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1:1 iPad Learning Showcase

Thank you to all who were able to attend our learning showcase. The purpose of this was for our students to share some of the ways that the iPads are being used for learning in 4th/5th grade.

 Our current 4th grade graphic designer created the flyer.

 4th and 5th graders, working in groups of three, shared the following apps or groups of apps:

Word Work Apps (the students chose to show Free Rice and Words With Friends)
Math Apps (QuentoMy Script CalculatorKhan Academy and Splash Math)
Pic Collage
Notes and Sketchbook
Hachtavah (an app used for learning Hebrew spelling)
Explain Everything
Google Drive and WordPress

 Using a "speed-geeking" format, each group of student experts had five minutes to present to a small audience. After five minutes the audience rotated to another table. The goal was to keep the focus on how the app was used for learning.

 As part of the student's preparation, each group of three was responsible for:

  • a learning flyer explaining how the app is used for learning
  • a "how-to" flyer, showing some basic steps for
  • using the tool
  • quality examples from the classroom


Feedback and Reflection
The feedback on the learning showcase was tremendously positive.

Some comments from teachers who attended:
"Experiencing our students teaching the apps to their parents and to others, like me, made me want to learn more about the subject that they were teaching.  It shows how much they know and how much confidence they have in their skills.  It was so impressive that some of the participants were asking for more. "

" was really impressive . The students were well prepared, enthusiastic, respectful and joyful."

Parents loved learning from their children. One grandmother said she was so excited that she is now planning to buy an iPad for her younger grandson.There were some really wonderful examples of partnership and teamwork. Overall, the students shined.


Empowering Students With Meaningful Classroom Jobs

Alan November's "Digital Learning Farm" was the inspiration for my classroom jobs. The idea couldn't be more simple: people are empowered through meaningful work. Children used to be, in the times of farming, useful and necessary contributors to their families' farms and other livelihoods. Once children's work became going to school full-time, that feeling of usefulness and importance faded. Most teachers understand the importance of giving kids jobs to do, and many traditional classrooms do designate roles such as "line leader" and "pencil sharpener"to fulfill these needs. Digital tools offer the possibility of exciting upgrades to these jobs, allowing students to learn through doing while making authentic contributions to their communities.

I am experimenting with how to best structure this so that it becomes a deep learning experience for students. I introduced the jobs to 5th grade a few weeks ago, then introduced and started with 4th grade. I decided that students would need to apply for the job and, once "hired" would have a tenure of about one month.

Available Positions:
Global Connectors:
Tweet, look for and organize possible learning connections, manage maps
Researchers: Research information in response to questions that arise
Official Scribes: Take notes, write weekly summary post on classroom blog
Documentarians: Photo and video documentation of the week’s activities
Kindness Ambassadors: Make sure that all community members are included at lunch and recess, remind community members of habit of the month, model and recognize kindness, give appreciations and remind others to do so
Librarians: Keep classroom and virtual library shelves in order. Add books to class GoodReads shelves, keep GoodRead-Alouds wall updated, set appointments with Mrs. Hallett
Graphic Artist/Designers: Design things for the classroom and class blog- graphics, bulletin boards, displays, etc.

Job Requirements:
Previous experience is helpful but not required. You will be able to learn on the job. Most important qualities: proactive, self-motivated, desire to learn.
All classroom work must be up to date in order to be considered for a job.


I have iPads in my Classroom! Now What?

I have iPads in the Classroom. Now What? from Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano

Thoughts on iPad Fluency and Workflows

For me, iPad workflow has to do with fluency. It is:

  • the fluid movement between apps
  • the unconscious decision what app  to use in order to accomplish any given task

The workflow is almost like Grammar in a language. Grammar helps you put components of a language in the proper order, grammar rules help you use the right tense, remix word to create new meaning, the correct vocabulary words attached in combination with pronouns and conjugation help you communicate exactly what you had intended.

Workflow= Fluency of iPad Grammar


Using iPads in the classroom with your students is more than choosing and letting them use Apps. 

I have written several posts about how I envisioned and then observed our students develop iPad Fluency (Fluency of iPad workflow takes time to develop!).

We are starting to see more and more examples of students developing iPad fluency, as they

  • take a photo of a mindmap that was written on a dry-erase board and ,without being asked, email them to all their classmates…
  • ask for a mindmap that I started of a discussion held in class and created on the iPad to be emailed to them. Not having the app (in which I had originally created the mindmap) on their own iPad, without missing a beat, substituting the app with Skitch to continue to add to the notes…
  • create a collage of images, saving the file to upload to their blogfolios without painfully getting hung up technical issues of how to import, rotate, crop, save, open in new app, edit, save and publish…
  • quickly looking up a quote or reference of a person in the middle of a conversation/discussion to validate someone’s point of view/perspective. The conversation continues without interruption and research is embedded smoothly…
  • collaboratively take notes, peer edit drafts of writing samples and not even think twice about the transformative nature of this new writing process…

I created the following iPad Workflow chart below for receiving and handing in sharing work. Breaking the process apart should help students visualize each step, remind them of “what comes next?” and support them on their way to develop their own fluency.

[ The chart was created in ComicLife app, icons saved and imported from the web to the Photo Gallery as I was browsing Safari. The final chart was then saved in Comic Life, exported as a jpg image and as a pdf file to be then uploaded to this blog post to be shared. ]


Download iPad Workflow: Receiving and Sharing (pdf)

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Kindergarteners Gaining Independence, Pride & Increased Comfort Level with the iPad


The picture above makes me smile… I see a group of Kindergarteners thinking, wondering, discussing, testing things out, collaborating, being proud of their independence as they are working with iPads.

It was the first time, we “let go” with the iPads. Previously, we had iPad Centers, working with 3-4 students at a time or we took two buddies out of the class to record each other in a separate room.

This time, we decided students were ready (I was not so sure, if I was ready) to give each 5/6 year old their own iPad in hand. My eyes were constantly darting across the room, trying to foresee any potential disasters or accidents about to happen in regards to the physical well being of the devices (I am happy to report that there was not one incident!)

Mrs.Y.’s , the Kindergarten teacher, goal was to work on NOUNS. Building on the iPad skills they had developed in the previous weeks. We modeled for the entire group how to:

  • find “nouns” in the classroom
  • frame a picture so several nouns would be captured
  • open up Skitch app
  • using arrows to point to the nouns
  • use type or handwrite the name of the object
  • email their picture to their teacher to be included in their blogfolio


Some students tentatively starting with one noun and then worked their way up to more than one in a second (or third, or fourth) image. They became more creative as they were wandering around the classroom to take  “just the right” image. Mrs. Y. projected her email program to the board and as a class they went through each screenshot that had been taken and mailed.

You could really see the pride these students were displaying in their work.




How Does iPad Workflow Fluency Look Like in First Grade

As first graders are learning about the butterfly life cycle, we wanted to stay away from usual activities such as coloring in a pre-printed coloring page. INSTEAD of such an activity (created by others) and a quiz about recalling the different stages of the life cycle as assessment, we decided to have students built on their knowledge and fluency of creating a collage and CREATING a visual of their learning. The digital visual was to become an artifact for their student portfolio.

Our first graders are working weekly on a Hebrew visual dictionary on the iPad PicCollage app. They are very comfortable with the app itself. We were ready to spill over from Jewish studies into their General Studies class and push them on their workflow (fluency) with the iPad.


  1. we reviewed the stages of a butterfly
  2. showed students a National Geographic video of the life cycle
  3. modeled the creation of a PicCollage Butterfly poster by breaking down each step
  4. embedded digital citizenship (images copyright issues)
  5. emphasized the workflow of :
  • choosing appropriate tools/apps (critical thinking)
  • navigating to website ( workflow, information literacy)
  • searching for images (information literacy, critical thinking, creativity)
  • saving images (workflow)
  • switching apps (workflow)
  • browsing for images> importing images > editing images > adding text (workflow)
  • designing (creativity)
  • saving (workflow)
  • emailing final product (workflow, communication)


I was impressed by our 6 & 7 years olds to get to work, able to follow along the workflow path, some having a little trouble with spelling some of the words, but ALL comfortable with tapping, swiping, switching between apps, pinching in and out, editing, saving images and simply knowing that these images will be waiting for them in their Photo Album to be used in another app.



This activity was NOT about using the iPad app, it was about creating a visual of their learning. It was about workflow, skills and creativity.

The emailed collages, will be placed on student blogfolis with a written or audio reflection of their creation or learning process.

butterfly4 butterfly2

talia masha




How Does iPad Workflow Fluency Look Like in Kindergarten

Recently, I tried to explain to a teacher from another school how we are trying to use iPads BEYOND apps. We have over 100 apps on our school iPads and introduce our students according to age level to a variety of them, but the focus of the use of the devices NEEDS to remain primarily as a tool for:

  • exposing students to skills, characteristic of a "modern learner"
  • critical thinking
  • personal learning
  • transformative learning
  • workflow fluency
  • anytime/anywhere/anyhow
  • creating

There is nothing wrong with using apps for isolated skills practice, such as multiplication, spelling, memorization, taking digitized quizzes or substituting otherwise traditional analog activities. These purposes should not be the only reasons of using iPads though. As students are being exposed to different apps, the focus needs to remain on the purpose, creation, workflow and sharing of what they can "do"with the iPads. They should "do" what they could not conceive or accomplish without them before.

I have shared last week, how our first graders are showing first signs of fluency when working with the tools at their disposal. How do we approach the workflow fluency with Kindergarten students?

We chose four apps (Doodle Buddy, Skitch, iMovie, ExplainEverything) to introduce our 5 and 6 year olds to the workflow:


Doodle Buddy

  • Students listened to a story (about dinosaurs and Hanukkah) without seeing the illustrations in the book
  • in Doodle Buddy, they visualized the story by drawing the imaginary images in their heads.
  • they saved the images in the photo album
  • emailed the images to their teacher (to be inserted into student blogfolio under categories: Art, Writing)


Skitch for iPad

  • We started out by having students use Skitch to take a picture of themselves (some of them asked a buddy to take it for them, which they then reciprocated)
  • by using the pen tool, they chose a color and then wrote their name on the image
  • from Skitch, their "annotated" images were emailed to the teacher (to be inserted into student blogfolio- Category: Kindergarten, Me, writing samples)



  • Using iMovie students created a new project
  • recorded a buddy telling them about their "favorite part of Kindergarten".
  • they played the movie back, re0recording if necessary until the movie clip was to their satisfaction
  • students saved and named their project
  • the movie was sent to a school vimeo account (to be embedded into student blogfolio- Category: Kindergarten, Me, Oral Language)



Explain Everything

  • The Kindergarten teacher set up scenarios and took photos in the classroom, demonstrating the Math concept of "fewer, more, equal".
  • the images ( different scenarios with different groups of children) were emailed to each iPad and saved in the Photo Album
  • students looked at each image and chose the scenario, they wanted to "explain" (all students chose an image they were part of!)
  • using Explain Everything, they then imported the image
  • chose the pen tool and color
  • recorded, paused, and drew their explanation
  • the project was saved and mailed to teacher to be uploaded to classroom vimeo account (to be included in student blogfolio under Categories: Kindergarten, Math, Oral Language)



As we were using the above apps, we continue to ask and reflect:

  • How is the app used to directly support curriculum content?
  • How are we allowing students to demonstrate evidence of their learning in this moment in time?
  • How are we/they documenting their learning process?
  • How do we provide opportunities for students to think about and reflect on their own learning?
  • What skills of a "modern learner" are we exposing our students to and how are we supporting the development of new literacies?



First Grade Authors

A discussion of basic literary elements (character, setting) using several different picture books led to the creation of eBooks by my first grade students. By creating the eBooks, students were to demonstrate understanding of character, setting, and a sense of sequencing, while practicing their written storytelling skills. To begin the process, I used a wordless picture book (relies entirely on illustrations to tell a story) to allow the students to show off their creativity and imagination while developing their writing skills. They needed to interpret the illustrations (visual literacy) and then write sentences about each picture (reading and writing literacy) to tell a story. I chose a total of six pictures from The Red Book by Barbara Lehman (2004). Students used the Book Creator app on the iPads to create their masterpieces. Following are the various steps:

1. We began by looking at an example, the Butterfly ebook created by our school’s last First grade class (in 2011). We discussed how this book is visible to anyone in the world with an Internet connection and the importance of doing a really good job when publishing.

2. As a class, we used our visual literacy skills to briefly describe all six pictures I had preselected from The Red Book.

3. With a copy of the six pictures in hand, students then each decided on the order of the pictures for their own stories and used a storyboard template to develop their stories.

4. The next lesson was spent transferring (typing) handwritten text from the storyboards to the Book Creator app.

5. Once typing was completed, students created the artwork on paper with colored pencils. I then used each student’s iPad to take photos of the pictures and  imported them into each story.

6. An important part of the eBook creation process was the review and edit process. Students used a Book Checklist while reading through their stories and carefully marking off each box.

Check out some of the very creative eBooks by the 1st grade authors!

Talia's book from Martin J. Gottlieb Day School

The mom and dad from Martin J. Gottlieb Day School

7. Reflections

Lastly, it was time to reflect on our learning. We first reviewed the process of creating our eBooks by remembering all the different steps. We also discussed the different products used (iPad, pencil and paper, storyboard template, editing checklist). Finally, we talked about the skills we learned (identifying literary elements in fiction, using different products, matching illustrations with our sentences, editing our work). Before video recording student reflections, I offered my own reflection as a model for the students.

My Reflection

  • I’ve learned that 1st grade students are very creative.
  • I’ve learned that even though they cannot yet spell many words perfectly, 1st graders like to write. And they like to draw too!
  • I’ve noticed that 1st grade students know all about setting and character and used both in their books.
  • I’ve discovered that 1st grade students quickly learn new words, like font, end mark, and checklist.
  • Also, I’ve discovered that 1st grade students love working with the iPads. They are little wizards with this tool! Swiping and tapping comes naturally to them, and even though I only asked them to change the font size to make it more easily readable, they immediately discovered how to change the font style altogether.
  • I’ve learned that creating eBooks is a great skill builder.
  • I’ve truly enjoyed working with 1st grade on our very first eBook creation!

Student Reflections

Listen to the student reflections in the following brief video. I am looking forward to your feedback!


Visualizing Stories

I recently found a video of 1st graders using the iPad to visualize a poem that their teacher read to them. After students drew what they imagined, they got into pairs and explained their drawings to a partner. The teacher also circulated to listen and to ask deeper questions of understanding.

The concept inspired our Kindergarten teacher and me to try something similar with our five and 6 year old students. Learning how to listen or read a story and being able to visualize the setting, characters and storyline is an important skill. Being able to "translate" one media (oral text) to another (an illustration) is a critical literacy skill.

Our librarian helped pick a book "How do Dinosaurs say Happy Chanukah", appropriate for this time of year. The Kindergarten teacher explained to the children, that she would be reading the book to them without showing them the pictures. A gasp was heard around the room: "What? No pictures?". Instead they were asked to use their imagination and draw the pictures in their heads first.

We then handed out the iPads and ask them to draw the picture they had formed in their heads on the iPad with the help of Doodle Buddy. Once finished, we saved the images and emailed them to the teacher.

Dinosaurs And Chanukah from langwitches on Vimeo.


The Making of a Story in Kindergarten and Amplification Thoughts

Kindergarten time is storytelling time: Listening to stories, telling stories, acting stories out, learning how to read your own stories and creating your own stories!

Learning about a holiday, like Thanksgiving in the USA, is the perfect time to cloak the historical origin into a fascinating story for five and six year olds. Who is not excited about a story with Indians, interesting people named "Pilgrims", a ship named Mayflower and a huge feast with "yummy" food?

Our Kindergarten teacher upgraded a traditionally created paper bound class booklet of the students illustrations and text of a Thanksgiving story to creating a TechnoTale. What is a techno-tale? A techno-tale is a digitally told story

By creating a movie, the teacher AMPLIFIED

  • the original reach her students' work had embedding the video on the classroom blog, allowing family and friends to watch the movie, regardless of their geographic location and the amount of physical booklets that were available.
  • the learning style allowing students to learn through and express themselves in a variety of forms.
  • using different communication media giving students the opportunity, not only draw illustrations and add text, but by recording their voices over the illustrations.
  • home-school connection allowing students to share something created in the classroom with their families at home, opening doors to further conversation about school and classroom happenings.
  • repetition
    ...The video is personalized (student's voice, student's illustrations) and motivates students to watch over and over again.
  • dissemination using different strategies, we actively and strategically share and disseminate our students' work. We blog, tweet, promote and talk about their work with others.

In addition to the TechnoTale video you see above, the Kindergarten class also created a bilingual iPad eBook (Hebrew/English) of their book.

By creating an eBook version, we further AMPLIFIED the original paper booklet and technotale movie by:

  • adding language tracks adding a second voice recording in the target language.
  • classroom learning time giving students the opportunity to read and practice the target language (Hebrew) beyond the contact time in the classroom.
  • parent-school connection
    ...parents or grandparents, who are native target language speakers are included and encouraged to read the eBook with their children.
  • accessibility making the eBook available to download on the classroom blog, we allowed more family and friends to read and listen to the story.
  • distribution
    ...duplication of the book does not cost anything extra, distribution is easy and instant.
  • reach a global audience making the file available for download and sharing the created eBook freely, we are encouraging a greater world wide audience for our students.
  • students' legacy (definition of legacy: Something handed down from an ancestor or a predecessor or from the past) creating an eBook, which is saved in the school's iTunes account and available on all school iPad iBook shelves for years to come, students in subsequent years, can read, listen and learn from this year's Kindergarten class.

If you own an iPad or iPhone, you can download the ePub file and directly drop it into your iTunes library. Once you sync your device with iTunes, you are able to read our ebook.

If you are reading this post on your iPad or iPhone, simply click on the ePub file and choose to open in iBook.

The above can give you a pretty good idea of the amplification possibilities, a "traditional" analog project, "upgraded" to a digital version can bring. I do want to close, not with more transformative skills or goals for further amplification, but with the LEARNING behind the scenes that went into the production of the TechnoTale and eBook. Take a look...