Wednesday, April 2, 2014

First Grade Fun!

I observed in one of our first grade flipped iPad flipped classrooms this morning. It is always so rewarding to see the great things that are happening with these little ones.

While it wasn't a flipped lesson, the students were completing their literacy centers while the teacher worked on guided reading with small groups of students. It was a combination of both digital learning and more traditional paper and pencil activities.

Students were using the Starfall app to build beginning reading and phonics skills.

Sometimes they sat at their desks but sometimes they choose to sit on the floor.

There was buddy reading of favorite books.

And working on practicing writing and spelling skills.

This first grade classroom is composed of 34 second language learners. The teacher is just plain awesome and keeps everything running smoothly. The students know the class procedures and rules and transitions go so smoothly. It's always refreshing to visit this class!!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Apple Distinguished Program Award Presentation

On February 18, 2014, Brian Peterson and Karla Benge from Apple did an official presentation of the Apple Distinguished Award to the Creighton School District Governing Board and Cabinet. Mr. Peterson shared not only his impressions of iAchieve and how it is impacting students in the classroom but also shared many of the comments made by the reviewers of our application. We felt very honored.

Part of the presentation was to update the governing board on how iAchieve has progress during the 2013/2014 school year. This short video shares some of those highlights.

13-14 iAchieve Governing Board Presentation from Suzanne Sallee on Vimeo.

CSD Governing Board and Superintendent, Director of Technology, and iAchieve Staff
Apple Representatives and iAchieve Staff

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Write About This App

One of the apps we have been exploring recently is Write About This. The app is the brainchild of classroom teacher, Brad Wilson. He developed the app because the format was something he wanted for his students to help develop their creative writing skills but could never find.

The full version of the app contains 125 images and 375 text and voice prompts. Each prompt includes three different levels to meet the needs of a variety of students and the prompts align to Common Core Standards. Users can also create their own custom prompts with image and text support.

Students complete their writing assignments right in the app and can share their work in a variety of ways. We are currently using the free version of the app but are looking at purchasing the full version for our 1:1 iPad classroom

Student Examples:
In one of our 1:1 iPad English Language Learner classrooms, the teacher uses Write About This as a warm-up activity for writing. They have set up the app on each iPad to email writing projects directly to the teacher. This allows the teacher to review their work and determine specifically what each student needs to work on in class.

Write About This App of the Week

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Apple Distinguished Program Award Renewal

iAchieve's Apple Distinguished Program designation was again renewed for 2013-2015. There is an application process for the renewal to ensure the project is moving forward and aligned to Apple's requirements of Visionary Leadership, Innovative Learning and Teaching, Relevant and Timely Professional Development, Compelling Evidence of Success, and Flexible Learning Environment. Here is the iBook created for the application: Project iAchieve Arizona.

Part of being an Apple Distinguished Program is to host Apple Site Visits during the school year. These visits are supported and sponsored by Apple but hosted by the school or district receiving the award. Site visits typically include a presentation about the project, visits to project classrooms to see mobile devices in action, a student and teacher panel, and time for sharing and questions.

iAchieve recently hosted a site visit on February 11, 2014:

Several of the third graders were creating oral reading fluency recordings using Voice Memos on their iPod touches.

iPod Oral Reading Fluency from Suzanne Sallee on Vimeo.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Flip Classroom Professional Learning Communities

Once a month our flip classroom teachers participate in a professional learning community (PLC). At the PLC we discuss and share successes and challenges, share the different ways each teacher is creating their flip learning videos, and usually share some new apps, ideas, or practice using apps in different ways. We are working on ways to make the PLC's more interactive just like we would for students.

Our September PLC was especially fun as we worked with QR codes. Most of the teachers were familiar with QR codes but many had never created their own or thought about the wide variety of uses for QR codes in the classroom.Before the PLC they were sent a QR code that took them to an online article about using QR codes in the classroom. Before they got to the room for the PLC they encountered a series of codes to scan. There were a variety different types of code - audio, text, links - to show them the variety. During the PLC they had a chance to scan a variety of codes for learning. Some were text based and showed the answers to math questions, some went to pdf files to be downloaded, while others took them to different websites.

The teachers were really engaged and had lots of fun. Even better, many of them went right back to their classrooms the next day and began using QR codes to support student learning!

In other PLC's this year we have shared ways we are using specific apps, practiced using Socrative and Infuse Learning for in-class checks for understanding, introduced various apps for digital storytelling, and practiced using the Camera and Photos apps in different ways.

Monday, February 10, 2014

If You Give a P.E. Teacher an iPad...

What happens when you give an iPad to a PE teacher? We just issued an iPad to our first PE teacher and weren't sure how he was going to use it since he's not inside a classroom during instruction and would not be getting an Apple TV. Well, that question is quickly being answered!

The first time I saw him after our training session, he was anxious to share with me how he is using Class Dojo. He has set up all of his PE classes in Class Dojo and created his own Behaviors. He is using Class Dojo as a way to collect assessment data on the students so his Behaviors deal with specific PE skills. For example, some of the classes have been doing Basketball in PE so his Behaviors have to do with skills such as dribbling and passing. Pretty clever!

 He is also researching some playbook apps but until we find something that will meet his needs, he is experimenting with using Explain Everything. He has put in pictures of specific courts and fields and added names/positions. The next step will be to try animating the plays!

Can't wait to see how that works!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

iPad Virtual Field Trip

We don't have snow days here in Phoenix but we do get rain - occasionally. The rain is something we usually look forward to - unless you are a kindergartener getting ready to go on a field trip. Then it can be a very sad day. That is until a super teacher with 1:1 iPads comes to the rescue!

Recently the kindergarten classes at one of our schools had planned a trip to the Phoenix Zoo but it rained and the field trip had to be cancelled. There were some very disappointed kindergarteners!

The students in one of our 1:1 iPad classes had been working on animal research and developing presentations on their iPads. Their very innovative and creative teacher decided to put together a virtual field trip to the zoo with his students as the zookeepers and animal experts.

The third grade students lined up along the walls outside their classroom with their iPads. They showed their visual presentations and shared interesting facts about the animals they had been studying while the kindergarten classes filed past each one of the them. The students were excited, the chaperones were excited, and the teachers were excited!

 It may not have been an actual trip to the zoo but it was an experience both the kindergarten students and third grade students will not forget.