Sunday, January 27, 2013

5th Annual Pulaski Tech Academy

On Friday, my district hosted our 5th Annual Tech Academy. The theme for this year was, "Apps Away: Google, Notebook and iTunes".  The sectionals focused on utilizing Google Apps, Smartboard apps, and iPad apps for student engagement and learning. All of the presenters got these Kick-app t-shirts which we wore to identify ourselves during the day. Totally love the play on words and the graphic. 

If you'd like to check out the presentations from our various sectionals, click here to find the various presentation links. 

I was asked to do the "There’s an App for That~ K-2" sectional. The info read as follows:
"There are so many apps and so little time!  This session will highlight some of the district iTunes apps installed on your classroom iPads as well as share other iTunes apps.  Strategies will be shared on how to find apps as well as time provided to do so!  The app purchase process will also be reviewed!" 

Our district has specific apps preloaded onto each grade level's iPads so I had to try and highlight a little from each level. I also asked staff if they had any specific requests which is where the multi-player and multi-account apps came into play. Feel free to check out my presentation by clicking on the picture above.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Individualized Spelling

Last week we officially started spelling and in my class each child has their own individualized spelling list. This year we are using an app called, A+ Test, by Alligator Apps to help us practice our words. This app has helped to make individualized lists much easier to manage and has given each child ownership of their lists. 

Student typing in his words
 and recording them.
On Mondays, students first write their words on a paper list to take home. After they are done, they grab their iPad and create their weekly list on the app by typing each word in and then recording each word with their own voice. This has been a neat feature and has taught us that we must speak clearly, loudly, and slowly.

During the week, students have 3 options within the app to practice their words: Practice, Unscramble, and Ace It. Each of these offers a different way for students to practice their words and each utilizes the student's recorded words.

On Fridays we take our test using the app as well. The app will read each word to the student (the student's recorded voice). Students will then write their word on their spelling paper and then enter it onto the iPad. In this way kiddos are still making the transfer of spelling to the written word and practicing their handwriting at the same time, but are also getting practice with their keyboarding skills and how words "look" on the computer. As adults, we often take for granted the simple things such as: when we write we use lowercase letters, however, on the computer the keys are all in caps which can be confusing for our youngest learners. 

After finishing their test, children then send their test to me via email directly from the app which gives me a digital record of their errors which I can track over time if needed. The app also scores their test and gives students the option to go back and retest all of their words or to retest their mistakes. My kids have really enjoyed the immediate feedback of how they did on their test.