One of the best things that I ever did was ask my principal, well beg my principal, for iPod touches. I got 5 for my very own classroom. Then I went, no ran, to the Dollar Tree and bought protectors for the bunch. :)
I love the games and apps that are available for teachers to use with their kids. I use these iPods daily in my Daily 5 rotations. I use them for work on words, listen to reading, and writing. Here are the apps that I use for Reading:
Here are the apps I use for math:
Little tip: arrange the apps to use for Reading on the first page, and math on the next. I moved all those non-student friendly apps to the last page and then put them in their own folder. Kids don't even try to use them at all. I also took everything off the dock at the bottom. This is very easy to do in iTunes.
I use the voice recorder to have kids make math sentences to solve for their partner. They record a problem and their partner solves it on paper. They also create story problems orally which are fun to see them write down. Students also use the apps for math games during math center rotations.
I also have them record themselves reading during Read to Self. They like to hear themselves read and they also critique themselves for accuracy, fluency, and expression.
I also record myself in QuickTime reading books and other faculty and staff in the school reading books to guess the reader. I love this little mechanism for a Listen to Reading Center:
How cool is the Rockstar by Belkin (buy it through Amazon. It is the cheapest)? A little iPod Listening Center!
I recorded all the Scott Foresman CD's for Listen to Background Songs into iTunes, typed out the words and put them together in a book for a listen to reading center. No CD's to loose, not scratches, and super easy!
Here is a fantastic site for more ideas on how to use the iPod in the classroom. I seriously don't know what I did without them. Engagement has increased, time on task rocks, and each student is getting a little personal tutor.
I looked around today during Daily 5 and just smiled! I had kids on iPods, kids on the Smartboard, kids on computers listening to reading, and kids making video's using the Flip Camera of the plays they had written, and kids just reading books.
I love how much fun teaching has become. Who would have thought the classroom would become this??? I remember in 6th grade, our class got our first Atari Computer. It was brown and huge, and none of us knew what to do. My teacher cried at her desk and said in 10 years, no one would need teachers (Chuckle). It took about an hour to write a billion(maybe not that much) code to get a balloon to float across the screen. I remember in college being "high tech" with my Brother Word Processor that weighed a ton in my sorority house and all the other girls were in admiration. I can't wait to see what it will be like in 10 more years!!!!