Excitement in education and student productivity, the ability to get a result that you want from students, go together and cannot be separated. -Major Owens
“Mrs. Meeuwse, this iPad has it all! I can write and read and do math on it!” After 5 days of using iPads in the classroom, my kindergarten students are excited. Did you notice that the child’s exclamation did not include the word play? That surprised me a bit. They are so “play” oriented. So far, no one as asked if they can “play” with their iPads. They have asked if they can “work on them” or “get on them”. Perhaps they are mirroring my own language in using them. I am careful to use instructive language and modeling as we implement them slowly into our curriculum. We have used them only in small group activities during guided reading at this point. My assistant and I both are showing them how to use key apps that we use frequently.
As we enter the second full week of school, I have completed my initial assessments and I have a better sense of what these small guided reading groups need to work on. Since we use the Reading Workshop model, I have placed the children in small, flexible groups to work on specific skills. One group is ready to read Level A books. We have the LAZ level A readers on the iPads and this will give the children an opportunity to have just right books in their hands. My students who need extra help in learning letters and sounds will have hands on time in centers with various manipulatives but they will also be working on a few specific apps to reinforce these skills. One of these is the Starfall app. Having a carefully mapped out plan creates comfort for you as the teacher, but also for the students as they know exactly what your expectations are.
The best part of having 1:1 iPads is all 25 of my students have access to apps that meet their individual needs. As we continue to work slowly and methodically through class routines and procedures both with and without the iPads, I’m reminded of Debbie Miller’s quote in Reading with Meaning: “We must be deliberate in September.” Being explicit and deliberate about the smallest of details is important. As our children become more confident in their abilities and activities in the classroom, their engagement soars, their inquiry shines and their excitement is unmeasurable. We need to slow down to speed up!
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