Keeping Kids on Track with Technology: A Mini Lesson

I think I've mentioned before, but my class will be going 1:1 with iPads next year!!! I am SO excited to get this technology into my 2nd graders hands!!!

At the beginning of the year, I plan on spending A LOT of time going over procedures and how to's and do's and don't's. Technology like this can be very intimidating (for the teacher!!!)!

I shared a class set of iPod touches last year, and this was one problem I had...

How do I really know what the kids are doing over there with the technology??? They're sitting at their desk with their device... They look engaged... They look like they're doing something productive. They're not disturbing anyone... so it must be okay.

This wasn't always the case (i.e. taking 479 silly pictures of themselves using the camera...productive? Not so much.)

And a (hopefully good) lesson for a solution to the problem...

I'll start off by talking about how we need to be responsible for our actions, how there's only one of me and 24 of them (I'm sorry for all of you out there who have 30+ little ones!!!), and how I can't always be sitting right next to them to help them make smart choices... you know the schpeel. :)

Then I pick up my iPad (and make sure the sound is off), and tell them I have a very important assignment to complete. And I start working. I look really engaged, with that "smart" look on my face. I look really intense, like I'm really working hard.

I ask the kids what they think I'm doing.

They always say working on my project.

So I keep working intently.

Finally, I show them what I've actually been doing...

I turn my screen around and what do they see...

There are always loud "HEY!!!!"s and "What!?!?!?" and "Mrs. Patterson!!!!!!!!!"

Then I ask them my three iPad questions (this will come in handy later when they ask me, "Can I do x app???")

Am I learning?
Am I being productive?
Am I disturbing anyone around me or making anyone uncomfortable?
(This one emerged from the kiddo's fascination with taking pictures of their friends. Which is fine in some cases, but not always. We talk about how sometimes people don't want their picture taken, so it's always important to ask someone before taking their picture "Excuse me, may I please take your picture?")

The answers SHOULD be yes, yes, and no. For this particular lesson, the answers are no, no, and no.

We have a talk about being responsible, and making smart choices (one of our iPad rules), even when no one is looking. (I LOVE this poster from technology rocks. seriously)

Then I show them how we can check which apps they've been using. By pressing the home screen two times, quickly, it will pull up a row of open apps, in the order in which they've been used.

Graphics by Corazon Dulce


Now, of course I won't have Angry Birds installed on the student iPads, but this can help when we know it's math time and instead kiddos are doing Google searches with their friends' names. (Yes, it really happened....) I'll be able to tell they were not on their math app, but instead on Google, and ask them about this.

I have a poster with my three questions for them to refer to. Kids will often time come ask me, "I'm done with my work, can I do x app?" I always refer them to the three questions. If the answers are yes, yes, no, then they can do it. This prevents them from coming and asking me every single time and interrupting a group.

You can grab the poster by clicking the picture below. :-)

I hope this whole little lesson will help my kiddos be more responsible and make smart choices when using their iPads!

I can't get into my classroom until next week, so I think I'll do something fun today.... beach??? It's been unbearably hot this last week! See: 

(The poor dogs just sit in front of the fan all day & night...) 

I hope you are staying cool and having fun, and for those of you that are back at school, wishing you luck and a great start to a great school year!!!


  1. Although I am still way too jealous about this whole ipad thing to really even be talking to you! ;P ... this is a great post. I love your 3 questions. I will be implementing it with my old school computers.

  2. I wish we had ipads! We don't even have enough computers at our school! Your plan to go over the procedures is great! Well thought out, and I think it will be really effective too! Have fun with those iPads!!

    Primarily Speaking

  3. So jealous of all the iPads! How awesome for you and your kiddos. I love your fake out lesson...too cute! It reminds me of the fake reading lesson I do every year. They are totally fake learning. Ha! Although, I might be able to argue some education benefits for Angry Birds. Hehe! :) As always, loving the corgi shots!

    The Teaching Thief
    Fiction Friday: A Celebration of Children’s Literature

  4. This is fantastic. You have a beautiful site. Nice work!