My Favorite Apps for Kindergarten
I am lucky enough to have a class set of iPads in my Kindergarten classroom and I am slowly working on becoming a blended classroom.
I thought I would share some of my favorite apps (and pictures!). I’ve got several more apps I will share later but here are a few to start with.
We love using Raz-Kids! I use it in small groups as a warm-up read and students can use it at home as part of their homework. We will whisper phones as students read the books to themselves. I also have my students record themselves reading their chosen book so I can check in on their fluency.
One of the best apps for me as a teacher is Apple Classroom! Once I get each student connected (which takes a second at the beginning of each school year), I am able to monitor each students screen and I can watch the entire class all at once or specific students. I can group students together and I can push out apps that will open automatically on my students’ apps, which saves time instead of having my students search for them. We love the I-Nigma QR code reader too! One of our literacy work stations is full of QR codes that tie in with our Science/SS or IB content. Students can listen to stories and get some background knowledge about a topic. I teach them how to scan their code and then how to push the button to “go online”. After that, I teach them how to close all the open windows in their internet browser so that they do not end up with lots of open windows.
I use the Reflector app on my computer and the camera app on my iPad to display things live. This is my visual presenter. Here, I was streaming our chicks hatching last May live on our Promethean Board so all my students could watch the action. Its being held in place by a flexible neck stand from HUE.
We love using PicCollage Edu! In these photos we are finding the number 12 around our classroom (studying teen numbers!) and we are making collages to show all the places we were able to find it.
We had 12 chicks hatch, so one of my students snuck in a picture of them in their collage! #brilliant I teach my students how to AirDrop me their work so they can share it with me. It ends up coming through my Apple Classroom app, so I am able to see who sent it to me. I can also display their work on our Promethean Board so we can talk about what each student was able to find. We also used PicCollage to show examples of our 5 Senses.
Not an app, but we store our iPads on our tables so they are ready to use when we need them each day. Each iPad has a number sticker on the back so my students know which iPad is theirs. I got these plastic buckets from IKEA a few years ago and there was a perfect amount of space to store our iPads in them.
At the end of each day, my students put their iPad back in the cart and plug their iPad in. They are responsible for plugging in their own iPad. I help them the first few weeks, but most of them already know how to plug and unplug their iPad from home anyway. The number on the back of their iPad corresponds with the place their iPad lives in the cart.
Sphero EDU is another app we love (you have to have a Sphero to use it!). I created this mat out of a shower curtain last summer so my students could practice guiding Sphero to different letters of the alphabet.
We used Sphero to make our way through these cones and to bowl!
Notes that comes pre-installed on iPads is another great app! My students can draw pictures and annotate photos they have taken to show their understanding. Anytime they do this, they then AirDrop me their work.
OSMO!!! We LOVE OSMO!! I’ve written several grants to get most of the Osmo kits for our classroom and we are able to use these during our Discovery time at the end of the day. Here is the new Hot Wheels kit!
These are the OSMO Coding kits. I’m loving the problem solving skills that I am seeing developing as a result of this activity!
Code.org is a great site that will introduce your students to the world of coding! Although its not an app, I have bookmarked it to the home screen of our iPads so my students can get to it quickly.
The Ozobots app. We like our Ozobots too and the app made it much easier for my K students to figure out how to manipulate and code the bots to perform different actions.
Last, but not least, iMotion–this app is free and its been the best! It takes a little while to figure out how to get K students to understand how to use it, but they are all pros now! Anytime we read a book, we create puppets or props to help us develop our retelling skills. We then use the iMotion app to create a stop-motion version of the story. This is what it looks like when that’s in progress! You can see some of our videos on my Twitter account (@fuzzlady77). We’ve retold Rosie’s Walk and the Gingerbread Man so far.
When we retold the Gingerbread Man, we also used shoe boxes as a background. I noticed from our first attempt when making our Rosie’s Walk videos, that we needed a way to stand our props up, so we added folded index cards to the back of the props to help them stand up. The videos were great after that!!
What it looks like when a room full of K students all make stop-motion videos at the same time! 🙂 The app does allow for recording sound, but we have not yet done any voice overs–that will be something we do in the future!
I’ve got a whole other group of apps to share with you in a later post, but these are some that I had pictures to go with. 🙂
I’ll share more about Epic!, Pattern Blocks, Ten Frames, Chatter Pix, Nearpod, Kahoot!, and more!!
Cool Coding ideas!
I am lucky enough to have 2 Sphero SPRK robots in my classroom. Recently, we got them out to participate in the Hour of Code. My students had two opportunities to try Sphero out and test their coding skills. Using the robots is fun enough on its own, but I decided to step it up a little bit and add in some extra details! We also practiced retelling one of our favorite stories with a bit of a coding twist!
What you’ll need:
The first thing we did was create a grid on one of our classroom rugs with Colorful Masking Tape. We were working on retelling stories and so I challenged my students to use paper arrows to help get the Gingerbread Man through the grid and to stay away from the fox! I placed the characters from the story into different boxes on the grid and then let my students work their way through as they placed the arrows. They then took the Gingerbread Man and tested out their path to determine if it worked or not. We used Sphero (posing as the Gingerbread Man) later to follow the path and I forgot to get a picture of that!! 😦 The best thing about this grid is that its still stuck on our rug! My students begged that I leave it on the rug so they could use it again and even with all of us walking on it each day, its still there!
Next, we used some more Colorful Masking Tape to create a bowling alley! I taped off a section of the floor with red tape and then added in some white tape to show where the pins should go (and to create an “x” for my students to stand on). My students set up the pins from the Small Bowling set on the white lines and started bowling! They loved trying to see how many pins they could knock down. We played just like real bowling, they got two chances to knock down the pins, but we did not keep score. Eventually, we will add the number of pins knocked down in each turn together as we work on adding to ten, but for now, we are just exploring! We also left our bowling alley taped to the floor and we cover it with the rug (from above) when we are not using it. So far, the Colorful Masking Tape has not left any residue on the carpet, so our housekeepers will be happy!
Finally, to make things a little more challenging, I set up an obstacle course with Colorful Traffic Cones for my students to maneuver the Sphero through. To begin, we set up a simple in and out weaving pattern. Later, we added in a turn to the in and out pattern and that made it a little more difficult, so we will be practicing that for a little longer!
These ideas could be used with any robot that you might have or if you don’t have any “bots”, you can always have your students “program” each other through the challenges!
HUE Document Camera and Flexible Tablet Stand
At the French Lick Blogger meet-up, I was LUCKY enough to win a HUE Flexible Tablet Stand! As much as I LOVE the stand my husband made for me from PVC pipes, I love this Tablet Stand much more! Its moveable and flexible and that has allowed me to share tasks with my students from a wider angle.
I had so much fun taking pictures of the Flexible Tablet Stand! It holds my iPad so well, I have no worries about it falling out of the stand. I LOVE the fact that the holder grips my iPad and allows me to turn my iPad from portrait to landscape and back with out moving a thing, just a quick turn holding the corner! It feels like I’m in an episode of CSI or something with the slick way that the iPad can swivel! 🙂
I use my iPad everyday with the Reflector2 app and now I can bend and flex the HUE Tablet Stand (as you can see in the above photos) so it’s right with me! When I sit on my stool, I can use my iPad as a document camera where my students are able to see the entire top of the desk it is attached to! A big improvement over the 8 1/2 x 11 space we are used to! I can also bend the VERY flexible neck to the opposite side of the desk, so that I can control what I’m showing on my Promethean Board without leaving my students!
The HUE Flexible Tablet Stand attached in under 2 minutes–just a simple twist of the tightening grip that’s attached and you are in business!
I’m so excited to show you this next idea too! Check this out! 🙂 After the French Lick Blogger Meet-up, I had the opportunity to contact HUE and was able to review their HUE Document Camera.
I wanted to make a video to show you how it works, so guess what I used?? 🙂 I used the HUE Tablet Stand and attached it in seconds to my lime green stool. I used my iPad to capture us checking out our tadpoles! Make sure you check out minute 6:11 for an up-close look at our tadpoles. 🙂
All I needed to use the HUE Document Camera was a long USB cable (I only needed this because my teacher station is on the other side of my classroom)–the HUE comes with one that would be plenty long if your teacher station is nearby. 🙂
I used Skype to show the live feed on my Promethean Board, but you can also use the HUE Intuition Software.
Once again, after about two minutes, the HUE Document Camera was up and running!
I LOVED the flexible neck (as you’ll see in the video!). It made it INCREDIBLY easy to show our tadpoles from different angles–we captured a bigger tadpole eating the “stuff” left from one that died–totally gross, but my kids loved it! 🙂 You can bend the neck literally and direction and focus it quickly with the focus knob right around the camera lens. It couldn’t be easier to use!
I’m working on two more ideas that I will use the HUE Document Camera for–when our chicken eggs hatch on May 2nd, “Chick Cam” will let us see what’s happening in the incubator. I will set the HUE Document Camera on our incubator and let the children watch as the chicks hatch.
We also plan on Skyping with some of our virtual Kindergarten friends and between the HUE Tablet Stand and the HUE Document Camera, we will be able to see them, read a book with them, and they will be able to see us! 🙂
The HUE Document Camera has a built in LED light that will help you see what you’re showing your students. My classroom has funky lighting, so I always need an extra lamp to show things on the Promethean Board, but when our classroom lights are on, the HUE Document Camera’s light was plenty bright. 🙂
Click anywhere above to get yourself a HUE Tablet Stand or a HUE Document Camera–you won’t be disappointed with either! 🙂
All of the opinions expressed in this post are my own and were not influenced by any company, person or by payment. Product was received in exchange for this review.