Thursday, March 10, 2016

Tablets for more than games

This year we've been super lucky to get 9 tablets for our classroom thanks to the love and support of family, friends, and our PTO! With these many tablets I can have a center designated to technology but also do whole group activities with 2-3 kiddos per tablet. With this amazing opportunity, I really spent a lot of time figuring ways to incorporate technology that isn't just playing a game.

Now don't get me wrong, we love a good game of Sushi Monster to practice multiplication, or Math Zombies where fluency and speed is the trick. However, I really felt to make these tablets worth it we needed to use them in ways that enhance their learning and they are a tool. Here's some tried and true apps and uses for tablets in your math classroom!

1. Seesaw

Seesaw is a neat app that's sort of like Facebook for the classroom. You log in by scanning a QR code particular to your class, where you've put all of your students names. They can upload a picture, drawing, or write a note and post it. Then they are able to comment on other's work and ask questions. The great thing about seesaw is you must approve the posts and comments first, so you can make sure everything looks ok and the kiddos are being nice :) I love this for grading from home right off my computer or phone! I also leave comments and ask questions on their posts, which they think is super cool ha!

2. Tellagami

Tellagami is an app where you can record your voice and an animated character says them and has hand gestures. You can choose different emotions for them to use while they speak, so their facial expressions are different. If you have the free version they can record for 30 seconds, so it's sweet and to the point. We love this for explaining math vocabulary or explaining how to solve a problem. It helps children be more concise with the time limit, but they usually don't only say a few words as it's a lot of fun for them to hear their voices. You're able to save the videos on the device but can also post them to twitter! That brings me to my next technology tool...

3. Twitter

Twitter has been great for our classroom. I use a classroom Twitter account and only follow fellow teachers. My students like to tweet because our Twitter feed is on my classroom website, so they can go home and show their parents. We tweet about what we're learning and snap a few pictures. We've also had fun with hashtags- which are perfect to sum up their learning or get the main idea. Many of the other apps we use like tellagami, poppet, and pic collage (we'll get to those two later) allow you to save to your camera roll and tweet, which is great for sharing student creations! Students are much more likely to do their best work if they know everyone on Twitter can see it! :)

4. Show Me

ShowMe is an app only available for iPads, although there's other versions of this app out there. ShowMe is an interactive whiteboard that records your voice and you draw and write. I introduced this app in small groups in about 5 minutes and the kids picked right up on it. We love this for "teaching". I've told my students that the best way to see if they understand something is if they can teach it, or explain it to somebody else. So, we use this app to make a video teaching a concept! We then use those videos as a recap at the end of a lesson or to review. To save videos you'll need to make a free account.

5. PicCollage

Pic collage is so fun! This is the perfect app for those visual learners. The name of the app is pretty self explanatory.. You can make a collage of pictures :) We love this app when we do scavenger hunts of real life math examples. You could make a collage of cylinders or other 3D shapes, or a collage of arrays. You can also add text so you can label pictures or add comments. These collages can be saved as a picture so you can tweet it too!

6. Popplet

Poppet is an excellent app, I just hate it's only available for iPads. Poppet lite is the free version and it's worked just fine for our purposes. This app allows you to make bubble maps with as many bubbles as you'd like. Inside those bubbles you can add text, pictures, links, or drawings. We love poppet for math vocabulary, but really any topic you'd like your students to organize in some fashion poppet is the way to go. 

Overal, what I love about these apps are the creative outlet children have while making something or writing something- it's not just plugging in an answer. Your students will use higher order thinking while they make visuals, flow maps, explain their thinking, and show examples. You can't beat it folks!

To help me keep on track and using technology regularly during the week, I've made these center assignments for their "math technology" center. My students go to their center, read the directions, can see the picture of the app so they know what to click on, and follow the rubric to explain a vocab word or math problem. They're open ended so I can use them over and over with different math topics! Check them out here!

Check out the technology centers here!!

Please share some of your favorite apps! I'm always looking for new things to introduce to my kiddos :)

Rock on,


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