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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.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

How Apple Has Changed My Primary Classroom

Apple technologies have transformed my learning environment from a 4-wall classroom to a no wall classroom.  Never before, were we able to connect, communicate, collaborate and create on a local, national and global scale with such ease and transparency.

My primary classroom has gone from using large quantities of paper to going virtually paperless.   Dropbox accounts on the iPads are used to save work.  Students use blogs as digital portfolios.  The ease of the Kidblog App has ensured that my students can independently upload videos, text, and pictures to their blogs effortlessly.  Apple intuition makes these apps a breeze for my early learners.

My students are no longer “absorbing” the curriculum through the teacher.  They are creating and playing with the information we discover together.  They are using the iPads to create videos to teach other students how to make patterns, how to read and how to tell time.  They are creating interactive books about insects and spiders and “how to books” using video they have taken themselves.  They are making their learning visible for the world to see using content creation apps.

When you combine the power of an Apple TV, projector, and the iPad the adaptability of technology is endless.  We use the Apple TV, iPad and projector in various combinations to enable different types of activities.  My students can now share what they are doing to the entire class with the touch of a button.  My students are all physically involved in the learning instead of 20 children watching one child up at an Interactive Whiteboard.  As for transforming my teaching, Apple TV has provided a mobile platform from which classroom activities can be initiated.  I can now use different apps to display video, and teach lessons from anywhere in my classroom and allow my students to participate from wherever they are seated in a variety of interactive activities.

Apple technologies have allowed my students to be able to connect with students from all over the world.  The world is larger than my students had imagined and Apple brings it to the carpet.  As well as learning from each other, we are learning from other students and teachers in different cities, provinces and countries.  We learned about perspective this past month on Google Hangout by a teacher in British Columbia.  When the hurricane hit New York last year, my students wanted to send out a tweet to their Twitter friends in New York to make sure they were okay.  My learners have a wealth of information at their fingertips.  Students are able to connect with others individually or in small groups using Facetime, Google Hangout and Skype.

We have connected with other classrooms through our classroom blog and the students’ personal blogs.  We share our learning and our questions using our classroom Twitter account.  We have also participated in a collaborative writing unit.   The students wrote their entire rough draft on their blogs and a class from British Columbia provided feedback.  We wrote our final drafts using the LittleBirdTales App on the iPads and uploaded the final projects to our blogs.
Just this past month, we created a video using the green screen and iMovie to illustrate our traditions and cultures.  Other classes responded to our video and made their own media projects to share with us about their personal traditions and cultures.  The best way to experience what learning in 1/2W looks like is to take a look at the following video:

If you are interested in the iPad Expectation posters you saw in the video (my talented husband @mrwideen made them).  You can download them here.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Penguin Fun on the iPads

This week during literacy I have been teaching my students about different thinking strategies while reading.  I began the week doing a lesson on background knowledge.  I decided to model the strategy using a non fiction book about penguins.  I continued the lesson today, using the same book, focusing on "how to spot new learning" when you are reading.  I modeled this strategy by reading one page at a time and the kids and I would turn a flashlight on each time we learned something new.  There was a lot of lights flashing and the kids loved the activity!  After we got the hang of it I handed out the iPads and we used a "new to us" app called iBrainstorm.  This app looks like a cork board and students are able to place sticky notes onto the board.  When you are finished you can save it to the camera roll and upload it to you blog.  My student's favourite question these days is, "Can I embed it onto my blog?" so I have to be very careful not to disappoint them!  Here are a few examples of their blog posts using iBrainstorm:

If you would like to see other examples or would like to comment on any of my students' blogs (which they would be thrilled about) please click here.
Later in the day we did some penguin art.  I am telling you this because I was amazed at what some of my students did when they had completed their work.  I had a few students ask me if they could go on their blogs while the rest of the class finished their art, and of course I said, "Yes!"  I didn't notice what they were doing on their blogs until I got home this evening and looked over their blogs.  Some of my students had taken pictures of their art project, opened it in Skitch, labelled the picture and uploaded it to their blogs!  I am so thrilled with how my class is taking charge of their learning and thinking outside of the box.  Here is one of the blog posts I am talking about:

I had to add the bottom comment to the picture because less than 2 hours later, she already had a comment from another primary student from British Columbia that wants to know how she did that.  I can't wait for her to respond and hopefully Jaiden from B.C. will learn something new and want to try out the app Skitch if he/she hasn't already!