Sunday, August 21, 2016

Creation Apps Are Where It's At (1st grade )

Over the years I've had many people ask me what apps I have on my devices or which apps I feel are the best for (insert content area here). Back when I first started using iPads there were far too many to share as I was a self-proclaimed "App-aholic!"  Over the years though, I've become much more critical of what I feel is a quality app and what I'll put on my devices for my students to use. 

This year, I felt I was finally in a place that I could say I was happy with the apps that I had on my devices and could share the purpose for each of those apps. 

Before turning my iPads in this summer, I spent some time taking screenshots to share with you. I'll start by saying that I spent a fair amount of time setting over the years up my devices so that apps were organized and categorized in a specific way to make it easier for my students to find what they needed quickly so we didn't lose any valuable learning time. Altogether, I have 4 pages on my devices-

Page 1- Creation apps

Page 2- Daily 5 apps

Page 3- Math apps

Page 4- Hidden apps 

Below you will see my main page or what we called our Creation page. This is truly where we spent a majority of our time so it only made sense for it to be the main page. For the most part I have the apps ordered in order of how I introduce them (no, I'm not so structured as to say this is exactly the order we always go in, but it seems that more often than not, Drawing Pad and PicCollage for example are the two that we always start with and so they get top spot.  

I won't go into specifics about each of the apps as you can easily go into the app store to take a closer peek and you've likely heard of many of these but here is a bit of info for you. 

iDress (by Phyllis Brodsky an ADE I met last summer who is passionate about assistive technology) was inspired by her desire to create assistive technology that would lead to great levels of independence for individuals with disabilities. This is not a creation app but rather a great tool for students to better understand how the weather correlates with what they should wear outside. My students enjoy checking the app and have become more independent in knowing what to wear out for recess rather than asking me and then grumbling because they didn't like the answer I gave them. Another nice feature is that you can customize the clothing in the closet to better align with what's appropriate in your region. There are several other great features and ways to customize as well. You can read about them on the iDress for Weather page of Pebro Productions

Drawing Pad is a great drawing tool with a lot of functionality but not too difficult for 1st graders to easily grasp and maneuver around. We used this for drawing our mental images, text-to-self connections and even students doing their own drawings for their informational text books.
Mental image from My Father's Dragon
done in Drawing Pad
Students took pictures showing
the forces of  pushes and pulls
PicCollage for Kids is one of our go-to apps. A great app when needing to use multiple pictures and then label them. Skitch works in a similar way although you are only able to use one picture at time.
Skitch- Labeling the
parts of a penguin 
Book Creator- Love this app! My students used this to create their information text projects as well as during Work on Writing to create their own stories. We also used Book Creator to create our plant journals and journal about our Mystery Skype sessions. Students are able to add text and pictures but they can also add their voice. Book Creator is a versatile tool and definitely worth the money.

Explain Everything and Doodlecast Pro are wonderful apps that work like an interactive whiteboard and you're able to also add audio to both. We used these apps quite often in math to explain our thinking. My kiddos loved the laser pointer in Explain Everything.

Popplet is a mind mapping app. We often used this for our Words Their Way sorts or showing how things were inter-related. I found this to be a wonderful tool to track my reading groups as well. 

ChatterPix Kids and Sock Puppets Both of these apps give students the ability to make things talk. In ChatterPix, students take a picture or use on from their camera roll, add a line for a mouth (all done in the app) and then record what they want their object/picture to say. Sock Puppets is great for collaborative work. Students can choose their sock puppets, you can use more than one, and then act out a social skill scenario or describe a concept.

Down on the dock I keep the apps that we use daily or weekly. The Dog Blog is my classroom blog. I use this as a portal for students to get to certain sites so they don't have to type in url's. For example, when we are doing our research projects and students need to find copyright-free images, they go to The Dog Blog to access the Links for Kids area to go to Pics4Learning. This has been an easy way to get students to various sites and also gets them excited about going on The Dog Blog at home to share things with their parents. It's a Win! Win!! scenario.

Seesaw is by far our most utilized app. Not only do we upload all of the things we create from the apps above into Seesaw, but using Seesaw also allows us to record our voice to apps that don't already have that feature built in (like Popplet or PicCollage) so that students can explain their thinking and what they have learned. Seesaw also allows students to annotate on pictures, has a drawing feature, and so much more and it's FREE. Best of all though, is the ability for parents to be connected to their child's work in Seesaw. Students now have an authentic audience and that is a GAME CHANGER!! 

If you have questions about any of the others or how I use them, feel free to ask.

In my next post, I'll share my Daily 5 page.

1 comment:

  1. Please share your Daily 5 apps! I am planning to use Daily 5 in my class this year.