This is a new year. A new beginning. And things will change. -Taylor Swift
My intention was to write this post a few days ago. Last week was our first week of school and somehow, between teaching all day and enduring 100 degree heat each day, I came home completely exhausted. The first week is always tough…getting back into the routine.
Usually, on our first day of school, I am asked multiple times, “When can we play?” “When is recess?” I was completely expecting that when someone raised his hand and started with “When can we…” what I was not expecting was the end of that sentence. “have our iPads?” So we had to have a little talk about how we needed a few days to get used to our new classroom and routines before we started using iPads. The kids did a great job of adjusting the first 3 days so on day 4, I started with iPads in small groups.
I took their picture and saved it as the lock screen and the wallpaper. That allows me (and the children) to quickly see to whom the iPad belongs. We worked on turning the device on, navigating screens, identifying the folders I’ve created that hold their apps, and opening an app. After working a few minutes in one app, we closed it and moved to a different folder to try a different app. Then we learned how to put the iPad to sleep and put it back in the iPad storage cabinet. These small groups lasted 15-20 minutes. Each child had an opportunity to get hands on time with the device. On Friday, we reviewed the procedures from Thursday and worked on a couple of different apps before putting them away. Some of the children have iPads at home and were quick to point out they already knew how to “work the iPad.” I reminded them that they use the iPads at home one way and we use them at school in a different way. We will spend another few days front loading procedures in small groups and then I will bring them into a whole group math lesson. Starting out in small bite-sized lessons really allows me to scaffold the procedures and set everyone up for success. By going slow now, I can speed up later.
What was great to see in these brief introductory lessons was the immediate tendency of the children to be collaborative. They didn’t zone in to the iPad and tune everything else out. They were helpful to each other and they were having good conversations about what they were doing in the app. This collaborative behavior is at the very heart of how we work and play in our classroom.
Starting school is exciting and a little stressful for both the teacher and students. I am grateful our first week went smoothly and am looking forward to the exciting things these children will do this year.
School year 2014-15 is wheels-up and has taken flight!
Today we will learn exciting new things. Let’s get to it!