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Resources for Using iPads in Grades K-2

Looking for advice on integrating iPads in K-2 classrooms? In this curated guide, we've compiled resources to help you find apps, learn about best practices, and explore ideas for engaging activities.
Monica Burns
EdTech & Curriculum Consultant, ADE ,
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If you are teaching with one, a few, or a class set of iPads, finding the right apps and project ideas for your students can be a challenging task. We’ve organized some of the best resources from Edutopia and beyond to help you figure out what tools are best for your early elementary school students. Explore different ways to integrate technology into your instruction!

Favorite Apps

  • 7 Apps for Helping Others (Edutopia, 2015)

    Children can practice empathy through apps that encourage collaboration, whether it’s drawing pictures together, cooking for each other, or creating lessons to share their knowledge.

  • Apps for Basic Math Skills (APPitic)

    Appitic is a fantastic resource for educational iPad apps, and they sort different apps by category. Their list of addition apps contains descriptions and screenshots that will help you figure out which one is best for your young mathematicians.

  • Student Apps for Winter Reading (Edutopia, 2015)

    This list of apps focuses on seasonal storybooks. These are great choices for whole group or small group instruction in an early elementary school classroom. Whether you have one or many iPads, this list has something for everyone.

  • Common Core Apps (appoLearning)

    AppoLearning has a new feature that lets teachers search for apps based on the Common Core State Standards they address. Rated by experts, this site lets you find an app to support students as you teach skills related to math and English language arts.

  • 7 Great E-Books for Summer Reading on iPads (Edutopia, 2014)

    To engage young readers over the summer, hand them an iPad loaded with eBooks. Monica Burns reviews seven of the many reading apps available.

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Best Practices

  • Common Core in Action: Manipulating Shapes in the Elementary Math Classroom (Edutopia, 2014)

    In this post you’ll learn how to develop a tech-friendly task that addresses the Common Core State Standards. Read about an iPad app that helps first and second graders create and identify geometric shapes while developing higher-order thinking skills required by the Common Core math standards.

  • Stars, Sparkles, and Praise: Motivation in Kids' Apps? (Edutopia, 2012)

    Teacher and education director Carolina Nugent debunks three assumptions about how educational apps work to promote student engagement. She provides specific ideas that can apply to any app you're using with elementary school students.

  • Apps in the Elementary Classroom (Edutopia, 2012)

    Mary Beth Hertz examines how iPads apps can be used with elementary school students. She discusses the role of educational apps for younger students and provides ideas for how teachers can integrate these apps into their curriculum. Although written in 2012, the big ideas apply to the work you’re doing today and tomorrow.

  • 10 Resources For a Student-Centered 1:1 Program (TeachThought, 2014)

    This article provides an overview of best practices for launching a 1:1 program in your school, as well as links to useful resources for planning, professional development, and apps specific to this type of environment.

  • K-5 iPad Apps According to Bloom's Taxonomy (Edutopia, 2011)

    Higher-order thinking can definitely take place in an iPad classroom. Check out this list from Diane Darrow, an elementary library media specialist. She reviews iPad apps and shows how they connect to an updated version of Bloom's Taxonomy. Some of the apps on this list aren’t the most current on the market, but Diane’s mission to connect higher-order thinking skills with tech tools is a useful model for teachers who regularly need to find and select apps for their classrooms.

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Engaging Activities

  • Learning and Creating with iPads in Kindergarten (Park Tudor School, 2012)

    This delightful video from Park Tudor School in Indianapolis shows off how students in a kindergarten class used iPads to document the life cycle of butterflies. Students took their own illustrations and snapshots and made an iMovie showing what they learned.

  • iTeach With iPads (iTeach With iPads)

    Kindergarten teacher and Apple Distinguished Educator Kristi Meeuwse documents her adventures teaching with iPads in a 1:1 classroom. The activities and student work she shares on her blog will inspire you to try out new projects with your elementary school students. You can watch her Apple Education feature that details some of the ways she has transformed reading in her classroom using iPad and iBooks Author.

  • Easy iPad Projects for Elementary School Students (Karen Bosch, 2013)

    Teachers will gather tons of ideas for engaging activities from this presentation. Karen Bosch is a technology instructor and Apple Distinguished Educator who has shared project ideas for elementary school students that can be used across the content areas.

  • 6 Ready to Go iPad Centers (Mrs. Wideen’s Blog, 2013)

    Apple Distinguished Educator Kristen Wideen shares tons of tech-friendly ideas on her blog. This post discusses iPad centers that you can set up in your classroom right away. As you explore Mrs. Wideen’s site, you’ll find links to iPad stations and numerous ideas for grades K-2 and beyond.

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Have you used iPads with students in grades K-2? Do you have a favorite online resource for gathering ideas? Share your favorite activities, apps, and websites below!

Comments (4)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Karen Lirenman's picture
Karen Lirenman
Grade One/Two Teacher from Vancouver, Canada

As an Apple Distiguished Educator, the 2013 ISTE Kay L Bitter Award Winner for Innovation in a PK-2 Classroom, and a grade one teacher who has been 1:1 with iPads for the past two years my students' "go to" apps are pretty much creative open ended ones. Some popular apps include Draw and Tell, Book Creator, My Story, Skitch, Popplet, Pic Collage, EduCreations, Chatterpix, Explain Everything, and iMovie. I have blogged about how we use iPads for choice. I also shared screen shots of my students iPads with direct links to samples of how they have used those apps. My blog can be found at . I have also begun to create a K-2 iPad resource on my district's website which can be found here. Please feel free to contact me for more information re using iPads in a k-2 classroom. I am @klirenman on twitter.

Ashley Cronin's picture
Ashley Cronin
Digital Resource Curator

Karen, thanks for reaching out and sharing the info about your blog and K-2 iPad resources site. Very helpful!

Kristi Meeuwse's picture
Kristi Meeuwse
Kindergarten Teacher, Charleston SC

Thanks for including my blog in this round up! What an honor! We work diligently in kindergarten to create content and not just consume it. The creation apps we use are very engaging and the kids always produce far more than I ever expect them to. We use Explain Everything, Book Creator, Popplet, Pic Collage, and iMovie the most.

Monica Burns's picture
Monica Burns
EdTech & Curriculum Consultant, ADE ,

Thanks Karen and Kristi for adding your favorite apps and helpful links!

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