Free-Range Chicken!

Today’s Contributor: Lorrie Salome

Lorrie Salome is 5th grade math teacher at Hill Elementary. She spent what felt like 17 years in graduate school and recently received her M.Ed. in Instructional Technology from UT Austin. Her hobbies include: acquiring and moving around classroom furniture, telling children stories about her fleet of fantastic felines, and fiddling with the computer until her eyes are beady. She likes to exercise at the crack of dawn and doesn’t even drink coffee.

When I bought my last computer I was torn between getting a Mac or a computer with touch-screen capabilities. I went with the latter because I love having this option to make math instruction a little more interactive. Allowing kids to come demonstrate electronically is such a nice way to entice participation and also lets us demonstrate with models that would otherwise be difficult to pull together in short bursts of time. The problem with this has been the pacing. Similar to when I worked in a classroom with an interactive whiteboard, the time it takes for kids to get from their seats to my little nesty corner can be a real killer when it comes to keeping the pacing active and the wait time at a minimum. I also hate that I’ve been trapped in one corner of the room–far, far away from kids who could use a gentle nudge to stay-tuned.

Recently, I’ve found a way to untether from my little touchscreen computer in the corner, and I feel so liberated! I have synced my IPad with a projector mirroring app so now I am a free-range chicken. I’m using Mirroring 360 by Splashtop and while I was worried that the network would give me troubles, it has been working like a charm. I’m able to swirl and twirl around the room and get constant participation with kids by simply plopping the ipad in front of them to take ‘pen control’ of our shared screen.

Here is a shot of the mirroring in action.


You could “mirror” any app you’d like to demonstrate. I’ve mainly been using the Notability app as my note-taking platform. I like that I can select grid paper background paper and easily import a variety of  images and/or PDF files that I have already created so that producing more visually appealing demonstrations of things like decimal models can be done very swiftly! I can use tons of tools (highlighter, color-coded pens, cropping, etc.) to make the lesson more visually rich. All the notes and examples are automatically saved and organized within the app so I can print for students who need a copy and/or save/send to kids who miss a lesson. If I was better organized, it would take about two clicks to upload all our notes to our class website or BLEND classroom. (Perhaps this will happen when “Shock-tober” is over!)

Import already-created files from your cloud service of choice. Select all or part of your electronic files to import.


Last week, we were covering a lesson on multiplication of decimal models. The kids had their own little paper models and colored pencils, but to expedite the execution, we were also creating the models using the iPad. I was able to pop around to different parts of the room and get lots of kids interacting with the electronic version of what they were creating in their journals. It was truly blended learning and the kids seem to really love that there was little lag time and lots of chances to ‘lead’ the class by having the power to create on the projector. For behavior management, this free-roaming has a lot of advantages as I can really be closer to kids who need a little extra nudging to stay focused.

Kids could confirm that their work was ‘on the right track’ by seeing if their paper models matched the work being created on the projector.

Here is a nice shot of a student demonstrating the multiplication with the coloring pen on the iPad.

Giving kids the paper/pencil version of this activity in conjunction with the iPad action ensured that everyone had something to make. The paper versions will live in the kids’ journals for later reference.


I got a case that has a handy little flap on the back so I can free roam and put the ipad in a kid’s reach without even having to actually hand the iPad over. This also keeps the pacing lively and the transition time between short so I can give everyone a chance to participate. I love, love, love this newfound freedom and would like to hear from you if you find any great ways to use this delivery method. Happy roaming! 

This little handy flap on the back of the iPad case makes it easy to carry and present the pad to students without an actual “hand-off.”

Kids who may not be comfortable coming up to the front of the room to demonstrate part of the lesson seem to feel more comfortable sharing when the Ipad comes to them instead!

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