Technically Invisible

iPaddling in the BYOD Classroom

We are on an adventure of sorts this year in Room 204! Along with 20 other teachers and about 500 students in Falmouth, we are piloting a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) initiative. Students involved in this pilot will be able to bring their own mobile devices to school, where we will find ways to extend and enhance our learning. As a teacher, I am super excited and a bit nervous – I’m not totally sure what to expect in Grade Three?!?! I’ve decided to create a page on our blog to document our journey this year, to see where it takes us.

Buckle up, folks! It’s going to be quite a ride!

AUGUST, 2012:

Back in August, all teachers participating in the pilot got together to create a Responsible Use Policy, and to receive our own iPads.  I’ve never had one before, so let’s just say I was out-of-my-skin excited!  Here I am, sitting with my friend Beth Holland, who came from to help us that first day.  My iPad isn’t even out of the box, and I’m already a grinny girl!!

September, 2012:

So, today was the day I felt brave enough to begin.  We are fortunate in that 10 iPads were made available to those of us piloting this BYOD program.  Along with a few other iPads purchased through grants, I am sometimes able to teach lessons in a 1:1 environment.  While we won’t always have 15 iPads available to us, it was a great way to start our lessons in responsibility.

Responsibility?  Ummmm….. yeah.  I am committed to teaching students the value of these expensive tools, and how important it is to take care of them.  It is also critical for my students to use them responsibly, so we can hopefully expand the use of 1:1 devices to more classrooms in the future.  Are 3rd graders able to handle all these challenges?  I believe wholeheartedly that they will!

Today, I began our unveiling by talking about drivers’ licenses.  In order to receive a driver’s license, people must learn about the rules of the road, and figure out how to safely operate a vehicle.  Once they are prepared, they take a test that results in a driver’s license.  If they violate the rules, they risk the chance of having their license revoked.


So, I first started by showing our coveted iPaddling License:

Created using Stationery Studio from FableVision
Created using Stationery Studio by FableVision

Created using Stationery Studio by FableVision

Download the license here: license

Then, I brought up our rules for responsible use.  I know that teachers try very hard to phrase rules in positive terms, but I felt this is one of those times where a few No rules were appropriate.  Hopefully these 6 rules will cover all of the responsibilities we will face, using these brand-new, shared devices!

Download the iPad Rules HERE: ipad rules

Mrs. Horton (who is a BYOD teacher in 4th grade!) took these rules and created a quick EDUCreations slideshow.  CUTE!  You can see it HERE!

Finally, I showed 204 students the list of “tests” they will have to pass to receive their license.  We would begin our training today.

Created using Stationery Studio from FableVision

Download the iPad Test HERE: ipad test

At this point, there was nothing left to do, but roll the cart in, and hand them out!

Look at those faces!! How could I resist??

I did so with words of caution spilling out of my mouth at every turn.  “Two Hands!”  “Careful!” “On your Bottom!!” It was super scary!!

No leaving the rug without an iPaddling License!

We jumped right in, learning about the Home Button, how to change apps, how to close apps, how to navigate our way around.

We spent about 15 minutes playing a couple of math games – Hungry Fish and Sushi Monster.  The students had to figure out how to play, as I hadn’t played enough to teach it.  Of course, that was the least of my worries – I had 15 teachers to help me!! Check out their cute photos!!

Next time? We tackle the camera and photos.  Someday, I promise we’ll get off the rug….


All I had to do was tell these crazy kids that Tuesday and Thursdays are Tech Days – and now the little stinkers are holding me to that promise!!  They mentioned yesterday that “tomorrow is Tech Thursday” and I knew I was doomed!! DOOMED!  I had to summon up all of my bravery to start with Phase Next….

So, we spent about 2 hours on iPads today, working on ELA skills and some tech-related skills to lay the groundwork for the months ahead.

Spelling City was the opener – love how I can get kids to (finally) type in my first and last name to pull up all of the lists created *just* for them.  They practiced and practiced and practiced…

Then we opened EDUCreations, where we created slides to match our vocabulary lesson. Students had to take a vocab word, and create a slide with a pic, a definition, a sentence and a antonym (or synonym). Four slides later, and they were starting to look like pros!

Part of the iPaddling license test includes capturing images, and then deleting those which are not useful.  We remembered to leave behind any photos taken by students in other classes.  I talked about how (for now) it is okay to take pics of oneself, but not of others.  Instead, students could take pictures of other students’ shoes!  They DID!  How cute are these??

I know, right??  Before we headed to the computer lab, I gave students some time to get acquainted with the camera, Photo Booth and deleting photos.

Once they were settled into the school lab, I had them answer this question:

How will iPads help my learning as a third grader this year??

Student responses are located below!

October, 2012

The lessons continue…  We’re getting closer and closer to our iPaddling license test, and I’m seeing some very responsible behavior coupled with lots of learning!  I did notice that some students were having a hard time differentiating between the two iPad cameras, so I decided I would name them for easier reference. The camera that faces us is the Face Cam – and at this point, students are only allowed to photograph or video themselves, so the name serves a dual purpose.  The camera that faces away from the iPad we named the Doc Cam, as it captures photos like our classroom document camera.

We practiced using both cameras to get the hang of things. We used the Face Cam to record ourselves explaining our iPad rules…

During Writing Workshop. we used our iPads to talk about effective leads, and how authors “hook” us as readers. Students found books with strong beginnings, and using the Doc Cam, they recorded themselves reading the lead and also explaining why it hooked them.  In no time flat, I realized we’re going to need headphones, soon. Yikes!

Later on, during Social Studies, we went on a scavenger hunt of sorts. Students had to use Google Earth to find several locations. We weren’t quite ready for screen shots on this first round, but we will do the same lesson again to better document our travels.

Finding Mullen-Hall wasn’t very easy when Mrs. Brooks wouldn’t allow anyone to type in the name of the school. Hee hee! Once students found it, they were very excited to see just how clear the photo was! I can even pick out my white minivan!

All in all, it was another successful day using the iPads.  We’re still not at the point where they are just an invisible tool, but I anticipate that will happen after everyone has his or her own iPaddling license and we can individualize learning a bit more. 🙂

Licensed to iPaddle!!!

October 9, 2012

Need I say more – they were beyond excited. I literally sat with each student 1:1 to run through the test and talk about importance of our rules and our iPaddling license.  I was so impressed, as each student was able to give me specific details about everything we had been learning.  What great little experts I have!

The journey continues….  HERE

51 thoughts on “iPaddling in the BYOD Classroom

  1. Pingback: iPaddling in the BYOD Classroom » Third Graders, Dreaming Big | iPads in the Classroom Getting Started |

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  3. Mia

    I expect the ipads to help our learing by letting us use our fingers and keeping us on track.Also to not doodle with our pencils and not to hert your hands while you are writing.So far my faviert thing to do on them is Sushi monster.

  4. Dahvid

    I expect ipads to help my learning by like having computers twice. By doing Reading street and doing fun games thet help our learning. my favorite part so far is doing the games like Hang Mouse and Hungry Fish spelling city.

  5. Adam

    the ipad hlep us with ora cursive. it cud hlep us weth math. it cod hlep with ora splling test. it cod hlep us ora books. My favorite thing to do so far is sushi monster.

  6. Cecilia

    Dear Ms Suzy Brooks, I expect the iPads to help me learn by helping me build my comprehension, my fluency and, my voablary. My favorite thing so far is Sushi Monster.

  7. Jermaine

    I expect iPads to help me learn because I can play games to learn. I can listen to stories in the iPad.
    My favorite thing is Stories.

  8. Maksim

    The i pads will help us lern by in creasing oher lerning in reading, writing and math. And we will lern a lot i can t wate for the test to get my lisense for the i pads so i can carry it . my favoret game is sushe monsters and a fish game . I am lerning a lot on the games .

  9. Gabriela

    I think we will do a lot of learning on the ipads. It might help for spelling if we do spelling test. My favorite thing to do on the ipad is sushi monster.

  10. Shelby

    I think the ipads will help this year because I think it will mostly help with our writing because if you spell a word incorectly it will spell it right if you click the space bar and if you spell a name without a capital letter it will do the same thing. My favorite game on the ipad is sushi monster and my favorite app is photo booth. Wish I could say more. Love your most loved student,

  11. Maggie

    The ipads will help us more this year. It will help us with spelling because it has the box on it and it shows you how you do it. It will help you with math because it has games that are for math and will help you.

  12. Milo

    I expect the ipads to speed up answering questions , make learning funner and make us smarter quicker.I think ipads are a good idea because it inspires us to use electronics and take responsiblity for our learning.And make us more creative.My favorite thing so far is sushi monster and hungry fish.I can not wait for me to get my ipaddling licence!I would give it a 10 out of 10 stars.It is an exellent idea.

  13. Jacey

    I think ipads will help us because they are electronics and electronics have lots o helpful Apps like calculater and sushie monstor and EDUCREATION and so forth,but ipads will be helpful.

  14. Abby

    i think that the i pads will help us becuse it is elektronic and with our witing and our math it will be fun working with the i pad. how do you like the ipad? the i pad has useful apps like hugry fish and sushi monster.ABBY

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  21. Mary Lee Newman

    Hi Suzy,

    I saw your EdTechTeacher presentation today and what you shared was just what I needed. I am unpacking a class set of iPads tomorrow (we are also waiting on the cases) and while I am excited, I am also nervous. I have done a lot of reading and thinking about what I want to do, but actually using the iPads with my 30 5th grade students is a daunting prospect. I really liked your approach of starting simply before you explore everything the iPads can do. Much like you, we will start with a lesson on how to use the iPads, next use the iPads in conjunction with lessons we already do, then get into the collaborative creating, where I hope iPads will help our students really excel – and help us get ready for Common Core.

    Are you going to the EdTechTeacher iPad Summit by chance? I’d love to meet you in person and hear your other great ideas.

    1. Suzy Brooks Post author

      Hi Mary! Thank you for taking the time to leave such a great comment – it’s important for teachers to know that starting to use iPads in the classroom feels very real in person. The articles out there make me feel like there are a billion amazing things to do, but how can my students actually get to a point where we can actually DO them? Tricky stuff!

      I am presenting at iPadSummitUSA for EdTechTeacher – I’m very excited! My slot is on Thursday, the 8th at 9:45 :). I look forward to meeting you!!

      Best of luck in your roll out, I’m sure your students will rise to the occasion and you’ll be paddling along at top-speed in no time! Can’t wait to hear about it!

      Take care,

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  27. milo

    hi i cant wait for ipads on tuesdays and thursdays.YEE-HAW

    p.s.sorry for the captilization errors.I’m about to go to school.

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  31. Charlene

    Wow, this is so exciting. I wish we had access to class ipads. I was wondering if it might work for students to bring in ipods and try doing some of the basics with them. So many kids have ipods nowadays, it might be worth exploring.
    I love the license idea!

    Charlene/Diamond Mom

    1. Suzy Brooks Post author

      Hi Charlene, Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! We did some grant writing to receive most of our iPads – worth the work, for sure! Def check with your tech people before you have kids bring in any devices so you are aware of the wireless capabilities in your building. We also spent time developing a User Agreement, which had to be signed by students and parents. It has been a smooth pilot for us, and we feel that the thoughtful planning ahead of time made all the difference. Good luck to you, and I hope your students are paddling, soon!

      Take care,

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  37. Mark gonsalves

    Hi Mrs. Brooks it is mark from 2011-2012 I am always looking on your blog and it looks amazing. And thank you so much for doing ttl with us so much because now my accuracy is 95%. Have you gotten the anoles yet? I loved it when we had them. I still have not got my parents to get me a couple, but I do have a pet salamander though now and maybe I will ask my mom to email you some pictures so you can show your class. So I hope you are having a good year an have a nice day!


  38. Andrea Rice

    Hi Mrs. Brooks,
    I was very excited to read this part of your website today. I am getting ready to teach our students in the library how to be responsible for their writing on any school tool and your licenses tickled me pink! May I borrow them for use with our students?
    Of course, I might change the color!
    Our students have many different options now and the future will be waiting for them to perform. I could not have predicted this type of teaching and learning, but I know it was important for me to learn to type!
    thanks for all that you have done and do to share your learning with kids, like me!

    1. Suzy Brooks Post author

      Hi Andrea,
      Thanks for your note – and absolutely – I’ve posted them for folks to use or to create their own. Have fun learning alongside your students 🙂

      Take care,

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  40. Jean Sullivan

    Wow wee! I love your presentation! My school has not received ipads yet, but there is talk that it is coming soon. I have been researching to find out what it is all about and how to incorporate it into lesson plans. I found your information to be clear, concise, and easy to understand. Thank you so much. It also helps me,as a new teacher in a new profession, to know that other teachers get nervous about the same things that I experience. I am overwhelmed with your willingness to help all of us out here who are looking for guidance. Keep up the outstanding work. You are touching a lot of new teachers. Again, thank you so much.

    1. Suzy Brooks Post author

      Awwwww, Jean – thank you! I appreciate the time you took to write, and your kind words. Helping reluctant teachers is something that means a lot to me. Keep me posted on your progress and have a great summer!
      Dream Big,

  41. Jonathan

    Hi Mrs. Brooks, I am 15 years old. I turned 15 On August 7.
    So how are you doing? The school I want to go to next year is Thomas A. Edison high school. And my mom said if I want to go to that school, she said I have to pass 8th grade. Speaking of 8th grade, I’m going to 8th grade in Mark Twain middle shook on September 2nd. Do you know the song called
    Summer of 69? It is the best song ever. I liked the small guitar solo. One time I was playing Guitar Hero at Dave and busters the song I was playing is rock and roll all nite and I got 100% on easy mode. I was at the after school programs and they have Gutar hero at the school and I was using the Microphone for Singing and I got 100% on easy on eye of the tiger.
    So How Do I pass 8th grade so I can go to Thomas A. Edison high school? Jonathan 🙂

    1. Suzy Brooks Post author

      Hi Jonathan,
      I am just seeing this now – I’m sorry! Our blog gets lots of spam – do you know what that is? It’s like junk mail in your mailbox. I love playing Guitar Hero – but I usually play the drums. I wish I had learned to play the drums when I was younger. I think that with some hard work, good listening and finishing your homework, you will pass 8th grade with flying colors. Don’t give up!!!
      Mrs. Brooks

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