Monday, December 17, 2012

Tis the season to be journaling

iDiary app icon
I'm not sure if I've ever written about this particular app, but it is one of my all time favorites for 1st graders (or 2nd and 3rd graders), it is called, iDiary. It's a $1.99 in the app store but in my opinion, so worth the cost. If you are in a 4-5 iPad classroom, the app will allow you to put up to 6 students on the app. 
From iTunes: " iDiary for kids is a daily journal at its core- kids can express themselves periodically: writing, drawing, decorating entries with stickers. They can easily navigate to their old entries and explore their past musings or post entries for future events through an intuitive calendar navigation system"

I use this app mainly in our Daily 5 Work on Writing time, but on occasion we will use it during our Writer's Workshop time as well.  Today one of my students used the app to tell about Timmy our classroom elf (gosh there's another positive for Timmy- I'm telling you, if you don't have an elf, you definitely want to consider adopting one for next year). The best part was, she was also able to upload (easily I might add) a picture that she took of Timmy to go along with her writing. Once she was done with her entry, she was then able to share it with me via email. Email has been a fabulous tool to give students an authentic audience. After Christmas break, students will also be able to share their writing and projects with their parents via email- talk about motivating, they can't wait!!!

It's the little things like this girls writing and iPad usage that make me smile everyday! I am constantly amazed at what 1st graders really CAN do independently and how technology engages them gets them to work on things that otherwise are considered mundane or hard at times. Writing is not an easy thing for most first graders and is something that requires much practice to be good at, but with the help of apps like iDiary, Bamboo Paper, email, and others, students are excited and sometimes begging for writing time. Technology may not be the end all cure all to learning, but the engagement and time on task that it  brings is a definitely a positive... as the saying goes, Practice makes progress and if kids are willing to practice then progress is right behind!!!


  1. Love it! We use the Kids Journal app, but there are some things I don't like about it. Mostly that it doesn't intuitively remove pages on days that they haven't written/journaled. So I have to page through pages to get to their entries. I do have this one. I should have a few kiddos pilot it before January. I want them to journal using a journal app every day, starting in January. LOVE the idea of sharing electronically (especially to parents!!!). Thanks for the blog post. Wish we were closer to collaborate MORE!!!

    1. Hi Jessica! Oh how I also we wished closer to be able to collaborate on a regular basis!!! I agree with the frustration on having to page through pages to find entries- iDiary, although it does put a dot under the days that have entries, is also not as great in that regard as it could be. The dots are easy to slide past sometime, but in the grand scheme of things it's a small negative when I look at all the other positives of the app. If you try it out, let me know what you think. Hope your Kid blogging is going well. That is one of my next ventures sometime after the holiday break. I really want the kids writing, reading and repsonding to each other- again, authentic audience!! Have a fantastic Christmas!!!!

  2. Thanks for the iDiary app idea! I haven't tried that one yet. I have 3 iPads that are available in my room, but my brain is already spinning on how I can try to make it work! I use them during Writer's Workshop with the Story Buddy app with the kids on a rotating schedule 3 a day until their stories are done. They love being able to email them to their parents and printing them out to put in our classroom library. I think I would use the iDiary app in the same way each morning when they come in for the day I would have 3 students on who are able to work on them. It would have to be a rotating schedule. Anyway, I am thinking out loud here! How is the Kid blogging going for you? I have been having a blast with it this year! Each year the kids come in more ready for it! I am moving more now into digital portfolios with it by posting what they produce on the iPads to their blogs. Have you tried that? I saw this on someones Pinterest. Awesome! Happy Teaching!