First graders are working hard in math journaling through the app EduCreations.  Students seem to enjoy working in this app. It is very similar to Doodlecast.  Students draw pictures and record their voices.  It does have a place for text, and students do not have to talk as they draw.  Students have written many prompts so far including how we see math in every day life, writing story problems, and words that go along with addition and subtraction.  Students have enjoyed creating story problems using this app.  Mrs. Wicks's first grade has also implemented another journaling app called Smart Note Free.  This is a free app that actually allows students to keep an on-going journal that they can return to.  Students have been able to use this app for several different subjects.  The class is enjoying their new iPads and utilizing them in different ways.
     We have now gotten into the swing of things in first grade.  This is the same group of students from Kilby's Kindergarten, but they have now moved into first grade.  The next few weeks will kick our iPad project off in first grade.  Thanks to the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Mrs. Wicks's first grade class has received a grant for six iPads.  This will allow the new Kindergarten class to continue the great work that has begun with iPads in Mrs. Frederick's class.  There are many great things planned for this class as we utilize iPads for Mathematics journaling.  We will implement iPads in similar ways to our story writing in Kindergarten, but we will move into Mathematics and activities with writing in math.  This summer, I was approached to do an interview on our project in first grade.  Here is the link to the blog posting from the interview:
    Tragedy and loss has struck our sweet Kilby family as one of the children passed away on September 8th.  As the children and families mourn the loss, we also remember September 11th.  Sweet Coleen, the child who passed, helps us remember what freedom is all about.
    It is summer time for Kilby!  This class will be moving to first grade in August.  I will be following this class next year, and we will continue our research and great work with this class.  We have some very neat plans to transition the children's story telling skills into Mathematics journaling in the fall.  We will not only utilize iPads for the journaling, but also to improve their geometry skills in the spring.  We plan to work in our great architecture in Florence and compare this to Florence, Italy.  We will use the iPads in some very fun and innovative ways throughout the year.  Kilby's upcoming kindergarteners will continue to use iPads in story telling and many of the other skills learned throughout kindergarten.  We have applied for many grants to hopefully help supply iPads for first grade.  Though these kindergarteners are not kindergarteners anymore, our journey is not over!  I will keep this blog as our journey continues into first grade.  I hope everyone has a safe and fantastic summer!  See you in August!
    This past week, I presented at Research Day at the University of North Alabama.  People that walked by enjoyed hearing about the ways that Kindergarten is enhancing their knowledge through iPads.  They were amazed with the many examples of Doodlecast creations from our YouTube.  If you would like to see some, please visit Kilby Kindergarten on YouTube.  The YouTube shows examples of American Symbols, animals, and much more.  As we are closing this year out, we will be making a final kindergarten creation to compare the beginning creations with what the children know how to do now.  It has been neat to see the children utilize the iPads this semester in creating stories.  They have expanded their use of words and knowledge of story telling.  They have brainstormed and prewritten, drawn and told stories of kinds.  The children seem to love the different apps that have been highlighted this semester.  This week, I saw several children playing on Toontastic and Doodlecast during free time! This next week, we will begin working on a final story to tell about our year in Kindergarten.
     Kindergarten has been using the iPad to write words.  There is a game called "Spell" that students use to spell out different words.  Some parts make the children move the letters to the correct stop to form the words.  Other words have the students find the letters on the keypad.  The variety of ways provides different ways of recognizing letters and ways to spell the words.  This game also uses incentives.  If the children gets six words correctly, they get a prize.  The prize, much like Teach Me, is an aquarium.  The children love to feed the fish.  Each time they have to find words, the students get quicker.  They are creating words, and their vocabulary is expanding.  The students are also tracing letters on a different app.  There are different ways to trace the letters.  One is a train track, and another is growing grass.  The children love the different ways.  These apps are helping the children to expand their vocabulary and increase their understanding of forming and using letters in words. 
    Kindergarten has been very busy the past few weeks.  After spring break, we began to apply what we know about zoo animals.  The children made Doodlecast stories on zebras, giraffes, and lions as they learned about the different animals in class.  We are so lucky to have the opportunity to have lions on our very own UNA campus, so many of the children have had personal, up-close experiences with Leo and Una, the UNA lions.  All of the children's Doodlecast stories can be found on our YouTube page: kilbykindergarten.  Mrs. Frederick's kindergarten class is now going back to our original apps to re-make stories that we started out with.  It is awesome to see the changes the children have made in the past couple months.  When we began with StoryKit, the children were not sure what to write about or what to include in their voice recordings.  Now, we simply have to point the children into which app we would like them to use, and off they go! The children are writing away, and their creativity is never-ending.  The children read and listened to Pete the Cat by Eric Litwin.  The children then took the book and summarized it in a Doodlecast creation.  They had so much fun singing along with the song.  Their singing can also be seen on the YouTube site.  We hope to begin moving the children into mathematics by transitioning our story telling into story problems.  We will also use the iPads in the next couple of weeks for a weather unit done by Kilby Kindergarten's intern, Sarah Jones.  It will be an exciting couple months as these children begin the end of Kindergarten!
    Last week, Mrs. Frederick began a unit on the zoo.  The zoo has hundreds of different species of animals.  Most of the animals at the zoo we do not come into contact with every day.  The University of North Alabama has two lions on campus, so this provides children with one example of a zoo animal.  We began to create Doodlecast presentations on what we knew about the different animals.  The children knew a lot of valuable information about many animals.  I began to notice that most of the information consisted of "I love...", "I like...", or "You should also like..." instead of facts.  I quickly looked up an app on the zoo and zoo animals.  The first one to pop up was called Pocket Zoo.  Pocket Zoo is by far my favorite app that we have used so far.  The front page is a map much like on you would see at a zoo.  The different animals are all over the map.  Once you click on the animal, it opens up a page about that animal.  When you click on the animal, it makes the real noise that the animal makes.  There are facts below the animal and on the side that are great for learning about the animal.  There are tabs at the top that can be clicked.  The next tab beside the one that shows the animal shows different educational YouTube videos.  This prevents the children from having to actually go onto YouTube to look up videos.  Sometimes the videos on the actual site are appropriate, but the ones on the side frame are not.  This app provides only pre-chosen educational videos on each animal.  The last tab is my favorite part.  It shows live feed from different cameras at zoos across the world.  Children can watch zebras, whales, tigers, meerkats, and many other animals live on camera.  The children were ecstatic to play with this app.  I would recommend the app to anyone and everyone.  Once the children learn more about the animals, we will use this information to create Doodlecasts about them. 
    This week was an amazing week for Kindergarten.  Now that the children know how to use the different programs, we would like to incorporate different concepts of creating a story into each lesson.  This week, we learned about prewriting.  Amazing writers think about what they want to write, sketch a picture, write words down, and color their pictures.  Mrs. Frederick's class used their knowledge about symbols of the United States and presidents to prewrite and create a Doodlecast.  The children chose a symbol or president, drew a picture, and then wrote a sentence about their picture.  Students took their pictures and created a Doodlecast from their pictures.  We hoped that by prewriting, some of the rambling would be eliminated.  The results were phenomenal.  The children knew a tremendous about of information about each symbol.  We also had a variety of results.  They wrote about the Statue of Liberty, Liberty Bell, the American Flag, and George Washington.  We now have a YouTube channel called kilbykindergarten.  We will post our Doodlecast creations daily as they are created.  We will continue to prewrite and tell stories through our new unit on the zoo.
    Last week was an extremely busy week for Kindergarten.  Mrs. Frederick's class worked with Puppet Pals and Doodlecast.  Puppet Pals was easier to navigate than Toontastic, but it was very limited in what the children could do.  There were a few different backgrounds and characters to choose from, but the children were limited because Puppet Pals requires you to buy any extra characters and backgrounds.  The children made one major scene for Puppet Pals, and it allowed the children to develop the characters.  It was very funny to see some of the voices that the children came up with.  The characters were those of a fairy tale, so children were limited in the type of story they drew.  They enjoyed the app, but they were more interested in getting done with Puppet Pals to work with Toontastic.  The children also worked with Doodlecast.  We showed more examples of how to work Doodlecast, and the children were set free to create their own.  The more they played with the program, the better their stories got.  I was amazed at some of the products.  The products show just how creative the children are.  Coleen even used comparisons in her Doodlecast.  The outcomes were fantastic, and the more that the children get to play with the apps, the more their stories will develop.  February was all about creating stories in literacy centers, and students excelled at creating stories beyond my original expectations.  At the end of the week, students got to hear an interactive story telling group.  The presentation went right along with our focus of creating stories.  We will continue with the focus of developing stories to see how the children respond to apps as they get better acquainted with the iPads and software.
    The children worked with the app Toontastic this week.  This app is very similar to PuppetPals.  The children create their own story through a puppet play.  The children can create their own background.  This really prompted creativity from the children.  The layout of Toontastic can be very hard for younger children to navigate, but it also leaves room for explaining the process of creating a story.  Though we do not have iPads for every child, it was very neat to see several children work on one story together.  The writing process and creativity was flowing readily during literacy centers.  The children were laughing and enjoying creating stories, and they had some fantastic products.  The biggest negative for Toontastic is saving and sharing.  The actual "saving" point in the app is at the end of the process.  The children click through each part of creating the story, and when they are done, the app has the children provide a title name and author.  It is very difficult for the children to create an entire story in the small time frame we are doing literacy centers.  In order to save the product, the child must exit out of what they are doing, create a title, and then type in their name.  It is possible, but it is a very difficult process for such a fast-moving day.  Like with StoryKit, Toontastic has its own website for saving and viewing.  This makes it really hard to share products with parents and anyone else who may be interested in seeing the products.  The children seemed to love Toontastic, and this is my favorite app for creating stories that we have tested so far.


    My name is Kaitlin Ashley.  I am a few hours away from being a senior at the University of North Alabama.  This blog will be about researching the impacts of iPads in the kindergarten teaching and learning environment.  It will follow this process from the very beginning, and it will keep everyone up-to-date on what is going on in Mrs. Frederick's Kindergarten class.


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