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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Resources for Using iPads in Grades 3-5

Looking for advice on integrating iPads in grades 3-5? 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 , ClassTechTips.com
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Teachers across the country are using technology, including iPads, in their classrooms. But, when it comes to finding the best resources for students, it can be hard to sort through the large volume of apps in the Apple app store and numerous teacher blogs sharing best practices. To help you find what you need, we’ve compiled blog posts on Edutopia and resources from websites that feature great ideas for using iPads with third, fourth, and fifth grade students. You are sure to find some new apps, actionable ideas, and inspiration from these resources!

Favorite Apps

  • Coding for Kids Revisited (Edutopia, 2014)

    Digital learning specialists Anna Adam and Helen Mowers provide a quick overview of six apps that are appropriate for teaching younger children one of the most critical 21st-century skills: coding. This article will help you find the best apps for your student population and includes resources that are updated for 2014. For additional resources on coding, read their earlier post, "7 Apps for Teaching Children Coding Skills."

  • Common Core in Action: Using Digital Storytelling Tools in the ELA Classroom (Edutopia, 2014)

    Digital storytelling has cross-curricular connections and is especially powerful in the English language arts classroom. Learn about a storytelling app that helps students use technology to produce and publish writing, collaborate with others, and hit the College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Writing. This article includes ideas that you can take back to your classroom and connect to different units of study.

  • Author Commentary That’s Simply App Smashing (Edutopia, 2014)

    Ross Cooper, a fourth grade teacher with a creative approach to literature study, gets his students into the authors' heads by having them imagine an interview and then construct it via app smashing. App smashing combines multiple apps to create a dynamic final product. This post includes strategies that move your students from content consumers to content creators.

  • Creativity on the Run: 18 Apps that Support the Creative Process (Edutopia, 2013)

    Learn how iPads can promote creativity in your classroom from teacher and Apple Distinguished Educator Diane Darrow. She shares favorite iPad apps that will help students demonstrate their creativity across the content areas.

  • 6 Free iPad Apps for Making Healthy Choices (Edutopia, 2013)

    This list of free iPad apps will help educators integrate technology into discussions on eating healthy. Elementary school teachers can demonstrate how to pick the right foods and help students think about their choices.

  • Top 5 iPad Apps for Teaching Across All Content Areas (Edutopia, 2013)

    In this post, Andrew Marcinek gives an overview of five iPad apps that can be used with students in multiple subject areas. These apps are great for helping elementary school students create their own presentations or collaborate with classmates.

  • The 55 Best Free Education Apps for iPad (TeachThought, 2013)

    This long list of iPad apps will give teachers plenty of ideas to try out in their classrooms. From free English language arts to math apps, this list has something for everyone.

  • Graphite

    Another great resource for finding apps for your classroom is Graphite. This powerful search and curation platform features numerous apps and actionable ideas for teachers. In addition to information on different iPad tools, it includes Lesson Flows to help teachers gather ideas for implementing technology effectively in their classrooms.

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Best Practices

  • Classroom Behavior? There's an App for That (Edutopia, 2013)

    When it comes to managing a class of students, there are some fantastic resources that can make your life as a teacher a bit easier. In this post, fifth-grade teacher Lisa Mims discusses ClassDojo and how it can be used to monitor behavior and reward students.

  • iPads in the Classroom (Kathy Schrock's Guide to Everything)

    This fantastic site is full of information for teachers using technology in their classrooms. The section on iPads includes favorite apps, evaluation guides, and resources to help teachers consider iPad apps through the lens of Bloom’s Taxonomy.

  • Teach with Your iPhone: Apps to Use in the Classroom (Edutopia, 2013)

    There are tons of wonderful iPad apps that are also available on iPhones. If you don’t have a class set of iPads or are looking for something more portable, check out these iPhone-friendly teaching tools.

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Engaging Activities

  • Class Tech Tips (Monica Burns)

    Covering mostly free and mostly iPad apps, Class Tech Tips is a great resource of lesson ideas that can be used in a classroom with access to one, a few, or a class set of iPads. With new posts five days a week, you are sure to find some apps that fit into your curriculum.

  • Grade 3 Social Studies iPad Learning Stations (Karla Holt, 2013)

    The knowledge-sharing website SlideShare is a great resource for presentations; this slide deck gives teachers ideas for how to use iPads with their elementary school students in small groups or whole-group settings. Karla has another great presentation from 2015 that covers even more great apps and ideas focused on the language arts classroom.

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Have you used iPads with students in grades 3-5? Do you have a favorite online resource for gathering ideas? Share your favorite activities, apps, and websites below!

Comments (2) Sign in or register to comment Subscribe to comments via RSS

Elana Leoni's picture
Elana Leoni
Director of Social Media Strategy and Marketing @Edutopia, edcamp organizer

Just came across this list of good elementary apps to use in the classroom and they are all FREE: http://mattbgomez.com/great-apps-for-elementary-2/.

Here's the list if you don't want to click over to the blog:

Brainpop Apps
AR Flashcards: Animal Alphabet
ABC Magic Apps
Venn Diagram
Daisy the Dino
Hopscotch App
ABCMouse Apps
Haiku Deck
My Script Calculator
Class Dojo
Pic Collage
Adobe Voice

Susan Chen's picture

My school has purchased one classroom set of iPads a year ago. We are all eager to make the most use of this investment to further develop our students' skill with technology. It is not enough to have an assortment of apps available for the students to access. This article is helpful in reminding us that we need to choose carefully the apps. We need to consider how and when to best implement the use of technology in the classroom. I will be sharing this article with my school.


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