Special Guest Post: Lora Varvel and iPads

Here's a special guest post from first grade teacher, Lora L. Varvel! Lora was one of my graduate students who has an exciting opportunity to lead an iPad initiative! Check it out: 

About mid way through the 2011-2012 school year, my classroom was given one iPad to use with my students. I decided to use it with various reading and math fact practice apps in a center during guided reading time. This worked out well and my students enjoyed it.
 But, as we started our unit on safety I began to think about how we could use the iPad in a different way. I decided to group students in pairs to create an iMovie safety video as a culminating activity. I created a form that the students used to record their idea. Once they wrote their idea they came to me for approval. They then used the form to create dialog that the two of them would say to show an instance when their safety rule would apply. At the end of each skit they had to say together while looking in the camera, “And so, (never or always) __________________.” With each step of this process my students checked in with me and I gave them advice along the way without taking away their ideas.

Finally, we used iMovie to create the final product. I connected the ipad to our BenQ projector to show them how to add simple effects and with each group’s input. Together we added a title, music and fading. I then chose a date to show our creations to the first and second grades in the all-purpose room, along with their parents and principle. It was a process that took very little extra class time and truly showed what my students learned during our safety unit. It was a great success!

About Lora: 

My name is Lora Varvel and I have been teaching first grade in Northern Lebanon School District for the past 5 years. I have taught 4th, 5th, and 6th grades as well.

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