What am I doing?

  • implementing the use of iPads with emergent primary writers (Grade 1)
  • having students use various story telling and writing apps

Why am I doing it?

  • to make the writing process more accessible to emergent writers
  • to increase motivation and engagement

My Motivator:

In October I conducted our district wide write assessment. After an extensive pre writing process (imaging, partner talk, coaching cards – you name it) and the combined total of 40min. of independent writing time, I had 6 students hand in completely blank writing pages.  Okay fair enough, it is the beginning of Grade One after all, thats not terrible. Therefore I can let myself “accept” these submissions as the students baseline and move the learning forward. Then when curiosity (which I have been know to have and still survive) hits and I give the student an iPad, and what they submit slams on the breaks and stops me in my preconceived tracks. “Accept” is no longer and option. I am unable to “accept” work that has been submitted when my student has demonstrated that they have capacity to complete the task when given the right set of tools.

My Students writing sample before having access to the iPad.


I took the students image and uploaded it into the app called captions.


This sample of writing (which the STUDENT did on the iPad) clearly demonstrates they have a greater understanding of written language. A far better understanding than what was demonstrated with the good old paper and pencil approach.

Rationale Behind My Project:

The use of the iPads enhances learning and improves the CHANCES FOR STUDENT SUCCESS.

In my experience, as well as outlined in a number of readings, the assistance of technology in the area of writing has either eliminated or reduce inhibitors such as fine motor skills, and sound/ letter/ word retrieval among others. Thus making the writing process more accessible, engaging and motivating.

Who will benefit from this exploration and project? Who is the intended audience?

  • my studentsimg_0481
  • my colleagues
  • myself

What does my presentation need to include to benefit all of those outlined?

  • an outline of how I incorporated the iPads use in my daily schedule, what struggles were encountered
  • what supports I needed to be successful in their implementation
  • how many iPads were used in the class
  • the routines, rules and expectations around the use of the iPads that were put in place
  • a list of applications that were used.
  • an outline indicating the various apps enhanced/ improved the learning condition for the student and the teacher.


Teaching myself how to use the captions app

Where I am still struggling?

  • compiling it all into one seamless presentation that will meet my three Es; ENGAGING, EFFECTIVE, EMPOWERING.

What has been beneficial so far?

Playing with, and learning how to navigate the various programs. Some of the products have been down right hilarious.  As a result, I have at times, become a tad too engaged and lets face it simply off task. I think Im a little bit more like my dog than Id like to admit!

Oh well, the adventure is always fun in between. Even though it sometimes takes us a tad longer to get there.



7 thoughts on “Point!

  1. Well done. Your perseverance will help these struggling students immensely. Format for writing is not the most important goal, but writing should be. If a student struggles with pencil and paper, for various reasons and demonstrates that they can write, given assistive technologies like an ipad, then what would be the problem with that? They are able to communicate, write, express and infer. I think the presentation you are working on will be engaging, instructive and supportive, especially if it is anything like your blog posts. You’ve done a great job outlining your rationale.


  2. Ashlee, we noticed the same thing with certain students who struggled with writing of any kind. But when they were given a Chromebook they were able to produce something that was a reflection of their understanding of the material taught. If using a device is the difference between a blank page and a product, then it is up to us to encourage these students and provide them with the tools they (obviously) need to be successful!
    Have you considered a self-reflection component for the students re: attitude towards writing, before and after or with and without the iPad?
    I look forward to reading about your project!


    • Thanks for your feedback Michelle. I have though about it. I just haven’t decided how to format it. Im thinking pen and paper checklist for Pre iPad use and student made reflection using voice recording and writing app post iPad. Cheers Ashlee


  3. Ashlee: Looks and sounds great! Are you thinking of having all your students use an iPad for writing or just the struggling ones? Do you have use of a class set of iPads? If so, lucky you! I look forward to seeing the completed project…


    • Hello Leslie. As of right now I have 1 sad lonely iPad. I applied for and was approved for a set BC grant that would be sending 8 iPads my way. I was expecting those to arrive in September but sadly no luck. It is my hope to use them with all students. Slowly I have been plugging away teaching them in groups of 2 how to use some of the apps on the iPad. AS you can imagine with 1 it is taking a very long time. I have had a load of fun working with all of the apps so far but have not yet figured out how to string them to one cohesive project so please don’t be to excited to see it. LOL. Cheers Ashlee


  4. Your dog looks very sweet. My dog ate a wad of hard plastic last week and is now recovering from surgery! And it’s not his first time…
    The examples you gave of the writing process in your blog were interesting and helped me to see the usefulness of technology in primary writing. I’d like to show it to some of the teachers at my school. One discussion I have had in favour of hand writing is that it stimulates a creative part of your brain that is not stimulated by a keyboard. Fair enough, but I guess if they are not writing at all, there’s no stimulation. Love you comic strip. I think your students will love it as well. I’m going to try ComicLife.


    • I agree with the rhythm handwriting brings to a piece. For many it does indeed help. This particular friend has limited fine motor skills and difficulty with letter to and motion recall shall we say. Being able to look at the keyboard and simply tap the letter allowed them to demonstrate what they did know about writing. I have have during our literacy stations a fine motor station and a letter formation stations. Now the waiting game to see when the two will click. Cheers Ashlee


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