3 reasons why the iPad mini is the iPad for Education

Back in January 2012 Apple hosted an educational event in New York that made a real push for the iPad to be the computing device of choice for the classroom.

With improved iBooks for text books, iTunes U and the fact that it deliberately kept the old reliable 16gb iPad 2 on the market for so long specifically for schools it made a strong case.

Today Apple released it's iPad mini a 7.9 inch iPad mini and it almost seems to have been designed with students and readers in mind. 

Firstly this thing is small enough to comfortably fit into a school bag or a large set of cargo pants.  And that reduction in size coupled with Apple's excellent design standards mean this device is the hardiest iPad on the market which is great for the classroom and should result in a lot less cracked screens. 

Darren Murph from Engadget went hands on with it and points out however that it is not too small for typing.    "It's still not "small," though. While a fully outstretched adult hand can generally grasp it without help from the other, you'll still want both for typing and using apps."

Secondly it has the best battery life of any iPad. Due to it's slightly older processor and lower resolution screen of it's big brothers the iPad mini you can comfortably squeeze out 10 hours of non stop use of this little fella.

Finally it is cheap.  At $70 less than the lowest 'BIG' iPad this is a huge saving for schools who like mine will be buying hundreds at a time.  That either means more of them for your students or budget savings for other needs.  Students tend to have smaller hands, and public school districts tend to have even tinier budgets; it's really not a matter of "if" digital devices will take the place of more traditional teaching methods, but "when."

So if you like me are looking at iPads for the classroom, then surely the iPad mini will be a must consider. 

It is by no means the most technically advanced member of the family, as it essentially a shrunken iPad 2 with a 2012 overhaul,

But with Apple's track record with these devices and the reduction in size and price for little hands and budgets it appears to be a winner.

Looking at it from another perspective.  Apple also released the iPad 4 today which is surely the least impressive update of any of their iOS devices with literally no wow factor over it's predecessor. And this gives me confidence in the knowledge that these devices have reached maturation and the iPad mini my school buys today will be not too unlike the iPad mini of two years down the track.

 

 

10 Quick Classroom Games to improve Literacy Skills

A colleague of mine recently shard these 10 great ideas to impove literacy skills in the classroom.  They are simple to play and can be applied to nearly all year levesl.  Enjoy.

Capture2323.PNG

Remember that if you are looking for more great free resources and structured guides to teaching all aspects of English especially writing be sure to visit literacyideas.com


Sentence Stretching

Start with a short sentence or group of words.  Pass it around to about 6 people, with the rule that each person must add (a word or a group of words) or change ONE word ( to another word or a group of words) to make the sentence more specific and more interesting.

Rebus writing

Students write sentences or longer texts and substitute drawings for the nouns.

It’s in the bag

Place an object in a bag- make sure the students don’t see it. Students feel the object in the bag and use words to describe how it feels. They take it out and add /alter their adjectives.

Touch and tell

An object is passed around a group of students. Each student suggests an adjective to describe it.

Alternative

Students provide an adjectival phrase or clause to describe the object

Verb Draw

Students randomly select from a box a picture of an animal, person or objects that move. They brainstornm action verbs for the chosen object.

Alternative

The students can supply verbs and adverbs

They can supply adjectives or adjectival groups

Hot Seat

Read a text ( this case narrative) and at a particular point stop and ask students to select a character and suggest, for example:

  • What the character  is doing, thinking, feeling ( focus on processes)

Change the meaning- change one word

Students locate and change one word that will alter the meaning of the sentence.

They share their alterations and discuss which part of speech was the most important in changing the meaning.

Locate and classify

Read a text and ask students to write nouns on cards ( red), adjectives (blue), articles on orange. Rearrange words to create different noun groups. Students can also locate verbs ( green card) and adverbs (yellow) . Rearrange all the worsd to create new sentences.

Alternative

Students can locate adjectival phrases or clauses or adeverbial hrases and write these on other coloured cards.

Grammar toss- Sentence making

Players must throw a 1 before they can begin. The winner is the first person to make a sentence that includes all of the following:

  1. A group of words that tell what or who ( singular)
  2. A group of words that tell when
  3. A verb in the past tense
  4. An adverb telling how
  5. A group of words telling where

They can then rearrange the sentence parts to see how many ways they can make another meaningful sentence. 

Alternative

Other parts of speech can be used for each number thrown.

Toss and write

Prior to the activity, a cube is prepared. Upon each face of the cube is written a task that requires specific grammar knowledge. For example:

Make a sentence

Make a question

Provide two adjectives

Provide two verbs

Create a noun group ( eg article, adjective/s noun)

Provide a noun and an adverb

Students select a subject ( noun) from a tin. They throw  the cube and  whichever side of the cube faces up is the task they must attempt.



6 simple ways to use Twitter in the Classroom

Twitter could be the easiest bulk messaging system on the planet due to it's simplicity of use, stretch on mobile devices and simple hashtag system of tracking subjects and topics. 

Nearly every student has access to it via their mobile device and we often overlook the possibility to use it in the classroom. 

Below are six simple ideas that you could use with your students today.

Set up a poll: Teachers might want to set up a Twitter poll for either their students or the broader microblogging community. The applications are limited only by one’s own creativity; for an added bonus, combine the poll with some sort of geotracker.

Host a Twitter scavenger hunt: For fun and education, get students moving and organize a sort of Twitter scavenger hunts — maybe even see if other classrooms or professionals want to get involved. As with many of the projects listed here, such an activity can easily be applied to a wide number of grade levels and academic subjects.

Keep parents informed: When teaching the younger set, parents may like to follow along with what’s going on in their children’s day. Keep a Twitter feed updating them about the different lessons and activities as they happen for greater engagement between the home and the classroom.

Announcements: Rather than sending out a mass e-mail, many education professionals find it far easier to tweet changes, cancellations and other important announcements. Definitely avoids the dreaded spam filter that oftentimes prevents students from receiving time-sensitive messages.

Enabling discussion outside of class: University of Texas emerging media professor David Parry also talked Twitter with Mashable, lauding the ubiquitous microblog as an excellent way for his students to continue class discussions after they’ve already ended. And they frequently do!

______ of the day: No matter the class, a vocabulary word, book, song, quote or something else “of the day” might very well make an excellent supplement to the day’s lesson. When teaching younger kids, tell their parents about the Twitter feed and encourage them to talk about postings at home.

Free Classroom Poster: Vowels

 

You'd be surprised how many children, and adults too, you can stump when you ask the seemingly simple question, "What are vowel sounds?" You'll get quite a few variants of "a, e, i, o, u, and sometimes y" from them, but after that it's a real mishmash of answers. Many of my students, and many of their parents either, actually knew what the main difference is between vowel sounds and consonant sounds.

This poster is an other resource for teachers to direct students as to what a vowel is and more importantly what is it's purpose.

Click here to download it.

* Please note all of our posters are originally designed using high resolution images and fonts at A3 paper size. Be aware it will be automatically resized to your default paper size when using Adobe Acrobat Reader without any loss of quality. If you would like to print these documents at larger sizes you can read the Adobe Resize & Scaling FAQ here.

Finally if you would like to purchase a completely editable version of this document to alter without any restrictions you can purchase it for $10.00 simply by emailing us.

Free Classroom Poster: Fractions, Decimals & Percentages

 

Earlier today i posted a basic fraction wall poster that would be a great resource for the classroom or study area, which was aimed at junior school students.

This Poster is an extension of Basic fraction wall by decimals and percentages to the mix and visually representing them.

You can download it here.  Enjoy.

* Please note all of our posters are originally designed using high resolution images and fonts at A3 paper size.  Be aware it will be automatically resized to your default paper size when using Adobe Acrobat Reader without any loss of quality.  If you would like to print these documents at larger sizes you can read the Adobe Resize & Scaling FAQ here.

Finally if you would like to purchase a completely editable version of this document to alter without any restrictions you can purchase it for $10.00 simply by emailing us.

 

Free Basic Fraction Wall Poster

This Fraction Wall maths teaching resource is a great way to help students develop an understanding of the relationship between fractions. 

This is a Basic Fraction Wall and very shortly I will be posting some more complex versions with percentages and decimals included on them.  Please feel free to download, print them and decorate your classroom.

Download it here.

* Please note all of our posters are originally designed using high resolution images and fonts at A3 paper size.  Be aware it will be automatically resized to your default paper size when using Adobe Acrobat Reader without any loss of quality.  If you would like to print these documents at larger sizes you can read the Adobe Resize & Scaling FAQ here.

Finally if you would like to purchase a completely editable version of this document to alter without any restrictions you can purchase it for $10.00 simply by emailing us.

FREE CLASSROOM POSTER: LESS THAN & GREATER THAN

Another day another free awesome poster for you classroom.  This poster is a great tool for teaching kids about the math's concept of less than and greater than.  It is really easy to understand and has some great visuals that will stick in your students memory.

Please feel free to download and Print the poster (A3 Recommended) as large as possible.  If you have any great ideas for other classroom posters please let us know in the comment section below.

Download the Poster here... Enjoy!!

* Please note all of our posters are originally designed using high resolution images and fonts at A3 paper size.  Be aware it will be automatically resized to your default paper size when using Adobe Acrobat Reader without any loss of quality.  If you would like to print these documents at larger sizes you can read the Adobe Resize & Scaling FAQ here.

Finally if you would like to purchase a completely editable version of this document to alter without any restrictions you can purchase it for $10.00 simply by emailing us.

FREE ROMAN NUMERAL POSTER FOR YOUR CLASSROOM

Roman numerals were the accepted numerical system of the ancient world for a longer period of time than our current 0 - 9 Hindu Arabic numerical system has been. 

As a maths teacher, Roman Numerals open the door to discussing the evolution of mathematics and society by telling the rise and fall of empires, great minds of the past and evolving our thought processes as the world became a larger community.

This free poster not only explains how the Roman Numeral system works, so that your students can identify the production years at the end of movies, but also offers a great collection of historical facts about it's stories past.  Did I also mention it looks great too.

So...  Feel free to download it here, and Print it out as large as possible.  Enjoy!

* Please note all of our posters are originally designed using high resolution images and fonts at A3 paper size.  Be aware it will be automatically resized to your default paper size when using Adobe Acrobat Reader without any loss of quality.  If you would like to print these documents at larger sizes you can read the Adobe Resize & Scaling FAQ here.

Finally if you would like to purchase a completely editable version of this document to alter without any restrictions you can purchase it for $10.00 simply by emailing us.