Setting Up iPads in Our Classroom

I am in LOVE with Donor's Choose and have been able to receive some ah-ma-zing things for our classroom through their wonderful grants! Through several projects, they have provided me with a meeting area rug, an easel and stool, fraction manipulatives, and... the best one of all.... 4 iPads!

These gems arrived recently and I have been dying to get them into the kids' hands, but with a TON of discussion first. I really do have a sweet and lovely bunch of kids, so I wasn't worried about intentional harm, but more about the forgetfulness, leaving them around to accidentally get stepped on, and those awful things.

I started by organizing each iPad into its own drawer. I got these side-by-side drawers from Joann's for WAY cheaper than full price:

I used the same round stickers that I use for my computer organization to help keep these iPads unified:

The photo didn't turn out great, but I put a sticker on the charger (that's plugged in behind the drawer) so that kids can charge the iPad after each use. I also asked for Otterbox cases since those babies are tough! (As in, I broke pretty much every nail trying to get them on, kind of tough!). I use cleap-o headphones and those stay with the iPads. For now, I don't have them organized nice and neatly, but I will definitely be doing that soon! The color of the drawer matches the color sticker on the iPad case and the iPad charger, as well as the iPad pass they will receive when they will use them in class.

I talked with kids all about how fortunate we were to have these iPads and then I had them come up with some rules and responsibilities that we need to have as a class to keep them nice all year long. Here are just a few of their ideas:

They were all super-creative and, truthfully, encompassed WAY more ideas than I would have thought of on my own, so I am very glad we started with this step. I had them leave them on their tables and then walk around to read everyone else's and we compiled a step-by-step guide to hang in the room on large chart paper:

I demonstrated what it means when all of the apps are "shaking" and how you can accidentally delete one-- I wanted to stress the importance of telling me if they make a mistake of any kind so I can try to fix it as soon as possible.

I put the few apps we will be using on the first screen (Spelling City, ScootPad, AR, Brain Pop, etc.-- I'll share more in a later post) and everything else on the second screen. The second screen has all of Apple's default apps in a folder I named "Do Not Open" and there's also a "Settings" folder with the App Store and Settings so I can find it easily.

Today, I began by pulling small groups of four kids to the drawers where I walked them through the steps of getting out, using, and putting away an iPad and then they did one activity on Spelling City, which is the main app they will be using during Word Work time, for now. (More on how much I am loving Spelling City in a later post, too!)

I will eventually let them use an iPad pass when it's their time to use them during Daily 5 and, eventually, Math Centers. You can download a free copy of 5 colors (blue, orange, yellow, red, and green) HERE on Google Docs:

This is such a fun time for my kids (and me!) and I'm so thankful to both Donor's Choose and all of the amazing and wonderful Donors who helped make this possible!!

Do you use iPads in class? What are some of your favorite apps for Word Work or Math?


  1. Thank you for this great post! We just got an ipad for our classroom on Monday. I've been spending some time getting to know the many apps already installed on it. I'd love to hear more about how you are using your ipad in your classroom!

    1. You bet! We are just trying them out one app at a time until I get a hang of it, but I will definitely post some of my favorites soon, both as a teacher and for my students. Thanks so much for stopping by :)

  2. So excited for you Stephanie! We have 5 iPads in our room and we love them. We have had some unfortunate encounters with shaking icons and dropped iPads, though...and we do not have Otter Boxes :(

    I would definitely check out Show Me, the Little Monkey Apps (for math),and Story Buddy. For management, I would check out Pick Stix (for calling on students), Running Records Calculator, and Too Noisy [these are all FREE]!

    Also, I would look into purchasing an Apple connector cord (~30). It allows you to connect your Ipad to a TV or SMART board. This makes introducing a new app or sharing student work a breeze!

    Wow! I am so excited for you and cannot wait to see how you use them. :)

    The Brown-Bag Teacher

    1. Wow, thanks for so many great recommendations, Catherine!! I have seen the Running Record Calculator and need to actually install it to use with my kids. That connector cord also sounds ideal!! Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing those great ideas :)

  3. Your kids must be so excited! I have heard such amazing things about Donor's Choose. I will be on spring break very soon and intend on checking out their website and getting on board! So happy for you and your third graders!
    Ms. Marciniak's First Grade Critter Cafe

  4. So exciting. I love Donor's Choose! Love your ipad rules.

  5. Donor's Choose is such a blessing. Your students are so lucky to have ipads. I wish we had wifi at our school.

  6. Great information! I'm featuring this post on Bagels and Blogs tomorrow. :)

    Math Coach’s Corner

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  8. I really like your blog. Keep up the good work.


  9. I really like your blog. Keep up the good work.


  10. Great blog && post! You have convinced me to try and get four ipads & otterboxes to go with them for my classroom too! Which store did you get them from? I am having a hard time because it says there is a quantity limit. Feel free to email me too!

    Thank You, Kim

  11. HI there Stephanie- I am trying to write a Grant for getting 27 ipads in my you have any MUST HAVE APPS that you can recommend??


Thank you so much for your comments! :)

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