Back To School Special: 10 Must Haves for an Inclusive SPED Teacher (3)

Sunday, July 31, 2016
We're about a third of the way through this series! This is a REALLY long post. Grab some snacks. If you're just joining us, feel free to peruse my other posts:
  1. Post-It Graph Paper/ Graph Patches
  2. Highlighting Tape 
Technology: iPads & Most Used Apps

Are you checking out my Instagram? Posts everyday!
I definitely had to mention this because I reach for this EVERYDAY. I usually carry one with me to every classroom or make sure there are a few in each classroom. Let's just go over the basics, shall we? Let's start with the "Settings."

  1. Restrict all the "Good Stuff." I restrict almost everything that I think can be distracting. I would HIGHLY recommend restricting "Installing and Deleting Apps," the "iTunes & App Store," and the "Camera." Putting restrictions means students would need your code in order to access any of these options. There have been too many instances where I have found social media apps installed on the iPads. 
  2. Accessibility Settings. One of the biggest game changers for me is the setting that reads almost everything out loud to students (i.e. webpages, downloaded documents/ worksheets, etc). Simple go to "General" on the left side bar, scroll down to "Accessibility," click on "Speech," and turn on/swipe the "Speak Selection." I like to also turn on/ swipe the "Highlight Content" option as well, since it highlights the words as it is read to the student. 
On the Settings Home page, you'll scroll down to see the accessibility option.
Turn on/ Swipe the Speak Selection and Highlight Content selection.
Here's how it would look when students
highlight text they want to have read to them

I know some schools might not have this many iPads to share, so even if you have one, try out these Apps. Shout out to Julia though, I probably would have no idea how to do half the things I'm about to explain without out her. 

I've organized the Apps into categories: Reading, Writing, Math, Storage, Reference, and Presentations. This way, students are not wasting time swiping though pages of Apps. They know exactly where to look, based on what their needs are at the time. Some of these Apps get pricey, I've purchased a few at a time, thus the ones I have italicized are ones I think you definitely need on your iPads. The rest are secondary.

    • iBooks - iBooks is probably one of my all time favorites and it doesn't cost a dime. Did you know that you can download PDFs or documents on to the iPad and these items are read aloud to students?! SO those fancy worksheets you have in your Google Drive or Dropbox account are saved on iBooks. You then open it in iBooks and the iPad will read these items out loud to the student! If you're using EngageNY, those electronic copies of graphic organizers, primary sources, ReadWorks, and even those Scholastic Magazines are all read aloud! No need to sit next to the student, reading out loud. It's all on the iPad. 
    • Read2Go - What would life be without this app? This app has a TON of ebooks for you to search through. It does cost 20 some odd dollars, but it's SO WORTH IT. It gives all students access to novels they aren't able to read. So for those kiddos that don't read at grade level, this is an audiobook version for them to listen to in class. You can also download this on your students tablets and have them access it at home! SO AWESOME.
    • VoiceDream - So this is the beefier version of Read2Go. It also costs less (10 bucks). It's like iBooks and Read2Go put together!
    • VoicePack - This came in a bundle with VoiceDream, it just provides additional voices for students to choose from while they are listening. I find this entertaining!
    • Razkids - This was one of my favorite apps two years ago. It has leveled readings for students to complete. I made a post about this awhile ago - check it out HERE.

    • Paperport Notes - I liked using this for students who preferred to use speech-to-text. They would simple press the record button and the app would try to figure out what they said. 
    • Co:Writer - HOLY GRAIL. Word prediction software that helps students spell, while also reading aloud what students have written. 
    • Notes - came with iPad, I just have it there.
    • ThinkCERCA - If you use ThinkCERCA at your school, I saved the link to the webpage on the iPad so that students would just access it easier.
    • Reminders - came with iPad, I just have it here.
    • Docs - Google Docs, all the kids use it. Most of the time, students would write in co-writer, then copy and paste their work into Google Docs to share with their friends. 
    • Word - Similar to Google Docs, but without the sharing capabilities. 
    • VoiceDream Writer - This came in a bundle purchase with VoiceDream. I haven't fiddled with this app yet.
  • MATH:
    • Think Through Math - If you use TTM at your school, I put a link to it so that students could easily access it.
    • IXL Math - If you use IXL at your school, I put a link to it so that students could easily access it. 
    • Calculator - Pretty straight forward.
    • Google Drive - I use this to download PDF versions of worksheets I make on my Google Drive account. When students are working on the iPad, they sign me out and access their own to complete assignments.
    • DropBox - This has limited space so I've got stuff there that I sometimes access. Google Drive has taken over it's job.
    • BrainPOP - A few of my co-teachers use this in class. I have this here for when I need to watch the video in advance or if a student needs to replay it while they are working independently in class.
    • Khan Academy - Our Math teachers use this, I have this on here more as a "oh you're done? Do this!" app. 
    • Quizlet - I USE THIS FOR EVERYTHING. All vocabulary is online with images at a level they understand. Super easy for them to access at home. Students use this before each assessment to study. 
    • ShowMe - A great and interactive way of presenting information to classmates. Julia used this last year and I haven't had a chance to use it in class yet.
    • Google Slides - Students log in, make their presentations, share it with me, boom.


  1. Great list of apps for the students. How about some good one for the teachers? One of my favorite apps at the moment is Plickers. Its perfect for schools that aren't 1:1. I also like Class DoJo, especially for the younger grades. Its also great for the students that really need a good motivation and visual for behavior management.

    1. You definitely bring up a good point! I've heard of Plickers, but I haven't used it long enough to recommend it yet. I kind of "fall off" when using and return months later. Yikes! I'm still using paper to document all the progress students make.

      A lot of intermediate teachers use Class Dojo. It hasn't caught on with the Middle School students as much as I would like - I have one student who would greatly benefit from it, but that's something for me to try out this upcoming year. Middle School syndrome, yikes!


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