In Our Schools

Kindergarteners enjoy learning with iPads

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By Beth A. Birmingham | Apr 17, 2014
Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham Kristi Todd works with Lukas Camber during her kindergarteners' educational experience with iPads. Todd runs a pilot program at Union Elementary School.

Union — Kindergarteners at Union Elementary School are enjoying their young educational adventures with the aid of iPads.

Teacher Kristi Todd uses a combination of iPads, projectors, books and videos to align all her learning activities to the Common Core State Standard.

"She embraces change and takes learning to a whole new level," said Principal Christina Wotton about Todd's pilot program.

The iPads were purchased a couple years ago by the Regional School Unit 40 technology department, and originally were dispersed in several classrooms around the district.

"It seemed like there was no way of keeping quality data," said Wotton, so Linda Trenholm, director of technology, worked with administration to find a good candidate for one-on-one instruction. That's when Todd and Tami Casas, second-grade teacher at Prescott Memorial School in Washington, were chosen to conduct the pilot program.

The program began in February, and within a week of receiving the iPads Todd had personalized them with a photo of each student and customized each one with the child's unique instructional needs.

Based on assessments, each student has his or her own list of challenging words. They practice those words in many different ways — writing on a dry-erase board, using an app that says the word aloud and the child uses letter tiles to make the word, as well as doing word work (i.e. changing cat to mat).

While the students work in these various "corners," Todd pulls students into small groups to work on other specific skills. Ashley MacDougall, a senior at Medomak Valley High School in Waldoboro, also assists Todd with extra individual attention to the students. MacDougall plans on attending either the University of Maine at Augusta or Thomas College to major in early childhood education or special education.

Other technology allows books to be projected onto a screen at the front of the classroom, where students can show how they learn about a particular word in a book. Students have learned how to use a glossary and the table of contents to figure out the meaning of challenging words and where to locate a particular subject within a book.

Eleven of the 14 students have some form of computer at home.

"The iPads help us learn," said student Jennifer Lind. "And there are some fun games on there that don't help us learn," said classmate Tasker Holmes.

This is Todd's second year at UES. She taught for 12 years at Miller Grade School in Waldoboro.

"This is just the tip of the iceberg to what Mrs. Todd is planning to do," according to Wotton's school newsletter.

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Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at bbirmingham@courierpublicationsllc.com.

iPads in Kindergarten
Student Ellora Hunt points out a difficult word she spotted while learning about guinea pigs. The kindergarten class was tasked with finding a tricky word and using the glossary to discover what it meant. Teacher Kristi Todd uses all sorts of technology to heighten learning in her classroom at Union Elementary School. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Ellora Hunt and Joshua Blake Jr. use the table of contents in a book to find which page a particular word is on. Both traditional and technological learning is being used in their kindergarten class at Union Elementary School. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Following along in a traditional book, Union Elementary School kindergartener Autumn Perreault views her teacher's instructional reading on the iPad. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Nathaniel Wooden listens as teaching assistant Ashley MacDougall helps him pronounce a challenging word. They are part of a pilot program at Union Elementary School — combining traditional and technological learning tools. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Mixing traditional learning with technology (iPads), Cameron Jensen and Owen Wales enjoy their choice of learning in Kristi Todd's kindergarten class at UES. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Tasker Holmes prepares to scan a QR code with his iPad that will begin his next instructional video in Kristi Todd's kindergarten class at Union Elementary School. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Traditional instruction combines with technology in this kindergarten class at Union Elementary School. Ashley MacDougall, a teacher assistant from Medomak Valley High School, helps Karis Burns learn about the solar system. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Union Elementary School kindergartener Melanie Murray works on her challenge words using an iPad. Her class is part of a pilot program using technology and traditional learning to elevate their learning experiences. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Comments (1)
Posted by: Helen Plourd | Apr 17, 2014 10:57

Congratulations! This is exactually how this modern technology should be used. A mixture between traditional learning and technology. Educators should not nix the traditional way of educating our students. No more then we should always have the delivery geared to one type of learner. Helen D. Plourd, retired educator.



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Staff Profile

Beth Birmingham
Staff Reporter
594-4401 ext. 125
Email Me

Beth rejoined Courier Publications' news staff in February 2013. She previously worked at The Courier-Gazette from 1981 to 1990.

Her coverage area includes Warren, Union, Friendship, Waldoboro, Washington, and Thomaston and RSU40.

Beth has a passion for photography, and a degree from the University of Maine at Augusta, in affiliation with the Maine Photographic Workshop in Rockport.

Aside from photography, Beth enjoys running and walks along the waterfront, as well as other outdoor activities. She has a daughter, Claire, who is 13.

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