I don’t profess to be a revolutionary on how to integrate and embed iPads into the classroom. I have my own personal iPad that I use with my prep students when I feel it’s relevant, when I want to try something new, or when I think it can bring another level of engagement to my lessons.
I’ve had lots of people ask what apps I use in the classroom, and what is to follow is a list, with simple descriptions of how I’ve used the apps in lessons, plus some e-books and other bits and pieces.
Keep in mind, this is a work in progress!
- Create a Car and Carve It! – Great games, where you can design a fantastic automobile in your own style, or carve an individual jack-o-lantern! Paid apps, but very engaging for students (as both end products are animated). Great for creating story or description prompts for writing.
- Dr. Seuss e-books – really can’t say much more other than that Dr. Seuss is one of the most popular authors in my classroom and my students listen to these over and over at listening posts. Have been able to tie them in really well with rhyming word activities during Literacy rotations.
- Glow Draw – an alternative to a simple drawing app – draw on a black screen with fluorescent colours.
- Halftone – a photo/text app that turns your photos into a comic book page and lets you add titles/text/speech bubbles/small range of effects. This was the very first app I used with my students, and they LOVED it! (Read a little bit more about my class experiences with Halftone here.)
- Magnetic Alphabet – Create words/sentences using drag-and-drop magnetic letters.
- Melbourne Museum – A virtual tour of the permanent exhibits at the Melbourne Museum. My students loved exploring the different sections – although they were unanimously enamoured by the photo of Phar Lap. It prompted quite a side trip into one of our favourite icons!
- MSO Learn – Learn about the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the performers and the instruments.
- Newstand – Subscription to National Geographic Kids. Mostly for my more confident readers, but I have used it with all my students, this NG Kids magazine is great for simple, interactive, vibrant and kid-friendly content.
- SingingFingers – A great audio and visual art app for younger students. Record noises as you draw and replay the sound by retracing your earlier drawings.
- Sock Puppets – Everyone has heard of this, but honestly my students fell in love with it. They LOVE the puppets and hearing how their voices are changed after the recording.
- Spelling Magic 1 and 2 – Great for learning short vowel sounds and CVC and CVCC words.
- Storychimes e-books – lots of e-book stories that can be read independently or with the audio on. We’re doing a unit on fairytales and it’s been great to listen to these as listening posts or during eating times at lunch. Quite a few of them are free, and there are a few free matching games as well.
- The Three Pandas – My students loved this e-book, which is an altered Goldilocks and the Three Bears story. Interactive and animated in parts, too.
- Toy Story – their e-book of choice (they’re 5, so I can’t begrudge them!).
- Wonky Donkey – another great e-book that can be listened to as a story or in song-format. Great sound effects that my students love.
- Word Bingo – great sight word practise.
- Zoo Who – Great for creating wildlife scenes and building stories.
Overall I do believe that the most useful app for younger students on the iPad (or iPhone/iPod touch/etc) is the Camera app. Not only can students easily take a photo of short video footage, but it’s quick and easy to download to a computer to view or print out and provide excellent support for writing and digital literacy activities.
I also maintain that I WILL use QR codes with my students before the end of the year. That is my big goal! (Let’s hope I get there!)
Do you use an iPad in the early years? Share some favourite apps (please)!