Mobile Learning

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.

A girl is sitting at a desk looking at a tablet. We only see the back of her head. On the tablet screen is a color palette and a drawing of a brown and red farm.
Photo credit: Brad Flickinger via flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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.

  • 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.

  • Graphite (Common Sense Education)

    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.

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.

  • Creativity With iPads (Kathy Schrock's Guide to Everything)

    Kathy Schrock’s fantastic site is full of information for teachers using technology in their classrooms. The section on "Creativity with iPads" includes favorite apps, lessons, and resources for teachers.

  • 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.

Engaging Activities

  • Introduction to Coding -- Scratch Jr (Apple Distinguished Educators)

    This iTunes U course will help teachers understand how to bring coding to their classroom. It includes a variety of apps and exercises, as well as connections to mathematical concepts.

  • 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.

  • iPads in the Elementary LA Classroom (Karla Holt, 2015)

    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 the language arts classroom.

  • Lesson Plans From Graphite (Common Sense Education)

    Graphite has engaging, teacher-created lesson plans for students. These resources range in grade level and include great content and inspiration for Grade 3-5 teachers.

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!