Hi everyone, my name is Laura Bryant, and I am a kindergarten teacher seeking strategies and tools to engage my student’s in purposeful and meaningful ways. Some of those strategies and tools are technology, iPads, and apps. Over the years I’ve learned that there are two types of apps that can be used in the classroom and not all apps are meaningful or purposeful for a kindergarten group. Most apps are either assigned or open. The following chart gives an overview of the difference between Assigned and Open Apps. As a kindergarten teacher my first choice in choosing & buying apps is purchasing “assigned” apps. For the reasons listed above. Assigned apps give that “purpose & meaning” that I’m looking for in learning. Especially when we progress monitor 20+ students a year. Assigned apps also lend themselves to differentiation because I can assign targeted practice for specific skill building. In having this ability, I can pick and choose areas of learning for which the child needs improvement in and assign and track their learning. It does require some iPad management because the same students have to use the same iPad each single time. My iPad’s are set up like this: Each student is assigned a numbered iPad, his or her name is on the outside cover written on an index card. This makes it simple and easy to manage the iPads when students are working with “assigned” apps. What I like most about technology is that it’s a tool to enhance student learning in a fun techy way! For me, technology and apps are tools to enhance or reinforce concepts and skills that have already been introduced and taught either in the whole group or small group instruction. With this in mind, here are my top 4 assigned apps I use in my classroom with my kindergartener’s. My Top 4 Favorite Kindergarten Apps for iPads: ABCmouse Early Learning Academy - My #1 app and computer software of all time! This app also available online has everything from colors, phonics, phonemic awareness, word families, sight words, number sense, and handwriting! Also if you are into FLIPPED classrooms, ABCmouse is PERFECT for kindergarten FLIPPED instruction. It’s also free with a valid school email! Eggy Alphabet - This app is great for letter recognition, identification, and letter formation practice. I like this app because it has “guided practice” options, and it’s amazing for differentiation. The difficulty levels are also wonderful because it challenges your “high-kids” and they don’t get bored. Plus they can’t tell that they are doing something “different” from any one else! I also use stylus pens when student uses this app, I like my student’s to practice that tripod grip. Splash Math for Kindergarten - The data collection is beautiful and provides you with data based on Common Core State Standards… by skill as well. The settings also lend themselves to differentiation and difficulty level. It’s available for all grades! K-5th. StudyPad’s vision is to make learning fun for the kids while leveraging technology to build an ecosystem where teachers, students, and parents seamlessly interact. Teach Me for Kindergarten - This app has a little bit of everything (math, reading, vocabulary, sight words). I like to use this app for reviewing because it takes students on a roller coaster of activities and automatically adjusts to student’s ability or skill level. If students are struggling, per say, it takes them back a step, gives them step by step instructions or explanation of activity and guides students into completing the level successfully. Whats extraordinary is that in the data collection part, you GET THIS information! Once students can successfully complete a level with the minimal guided support they are rewarded with 3 stars and move up in difficulty level. I also used this app with fidelity with the group of 3rd graders I teach in the after school program and they ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT! Overall, these are my top 4 favorite apps, which I use in my classroom on a weekly and daily basis. I set up my classroom with centers and technology is always one of the rotations. If you would like to read more on how I set up my centers and integrate technology please stop by my blog. About the Author Laura Bryant is the author of tchr888 Mrs. Bryant blogspot. She has been a kindergarten teacher for six years and loves using technology to enhance her student's learning experience.
Written by Jayne Clare
Jayne Clare is dedicated to being in the forefront of the ever-changing digital landscape. She has been working directly with students and startups and recognizing what works and what doesn’t, along with the why behind both. Jayne co-founded Teachers With Apps in 2011.