Going Digital in the Primary Classroom

Let's face it!  We are moving into a learning environment where lessons are completed digitally.  I am blessed to teach at a school that is overflowing with technology (so much so that I can't even wrap my head around all the technology that we have).  With all the technology we have, I have had to figure out and create ways to use it in my classroom (and make it meaningful). 
Each student in my classroom (and school building Pre-K thru 12) is issued an IPAD.  My job was to find educational apps, programs, and games for the kids to complete on the IPAD.  Why?  We decided that we would no longer make-up snow days.  We would complete E-Learning Days instead.  Ok as a person who loves my job, but loves to stay home more, I am jumping for joy.  As a teacher I'm kinda bummed,  felt like it was one less day of teaching instruction.  But then I discovered lots of opportunities my students have with their IPADS.
First, if you don't know what an e-learning day is, it is a day that I assign my students work to do at home digitally.  All work will also be completed digitally as well.  Students have to complete a percentage of the work to be counted present for an e-learning day.
So in the months leading up to snow days (e-learning days now), I have to plan, prep, and prepare my students for the days ahead.  I have to teach my second graders how to interact with their IPADS and all of the programs they will use on an e-learning day (ok, so we don't just use the programs for e-learning days, I use them everyday in all of my instruction).
What digital programs do we use?
1.)  I use a program called XTRA Math for my students to practice math facts.  It takes just a few minutes to set up, 10 minutes a day for the students to do, and great reports for the teacher when finished.  The best part is...It's FREE
2.)  I use IXL to complete and reinforce skills taught in class.  I assign skills, can see real time progress, and view great reports.  This program is not free and actually quite expensive (I think), but students can do a minimal amount of questions daily without logging in.  They have also added science and social studies to the IXL curriculum.  Luckily, we have a grant that pays for our IXL subscription each year.
3.)  BrainPop.  I love BrainPop.  A subscription is needed for access, but it is relatively in expensive.  Each student in our building is given a username/password.  I can assign instructional videos, quizzes, and activities which makes this program great.  On a typical day, I usually introduce a new lesson or skill with a BrainPop video.  I will also review using videos. 
4.)  I use Google Classroom.  You can read all about Google Classroom (how to start and set up) on a previous blog post by clicking here.  If you aren't familiar with Google Classroom, the link would be a great place to start.
I will be doing a blog post on Google Classroom Soon.  If you are interested in it, you won't want to miss it.  So stay tuned.

5.) My teaching partner (Aimee from Taking on Second) and I flip our classroom for math block.  She is responsible for making all of our math videos for the students to watch at home.  I make all of the papers for them to complete that go along with the math videos.  You can read her blog post and watch a free math video by clicking here.  Flipping our math basically means that the kids watch the math lesson at home and complete the work at school (Ok, so we send home a short and simple math worksheet along with the answers for them to complete after the video.).  This allows for more math small group time.  We can really work with the kids that don't understand the math concept and accelerate the kids that do.  Here are two of my math homework products you can find in my TPT store (click on the picture to link to the product).
You don't have to have the math videos to grab these homework products.  They are self-checking and easy for second graders to complete.  They should take no more than 10 minutes.

6.)  I use instructional PowerPoints for mini-lessons and instruction time as well.  I use these PowerPoints mainly for Grammar.  You can view them by clicking here.



7.)  Our students can read and listen to fiction and non-fiction books using the website or app MyOn.  I believe this is a paid website, but I am not totally for sure.  Students have a log-in.  I can assign specific stories with assignments such as writing assignments, and they can take a short quiz upon completion of the book.
One assignment I have given on MyOn is to read a book on an ocean animal.  Then read the book How to Draw Ocean Animals  They had to write about their animal and using the directed drawing, draw their animal.  Art, Reading, Writing, Science All in One!

8.)  Google Docs and Google Slides:  I use both of these to push work out to students as well as to assign students work to do on each of these.  Stay tuned for a blog post on how I do this.  Again, you won't want to miss this post.

9.)  Spelling City.  We do differentiated spelling (Jen Bengel) in my classroom.  Each week, we have a specific spelling pattern.  Together, we brainstorm words with the spelling pattern.  Finally each kid selects words off the list to become their words.  Each student has a different list.  Using the paid version of Spelling City (there is also a free version that works great too).  My students have learned how to enter their own individual spelling lists into Spelling City.  From there, they play games, practice list, and take their weekly test.  
10.)  We use apps such as Doodle Buddy to write and draw our thinking.

11.) Khan Academy to reinforce math skills especially with my small group students.  The skills are limited for primary grades, but make for great practice videos.   
12.)  ReadTheory  Ok if you haven't tried this website, you must.  It is FREE.  It takes a few minutes to set up and add students.  Students take a placement quiz (very hard for second graders, but we managed), it gives them a reading level, then they read short passages and answer comprehension questions over the passages.  This is a great way to practice reading comprehension and progress monitor.  The reports are amazing.
These are just a few of the websites I use on a daily/weekly basis.  There are many more apps we use.  I will follow up with a post on these apps soon.  

And...parents thought all they do on the IPAD is play games :)   

Have a Great Day!
God Bless

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