5 Apps I am Using to ‘Tweak’ My Lessons

Ann has been teaching special education for 8 years and is currently working at a middle school in Buffalo, MO. Her passion is working with iPads and learning to implement the technology to put her students on a level playing field.

Now that that the kids are positive I have lost my mind, I wanted to share with you some of the ways I am starting to ‘tweak’ my lessons. When I started, it was a little at a time, not a whole unit, not a whole week, just one lesson. Something unexpected happened. I found some more ways to tweak the lesson. The students started asking if they could tweak the lesson. Teachers began to say they could take that assignment for an assignment in their class. What an amazing classroom we have from just one tweak.

1. Corkulous (Free & Pro)

This is one of my kids’ favorite apps and can be used for any type of lesson. The picture below is an example of a student who has significant difficulties with writing. His learning target was to show a seeing tour of the Kansas City Zoo. I could have changed and spruced this up, but I wanted to show you his work. He separated the animals in the different areas that he had studied on the map and he was fully able to explain his thinking, how to get around and what he had picked. Since he was able to teach his board, he met the bullseye of his learning target.

Corkulous

This is the perfect app for students to be able to explain concepts without a two-page report. We have used it this year for our timelines on Greece, mythical Greek Gods, and projects on St. Louis.

2. See, Touch, Learn (Free & Pro)

This app has so much potential from pre-kindergarten to high school. They are adding a site edition in the near future. Traditionally thought of as a picture card system, this app has moved on to so much more. The below picture shows a way to have a non reading student access 6th grade curriculum on Greece. This would also be a great way for a non verbal student to show what he knows.
See, Touch, Learn Picture 1
The next picture is one that can be made in mere minutes by students as a quick exit ticket, summative assessment or way for students to test each other.
See, Touch, Learn Picture 2
This app can be used for visual schedules, teaching simple routines all the way to complex math equations.

3. Keynote

I did not think my students could create a Keynote. I was definitely wrong and this has become the app of choice on presentations that students have researched. They love to set up the iPad in order to show what they have created. We have used this app on research about Greece, answering questions from Reading A-Z book pairs and compare and contrast projects.
Keynote
Students have learned very quickly how to add animation, arrows and pictures. I use it to put together teaching presentations on the iPad, and other educational trainings. The presentations will export to many different programs, making it very versatile to add into other projects. They have recently added new features such as to use the iPad as a remote.

4. Notability

I love this app as well as do my students. I have tried every note taking app out there, and I keep coming back to this one. Being left handed, this app seems to work the best for me. My students like it because of the ease of typing and drawing. I use it to take notes of my special education observations, write my app reviews for teacherswithapps and keep various pictures and notes.
Notability
You can make folders and they are color coded for easy separation of tasks. The students can separate their subjects or we can assign each student a color if they are sharing an iPad. Students loved using this app also when they were interviewing a family member and had to keep track and type the information.

5. iMovie

And last but not least is iMovie. Students have created movie trailers each year about projects we have worked on. Students that take the alternative assessment have used the trailer feature to create movies about a planet, showing mastery in science on the learning target of identifying planets. I have used it to show teachers how to highlight work, and to be able to track progress throughout the year.

Technology is changing by the minute and in just the past few months we are being exposed to apps and programs that did not exist. If we are being this creative now, who can imagine what students will create next?

Remember any project can use technology, but above all technology will not run a good lesson. There are many times this year, we have used the iPads for research and then created construction paper projects and flip books to meet the learning target. Tweak means just that, to change the project just a bit to make it even better, and believe me my class is just that much better.