I tried to think of a clever title, but "other stuff" was all I have in me! This week was all about learning iPads. As I wrote to the district tech staff, "It was exhausting, exhilirating, exasperating, exciting... -- and the most fun I've had as a teacher. "  Who would have imagined a classroom where all the kids have iPads?  It has been quite a learning curve this week. When is the iPad useful? When is pencil and paper a better choice?  We're working on systems and routines and good decisions. I told the kids several times that I was actively working on being patient. :)  They are so excited and learn so quickly. As with anything new, we will get better at integrating them in to our learning as we use them more. Here are some ways we have used them this week:

Math:  All kids used an app called "Math Drills" to practice their math facts. I like this one because the kids can change the settings so that they can practice the facts that they really need to (like just the 7, 8, 9 of multiplication).  We've also used  "Pencilicious" in math instead of a whiteboard. There have been several times that I've given them the option of using this app or pencil and paper.  There are a couple that prefer pencil and paper, and to be honest, I think I do a lot of the time too!

Social Studies:  We are making a travel brochure advertising either Jamestown or Plymouth as places to visit/move.  About half the kids chose to use their iPads and use the app "Book Creator". The cool thing about this app is once the book is created it can be opened in iBooks like a real book.

Writing:  We did a short writing activity in a journal called "Day One" today. This is my personal favorite app. The kids will eventually do some collecting of information and reflection on learning targets, but for today it was a simple journal entry.  On the iPads the kids also have a dictionary/thesaurus app and a spell check app. Many used those as they edited their writing papers this week. 

There are a ton of other apps on the iPads, but these are the ones we used the most this week.

I also wanted to let you know we had an intruder drill today. We usually have one of these every year, but we have thought more about it this year. There has been no conversation in class about recent events in the news, but even so, the idea of an intruder is unsettling to some kids. I have tried to make them feel safe about the process as well as not afraid. This may be something you want to check in with your kids about. So you know, the process when an intruder is annouced is for teachers to lock doors, turn off lights and cover windows (we're working on window coverings). The class gathers on the floor in the corner as quietly as we can.  The questions and fear comes from what happens if they are not in the classroom -- in the bathroom or on the way back from the library etc. If that happens, your child needs to get themselves inside the closest classroom. Our door my already be locked by the time they get back here, so it is important to go to the nearest room. We have a process in place to account for the whereabouts of all students, staff and visitors while in lockdown. We will practice again, but today (Friday) was the first time.  Let me know if questions or concerns surface from that. 

Have a great weekend!!

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