Thursday, November 22, 2012

Is the iPad Mini "Just Right" for Kindergarten?

Choosing an iDevice for your classroom...

Just as Goldilocks had three choices, there are now three iDevices available for teachers to choose from. 

The iPod might be too small (but the price might be ‘just right’ for your budget) for classroom use.  Some apps don’t work on the iPod, and some just don’t look right or are harder to use.  iPods are not big enough for a lot of creative use or collaboration.

The iPad might be too big, in price and size.  It’s better for creating, and with the largest screen it’s great for collaborative projects too.

The iPad Mini might be ‘just right’ for your classroom.  Smaller, lighter, but with a good sized screen... the iPad Mini is big enough to do everything it’s biggest sister can do, but fits better into your kindergartners tiny hands.  And the price (iPad $499, Mini $329, iPod $199) is more affordable.

Another benefit to the Mini is the lightning power cord- it can be inserted in either direction and is easier for small fingers (and me too).  I've previously mentioned that it's not safe to let kinders plug iPads in using the 30 pin chargers- they can jam it in the wrong way and damage the device.

Ipad 2, Mini, iPhone
Which would be just right for you?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Free Code for Count to 100 app available

I was given a code to share with you, dear followers, for "Count to 100" an iPad app that is usually $1.99.  (If you don't follow yet, it's easy- input your email address over to the right!  But you don't have to in order to win the code.)

I haven't tried the app out yet- but will report soon on what I think!  Find out more about the app here-
I will pick someone who answers one of these questions:

What feature(s) would you like to see in a counting app?
How important is reporting student progress in an app to you?
Do you want apps to have multiple user accounts to track student data?
Do you want fun 'reward' activities included in learning apps?

Please provide a thoughtful response- the goal here is to give developers feedback in what teachers want in an app!  Respond in comments (I won't post your email to the blog) or email

Kristy Hhas left a new comment on your post "Free Code for Count to 100 app available": 

Fun rewards activities are quite motivating for my Kindergarten students. I think for boys building a car or rocket after each activity they complete would be motivating. For the girls building a flower garden or free form drawing would be motivating.

Thanks Kristy!

Rachael has left a new comment on your post "Free Code for Count to 100 app available": 

This looks really cool! 
I do appreciate when an app has 'reward' activities that are also engaging, and support the content in the app. In an app like this, issuing a challenge to find a certain number the fastest, or select every number with the digit '4' in it within a time frame would be a hit with my kiddos! 
On another question, it's important to me that a counting app, particularly in a 100's format like this one, that I can highlight and select different columns, rows and randoms easily. :) 

Thanks Rachael!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Telling a Story: Meeting The Kindergarten Common Core State Standards with your iPad using Apps

Beyond the Camera and my favorite apps for open ended use (Sketchio, StoryKit) kinder-kids can demonstrate their understanding of key ideas and details of stories using some awesome apps.

Key Ideas and Details
RL.K.1. With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
RL.K.2. With prompting and support, retell familiar stories, including key details.
RL.K.3. With prompting and support, identify characters, settings, and major events in a story.
Common Core State Standards

Toontastic, FREE, allows children to create their own story and even publish to YouTube (not required).  It includes learning about elements of stories- including the effect music has.  Children pick from or make their own settings and characters.  Absolutely terrific for RL.K.3!

Puppet Pals, FREE, is another story/play making app.  Create or use provided characters, animate and narrate.  You can even turn your photos into characters.

Felt Board, $, lets your students create a fun scene using ‘felt’ pieces.  Included are parts needed for retelling popular Monkey stories and many more. 

This is the first of several posts I'm planning on doing combining CCSS's and apps that help kids meet the goals... if you want more let me know and I'll try to get to it sooner! -Mrs.H

There's an App for that: Using iPads in Kindergarten Schedule

There’s an App for That!
A Day in the Life
of a Kindergarten iPad

Dear Diary,  I love being an iPad in kindergarten- especially when I am used all day long.  It gets boring on the iPad cart and it's sad to see kids sitting around bored, or time being wasted when things are done the 'old' way... luckily I'm in Mrs. H's K and she knows I can do anything (ok, well... almost anything!) and her students use me a LOT!  
Here are some of the ways I am used in adigitalkindergarten!  

Before school starts: 
Sketchio to practice writing alphabet, numbers, sight words
Read I Like Books, 
Play apps in the ABC/123 folder
Create stories using StoryKit, Show Me, Screen Chomp, Doodle Buddy, Toontastic
Teach Me Kindergarten to practice addition, subtraction, phonics, sight words
TooLoud to help regulate volume control
During group time: 
Help teacher pick students randomly with Stick Pick or Decide Now
Sketchio for writing letters, numbers, words
Twitter (whole group) to write to K Around the World Pals
Counting Board to follow along as you count
Check the weather locally, and in K Around the World  locations (whole group)
Literacy Centers/Daily 5/Workshop
Sketchio to practice writing alphabet, sight words, sentences
Read I Like Books, We Give Books
Play apps in the ABC
Write stories using StoryKit, Show Me, Screen Chomp, Doodle Buddy, Toontastic
Play What Rhymes, ABC It! Or Alphabet
Handwriting Practice with Write My Name, BlobbleWrite, Letter School, iWriteWords,  Little Writer, Alphabet Tracing
Advanced readers can use Accelerated Reader to take tests
Practice phonics with ABC Magic series, Pocket Phonics, 
Rover to access websites like Starfall online
Math Centers
Use counting board to help fill out 100 board worksheets
Use Apples in Hour Hands to practice telling time
Rover to access websites online
Number Magic Apps, Montessori 100 Board, Montessori Numbers
Social/Free Time/Choice Time/Reward 
Angry Birds
Toca Boca (Band, Store, Salon, Tea Party, Doctor)
Felt Board
Playhouse Lite
Alien Assignment
Clock/Timer to let kids know how much time is left or when to clean up

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Come see me! Presenting in a city near you...

I am excited to announce I am going to be presenting in Portland, Oregon at the NCCE 2013 Conference (National Council for Computer Education) February 28th, 2013 on:
How to Teach, Connect and Learn with Social Media (1 hour session)
The Magic of iPads in Early Childhood Education (3 hour workshop)

I'm also scheduled to present for the Institute for Educational Development on Using iPads and Other Cutting-Edge Technology to Enhance Learning and Teaching in the KINDERGARTEN CLASSROOM on the following dates:
Phoenix, AZ- February 4th, 2013
Denver, CO- February 5th, 2013
Boston, MA March 4th, 2013
Detroit, MI March 5th, 2013

I really hope if you enjoy and learn from my blog that you'll try to come to see me in person and let me share my knowledge and enthusiasm for using technology with you!

Getting Started with Twitter

Twitter is: Professional development, collaboration, and community like no other!

So you want to Tweet but don't know where to begin?  
Here's a great place to start- Hundreds of Education Related Hash Tags are available from

Hashtag (#) 101
Use the # before your most important words or phrases (no spaces)
Click on a #word to find  other posts with the same hastag.
#’s can be in the beginning, middle or end of a tweet

Popular Education Hash Tags
#edchat – Education, worldwide 
#kinderchatKindergarten teachers unite! Mondays at 6e/9p
#edtech – Use of technology in education.
#edapp or #iosedapp – Educational apps
#slide2learniDevices and learning
#mathchat – Mathematics
#scichat – Science
#engchat – English
#artsed – Arts in education
#musedchat – Music
#eltchatEnglish language teacher
#SSChat – Social studies chat
#ntchat - New teachers
#spedchat – Tuesdays at 8:30 e/9p special education chat

My Favorite People/Companies to Follow:
@TCEA Tweets when apps are free!
@Kristy_Vincent Tech Integration Specialist- often tweets from conferences about tech
@happycampergirl of the #kinderchat hood
@learningmurd of the #kinderchat hood
@Matt_Gomez of the #kinderchat hood
@NAEYC The National Association for the Education of Young Children
@hechternacht of the #kinderchat hood
@iPodsibilities shares tech news and ideas
@ipadSammy follow his iPad!
@tonyvincent my favorite tech guru

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