How To Integrate iPads into the Elementary Classroom

Today’s guest blogger is Christi Barton, a first-grade teacher at Brandywine Wallace.

There are endless student opportunities with iPads.  In our classroom, we alternate between periods of whole-group instruction and teacher modeling, guided practice, independent practice, cooperative activities, and small group instruction.  Dedicated iPads would greatly benefit students in the following ways:

  • Raise student motivation– students are engaged by technology and excited to use iPads for diverse purposes.
  • Provide deeper differentiation opportunities– many apps allow students to work at their instructional level and enable students to work on more challenging material as they gain skills.
  • Increase feedback for teacher– using technology for independent work allow for teachers to see and collate student work more easily. There are also several great classroom management tools to help implement positive behavior systems in the classroom.
  • Increase feedback to students- Better meet student needs by providing activities that offer feedback when teacher is instructing small groups. In contrast to doing a worksheet and completing work incorrectly, using apps allows for immediate feedback on students’ work, increasing learning.
  • Develop and increase technology skills – students learn to independently use various technologies and 21 Century skills.
  • Utilize technology for projects and research- iPads provide easy access to internet resources in diverse disciplines, and offer a wide range of project types to capitalize on student interests.
  • Foster collaboration- access to many applications that allow students to share ideas and respond to each other.

These are just a few of the specific apps we rely on:

  • Educreations- recordable, interactive whiteboard that enables students and teachers to create video lessons and share learning.
  • QR code reader- instead of typing in a long web address, students can scan a QR code to go directly to the site. Teachers can also create QR codes that will show students the answer to problems or will open up a video or audio clip to give students information.
  • iMovie- create videos on a wide variety of topics
  • Google Drive- students can store, edit and share documents, videos, and other projects.
  • Wonders ConnectED site- students can access many differentiated resources to use independently and in small groups.
  • RAZ-Kids- Students have access to leveled books. They are assigned a level and can listen to, read, and answer questions about a book at their level.
  • Spelling City- differentiated spelling lists can be entered which provide students with practice on their level.
  • Xtramath- tracks students’ performance on math facts and gives immediate feedback. Adds new facts as students master easier ones.
  • Grammaropolis- songs, videos, tutorials, practice and quizzes on all parts of speech.
  • Thinking Blocks apps- explores bar modeling for addition, subtraction and fractions in a manner that supports our Math in Focus program.
  • Starfall ABCs and Starfall Learn to Read- early literacy practice that students can progress through at their own pace.
  • Google Earth- virtual globe to be used in science and social studies investigations.
  • Phonics Awareness- practice phoneme segmentation, blending, substitution- skills that are building blocks to reading and writing success.
  • Motion Math Hungry Fish and Zoom Pro- students build addition and subtraction fact knowledge as well as place value concepts.

Many apps could be more effectively utilized with dedicated iPads to track many aspects of students’ performance and progress:

  • Socrative- student clicker with many functions to facilitate whole-class response/ interaction.
  • Class Dojo- helpful for positive behavior management.



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