Friday, January 31, 2014

A Week of Reflection

This week was full of learning, reflection, collaboration, and excitement!  My class worked so well together as a team as we learned how to navigate our way through new apps.  Each student became a teacher and was always willing to lend a helping hand.  

Using an iPad to teach my class has been UNBELIEVABLE!  Being able to use reflector to teach, allows me the freedom to walk around the entire room while being able to teach at the same time.  Then, if I see a student doing something creative, outstanding, new, interesting, etc...I have them reflect and share their work.  Reflector has been very powerful in my classroom and students are constantly asking if they can reflect. 

This week I introduced Explain Everything, Popplet, Google Drive (gClassFolders), Notability, and Virtual Manipulatives.  My students creativity is starting to shine!  They are developing a sense of ownership and pride when completing their work!  Math is where I have seen the most significant change in my classroom this week.  As I taught, we used Explain Everything to create examples and then explain the process as to how to solve the problem.  They then had a friend listen to make sure it was the correct information.  As we pulled our class work  from our drive into Notability, I watched my students swipe back and forth between the assignment and their Explain Everything video.  They were actively learning and participating!   Exciting to see them working through problems and problem solving on their own!  I really have enjoyed watching my students start to take control of their learning this week. 

I had a lot of successes this week with the iPads as well as some moments that helped me realize what pieces are missing and that I need to reteach or introduce.  As my students were creating their Popplet about Wyoming, I quickly realized that I need to teach them about how to search for information.  I am in the process of putting together a lesson about how to search safely and for quality information on the internet.

New and Upcoming Projects in the Works

I am very excited about some ideas that Mr. Catlett and I discussed!  Podcasts and eduClipper are two ideas that we are very excited about.  These projects will help students better understand what they are learning, gather and share information and resources, and showcase their work.  I am really enjoying being pushed to think outside of the box and to try new things with the iPads in my classroom!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Ideas, Ideas, IDEAS!!!

Today I introduced Notability, Popplet, and gClass Folders!  We used and will continue to use Notability in Math this week.  The kids learned how to access a doc from their drive and then open it in Notability.  From there we learned the ins and outs of that app.  So many of the kids took on leadership roles in showing all of us how to zoom, change colors/tools, and much more!  After they explored the app, I showed them how to turn in their assignment in the folder that was created for them using gClass Folders (Thanks Ann Feldmann)!  It is a great way for kids to be able to electronically turn in their work!
Using the whiteboard app to find common denominators as they played Fraction War!

Coach Cat came and joined our class in the afternoon!  He taught the kids how to create a Popplet!  I had made Keynotes to teach the kids about various states in the Western region and they fill out packets as I teach.  Today, they were able to use Google/Safari and Popplet to find information about the state of Wyoming!  One of my kids said, "So we are doing this instead of filling out the packet?" I said, "YEP!"  There were a lot of smiles and a lot of positive comments!

I also had time to collab with Coach Cat about various apps and how to implement the iPads in other areas of the curriculum.  He shared the great idea of creating Podcasts!  The kids would be creating Podcasts about various concepts within the curriculum.  They would be able to subscribe to these and listen to them from home!  It would be great way for struggling learners to be able to listen to a Podcast about a concept they are struggling with and include their parents in on the mini lesson as well!  Coach Cat also had the idea that other 4th grade classrooms in and out of the district could subscribe to our Podcasts as well!

Great quality time spent with Coach Cat today as we were able to discuss and develop a plan as to how we want to incorporate the iPads into the classroom in a completely different way than I could have ever imagined!  Very excited to see where this idea leads us and what we are able to learn from it! Thanks for a great collab session and for pushing me to think outside of the box Coach Cat!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Look, Listen, Learn

Today I realized I was using an app that was not ideal for the docs I have shared with my students.  My students were such good sports as we navigated our way through the difficulties we were having.  It then dawned on me that we should have been using Notability!  Excited to show my students how much easier it will be to work on docs I have shared with them using a different app!

We did use Explain Everything to learn about adjectives and articles!  They created a slide for each type of adjective (what kind, how many, etc...).  They recorded examples of the different types of adjectives and used this to help them on their assignment.  As they were creating and recording, there were so many questions that started with, "Can we do this? and Can we do that? etc..." For so long kids have been told what way their paper needs to be facing, how to color, what materials to use, etc... now they are able to choose how they show what they know and what they have learned and it has sparked some excitement and ownership among my students! 

My students are currently doing a Blogging Challenge and after reading my students' most recent Kidblog posts, I noticed that many of my kids are enjoying the app, Garageband.  I am excited to see how I can take a favorite app of theirs and intertwine it with our curriculum.  Any and all ideas are welcome!

Over the past three days, I have taken some moments to sit back and just watch the kids in my room work.  When they get out of their seats or walk around the room, they aren't off task and messing around, they are showing a friend their work or asking a question about what they are working on.  They are engaged the entire time!  Very amazing to watch!  I am enjoying the atmosphere that our new learning tools are creating in my classroom!

Monday, January 27, 2014

First FULL iPad Day!

As I tried to map out how I wanted to start implementing the iPads, I thought it would be easiest to start with one-two subject areas and then focus on one work flow app.  This week my area of focus is Math and Reading and we are becoming experts with the app Explain Everything.  

As I reflect upon my first day, I thought it would be fun to start with my successes and end with my struggles and/or "lightbulb" iPad moments!

Successes with the iPads and Learning:

Explain Everything

Math (Fractions): Today we used Explain Everything to explain and show how to compare fractions with unlike denominators.  They recorded their work and shared with a partner.   I like how I can hear the students explain how they solve each problem.  It helps me know who needs to be challenged and who needs extra support.  Then we used the Reflector app to showcase students' work.  This was a great way for students to teach the class as well as take ownership of the work they had worked hard to create.  

Reading (Vocabulary):

Students are using the Explain Everything app to create vocabulary journals!  They will use the vocabulary word, find the definition, create a meaningful sentence, and add a picture to help explain each vocabulary word.  Then they will record their voices explaining all of the vocabulary words.  A partner will then listen to the Explain Everything vocabulary journal they created. 


I figured out how to download educational apps on my students' iPads today!  I added Spelling City, Doceri, Super 7, 5 Dice, Penguin Math, and Virtual Manipulatives.  I am excited to see what other educational work flow apps and educational apps I can find to support my students' learning!

"Lightbulb" iPad Moments Today

 We encountered some difficulties today, but with the help of my 19 teachers, we were able to move forward and learn from the difficulties we encountered!  I am so thankful that I have 19 students that are willing to come to the rescue when we encounter difficulties!

One issue we came across was using the reflector app.  In order for students to be able to showcase their work through the use of the reflector app, ALL teacher devices must be on the STUDENT NETWORK!  It was actually pretty easy to go back and forth (thought this would be difficult and time consuming).  Crazy how something so simple can cause a moment of chaos!  Other than that moment, today went pretty good.

Favorite iPad Moments:
 Throughout the entire day, students were helping each other by answering questions and showing each other the ins and outs of Explain Everything.  As I looked around the room, I was amazed as to how much kindness I saw.  So many students becoming teachers and finding new things within the Explain Everything app to teach the class!  I am loving every minute of watching my students teach and have patience for one another as we continue our journey with the iPads.  

Friday, January 24, 2014

20 Teachers, 20 Students

For weeks I have talked to my students about how we are all going to be teachers and students in the classroom.  We all made the promise to each other that we would be kind and patient as we dive into this new iPad learning adventure.  There were so many amazing moments in my classroom today.  I watched students become teachers, show compassion, and patience towards one another.  It was so amazing!  I know iPads will change the way I teach and how
my students' learn in relation to the curriculum, but they will be learning about how to be good citizens in and outside of the classroom.

iTunes Course and Notability-Reading & Guided Reading

Today we explored iTunes University!  I shared our first course that Mrs. Geldes, Mrs. Smeby, Miss Watson, and myself collaborated on.  As the kids worked through the course, I met with Guided Reading groups.

Currently, we have been using composition notebooks to ask questions, write down words they may or may not understand, predict, summarize, etc...  I really wanted to utilize the iPads during Guided Reading, because there have been many times that the kids have questions about what we are reading (about words, places, or items etc...).  I usually pull those up on my computer and we explore further.  I of course do most of the work, because it is my computer BUT I want the students to take control and ownership of their learning.  Now they will have the opportunity to further explore words, items, places etc... in their books at their fingertips!  What a great way to help the students make connections with the books they are reading and the REAL WORLD!  We are bringing their books to life!

In addition to using the iPad to make connections with the real world, I also decided to try the app Notability.  Each kid created a tab with the title of their book.  This is going to replace their composition notebook they were using.  They can type questions, words or phrases they have questions about or find interesting, and much more!  I was also able to complete running records and actually record each kid read! I really like how Notability automatically keeps track of the date, so you know when you have completed a running record for each kiddo!  I uploaded my lesson plans from my Drive and now can keep them organized within each group's tab.   I am sure there is much more we will be able to do with Notability during Guided Reading!

As the day came to a close, I couldn't help but feeling so proud of my students.  They were teachers and students today, as was I.  We all become a team and worked through the successes and failures of the day!  What an amazing first step as we start this new iPad journey!

Why do we have to wait ANOTHER week?

As I geared up for a week of introducing the iPads over our 3 day break, I didn't realize that I was going to be sick for most of it!  I finally made it back to school Friday and the kids were ecstatic!  Yes of course they missed me, but more importantly they knew the iPads would be there.  To their surprise, they weren't there and when I said I wasn't sure if they were ready, they were pretty disappointed.  What they didn't know is that Coach Cat and I were planning to surprise them after specials.

As Brent came to my room he told me that the kids saw him with the iPad box, but he didn't say a word to them.  As I went to get them from specials, Brent left my room with the iPads.  The kids were so excited, but when I told them the box was actually for another class they weren't too happy.  Then to add more unhappiness I had said they weren't going to be ready for another WEEK! Thankfully this wasn't the truth, because it would have been a pretty miserable Friday in my classroom.  They were pretty bummed and upset!

Shortly after we arrived in my room, I had them go about their normal routine and then Brent popped in with...THE BOX!  The kids screamed, jumped and hugged!  Yes it was pretty funny to play a little joke on the kids and they were such troopers about it all!

Coach Cat took over and taught the kids the "ins and outs" of the iPads!  It was awesome!  I learned right along with them!  I thought I knew most of the "ins and outs" of the iPads, but that wasn't really the case! The kids learned about various settings, copy and pasting, changing the background, how to app smash, swiping between apps, searching for apps, how to save and take pictures, expectations, and much more.  One of my favorite moments was watching the kids become teachers and how kind and patient they were in helping others figure out the iPads.  So many great moments in my classroom today!

Don't Stop Believin'...

Ready or NOT...

As I took the AFT training in the summer of 2013, my hopes were set high as I hoped I would be receiving a set of iPads shortly after the school year started.  I applied for a set of iPads towards the end of summer in hopes that I would be given the privilege of a classroom set in the Fall of 2013.  Unfortunately that wasn't the case.  Utter disappointment BUT I believe it happened for a reason just wasn't able to see that at the time.

Moving Forward...

Even though I was disappointed and feeling like I wouldn't be given the opportunity to have a set of iPads, I continued to learn from Sharae, various educators I follow on Twitter, as well as Google + Communities that I am a part of.  All of these resources and educators helped me grow and figure out new ways to implement my iPad and technology into the classroom.   


As time continued to pass, my perspective changed as to what my vision for the iPads in my classroom was going to be.  I was surprised as to how much I had grown and educated myself in such a short amount of time.  Then the email announcing another round of applications arrived in my inbox.  I was ready to apply with an entirely different view on iPads and education.  

Fingers Crossed...

As I filled out the application, I felt a sense of pride and accomplishment.  I laid out my ideas and vision as to how the iPads would be utilized in my classroom to enhance my students' education.  My poor husband had to edit about a 1,000 times, but I wanted to be sure that everything was in place and ready to go!  After about two weeks of spending approximately 30 mins to an hour each night on the application, I finally clicked submit. 


Days went by and then we were notified of the day that the decisions would be made about who would be receiving the iPads.  I remember this day very well because the Huskers were playing the Hawkeyes  that weekend and there was a bit of an rivalry between some teachers at my school.  I kept myself away from the computer all day, because I couldn't face the disappointing email once again.  A week or couple of weeks (can't really remember it's all a blur!) later I received the email that said, CONGRATULATIONS!  

Don't Stop Believin'....

All of my efforts in dedicating my time to participate in the AFT training, applying not only once, but twice had paid off!  In order to grow, I must experience failure, continue to learn, explore, ask questions and  be open to change.  Most importantly, I didn't stop believing that I was someone that worked hard and was ready to implement a set of iPads into my classroom.  I know that my efforts are going to take my students' learning to places they have never been before!  iPads will forever change the way I teach and the way my students learn. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

From Bellevue to Australia in 1 Day

First Stop...Bellevue

So many amazing connections were made during my first collaboration day with fellow iPad Academy members!  I learned so much and started to create an iTunes University course for Social Studies!  I also was able to collaborate with Sharae (Mrs. Geldes) on multiple iTunes courses for Reading as well.  The learning that will be taking place in our classrooms as Sharae continues her journey and I start my journey with the iPads is going to be unbelievable.

Next Stop...Australia

About halfway through the day, Brent Catlett shared with me that my students' blogs were featured as the Comments4kids Blog Post of the Day (!!! As I tweeted this information and shared this with my Principal, I just couldn't believe our class blog was actually featured on a website!  Blogging about learning will continue to be a powerful and essential tool that goes hand in hand with what I am teaching and what my students are learning in my classroom!  Our newest location (where we receive our blog comments) that will be added to our world map is Australia!

What an incredible day of learning, sharing, and making connections!  I am so thankful that I am going to be able to provide my students with the opportunity to share their ideas and learning with people and classrooms from all over the world.

The Journey has officially started!

It is amazing to think about how much I have changed as a teacher over the seven years of my career.  I never could have imagined all of the amazing people and things that I have accomplished within that short amount of time.

Today was the first collaboration day with the iPad Academy.  Sitting down and getting to know all of teachers that are already a part of the Academy was a great way to start the morning.  Everyone shared their favorite apps, struggles, successes, and gave advice.

There is so much learning taking place and knowledge within one room.  Excited to see where the day takes me and what I am able to create with the amazing people in the iPad Academy!

Monday, January 6, 2014

iPad Surprise!

About Me:

My name is Jenn Manning and I am a 4th grade teacher at Two Springs Elementary in Bellevue, Nebraska.  This is my 7th year of teaching.  I have taught 4th grade for six years and I taught 2nd grade for one.  I earned my Bachelor's Degree for Elementary and Special Education from Nebraska Wesleyan University in 2007.  My Master's Degree in Curriculum and Instruction was completed through Wayne State College in 2011.  My entire teaching career has been at Two Springs. 

For six out of the seven years that I have been teaching, Sharae Geldes has taught along side of me.  Last year she was one of the six people chosen by our district to be a part of the iPad Academy.  She went through training and was then give the amazing opportunity to have an iPad for each student in her classroom.  Collaborating and teaching with Sharae as she took on this new learning adventure intrigued me.  Her students were making connections, learning, and sharing with each other as well as other students and people from all over the world!  What an amazing gift and opportunity she has given to her students!

iPads in the Classroom

Seeing how much iPads have impacted her teaching and the learning taking place in her classroom, inspired me to sign up for the Apple Foundations Training offered in the Summer of 2013.  After taking the course I became very excited about all of the possibilities iPads could open up for my students.  I applied in November of 2013 and received an email about three weeks later congratulating me on being accepted into the iPad Academy!

As ecstatic as I was, I had to keep it a secret because I had to find a creative way to share this amazing news with my students!  They have had the privilege of working on the iPads in Sharae's room because we rotate for Social Studies and Science.  Frequently I would hear comments such as, "Why can't we have the iPads?" "I wish we had a set of iPads like Mrs. Geldes."  Knowing how badly they wanted the iPads, I knew my iPad reveal had to be unbelievably amazing and over the top!

The Reveal

I started thinking of ways that I could share this news with my students.  It took me a couple of days and then it hit me!  A few weeks back, I had showed my students iMovie and some different movie trailers that they could possibly use for their Book Talks.  They were blown away as to how cool the trailers were.  So I decided that this was the perfect way to tell them that we were getting a set of iPads.  The best part was that they were actually a part of the iMovie Trailer and they didn't even know it (I told them it was for a class I was taking).

I shared the iMovie Trailer with them one afternoon and recorded their reaction!  It was priceless. They laughed and clapped at the end.  One student said, "So are we getting the iPads?" and before I could say yes another student said, "No, I don't think that we are." As I looked around I noticed that they were just happy that they got to watch an iMovie Trailer and it wasn't clicking that WE were getting a set of iPads.  I finally had to ask them if they read the parts of the Movie Trailer.  Then19 light bulbs lit up and my classroom erupted into a room full of high pitched screaming, jumping, and many THANK YOUS!

I am ready for this next adventure in my teaching career.  I have amazing colleagues to collaborate with and learn from as my classroom transforms into an entirely different way of learning, sharing, thinking, and collaborating!  Stay tuned and look for more posts as miPad Classroom evolves!

iPad Reveal