Transforming Kindergarten with iPads

voicesmemorial-111014Magnetic ABC, Drawing Carl, and Letter Book are transforming how students learn in the kindergarten classrooms at Memorial Elementary School. This year the kindergarten students and teachers are piloting on demand iPads and integrating them in many subjects throughout the day. Students are motivated and proud to show what they know, and teachers can easily prepare differentiated standards-based lessons, track what their students know, and collaborate.

“Hands-On” learning is a must in Kindergarten. The iPads are a quick tool which allow students to interact during lessons without the hassle of managing the mass amounts of materials. In the middle of a phonics lesson students pull up their magnetic ABC app and build a word. During calendar time students use number pieces to talk about the number of school days. During a shape hunt students walk around the classroom and find a shape being described, take a picture, and show it to the class. Students record stories giving them the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge. Students also use the iPad for reference tools, like their Word Dictionaries, which is easily accessible during writing time.

When students turn and talk with a partner, ideas can be shared on the iPad. Students share stories and pictures through airplay on the Apple TV with the whole class. Students know the procedures for using the iPads and they know how to put the iPads in listening position to attend to teacher instructions, creating a seamless lesson involving both focused instruction and hands-on engagement.

iPads even increase the ability to teach many important standards that some may think will be missing from a high tech classroom. Typing on iPads enforces writing conventions. As the beginning writers type, they are purposeful about pushing a key to capitalize a letter, add a space, or inserting punctuation. There are even iPad apps used for teaching handwriting. Using the Letter Book app students learn about letter formation while being given an opportunity to build fine motor skills. Students use a stylus to write the letter and receive feedback about their success. A model of how to create the letter correctly is provided when more instruction is needed. The immediate feedback gives each student individualized quick instruction for improvement.

The transition from a paper pencil classroom to an iPad classroom has been a very positive experience for students, teachers, and families! Students love to discover on their iPads and look forward to showing everyone what they have learned. Teachers love the ease of keeping all 28 students engaged and involved throughout the lessons and tracking what their students know.

Pictured: Miss Madalyn Allender, student teacher, and Miss Dunleavy, teacher, help students while working on the iPads. Pictured from left to right are Lyla Adams, Miss Madalyn Allender, Michael Mislenkov, Miss Chelsey Dunleavy, William Marshall and Madison Ziegler.