Mobile Learning

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.

April 23, 2014         Updated February 29, 2016
A bird eye's view of a young boy sitting at his classroom desk with blue headphones on, playing a game on a blue tablet.
Photo credit: Amanda Golden via flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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.

  • Social-Emotional Apps for Special Ed (Edutopia, 2015)

    On this list you’ll find nine apps to help special ed students build emotional literacy. It includes apps and activities to teach self-regulation, and focus on problem solving and task planning.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Participate Learning

    The teacher-reviewed database of apps from Participate Learning includes resources for K-2 teachers. Users can search based on Common Core Standards or browse the collections of favorite apps created by other educators.

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.

  • 10 Tips for Smarter iPad Use in the Classroom (TeachThought, 2015)

    This article provides insight into thinking about the iPad as a learning tool, not just a device to play games. It includes best practices for integrating iPads into everyday instruction.

Engaging Activities

  • Lessons for the Outdoor Classroom (Cheryl Steighner, 2014)

    This iTunes U course for teachers includes lesson ideas for taking students outdoors with their device. It was created by Apple Distinguished Educator Cheryl Steighner and includes apps and activities for students.

  • 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.

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!

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