Last week, I was sitting in a faculty meeting analyzing grade level math data with PreK. As I listened in, I heard them talk about students from the previous quarter who had not met the standard for counting to ten. They were making plans for new standards that were coming up in the current quarter, but also thinking about how to continue to support this group of students who needed to work on the previous quarter standards.
I pulled out my iPhone and searched the iTunes app store for counting apps, and found multiple free apps that we might try. Most of the free apps were limited versions of the larger paid versions, but for our purposes, the free versions were enough to try. I suggested that we might try some of these apps on our 10 iPads, and the teachers were eager to give it a go.
Today, the 2 teachers pulled together a group of students and brought them up. I gave very little whole group instruction on what to do other than introducing the iPad and how to touch the screen. I went around to each iPad and opened the app that students needed, and they started. As usual, I was amazed at how quickly students started interacting with the iPads. The teacher, a volunteer, and I went around to each student and prompted them to talk out loud because part of this lesson was to have the students practice counting. They touched objects on the screen, counted aloud, and the apps also counted aloud and wrote the number on each object as it was touched. I appreciated the ease of use of the iPads with PreK because the adults were able to focus on content instruction rather than having to instruct on how to use the technology. Students left feeling successful with using the technology and with counting, and the teacher left feeling like students had practiced multiple standards through a few apps and was eager to come back to use the iPads some more.
I started this year with a flexible plan for the iPads that the district is having me pilot. I’ve listened to teacher and student needs and searched for how the iPad might be a tool to support those needs. The excitement over the device is growing, and I have a feeling that our small cart of 10 iPad is going to be in high demand very soon.