Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Keeping Kids on Track with Technology: A Mini Lesson

Hi everyone! It's Sandy from 

Soaring Through Second

I hope you are staying cool wherever you are today! It's been unbearably hot where I am!!!! 

I think I've mentioned before, but my class will be going 1:1 with iPads next year!!! I am SO excited to get this technology into my 2nd graders hands!!!

At the beginning of the year, I plan on spending A LOT of time going over procedures and how to's and do's and don't's. Technology like this can be very intimidating (for the teacher!!!)!

I shared a class set of iPod touches last year, and this was one problem I had...

How do I really know what the kids are doing over there with the technology??? They're sitting at their desk with their device... They look engaged... They look like they're doing something productive. They're not disturbing anyone... so it must be okay.

This wasn't always the case (i.e. taking 479 silly pictures of themselves using the camera...productive? Not so much.)

And a (hopefully good) lesson for a solution to the problem...

I'll start off by talking about how we need to be responsible for our actions, how there's only one of me and 24 of them (I'm sorry for all of you out there who have 30+ little ones!!!), and how I can't always be sitting right next to them to help them make smart choices... you know the schpeel. :)

Then I pick up my iPad (and make sure the sound is off), and tell them I have a very important assignment to complete. And I start working. I look really engaged, with that "smart" look on my face. I look really intense, like I'm really working hard.

I ask the kids what they think I'm doing.

They always say working on my project.

So I keep working intently.

Finally, I show them what I've actually been doing...

I turn my screen around and what do they see...

There are always loud "HEY!!!!"s and "What!?!?!?" and "Mrs. Patterson!!!!!!!!!"

Then I ask them my three iPad questions (this will come in handy later when they ask me, "Can I do x app???")

Am I learning?
Am I being productive?
Am I disturbing anyone around me or making anyone uncomfortable?
(This one emerged from the kiddo's fascination with taking pictures of their friends. Which is fine in some cases, but not always. We talk about how sometimes people don't want their picture taken, so it's always important to ask someone before taking their picture "Excuse me, may I please take your picture?")

The answers SHOULD be yes, yes, and no. For this particular lesson, the answers are no, no, and no.

We have a talk about being responsible, and making smart choices (one of our iPad rules), even when no one is looking. (I LOVE this poster from technology rocks. seriously)

Then I show them how we can check which apps they've been using. By pressing the home screen two times, quickly, it will pull up a row of open apps, in the order in which they've been used.

Graphics by Corazon Dulce


Now, of course I won't have Angry Birds installed on the student iPads, but this can help when we know it's math time and instead kiddos are doing Google searches with their friends' names. (Yes, it really happened....) I'll be able to tell they were not on their math app, but instead on Google, and ask them about this.

I have a poster with my three questions for them to refer to. Kids will often time come ask me, "I'm done with my work, can I do x app?" I always refer them to the three questions. If the answers are yes, yes, no, then they can do it. This prevents them from coming and asking me every single time and interrupting a group.

You can grab the poster by clicking the picture below. :-) It will take you to my blog where you can download it! 

I hope this whole little lesson will help my kiddos be more responsible and make smart choices when using their iPads!

What do you do to keep your kids accountable and on track with their technology??? I'd LOVE to hear more ideas!!! :-) 
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  1. Hi Sandy!
    Great post! I have a simple rule, if you're not doing what you are supposed to be doing on your iPad- you lose your iPad. That includes the handling of it as well as the apps. I usually only take it for no more than 10 minutes. They learn quick to stay on task and handle it with care. I think I had to take away only one or two last year, of course by those cuties who have to test the limits :)

    1. Wonderful idea! I have the same rule... First time five minutes, second time ten minutes, and third time parent contact. :-( Hopefully I will have a responsible group of kiddies this year! :)

  2. I am totally going to use your little role-playing example with my fourth graders! LOVE it! Funny, I was just starting to brainstorm some PBIS lessons for before we whip out our 1:1 MacBooks. I'm going to align my expectations and posters to the PBIS language the kids are familiar with and possibly create a matrix with examples. I'm going to spend A LOT of time going over expectations and consequences. Last year, I caught a few kids playing games or going on PhotoBooth when they weren't supposed to and I took their laptops away. Like Karla said, they learn QUICK once they realize how much it stinks not having the tech. I think the key is to be super strict from the very start. You're going to love 1:1! I'm excited to hear about your experiences.

    iTeach 1:1

  3. This was a great post, Sandy! I so wish I had a class set of iPads (or even 1 iPad!) so that I could use your poster :) I am going to save it for the future!

    EduKate and Inspire

  4. Love, love, LOVE this! There are so many great posts here on new technologies, but this post was so different yet NEEDED, how to handle the tech and organise it in the classroom. Thank you so much for the reminders!

  5. Hi Sandy,
    Thank you so much for posting this. I am also a second grade teacher and this will be very helpful.