Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

iPad: A Tool for Differentiation (in a primary classroom) #mace11 #edapp


Jessica is a 1st grade teacher at Lansing Elementary School. Dan is the district tech director.

The handout from today’s session is available on the MACE Moodle.

There is something about the touch environment that lets the kids interact so much easier with digital content

It has been very invigorating in our K-2 classrooms to
– when you put 2 or 3 students together you are encouraging collaboration
– very different dynamics than putting each child with headphones on their own iPod Touches
– in many cases kids prefer the iPod Touches by themselves

Those who can interact and create are the ones who will be most successful in our society

Story from church of 2 year olds in the cry room: Interaction

The key piece for the iPad is it’s SO user friendly
– no fiddling with the mouse, software updates popping up, etc.

We had “mini-computers” (netbooks) in the classroom, but there were always things that would come up that would require teacher intervention / help
– this has not been the case with the iPads

Daniel: “Teachers teach kids, computers don’t”

Jessica: I read “The Daily Five” this summer and decided to go 100% differentiation
– this is REALLY hard to do!

We started with 3 iPads in the classroom

IPVO Document Camera

I have different folders of reading apps organized by levels, so students can get

Story Before Bed app: Lets me read a book to my kids, and customize how I want pause, ask questions, etc
– is a fee to sign up
– full year fee
– this app

KSU just published a study on fluency and the importance of kids recording themselves reading at all levels, so they can set goals
– iPod Touches are also GREAT for recording kid voices

I now have students picking the stories they want, and recording themselves recording
– recording is created on a regular computer with a webcam

You can sign up to buy 25 or 50 books
– $40 for 25 books, and I can record those books as many times as I want
– the books are also leveled

Confidence in early reading is HUGE
– my lower readers, when they record a book and their classmates offer compliments, leads to BIG boosts in confidence

the company started for military families so parents deployed to other places can still read to their kids at night

I teach centers for 120 minutes, which is a long period of time
– yes, kids are off task sometimes: Remember, just because kids are quiet in the room doesn’t mean they are engaged (it might just mean the teacher is in control)

We work a lot on internal motivation and individual goal setting
– when kids feel vested toward a goal they usually work toward it

Word Work, Phonics, Spelling, Math Skills
– we work on all these things at different times in our schedule

It’s amazing how motivated my kids are by these apps

My kids (1st graders) have played chess, learned the basics of the game,

– use both left and right side of the brain
– less cleanup with the app and you don’t lose any of the pieces!

– we are so driven by testing, we often don’t take enough time to teach creativity and give kids chances to be creative in class
– something as simple as a facemaker

Tunetastic is a $3 app and something I’m very excited about
– this app really spells out what it takes to create a story, by helping students create a cartoon
– talks about the story arc (rising action, climax, resolution, etc)
– this app actually helped my teaching about story writing and telling get better, I had never taught about the story arc like this before and my kids immediately picked up on this

We use a pottery application, letting kids do things virtually that we can’t do with students

Story Buddy app is very user friendly ($3), StoryKit is free
– both have advantages

After students finished their books, Jessica emailed them to parents
– PDFs were created from Story Buddy
– Toontastic does let you share directly from the app via email


iPad Envy has been a problem with this project

Video on the iPad is HUGE: So as soon as you get video capabilities on your iPad, don’t get a 16 GB version (you will want / need more storage space)

Here’s the full list of apps shared by Jessica as the handout for her session (I’VE ADDED ITUNES LINKS FOR MANY OF THEM, AND WILL ADD MORE LATER…)

Favorite iPad Apps
Teacher Tools
Free App Tracker (free)- Lists all the current discounted or free apps
PowerTeacher(free)– allows you to access PowerTeacher from iPad
Dropbox(free)- allows you to save at school computer and access on iPad
On This Day(free)- Tells you important historical information about dates
• Discovery Ed( free)- allows you to access your United Steaming account
Google (free)- voice activated search engine
• AR Finder ($2)- find the level for most books
eCove General (free)- teacher tools such as Bloom’s checklists and hand raising counters
Student- Language Arts
Story Chimes ($1-$2 each) – stories for children to listen to or read themselves
• iReading ($2 each)- more stories to listen to or read
A Story Before Bed ($30 yearly subscription)- read stories to your class using webcam
Hangman(free)- traditional Hang Man game
Story Kit(free)- make your own electronic book
StoryBuddy ($6)- make your own electronic book
Wordventure (free)/Mad Lib (free)- grammar practice
Word Quiz (free)- record your voice giving spelling test and student’s type answers
AccelaStudy (free)- vocabulary practice
Miss Spell (free)- commonly misspelled word practice
Chicktionary (free)- use letter to make words against the clock
• Free Spelling Practice Apps- Graffiti, Dragon Dictation, Draw, PegLight, Sketchmania, PuzzleBaby ($3), Glitter Draw, Glow Draw, Audio Note, Whiteboard ($5), Light Signals, ASL-American Sign Language ($1)
Teach Me Kindergarten and First Grade ($1 each) – sight words, math skills, phonics, tracks progress
• Time Reading K-12 ($2)- Fluency stories leveled K-12, tracks progress
Sentence Builder ($4)- match the words to pictures to generate and read
Story Builder ($4)- record your answers to the questions asked on photo to hear your own story
Tales to Go (Free)- huge listening library with no tape player mess
Sock Puppets (free)- plan a story, act it out and record the voices
Voices 2 ($1)- record students reading to practice fluency then change their voice 30 different ways
Read Me Stories (free)- books read out loud with words, adds a new book each day it is used
Textropolis (free) – build a city by piecing together words
Grammar Up (free)- practice reading tests 10 ten grammar areas
LAZ Level Library ($7each)- sets of 12 books on given level. Reading A-Z Levels AA-Q
Coin Jar ($1)- practices estimation and coin counting
Tell Time ($2)- practices analogue time skills
Bubble Clock Time ($1)- pop the bubbles to practice telling time
• Math Spin (free)- addition facts
Make Change ($1)- practice in giving correct change
• UnderSea Math ($2)- addition and subtraction practice
Pizza Fractions ($1)- comparing fraction practice, 4th grade
Motion Math ($1)- fun ball dropping game to practice fractions
Kids Math 1st through 4th grade ($2 each)- leveled math practice
Easy Chart HD ($1)- gather and easily graph information
Pattern Recognition Prek-1st ($1 each)- make, name and continue patterns
Everyday Mathematics by McGraw Hill ($2 each)- fun games to practice facts, and fractions
Rocket Math (free)- practice money, shapes, and facts in outer space with rocket designed by you
Sum Stacker ($1)- build stacks to equal correct totals, can practice with number words, Spanish, roman numerals, dice, etc.
Strategy & Creativity
Faces iMake (free)- design faces using imagination
iChess Lite (free)- play a game of chess with partner or against computer
Four In A Row (free)- Connect Four
Tangram Pro ($1)- great for both the left and right side of brain
Cut the Rope ($1)- fun problem solving
• Lego Creations (free)- visual and spatial
Lemonade Tycoon (Free)- build your empire one glass at a time
• RoboFree (free)- plan how to move your robot to the right ending spot
Monster Mix and Match ($2)- promotes critical thinking, creativity and problem solving, design monster for fun writing assignment
Social Studies and Science
United States Puzzle Map ($1)- race to beat the best score on puzzle of USA, has other maps, too
Stack the States ($1)- answer trivia to play a Tetris like stacking game with the states
Google Earth (free)- maps
Planets (free)- space
Science Glossary (free)- user friendly and easy to read
Science Facts (free)- for the brainy fact finder, the info will amaze
Solar Walk ($3)- explore space with amazing pictures that will capture anyone’s interest
Geo Walk ($1)- explore the world through amazing images, just click the city
Star Walk ($3)- hold up to the sky to line up the stars and see the constellations.
Magic School Bus ($8)- Explore the ocean with interactive book, really neat!
Brain Pop (free)- watch a new educational movie a day
Oregon Trail ($1)- figure out how to survive while traveling west

Special Education
Proloquo2go ($190)- assistive communication that includes augmentative and alternative communication, easy to use.
Model Me Kids (free)- videos for modeling social skills
Language Builder ($4)- record ESL students talking about the given photograph
E Touch English Lite (free)- great for building ESL vocabulary
eCove SPED (free)- timers, checklists, counters and scales.
English for Kids (free)- teach English using this Rosetta Stone style leaning game
Play2Learn ($2)- available in several languages, click pictures to hear the word

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5 responses to “iPad: A Tool for Differentiation (in a primary classroom) #mace11 #edapp”

  1. Jacob Gonyea Avatar
    Jacob Gonyea

    Excellent post on the benefits of having an iPad. The iPad has the ability to enhance the learning of many diverse learners through collaboration with each other.

  2. Gary Stager Avatar
    Gary Stager

    And differentiation has what to do with this?

  3. Wesley Fryer Avatar

    Differentiation means meeting the needs of different children. If you’ll take time to listen to Jessica describe how she uses these apps and her three classroom iPads, you’ll learn how she is using them to provided leveled math, reading, and other activities for students. In each content area, particularly at the different centers in her classroom, she gives students choices and has them engage in both independent as well as collaborative work.

    From what I heard during this session, it sounds like she’s doing a great job differentiating learning experiences for her 1st graders. The iPad is just 1 tool she’s using in that process.

  4. JackieValentine Avatar

    Wow! Great information, thank you. I am a fourth grade teacher in Kansas City KS with an Ipod classroom. The experience has been amazing. I look forward to exploring more of these apps you have suggested. 

  5. Pascal Avatar

    What a great list of apps. Would love for you to check out my first iPad app available now in the App Store (Summed Up). Aimed at helping kids with their instant recall of basic addition facts.