Joan Lawrence receives grant for iPad minis

by: ISABEL GAUTSCHI - Teacher Joan Lawrence received a grant for iPad minis for Clackamas River Elementary's third-grade classrooms.Remember when students did their assignments with a pencil and paper?

Times sure have changed.

The Estacada Area Literary Foundation granted $5,580 to teacher Joan Lawrence for the purchase of 20 iPad minis for Clackamas River Elementary third-grade classrooms.

Linda Arnett said the foundation had agreed to grant Lawrence the funds upon hearing her persuasive presentation on how iPad minis would help students meet educational benchmarks during a recent foundation board meeting.

Lawrence said she got the idea for the grant proposal from following the blogs of other teachers.

When she read about teachers with iPad centers in their classrooms, Lawrence thought, “I want one!”

“I wanted to put something in the hands of the children that would really up their reading and literacy,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence explained that with classrooms of 30 third-graders of varying skill levels, it is challenging to teach to every student’s individual needs.

The iPad minis will help with that.

Students will be able to access reading programs where they will be able to read or be read to at their own level.

The iPad minis’ keyboards have a small microphone, so children who have not yet mastered spelling will still be able to verbally search for more information.

For example, a child could say “I want to learn more about monarch butterflies” without knowing how to spell “monarch butterflies.”

Through the iPad minis, the student will have access to applications that help increase vocabulary, teach sentence structure and enhance classroom curriculum.

Lawrence added that before the iPad minis, the teaching of the digital component of third-grade curriculum went very slowly.

Lawrence would have to run the program on her Smart Board which could only be accessed by two students at a time.

The iPad minis will allow for more students to access the program at the same time.

The plan is for each Clackamas River third-grade classroom to have seven iPad minis.

Clackamas River third-grade teacher Sarah Powers is taking a technology for literacy in the classroom course and was given an iPad mini for her class as a part of that training.

Lawrence and Trevor Syring will take the same course in January.

The iPad minis have been ordered and are en route to the school.

“This is very exciting for our third-grade students and school,” said Clackamas River Elementary Principal Seth Johnson. “I’m extremely proud of the efforts of our third grade teaching team to look for innovative ways to weave technology into the curriculum and to pursue professional development to increase student learning for all.

“I’m looking forward to working with our district to continue to seek ways to infuse technology into our classrooms Way to go Mrs. Lawrence!” Johnson added.

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