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Confessions of a First Time iPad Cart Teacher

buffI will have to admit I was nervous about implementing a class set of iPads in my classroom this year. Would I use them enough, would I use them effectively, and how would I manage the students’ use of the iPads? Despite this nervousness I was very excited for this new experience, and am so glad I have had this opportunity.

One of the first ways I used the iPads was for whole group literacy lessons. Nearpod is a great way for all students to use the iPads and be engaged in lessons. I found it very convenient to find power point presentations that were already created online and modify them for use in Nearpod or make my own. Students could follow along as we reviewed setting, learned about character traits, or conflict in stories. The quizzes, polls, and other feedback Nearpod allows students to give were a valuable part of the lessons as well.


Students were able to use the iPads for writing in lots of ways. For our first quarter writing samples students integrated science in their writing through projects using Tellagami, Popplet, or StoryKit. Once students had a final draft they chose one of the apps to publish their writing. We had a variety of samples that I e-mailed to our class account, and then printed. Some students worked to create their own “Gami” with Tellagami and recorded themselves reading their final project, while others made Popplet designs to present their writing. Still other students enjoyed taking pictures to add to the pages of their books about the moon, sun, and Earth with the StoryKit app. These writing samples were great.

In literacy stations students used the iPads to record themselves reading and then listened for accuracy and fluency during Daily Five in read to self or read with a partner. They also used Tumble Books and News-o-matic (a new favorite I learned about at tech tens) for reading or listening to reading.

During reading groups we would always keep an iPad or 2 on hand to look up vocabulary and science or social studies information for topics we were reading about.

For math some of our favorite apps were Educreations, KidTime, Geoboard, and a variety of apps for multiplication. Students were so excited about getting to use the iPads through out the lessons.

I have highlighted some of the ways we used the iPads this year. I know this is only the tip of the ice berg for the ways to use iPads in the classroom and I hope to have the opportunity to do so much more with them next year! This has been a great year working together as a class to integrate iPads into our daily activities.

Christy Buff is a third grade teacher at South Newton Elementary School

About Heather Mullins

Dr. Heather Mullins is the Chief Academic Officer in Newton-Conover City Schools. She is a North Carolina Teaching Fellow who spent 12 years as a high school English Teacher. She received her B.S.Ed. in Secondary English Education from Western Carolina University. Heather completed her National Board Certification in Adolescent Young Adult English Language Arts in 2002. She holds an M.Ed. in Academically and Intellectually Gifted from UNC-Charlotte. She completed her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership through Western Carolina University. Her dissertation focused on improving principal practice through strategic professional development. Heather has served as a Curriculum Specialist in Hickory City Schools, an adjunct professor at Lenoir-Rhyne University, and a Professional Development Consultant for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. Heather is one of the co-founders of #NCed Chat, North Carolina’s first Twitter chat for teachers. She is passionate about innovative practices, instructional technology, student ownership of learning, and supporting teachers. Heather serves on the advisory board for the North Carolina Digital Learning Plan, North Carolina School for the Deaf and Catawba Science Center. She is a recipient of the 2015 NCMLE Central Office Administrator to Watch Award. She also received the 2016 Don Chalker Award for Excellence in Educational Leadership. Heather is the proud mother of one son, Jackson.

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