Two of my favorite apps for classroom use are Pic Collage (we use the Pic Kids version) and Seesaw. They are both free and very easy for younger students to use.
These apps make integrating technology into existing lessons and curriculum super simple and they are great motivators for students because the kids love using the iPads! Win-win!
What I like about these 2 apps is you can combine hands-on learning with technology so the students can still get fine motor skills practice.
I love using play dough / center mats to help young students develop number sense. They are multi-sensory and help students visualize the number.
The only drawback of using these mats at centers is you oftentimes don’t have a record of what students have practiced. The mats are laminated so students use the play dough or manipulatives to show the number but then remove or dump them off when finished. This is where technology comes in very handy.
Students complete the mats using play dough or other fall manipulatives.
When finished, students take a photo of their completed mats in either Pic Collage (Pic Kids) or Seesaw – both apps have photo tools.
If students were able to fit all of their completed number mats in one photo, they can save the photo for you to see/assess later OR if they need to take more than one photo to show their work, they can make a collage of their photos in Pic Collage.
Students can also use the Drawing tool in either Pic Collage or Seesaw to trace and practice writing the numbers from the mats.
Students can also use the Recording and Pointer tools in Seesaw to record themselves pointing to and counting the manipulatives on their mats and then saying and pointing to the number much like they would do if working directly with you. I LOVE this feature in Seesaw!! (When students are using the Recording feature make sure they are in a quiet area of the classroom.)
Differentiated Practice Pages
Since my students range in ability level, I created differentiated counting practice pages. I use them with the technology to encourage and motivate reluctant learners (kids LOVE using technology) and to save on ink and paper when using the full-color version of the pages.
Since I need the pages to be in JPEG (picture format) for the apps, I first have to create picture files of the pages from my PDF file. I have used 2 simple methods.
Method 1: Print one copy of each page. Tape the pages to the wall and take a “straight on” picture using the iPad. Save the photo to the Camera Roll.
Here is how I use each counting practice page in the apps.
The first set of differentiated counting pages is for students who still need practice with one to one correspondence and recognizing numbers. It requires students to count sets of objects and circle the correct number from 3 given numbers (core standards K.CC.B.4 and K.CC.B.5).
Students can use the Drawing tool in Pic Collage or Seesaw to circle the correct number for each set and write their names.
Students can also use the Recording and Pointer tools in Seesaw to record themselves pointing to and counting each set. This is a great tool for students who may be struggling with one to one correspondence. It allows the students (and you) to watch the recording and see if they are missing objects or double counting objects. A short video demonstration of what the recording would look like is below. It will give you an idea of how the Pointer tool works and what the recording looks like in Seesaw.
The second set of counting pages is for students who are ready to practice writing numbers. It requires students to count sets of objects and write the correct number (core standards K.CC.A.3, K.CC.B.4 and K.CC.B.5).
This page can also be completed using the Drawing tool in either Pic Collage or Seesaw. Please note that I feel students also need plenty of practicing writing numbers with pencil and paper and we do practice this! I use this version to encourage reluctant learners, as an early finisher, or as extra practice.
The third set of counting pags requires students to represent a given number by either drawing or cutting and pasting the correct number of apples or pumpkins (core standards K.CC.B.4 and K.CC.B.5)
There are several options for this type of page.
Option 1: Use the Stickers tool along with the Duplicate option in Pic Collage to put the correct number of apples in each row.
Option 2: Use the web search tool in Pic Collage to choose an apple photo. Then use the Duplicate option to put the correct number of apples in each row.
Option 3: Use the Drawing tool in Pic Collage to draw the correct number of pumpkins in each row.
Option 4: If your students need practice with cutting and pasting, have them complete the page by cutting and pasting the correct number of apples in each row. Then, have them take a photo of the completed page and upload it to Seesaw. Students can use the Record and Pointer tools to count the apples in each row to double check their work and demonstrate their counting ability. Students can also record themselves explaining their thinking about how how they pasted the objects. For example, they could explain that they first pasted a row of 10 and then single pumpkins for numbers 11-20.
If you would like to use the number mats and differentiated counting pages shown above in your classroom as well as have step by step directions with pictures on how to use them with Pic Collage and Seesaw, click here.
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