Grants: What You Make Possible

You Made THIS!

Thank you for Our iPads

by Karen Sizemore, 2nd grade teacher at Rocky Branch Elementary School

Our iPad program flourished this year.  I was able to buy 3 iPads with my FORWARD grant, and later in the fall we received an additional $5000 NEA Foundation grant.  We now have 2 second grade classrooms with labs of 6 iPads, and an additional 4 iPads in other second grade classrooms.  We were also able to secure donations of iPad keyboard cases from both Donor’s Choose and Best Buy Corporate Offices.  Our students have developed an unbelievable level of comfort with the iPads and have used them in ways I, as a teacher, never imagined. 

At first we were App happy, downloading various apps to work on specific second grade skills, and found wonderful reinforcement for my classroom teaching.  As time has gone on we have moved to more productivity based apps, second graders use the recording feature to make fluency videos so they can listen to themselves read and improve their tone, intonation and accuracy.  Students selected a research topic and then used prezi to create a slide presentation to share their learning with the class.  In this process they learned how to search for pictures, save to the camera roll, and insert pictures and video into a document.  We have shared apps with parents so that they can continue the learning at home and use their own technology for learning.  Students use EBOOKS during our silent reading time and then are able to complete online activities that go along with them.  

Special Needs students are able to practice skills at their level independently when they are not receiving direct instruction from me.  We have also had the opportunity to introduce students to basic computer programming skills that hopefully will spark and interest that they can carry with them into the future. 

The most rewarding impact from this project is my students that come from disadvantaged homes.  Many of them had never seen an iPad, let alone touched one.  For those students to now know that they are “good at technology” because of this program is the ultimate reward.  This program has given them something they would not have had otherwise.  When teachers at our school received iPads, I told students that the teachers were just learning to use the iPads and one of these students raised his hand and said “if they have any questions they can ask me”.  AMAZING! 

Now we talk about how iPads are tools in our classroom, just like books, or paper, or pencils.  We use them to learn about the things we want to learn about or do the things we want to do.  For example if a student in doing “read to yourself” they might choose a book, or a magazine or an ebook to read from.  If a student is writing a book they might use paper and a pencil or they might use an iPad.   I will be looping with my class, so this learning will continue into next year. 

Our iPads are still in great shape.  As I mentioned at the beginning I received cases and keyboards for the iPads and I think they have been key in keeping our iPads in such good condition.  We also spent a lot of time at the beginning of the year talking about how to take care of the iPads and setting up classroom expectations for students.  I see our iPads being used into the foreseeable future. 

Kirk Gednalske, 6th grade science teacher at Meyer Middle School:

A digital microscope projector allows MMS students to learn proper microscope use and share their images of cells, pond water samples and effectively work in teams...