iPads in the Classroom

At Jenison we are so fortunate to have the ability to have every child in the classroom using an iPad for some of our lessons. Using iPads is very motivating and engaging for students, but their most important use is as a tool to enhance learning. Here is one (out of many) ways that we are incorporating them into our lessons.

In Science in third grade we are studying about freshwater–why it is important and why it is so scarce. Each student was given a nonfiction article about freshwater to read. When students read, we want them to think. We want them to ask questions. We want them to wonder. We used the iPads to help us share our wonderings with the class.

Each student was given an iPad and used a QR code to quickly get to the website that we were going to use.


The QR Code took us to a website called TodaysMeet. It is a chatroom set up ahead of time. We then read the first paragraph of the article. We stopped and asked, “After reading the first paragraph, what do we wonder?” We typed our questions into the iPad and the questions showed up on the screen.

We then did the same thing together with the next paragraph.

After practicing with two paragraphs together as a class, the students worked with a partner to continue reading the article and typing their questions about the article in the chatroom.





It’s a very effective way to share our thinking with the rest of the class. We ended up with a list of great questions about what we were learning about, all up on the screen ready for us to answer!



We then looked at our questions and divided them into “thin” questions (questions that are easy to answer) and “thick” questions (questions that have more than one answer or take some discussion or thought to come up with an answer). We went through the thin questions first to answer them.

Some questions we could easily find the answer to in the text:

What does irrigate mean?

Some questions we could answer from our background knowledge:

Why do farmers need freshwater for their crops?

We then looked at our thick questions to answer them. Those were more difficult to answer, as the answer could be in more than one place. We might have to combine information from the text, our background knowledge, and maybe another text to find the answer. It might be a question that has more than one answer and we might disagree.

Why is freshwater so important?

How can we save freshwater?

Why do we use too much water?

Why is there so little freshwater in the world?

We wrapped up the lesson reviewing what we learned after discussing all those questions. We will definitely be visiting Today’s Meet again in class to share our thinking about what we are learning!

Third Graders Sharing Multiplication Strategies with Second Graders

One of the most important math skills that third graders learn is multiplication. Third graders have been working hard–first on understanding the concept of multiplication and strategies to figure out the facts, and then on memorizing their facts.

Second graders will be working on multiplication later this year. As everyone knows, one of the best ways to truly understand something is to teach it to someone else. So, as a way for third graders to continue to deepen their understanding of multiplication and for second graders to get a preview of a skill they will soon be working on, we brought both grades together. They did a great job! Here are some pictures of what went on.

First, third graders made posters illustrating the different multiplication strategies they’ve learned.




After practicing with partners how to explain the strategies, the third graders headed down to the second graders’ classroom armed with their posters and dry erase boards and markers. They did a great job explaining the strategies, showing some examples, and then handing the markers over to the second graders so they could try some problems. The second graders did a fantastic job of being attentive listeners, asking good questions, and working hard to solve the problems.

They were so involved in what they were doing they hardly noticed the teachers listening in and taking pictures.




Second and third graders did a wonderful job working and learning together!

1st graders read great books during Holiday Break!

Welcome back everyone! I think it is safe to say we all enjoyed our extended break (teachers too!). I enjoyed getting the opportunity to read in my pj’s and drink hot cocoa. My students enjoyed reading over the break, as well. Here are some of the books they read!

“My book was called Jingle Bells. The characters drank hot cocoa. Hot cocoa is the best!” – Ashlyn G.    Perfect for a winter’s day!

” I liked Junie B. Jones and the Monkey Brain because Junie B. is funny. I like how she is nice to her parents. I like her mom and dad because they are nice too. I think you should read is because it is a really good book.” – Addison H.   I Love Junie B.!

“I read Lego Star Wars. It is awesome because the two ships crash!” – Camden M.

“The book is called Zero the Hero. The other numbers say they go can go right through the number zero. So the other numbers said Zero is not important.” – Brody H.                  You’ll have to read that one to find out more!

“Magic Tree House #7, Sunset of the Saber-tooth is awesome because it as a real sabor-tooth in it. Jack and Annie go back a long time. they travel in a magic tree house. They have to find a “M” thing for Morgan. She is in a spell. They can’t go home unless they find the “M” thing.” – Lainie M.       Check that one out at the library to find out how the story ends!

“I like Dragon Breath Curse of the Real Wiener because is has alive food. Some one gets bit by a hot dog. It’s a little funny. There’s a bunch of rats feeding a potato salad. The potato salad is the king of the rats. I think someone made up a dream.” – Joey M.    Wow! That one seems goofy!

What books did you read over break? Would you suggest for others to read it too? Tell us what the book is, a quick summary, and why you think we should read it!

Mrs. Smith