With the increase of blended learning, I thought it would be a great idea to share some of my favorite tech ideas with you. My students have loved using these iPad apps, tech devices and websites in our classroom. This list is not in order of preference.
I’ll be referring to my list in three ways: tech device, app or website. The tech devices are physical pieces that you will have to purchase to go along with an ipad or it is a standalone for something else. Apps can all be downloaded from the App Store for Apple devices or if you have Android, you may be able to get them there. The websites will all require an internet connection to use. If you do not have reliable internet at school, I wouldn’t recommend using any of the websites I’m suggesting.
This post contains affiliate links.
Seesaw is number one on this list and absolutely number one in my classroom. This is a free (or paid) website. Everything that I explain can be used with the free version. I began using it solely as a way to keep up with center work. My students would either take a picture of completed recording sheets or record themselves reading. It has since evolved into a major part of our classroom routine.
Now, I can assign work to my students as well as have them submit recordings, drawings, and pictures. It is a fabulous tool that can be used in so many ways. After distance learning began, Seesaw added many more features and upgraded some of the current features. Along with student learning, you can also use the inbox feature to talk to parents. This is totally optional and only opens when you send an announcement or a private message to one parent. The best part for parents is that they can also see that work that their child submits (after you approve it of course).
Seesaw has an activity library where MANY teachers have submitted resources for use in your classroom. These are activities that were created by those teachers for use in their own classrooms as well. Want to check it out? Click here to create your own Seesaw account. Then, CLICK HERE or click the image below to grab a free Word Family sort to add to your library. You don’t have to assign it now, but it will be saved in your library for future use.
2. Square Panda
Square Panda is a tech device that is normally sold on Amazon. Each device allows three users unless you purchase the classroom subscription. The app downloads are all free. I keep Square Pandas out all year for my students to work on during reading centers. It is sometimes a favorite choice on Fun Friday as well. With Square Panda, your students can work on letters, sounds, building words, reading words, rhymes, and more! It is very interactive with the letters and extremely engaging.
3. See it Write it PowerPoints
I’ve been creating and using Digital PowerPoints for years! They are extremely engaging for my students no matter what skill we use. We usually do these whole group because I can sit back behind them and look at their answers. What are they? I have different skills created so that we can review what I’ve previously taught. My students always have to write something for the answer. If it is a short vowel cvc word or counting how many objects they see, they have to pay attention and be engaged to get the answer before I move on to the next slide.
These are also automatic PowerPoints for times when I need my students to be engaged, on task and working, but I need to do something else. The slides will wait long enough for students to write the answer and then move on to the answer so they can check their work. This worked well when I had a busy arrival morning a few years ago. This also works well in those times where you have an unexpected guest to talk to (principal or parent), a child gets sick, or you have to quickly get paperwork done for something. You can still watch your children work as you get what you need done quickly.
Epic is a free website/app for books. Once you add in your class roster, you can assign books to your students or allow them to login using the app. They can either read books on their own or listen to Read to Me/Audiobooks. My kindergarten students love using Epic for their Listening center. It is easy to login, switch between students and enjoy a wide variety of books.
Touchtronics is another tech device app based game that comes with pieces. I purchased it on Amazon. You can either get the numbers or the letters version. Then, download the free apps. Touchtronics is great for identifying the letters, counting and building words.
6. Draw and Tell
Draw and Tell is exactly what the name says. Students can create a background to draw on. Then, they can record their voice over what they drew. I love this for explaining parts of a story, drawing objects and counting, drawing their predictions and more. They could easily do this in Draw and Tell as well, but sometimes we like to save the images and use them in other apps. It’s really easy to get the images from here.
7. Doodle Buddy
Doodle Buddy is a whiteboard app. We use this when we have enough iPads in the classroom for whole group when doing See it Write its. When we aren’t in whole group, I often use these during math intervention or math small group time as well. They can quickly write the number or draw the amount of objects that I am looking for. We use these in place of dry erase markers and white boards. If you have Android devices, there is a similar app called ShowMe.
ESGI really isn’t for the students, but I could not leave this one out. If you’ve never heard of ESGI it is the BEST assessment tool for your students. Seriously. I do not use anything else. I take my district’s common assessment, type the questions in and get rid of all that paper! It saves me SO much time. I also add in other assessments throughout the year that are already in the assessment pool. There are hundreds of assessments to choose from that have already been created.
With ESGI, I usually test my entire class in two to three days in the first week of school. Yes! That’s it. I do counting, number identification, colors, writing name, letters, sounds, sight words, cvc words and I’m sure I’m forgetting something. It takes me no time to get them all assessed. The best part is after I finish assessing (even one part), I have a report ready for me to print. I send these reports home with my progress and report cards. Parent know exactly what their child knows. These are also perfect for parent conferences. If you’re interested in signing up for a free trial, use the code ENCHANTED to get 60 days.
9. Teach Your Monster to Read
This is a web based or app reading game. The app becomes free a few times a year, so you definitely have to look out for it. My boys are usually more into this than the girls for some reason. They love trying to get as many points as they can. I love that it works on sounds, letters, building words, word chunks and sight words. The students level up as they master each of the skills. In your teacher account, it does give you a report of how each of your students is progressing. I have the app, but this is what we use when they get on the computer most of the time. I love to give them time to practice using a normal (ha!) computer with a mouse and this is perfect for that.
10. Google Classroom
This is only for teachers who have access to Google Classroom through your school. It is an amazing tool to have to assign work to students. For primary students, you can use Google Slides to create interactive assignments/games for your students to complete. The great part is that it saves every move they make. If they do not finish, they can pick up the next day or next chance they get and complete it. It allows you a choice on if you want to assign grades or not. I’ve never graded any Google Classroom work, since I wasn’t required, but if you are – the option is there. You can easily create your own activities for students and assign it by finding your creation in your Google Drive.
However, I will say that if you do not have something like Clever to sign in for your kindergarten students, it can be a headache.
Osmo is a tech device that I purchased from Amazon. There are a few different types of Osmos out. By type, I’m referring to the pieces that you can purchase and the app that you download with it. The Osmo has a reflective mirror and stand that you sit the iPad in (without a case on it). Students will move their game pieces in front of the stand and the mirror reads it. They can build words, finish words, find certain letters, add, count, build shapes and more.
Doink is a green screen app. With Doink, I print off different images or letters with a green border around it. Then, we tape it on a green painted popsicle stick. The students use the iPad to retell a story, create a new story and tell it or create other ideas. For kindergarten, I recommend doing these in smaller groups and if you have a parent volunteer for the first time. That would help a lot. Once they get down the process, it’s fairly simple to keep creating green screen videos. You could also do these without images or letters and allow the students to stand in front of a large green sheet or piece of paper. Add in your background of choice and they can pretend to be anywhere in the world.
I think I paid for this app, but I highly recommend it. Some older iPads don’t work well with Doink so look at the requirements before downloading.
13. PicCollage Edu
PicCollage is an app for creating collages. It super simple to use once your students create a collage a few times. We used these when discussing different science topics such as ocean animals. They have to find a certain number of ocean animals, create a collage, post it to Seesaw and then tell about each animal. These types of activities do take us more than one day sometimes, but they show what they’ve learned in a meaningful way.
Plugo is a tech device that was purchased from Amazon. My higher students enjoyed this a bit more. Depending on which set you get, it focuses on math, puzzles or reading. There are pieces that come with the device that students use to either count with or word build. I would recommend this for higher K or for first grade. It was too difficult and confusing for some of my lower students that haven’t mastered all their letters or skills like addition yet.
15. Belkin Charging Station
This one isn’t an app, but I couldn’t leave it off the list! It’s what keeps all of my tech devices in any type of organized fashion. I purchased two of these charging stations from Amazon through Donor’s Choose. They are quite expensive, in my opinion, and it’s why I went through Donor’s Choose to get them. The cords never get tangled. However, just like any cable for devices, you will have to replace a few cords every few years from wear and tear. That’s the worst of it. In 7 years, I think I’ve replaced 3 cords and most of those were for my older iPads. I highly recommend getting this is you have more than a few devices and no organization for them.
16. Boom Cards
I know I said 15 ideas, but I couldn’t pass up you reading this post about using Boom Cards in kindergarten. I explain all about it here and why it is DEFINITELY something you should check into to for your students.
Hope you enjoy these as much as my students do.
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