Posted in iPads, Learning, Technology

Using iPads in Literacy Rotations

Many classrooms use the concept of Literacy Rotations in their classrooms, but struggle to find a way to keep each group engaged while they work with a focus group.

Below are some iPad-based ideas for Literacy Rotations, which of course you would use with a combination of non-iPad rotation activities, we know that just because you can do things on an iPad doesn’t mean it’s better!

  • ReadTheory – free to sign up, create classes and individual student logins. Students start with a pre-test to assess their initial reading level, by reading short passages and answering comprehension questions. By getting questions correct, students earn points and badges and teachers can consistently monitor progress. Fantastic for independent reading time. A colleague has been using this in her Year 8 English class and the students are loving it!
  • Pobble365 – free to use without an account, this website features a picture prompt for every day of the year, with a Story Starter for students to continue, or Question Time for students to answer questions about what they’ve just read. For independent Literacy Rotations, I would use either of these sections for the students to visit on their iPad – they could copy and paste the Story Starter into a Google Doc to continue writing, or create a Google Slide with their Question Time questions and answers. If students work in pairs, they could create an interview using the Camera app & iMovie, with one student being the interviewer and the other the interviewee.
  • Book Creator – there is a web version of this coming out soon, but the app works well for almost any subject! I loved using this in Literacy Rotations after the students had done a Guided Reading with the teacher to create a Book Quiz, for the other members of the group to answer. Students would take photos of the book, insert them into their book and then type their quiz question on the page. I then asked students to use the audio recording function to record the answer, so students completing the book quiz could find out the correct answer if needed. We often talked about Head, Heart & Hands comprehension questions to encourage more critical thinking. I also like the idea of creating an interactive dictionary using this app, by students recording words that are new to them, or really interesting words and using the audio function to record their definition, or explanation in their own words – plus images if they need! Other ways I’ve used Book Creator can be found here.
  • Popplet – I’ve used Popplet in so many different ways, from brainstorming character qualities, to spelling. I love Popplet as you students can use the pen function, insert images from the camera roll and export their finished Popplet. In my lower primary class, I use it to help segment words into their individual sounds.


  • PicCollage – I used this for descriptive writing, in this blog post, but have also used it to create a collection of words that all start with the same letter, by taking photos, or looking for the same sound in magazines and newspapers.

This is just a tiny drop in the ocean of the multitude of different ways that you could integrate iPads in the Literacy block!

Posted in iPads, Technology

Apps for Early Years Literacy

One of my colleagues came to me today to ask me about Haiku Deck. Simple question, simple answer – took no time at all. But while she was in my office she asked me if there were any other apps that she could be using in her classroom.

She is confident in using Haiku Deck and Educreations. Great start. She’s confident, her students are confident, but she realised that she needed to take another step.  As the Junior Primary unit have just introduced the Soundwaves spelling program, I showed her how to use the app Popplet to help students segment into their phonemes and graphemes. I found this idea from the Conversations in Literacy blog, via Pinterest. Even though the blog shows how to break words into syllables, this is also perfect for the segmenting stage of Soundwaves. Popplet is not a strict Literacy app, but for this purpose – it creates the boxes automatically and can be easily photographed to record students’ learning. We only have Popplet Lite at my school, but there is a full version you can pay for.

My colleague’s class is also looking at recounts and retells in Literacy. I showed her the app Tellagami – it suits the purpose of retells really well. If retelling the story using their own voice, students only have 30 seconds of talk time. This is a big point to make to just include the most important points. If students are capable of typing in their retell of the story, they only have 420 characters to type. Personalising their Tellagami, or their character, is all part of the fun – using photos as a background, changing their voice etc. These Tellagami’s can be saved to the camera roll as a video, or emailed.

The final app (or collection of apps) that I showed her were the Collins Big Cat Reading apps. These apps have 3 options – Read to Me, Read by Myself or Story Creator. As most storybook apps, the main function is to read the story, or have it read to you. My favourite function on these apps though is the ‘Story Creator’ option. This allows children to retell the story by building the whole book. From choosing the background to the characters, students can recreate the story and even record their own voice as they tell you exactly what happened in the story that they were reading!

I left work with a very happy colleague this afternoon. I was pretty happy too. People are asking for help and happy and grateful for advice. Small wins 🙂