Sunday, August 7, 2016

Summer PD and beyond

Summer always seems to go by way too fast! There's NEVER enough time to complete all of the items on my bucket list (clean out the basement, redo the gardens, clean out the boys' closets)

or maybe,

 just maybe,

my goals are a little too lofty, OR I'm procrastinating since none of those projects really appeal to me even though they all need to get done at some point.

One goal that I do make sure to accomplish each summer however, is a little bit of Personalized Summer PD. What better time than a couple of rainy, super duper humid days to surf the blogs you love to read, explore a new site or 2, connect with, I mean really connect with members of your PLN, and find the time to read a few books while sitting in the air conditioning wishing it was a little bit cooler out? Or better yet, sitting on the patio watching the kids swim in the pond while sipping on a cool glass of lemonade with this view as your backdrop??

 Ahhh... the joys of summer PD!

As usual, I purchased more books than I was able to read this summer, but hopefully I'll have time to continue reading over the next couple of weeks and even once school starts (that's debatable and never seems to happen, but I'm going to try hard this year for my own sanity)Many of the books that I purchased had a common theme- integrating digital literacy into the classroom and for anybody that knows me, that's no surprise. 

My favorite book of the summer is one that wasn't even on my "Gotta Read" list as it literally was just released in July.  Innovate With iPad by Karen Lirenman and Kristen Wideen (both Apple Distinguished Educators working with primart aged students) is an absolutely fantastic resource for K-4 educators looking for practical and meaningful ways to integrate technology into the learning environment. Once I read the info about the book, I knew that I needed to order it and move it to the top of my "Gotta Read It"list. I was super excited when just a couple of days later my mailman came walking up with a package from Barnes and Noble. I knew right away what it was and I was like a kid in a candy store as I opened it! 

As I began to page through it I was excited to see that the ideas are presented in a very easy to follow format. The book is not set up as your typical "read it from cover to cover" format but rather is set up in a way that you can take what you like and leave what you don't. Looking to take some baby steps this year and want specifically for math? Go to the math section and peruse through the ideas. Keep in mind though that as you look through the other sections and your creativity starts to perk, you'll find ideas in the other content areas that you'll be able to tweak and bring into math as well.

Example of a beginner level literacy lesson
What I love most about this resource is that even the most novice tech users will find this book to be a great resource! The lessons are not overwhelming as they are laid out in a very easy to follow format. Check out the example to the right. 

Each lesson includes the following information: 

  • grade level (easily modified for any grade), subject area
  • iPad comfort level (ideas from beginner to advanced- don't worry, there are PLENTY of examples for beginners!)
  • suggested apps
  • quick tips
  • lesson extensions and... 

downloadable task cards for immediate use! 

Shared with permission from Karen Lirenman
To the right you will find the task card that aligns with the lesson shown above. Each of the task cards are set up with easy to follow directions and are basic enough that you can easily use them and make your own little tweaks. For example, I could easily use the task card below with my class but at the end I would also let my class know that I also want them to upload their final project to Seesaw.

 The task cards are available on the Innovate with iPad site and are simple to access with the code included in the front of the book. When you access them, you will be taken to a Google Drive folder to view or download. A couple of thoughts on the task cards- you could easily display these with a projector, include them in a SMARTboard document (easy way to then add your extra tweaks) or print them off for groups of students to use.

This book has a variety of examples from multiple content areas including math, literacy, science and social studies. As I said, this book has many practical, easy to implement ideas and is one that you can look at today, do a bit of brainstorming to make it fit your curriculum, and walk into your class the next and implement the idea. If you want more information and student examples check out the the Innovate with iPad website

Final thought-
I would highly recommend this book for anyone looking to increase their knowledge of meaningful technology integration in the elementary grades. I guarantee you it will be one of your well-loved, dog-eared books by the end of the year!

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