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How do I outsmart my kids on the iPad?

Just before Christmas break, I was blessed with 5 iPads to use in my classroom.  I'm not sure who was more excited, me or the kids.  I am constantly amazed how naturally technology comes to the kids.  I set up an app I wanted them to work on after they finished their math assignment.  They worked on the app as I had planned for about 2 rounds.  Then, they quickly figured out how to change the settings so they didn't have to think.  All of the solutions were the same answer so it became a typing race.  So, I had to get smarter.  This is one of those times that made me really glad I had an intern who knew this neat little trick.


Here's a screen shot of the app, Math Duel, I had the kids working on.  As you can see, the settings button is easily accessible to the kids.  




Here is how to outsmart your kids.  This works on any app on the iPad.
1.  Go into settings.  Click on "General".
2.  Click on "Guided Access" and turn it on.



3.  You will see this screen. Set a four digit password.


4.  Open Math Duel.  Hit the "home" button at the bottom of the iPad three times quickly.  This will shrink the screen you are working on and give you three buttons at the bottom of the screen.  Using your finger, circle the "settings" button for each player.  Make sure that you get the whole area.  You can can stretch and move the circle once you draw it.  This will prevent the students from being able to use this button.  Once you are ready to move on,  touch the  word "resume" at the top of your screen.  

The kids cannot change the settings of this app without the password.  They also cannot leave the app.  Their only choice is to play the app as you have set it up.  To leave the app, hit the "home" button three times and enter the password.  




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Writing Intervention

I don't know why writing is so hard.  It's hard to teach.  It's even harder to learn.  My kiddos HATE to write.  Just saying the words, "We are going to write...."  brings moans, groans, and tears.  Lots of tears.  Until now.  What?!  Yes, you heard me correctly.  I have finally found a writing system that works for my kids.  No more tears in my room.  It is super simple and can be used with any curriculum, program, etc.

I created this little gem for my kiddos.  It contains step-by-step directions for the teacher with a daily plan.  I have outlined how to use this process to write one paragraph a week.  Steps include brainstorming, writing, editing, and revising.  I have also included rubrics for students to self-check their work after revision.  

After this process is taught to the class, this would make a perfect no prep workstation for your classroom.  Each day, the students would do one part of the writing process.  By the end of the week, each student would have a piece of writing ready to publish.  How cool would it be to see each student's progress in writing as the year goes on!

For your high flyers or older students, I also created an additional graphic organizer to help students master multi-paragraph writing on the same topic.  (Directions for the teacher are also included.)  

I've only been using this approach to writing for the first semester and have seen tremendous growth in my students' writings.

I hope you can use it and see the same improvements in your kiddos.


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