This was the thank you letter that Ms. Riplinger sent to all of the donors of our wonderful gift of iPad mini tablets:
"Thank you to each and everyone of you who helped support my students and classroom with your generous donations. My students were extremely excited to hear that we were receiving iPad Mini Tablets to use in our classroom. They all screamed and cheered the moment that I told them! These first grade students asked everyday, thereafter, when we were receiving the new tablets, and every time someone walked into our classroom, they thought they were delivering our package of new tablets! Once they were delivered, they couldn't wait to use them, and they ask with each and every activity if iPads are going to be used. I know ,through their words and actions, that these students are extremely grateful.
Through these new resources, my students have been able to expand on their learning. I have used these iPad Mini Tablets within all different subject areas and activities, and it has allowed me to differentiate their lessons. These iPads have been used to help with small group instruction, allowing students to practice learning their letter names and sounds, sight words, or even their math facts (addition and subtraction). I have downloaded many learning apps to meet their various needs. The students have also used these iPad Minis for independent reading time or free time, through the use of EPIC Kids, a children's book app. This app is similar to Netflix, where it allows the students to choose the book, genre, or level that they are interested in. These students absolutely love to read independently this year, but this app also has the ability to read stories to students who need it. It also allows for my ELL students to listen to someone read a book fluently to them. During my "Holidays Around the World" unit in December, the students used the iPad Mini Tablets during our reading intervention block. In Small Groups, the students learned about the different holidays and cultures around the world. They were very, very interested in these activities, and the use of technology made it even easier for them to learn. The students used the QR Code app on the tablets to scan the code on the activities. This led them to either a YouTube video or web article that taught them about a specific part of the culture of holiday. They then wrote down what they learned in their travel journal. These activities worked on reading, writing, deeper level thinking, Social Studies, and technology skills. We have also used the iPad Mini tablets to perform research in first grade! Yes, these first graders absolutely love to work on research projects this year, and these tablets have allowed them to do so. In February, our students learned about the presidents of our country, as well as many of the important figures and leaders within Black History Month. The students were given the opportunity to choose the person that they wanted to learn more about. They created their own questions that they wanted to find out answers to, they read website articles using the kid-friendly search engine "Kid Rex", and they watched kid-friendly You Tube videos about their person. The students were also able to read books, from our classroom library, about their person. As these students found out information, they wrote it down on a primary level graphic organizer. To finalize their report, the students used Microsoft Word to type up their sentences or print out a picture of the person. They organized all of this information onto a poster. They all did a wonderful job! Through research, they worked on technology skills, research skills, language arts and questioning skills, reading skills, and teamwork skills. I plan on having them do a few more research projects this year, on topics, such as: the moon, Dr. Seuss, and the life cycle.
Receiving the iPad Mini Tablets through this Donor's Choose project has allowed me to better meet the needs of my students, introduce them to research, broaden their technology skills, and motivate them to read more and better their teamwork skills. It has also allowed me to inspire their life long curiosity and will to learn. The activities that I have done with my students this year have allowed me to see what motivates first graders and how critically these young students can learn and think. Their ability to work together has blossomed, the quality of their writing has improved, and every single one of my students has soared in their reading levels. They are curious little learners and I am very proud of them. I am extremely grateful for your help and support of my hard-working students.
See Ms. Riplinger's Donor's Choose page at:
This year, the students have had the opportunity to do many hands on research projects. They absolutely love this! The first research project was in the fall and was about "Animal Groups". The students got to choose which animal family they wanted to research and learn more about. This gave them the opportunity to decide what they wanted to learn, and have the chance to find out many interesting pieces of information. In December, the students had the chance to choose a country or holiday that they wanted to research and learn more about. Each student had a travel journal that they could write down the facts that they learned, read stories about that country or holiday, and use QR codes (a form of technology) to watch videos on their topic. Recently, the students were given the opportunity to work in partners or small groups and choose an important person to learn about, as part of "Black History Month". This is a topic that the students are really interested in, and we have continued this topic throughout the months of January and February. They could choose from Martin Luther King, Jr., Jackie Robinson, Rosa Parks, Ruby Bridges, George Washington Carver, or Barack Obama.
Within all of these research projects, students were able to use many forms of hands on learning and technology. They utilized Youtube and a Kid-Friendly search engine, "Kid Rex", on the desktop computers, and they were able to also use our new iPad mini tablets to perform their research. All of the research was facilitated and supervised by Ms. Riplinger. When they were done finding out all of their facts, the students were able to create posters on their topic. For the posters that they just created for Black History Month, the students were also able to learn how to type through Microsoft Word. They printed out their sentences and pictures that they wanted to include in their posters! The finished products are outstanding! They all did a fantastic job!
Room 117 uses a lot of technology during the school day! We use different types of technology during our reading groups, with learning sight words, and with learning our math facts.
We also love to play games, do research reports, and work in small groups and with partners! First grade is fun!
Ms. Riplinger, a second grade teacher in the Chicago-land area.