little ones cannot read yet, task cards can be tricky.  Create a QR code with a sample of what the finished product could look like and sound like.  Glue the QR code to the back of the task card, so if your student needs a reminder, all they need to do is scan the QR code and go!  Here is the video and QR code for the above task card:





If you liked this lesson please check out my book, Innovate with iPad - Lessons to transform learning in the classroom that has many more practical lessons that will fit perfectly into your curriculum! 

Saturday, April 16, 2016

iPads, Worms and Non Standard Measurement

This past week, I was asked to model a lesson in a grade 2 classroom using technology.  They were just beginning non standard  measurement so I decided to use the book, "Inch by Inch" by Leo Lionni.  If you have not read this book, it is a wonderful story about a vulnerable inch worm that is about to be eaten but shows his predators that he is valuable by measuring them.

I read the story to the class and then I told them that we were going to do some measuring with worms. (No, not real worms, I bought rubber worms at the dollar store).   We then talked about how to accurately measure an object.  We specifically talked about how to line the worms up correctly making sure that they were not overlapping and making sure that we lined up the worms with the edge of the object we were measuring.

I then had volunteers come up and measure items with the worms.  I wanted the students to have to do a bit of additional thinking so I posed this task for them to do:

Find 5 items that are between 1 and 2 worms in length.

I was surprised that many of the students had a difficult time finding items that fit the task.  I then had them choose partners and had them use the free app Pic Collage to take pictures of the items they found that were between 1 and 2 worms in length.  I also provided them a task card with the directions and provided an example of what a finished project might look like.

It was amazing to see the collaboration between the partners and the  extra thought that went into the task because of the simple question that I asked.  
Download Task Card Here
Thank you to Mona Paulin we now have the french version of the task card here.


Saturday, January 9, 2016

Purposeful iPad Applications to Show Mathematical Thinking in the Primary Classroom

I get many questions from colleagues on how to use iPads in purposeful and authentic ways rather than using drill and kill apps for their little ones.  One way to incorporate iPads is to explore open ended math applications in conjunction with a content creation app that will capture student work and be able to record their thinking as well as record their voice.  When young children are problem solving you can gain a lot of information about what the child can do by allowing the student to defend their answer.  Here are a few new iPad task cards that I have created that are open ended.  I would suggest that after your students save the image to photos that they open up an app like Explain Everything, upload their picture and explain their thinking.  Here is an example of one of my students explaining her thinking.


Here is the task card that goes along with it:

Download Here


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Thursday, December 3, 2015

6 Ways to Effectively Use Pic Collage

I have been in many classrooms since October that are fairly new to using iPads in their classrooms.  After the first initial lesson on "iPad Norms"  A great app to start with is Pic Collage.  I really like this app because there are so many uses, very simple to use and it is free!  Here are a few ideas on how to effectively use Pic Collage in your classroom.

Use Pic Collage in Math:

Download Here

Download Here
Download Here
Download Here






Use Pic Collage in Literacy:


Use Pic Collage in Health