10 iPad App Recommendations for Elementary Station Rotations/Centers

Many educators try to integrate technology into their station rotations. Yet, many popular applications may not allow students to unleash their creativity or demonstrate their learning. Sometimes it may be appropriate for students to simply consume information, but many educators may be unaware of applications that promote student productivity. There are so many FREE and inexpensive applications that enhance and redefine learning.

Why iPads?

If used correctly, iPads can not only promote creativity but also empower and engage students. Many applications provide a platform for students to share their ideas and creations with an authentic audience which then leads to increased motivation.

Rotation Stations/ Student Centers may include:

  • Creating videos
  • Screencasting
  • Creating animated presentations
  • Communicating using video response platforms
  • Maintaining digital portfolios
  • Providing feedback to classmates
  • Blogging
  • Goal Setting
  • Reflections
  • Formative assessments
  • Jigsawing ideas
  • Brainstorming
  • Revising and Editing

Do you need new ideas for your iPad stations?

Here are 10 amazing and apps that can be used for all content areas across the elementary curriculum. And, integrating these apps into your stations requires little to no preparation!

  1. Seesaw– Seesaw is a student-driven portfolio system that makes it incredibly easy to engage and empower students. Students can access teacher activities and notes, annotate images, create videos, blog, make screencasts, and give feedback to their classmates.
    • Center Ideas: Have students add artifacts to their portfolio, share their thinking about topics, comment on a classmates’ work, or complete a shared activity.
  2. Flipgrid– Flipgrid is an educational video response platform used by millions of educators across the world. Students may create a video in response to any topic and then reply to their classmates’ responses. The stickers and social media features truly engage students.
    • Center Ideas: Have students share their thinking about any topic. Or, add a topic directly from the Discovery Library into your classroom. When students are finished responding they may reply to their classmates’ ideas.
  3. Explain Everything– Explain Everything allows students and teachers to collaborate and create presentations that show their ideas. Presentations may include text, audio, video, and images.
    • Center Ideas: Students collaborate and create a presentation to demonstrate their understanding of an important concept.
  4. Book Creator– Book Creator as a wonderful app for student creativity. Students may add images, audio, text, and video to create a variety of books, manuals, portfolios, reports, or comics.
    • Center Idea: Students create a short book or comic strip about a topic to demonstrate understanding.
  5. Sock Puppets : Sock Puppets allows you to create your own video while syncing your voice to an adorable sock puppet. Add images and scenery from the gallery or import your own!
    • Center Idea: Student creates a short video explaining a topic, reviewing a book, or sharing an idea.
  6. iMovie Book Trailer: iMovie’s Book Trailer feature allows students to create short trailers just like you would see in the movies. Students may add images, narration and animations to their trailers.
    • Center Idea: Students may summarize a book they read, retell stories and share ideas about any topic by creating these fun trailers!
  7. Doink: Doink allows student creativity to reach new heights as they record short video clips while using a green screen.
    • Center Ideas: Record a news broadcast using a content related photo as a backdrop. Or, students can illustrate their own backdrops using art supplies and then take a digital photograph of their work.
  8. Shadow Puppet EDU– Even Kindergarten students can easily create a video using Shadow Puppet EDU! Students import photographs , record voiceovers, and add text that they may interact with while recording!
    • Center Ideas: Create a video sharing your ideas about a topic.
  9. Google Slides– Google Slides allows students to create and collaborate on a slideshow by adding text, video, images, and animations.
    • Center Idea: Create a slideshow about a concept learned in class. Or, collaborate on a slideshow as a class to jigsaw ideas or use as a formative assessment.
  10. Google Keep- Google Keep allows students collaborate while adding ideas or annotating images on a virtual sticky note. Students may add audio to share their thinking and a transcript will be provided.
    • Center Idea: Take a photograph of an assignment and annotate the image to show corrections. Then, use the audio tool to record your thinking. Edit the transcript to practice revising work.

But, how do students share what they create?

There are also many applications that will allow students to share their work. Some popular applications include Google Drive, Seesaw, Padlet, or Google Classroom. Of course, students can share all G Suite for Education apps simply by clicking the SHARE button.

In Summary

If you have access to iPads in your school you are extremely fortunate. There are hundreds of applications out there that will promote creativity and productivity. The next time you plan a center consider selecting an application that will allow students not only to learn, but also to demonstrate and share knowledge. And, as long as the app has been approved for student use, don’t be afraid to give it a go even if you don’t feel like you are an expert user. The students will show you how it’s done!

How do you integrate iPads into your student centers?



Integrating Flipgrid Across All Content Areas

Educators across all content areas and grade levels are easily able to integrate this Flipgrid into their curriculum while tremendously enhancing their lessons. 

Flipgrid is a FREE video discussion platform used by millions of students and educators across the globe! Teachers post a topic in a grid (alongside any resources or links) and students may leave detailed video responses. You may also search the Disco Library and find activities already created by other educators and then modify and share them with your students. I love Flipgrid so much that I became a Flipgrid Ambassador a couple years ago!

Why Flipgrid?

Flipgrid is a fabulous tool for promoting student thinking, offering instant feedback and providing students with an authentic audience. Students are so engaged by creating these video responses. Paired with the digital stickers and the social media features (such as the many different “like” buttons and video replies) it’s a guaranteed success!

Newer Updates:

  1. AR capabilities: Scan the QR code in the Flipgrid app and see your responses become augmented reality.
  2. Video Shorts: Login to your educator account. Go to Navigate Shorts in your dashboard. Click “Record a Short”. Share the link to your short anywhere!
  3. Microsoft’s Immersive Reader: The Immersive Reader now works in the assignment description and also the student feedback area.
  4. Supercharged Replies: Students may now add titles and attachments to their replies.
  5. Closed Captions: Closed captions are now added to every video response. Now you may even edit the captions!
  6. Filters: There are now a variety of filters allowing students to modify the video appearance. The pixelated filter is an amazing option for students that are reluctant to record their faces.
  7. Whiteboard: There is now a whiteboard feature allowing students to draw and type information in their video.
  8. Epic: Flipgrid now works with the popular reading app, Epic! Students may read a story and then reflect on their reading using Flipgrid.

What other apps work with Flipgrid? 

If you search the Disco Library you will find activities that integrate with Epic, Wonderopolis, Tynker, Skype, Pebble Go,  Code.org, Flowcabulary, Nearpod, and more! Find your favorite activity and share it with students by simply copying and pasting the link into your desired app. Or, have students join by entering a code a Flipgrid.com.

How may I integrate Flipgrid into my curriculum?

Flipgrid provides a HUGE integration library and also an amazing ebook guide for educators.  Here are some of my ideas for integrating Flipgrid in your curriculum. (I used Google’s Autodraw program to create the images.)

Flipgrid infographic

Collaborate with educators from around the world!

Flipgrid makes it easy to collaborate with like-minded educators around the world. Simply click on #GridPals in your dashboard and search for an educator. You may choose to allow educators to search your profile and connect with you. You may also filter by grades and subject area.

Have you tried using Flipgrid? How are you using it with your students?

Collaborative Storyboard for BrainPOP’s Make a Movie

This month, we have been creating movies using BrainPOP’s new Make a Movie tool. Students have been so engaged as they create informative videos about Westward Expansion.

Creating a Storyboard

To prepare students for the movie making process, you could use BrainPOP’s Make a Map tool to create the storyboard. But, unless students are working independently, the are limited in their ability to collaborate online. Also, I felt limited providing students with specific feedback as I am accustomed to Google’s Commenting, Editing and Suggesting tools. This is why I decided I would like to create a Google Drawing template for students to use while drafting their storyboards.

HyperDrawing Storymap

The following Google Drawing template is what I like to call a HyperDrawing. It is not just a Drawing with links as it also has opportunities for students to explore and engage in activities using directions in the “gutter” on the sides. I was also able to embed a video which could easily be enlarged once clicked on.

(To view- click to enlarge and Make a Copy. Change the View to 50%)


What’s Missing

I do wish I could embed a BrainPOP video within Google Drawings. But, you need to be logged into BrainPOP to watch the videos. The only way students could watch the video and work on the their storyboard would be by using Make a Map tool within BrainPOP. Or, they would just have to switch tabs between BrainPOP and Google Drawings as they work. Or, maybe BrainPOP will add a feature allowing students to collaborate online someday. One can only hope!

Have your students tried Make a Movie?

More Resources

  1. Flipped Tech Coaching: BrainPOP Make a Movie Overview
  2. BrainPOP Tutorial Webinar– 40 minutes
  3. Make-a-Movie Step Guide- Step by Step guide for using Make-A-Movie
  4. Assessment Rubric– Make a Copy of this rubric to customize
  5. Make a Movie Implementation Tips
  6. Storyboard Graphic Organizer



BrainPOP’s New Make-A-Movie: Empowering and Engaging Students


You may have heard that BrainPOP has a brand new Make-A-Movie feature that has been receiving rave reviews. In order to access this feature, students and teachers must have their own premium account, which fortunately we do have access to here in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Teachers can assign Make-A-Movie to their students or create their very own!

BrainPOP Introduction Screencast

Example Student and Teacher Videos

Video Tutorial

Step 1: Accessing Make-A-Movie

After watching your favorite video, you now will see the Make-A-Movie feature appear on the right. Click Make-A-Movie to launch your video editor.


Step 2: Write a Letter

If you are familiar with BrainPOP than you know every movie starts with a letter to Tim and Moby. BrainPOP included this feature into Make-A-Movie by allowing students and teachers to write a letter. They can write their own letter or answer a letter created by BrainPOP.


Step 3: Launching the Editor


You are now ready to create your movie! The Editor has 3 main sections: the scenes, work space and the toolbar.

Scenes: Click and drag scenes just as you would with slides in other applications. You may add transitions when finished.2


Toolbar: Customize your movie

The toolbar will automatically start by loading pre-selected images that fit your topic. You can however search for more images to suit your needs. You may also add sound, annotate scenes, draw a picture, or access a short help tutorial using the toolbar. Then, you just drag-and-drop your selections into your workspace!

Adding Sounds:  BrainPOP allows students and teachers to add audio by using a computer generated voice or by recording their own voice. I absolutely love this feature as students that are hesitant to speak in front of an authentic audience have the option to use the computer generated voice.


Annotate: The annotation feature in the toolbar allows you to add dialogue bubbles, shapes, arrows, texts and labels. However, like the videos modeled on BrainPOP, we do not want students to type a lot of text. We want to annotate the images and use dialogue to give our audience information.


Drawing:  The drawing feature in the toolbar allows students to create their own clipart drawings.I also think this feature would be amazing for solving math problems if students or teachers were creating a math video.


Backgrounds: You can also add backgrounds to change the color of your work space.


Step 4: Preview or Save

You are now ready to save and preview your movie. Click the word Preview in the top right-hand corner of the screen and you will now view your very own BrainPOP movie!



Overall I think that this new Make-A-Movie feature is absolutely fabulous. Students and teachers will create some amazing movies that can be shared with an authentic audience. Right now, I am hoping BrainPOP will find a way for students to share their videos outside of BrainPOP. Ideally, I would hope students and teachers could copy and paste a URL or download the videos into Google Drive. For now, I’m just happy that everyone is so excited to create! Thank you, BrainPOP!

Joli Boucher



  1. BrainPOP Tutorial Webinar– 40 minutes
  2. Make-a-Movie Step Guide- Step by Step guide for using Make-A-Movie
  3. Assessment Rubric– Make a Copy of this rubric to customize
  4. Make a Movie Implementation Tips
  5. Storyboard Graphic Organizer

Have you checked out Make-A-Movie? What projects are you excited to assign or create?

BrainPOP’s New Make-A-Movie Feature

Wow! BrainPOP just came out with a new premium feature that empowers students and teachers to create their own BrainPOP style movie. In order to access the Make-A-Movie feature, students must have their own premium BrainPOP account. This new feature is still in Beta but appears to be working very nicely so far.

Step 1: Click Make-A-Movie

After watching your favorite BrainPOP video, you may now click the new Make-A-Movie link to start creating your very own BrainPOP style movie.


Step 2: Begin with a Letter

Once you start creating your movie, you can begin with a letter just like in the real BrainPOP movies. If you decide to Answer A Letter, you will be provided with 2 or 3 different letters to choose from. This allows students to decide the theme of their movie.