I can’t believe that it took us until December to introduce our iPads to our class, and now it’s taken me until January to write about it! When we found out we would be receiving enough iPads to support a learning center we were so excited and eager to start. I never imagined it would take us this long to get started, but there was an enormous amount of behind the scenes prep work that we needed to get things rolling. We had to decide which apps we wanted to put on our iPads and then we had to configure each of them.
The last time I introduced my students to iPads, we were all new at this iPad thing. I didn’t know what I was doing, and neither did they! This time around, at least one of us had an advantage. I wanted to be more deliberate in my teaching. While I didn’t want to implement a long list of “iPad Rules,” I did want to teach the children about the right way to manage a piece of equipment. Another of my own goals was to learn how to use one of the book making apps out there. I decided to create a book to introduce the children to the iPads.
I used Book Creator to create a simple book. It was a very simple and intuitive process. I was able to use images, text and even audio. The trickier part was figuring out how to give every student access to the book on their individual iPad. Once I built the book, it was automatically saved as an epub. I uploaded the book to google drive using the share function in Book Creator. This allowed me to open the book in iBooks. Because all five of the classroom ipads are using my google drive account, it was easy to add the book to each iPad’s iBook library through my google drive account. This link should take you to the epub version of my book. If you click on the link while you are reading this on your iPad, you should be able to open a copy of my book on your iPad in iBooks. Here’s a preview for those of you that aren’t on your iPad at the moment.
On the first day of our learning centers, I introduced the children to the digital copy of the book. I taught them how to find the book in iBooks, how to turn the pages, and how to push the speaker icon to hear the audio for each page. We also read and discussed the concepts within the book together. On the second day of centers, we used a paper copy of the book to teach the week’s sight word. (Here’s a PDF version of the book that you can use to print your own paper copy.) When I created the book, I specifically used predictable text, modeling the pattern that we use with our sight word instructional books each week. In these books we replaced the sight word (can) with a blank line. (Nothing techie here- we just printed out a PDF copy like the one above and used good old fashioned white out. )
The students practice writing the sight word on each page and then we practice tracking by reading the book together using a tracking pointer. As part of our reading curriculum, the children make a different tracking pointer each week to read their sight word book. For this week’s pointer, we used an image of an ipad and pasted it on to the stick. If you make your own pointers for sight words, you’re welcome to use our image. You can get your own copy here.
Overall, I felt like these initial lessons went well. I was reminded of how far last year’s class came in terms of their knowledge of technology. We really did have to start over at square one! The kids loved every minute of it though. It’s always fun to teach a group of thoroughly engaged students, and that’s what I had with the iPads at my table.