This is definitely the questions phase. Everyone had questions, and I often learned the answers as I went along.
The big question everyone seemed to ask was, “You want to send iPads home with your students? What happens if one gets broken?” The funny thing is, it was something my teaching partner and I had discussed ourselves. We had worked diligently on fund raising, and I had been doing presentations to earn money for the iPads. In other words, they didn't just arrive at our classroom door, and we didn't want one to get lost or broken either. It was a question worth pondering, and we decided the answer was, “What good are pristine iPads sitting in a cart? We trust our students. Yep, they could get broken.”
"Won't the students who don't get iPads (and their parents) react negatively and say this is unfair?" This was a question we definitely needed to think about as we proceeded forward! In order to prevent any misconceptions or rumors, we gathered the kids and told them we would be inviting 18 students to join us in a reading and math project and that those students would have an extra math or reading class twice a week. We also let them know this would free up our classroom COW (computer on wheels), so everyone else in our group would have access to their own MacBook to use all day at school. It was a win win for everyone! The “MacBook kids" and the "iPad kids" were happy, and we haven't heard a single parent complaint.
"What apps do you want?" The IT Department graciously stepped in to help spend some money that had been set aside for apps. I got an app approval form and began the process of wading through all the apps that I thought would be needed to teach reading. (Ha, nice try.) At this point, it just wasn't going to happen! I was way too busy doing everything else, so for the time being I just went with some standard apps that our district had already downloaded including GarageBand, iMovie, iTalk, and Dragon Dictation. I am sure at some point I will want more apps, but for now this is a question I am just not ready to answer.
"How do I give a donation to this project?" SERIOUSLY, they want to give me MONEY?! The parents whose kids got iPads wanted to know how they could donate money for books and apps! That was a question I certainly wasn't expecting at our parent meeting where we gave out an old fashioned, color coded seven page packet full of information and forms that needed to be signed. I have a hunch it was the the frenzied anticipation in our student's behavior or the excitement in their eyes and not the presentation or forms that ignited the spark in our parents to give. That being said, if it would would be helpful to you, go ahead and make them yours. They can be found on our class website.
And now the most important question of all! "What am I going to do with the iPads and my students on Monday morning?" That is a totally different subject, and speaking of subjects, remedial reading is a class I have never taught before! I finally am going to have the opportunity to take advantage of my Master of Science Degree as a Reading Specialist! I have a lot of work ahead of me this weekend but am excited to get started on my classroom research project that could make a difference in the lives of my students who in the past might just have “fallen between the cracks.”