Sunday, November 20, 2016

Using Apple’s Family Sharing to Keep Your Family In Sync

The best software updates make our lives easier. Family Sharing on Apple devices is a feature that improves the process of approving purchases, sharing that purchased content with your family, and keeping the whole family in sync with calendars and reminders. Many parents may not be aware that Apple has made it very easy to set up a Family Sharing plan for any device using iOS 8 or higher such as iPhones, iPods, and iPads.

Family Sharing allows you to approve all purchases from the App Store and iTunes, track where your children are located using Find My Friends, and help find lost devices using Find my iPhone. It also allows you to create a family calendar, reminder list, and family photo album.

To set up Family Sharing, simply go to Settings on your device, select iCloud, select Set Up Family Sharing, and click Get Started. 

One family member will be the coordinator of the family. This person is known as the Family Organizer. Your family can consist of up to five members in the Family Sharing plan. 

You have the option to share purchases with up to five Apple IDs in your family. Family members will be able to view and download your purchased music, movies, TV shows, books, and apps. Please note for Family Sharing, you must have a valid method of payment on file.

Once your payment information is entered, you can add family members. If your child doesn’t have an Apple ID, you can click the link that says Create an Apple ID for a child. When you invite a family member, they will receive an email informing them that you have invited them to Family Sharing. They click View Invitation and it will immediately open their iCloud settings and ask if they want to accept the Family Sharing invitation.  When they accept, they become part of the family and can share apps. You will receive a notification on your device when family members accept your invitation.

Ask to Buy
With the Ask To Buy feature, parents can approve all purchases for children under 18.  Approving apps and movies allows you to know exactly what is being downloaded on your child’s device. If you don’t want the app he requests to install, you decline it. Nothing can be installed without your approval! The child sees a popup in the App Store with a link to ask to purchase the app. On your device, you will receive a request pop up when your child asks to get an app. 

Please note most apps are compatible for Family Sharing, but In-App purchases are not allowed in Family Sharing. In-App purchases are extra features within the app that cost money.  When you view the description of an app in the App Store, there is a Family Sharing label that says Yes if it allows other family members to download the app. 

If you want to see what your family members have purchased or to download their purchases, go to the Purchased section in the App Store, iBooks or iTunes. 

Location Sharing
You can choose to share your location with your family in the Family Sharing setup as well. This allows family members to see the location of your devices in Find my Friends. Once it is set up, you can ask Siri, “where is my son?” and your iPhone will show you!  way to check up on your children to make sure they arrived at their destination. 

Share a Family Calendar and To-Do List
If you choose to set up a family calendar, all family members can view the calendar and receive notifications when something changes or when something is added to the calendar. It’s a great way for the entire family to see what appointments, practices, and special events are coming up. 

Family Photo Album
A family photo album is set up automatically in the Photos app on devices on your family plan. Everyone can add pictures and video to the album. When items are added, the family is notified there is something new in the album. If you have grandparents with Apple devices, you can also create and share a family photo album with them.

With more and more students getting devices, we encourage you to set up Family Sharing, if your children are on Apple devices. Stay involved and know what they are listening to and what apps they are using. All of these options help make sharing content within your family easier. It’s a great way to stay informed with what your children are using on their devices.

Visit for a great guide to setting up and using Family Sharing.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Seesaw app

If you want online journals for your students, I encourage you to try out the Seesaw app. It is a great free app that allows students to a photo, video,  or drawing of their work to post online to their journal page. We wanted students to be able to record a video of them solving a math problem on their iPad while they explain what they are doing. Seesaw doesn't have this capability, but we decided to app smash (use more than one app for a project) and used Explain Everything ($2.99) for them to create the video. Students saved the video from Explain Everything to the camera roll, then imported that to their journal page on Seesaw. Teachers can decide if they approve each post by students.

Parents can download the app and receive an update any time their child's work is published. Parents can only see their child's work. Teachers and parent can leave comments on each post and each post has a "like" button.

I encourage you to check it out! We just set up a 2nd grade class on it today and can't wait to get started! Below is a quick 90 second video with more explanation about this fantastic app!

They have also created some teacher resources here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Senior Kindergarten "I am Thankful" Project

Wow! It's been a while since I've blogged!

Recently, I worked with 7 SK boys on an "I am Thankful" project. We used the iPads to create pictures using the Doodle Buddy app. The boys (I work at an all boy school) drew three or four pictures and saved them to the photo album.

We then opened the Shadow Puppet EDU app. If you don't have this app, you need it! It's free! The boys selected their pictures and resized them by pinching their fingers together (how easy is that?).
Then, after I modeled how to record their voice, they went to different areas of the room (to help with sound), and recorded what they were thankful for on each picture.
I didn't have the boys write down what they were going to say...I was very impressed with their descriptions on each picture.

To say they were excited is an understatement! Once they saved their recordings, many of them figured out how to play them back while I was helping other students. Their faces lit up while they smiled and some even squealed with delight!

We have a Kindergarten blog using Kidblog, so I copied the link on each iPad, went to the website and them copied the HTML code to paste into the boys' blog posts.

The Kindergarten teachers sent emails to parents to let them know about the project. Many parents left a comment on their son's blog. Teachers and administrators also left comments.

Below is a sample of one of the finished projects. You can also use this link to view other posts. Feel free to leave a comment! Our boys love to read them!

We also used the ShadowPuppet app with 2nd graders to sequence stories. Here is a sample of that project.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Smilebox Reminder

Teachers, don't forget you get a free smilebox premium account. Create slideshows, cards, newsletters, and more with this great application! Here is my Christmas card from this year to give you an idea of how cute your creations can be!

Click to play this Smilebox greeting
Create your own greeting - Powered by Smilebox
This ecard generated with Smilebox

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving Word Cloud

Here is a family or class activity for Thanksgiving...
Have each person list 3-5 things they are thankful for this year.
Go to and type in everyone's answers (if the answer has more than one word and needs to stay together,
 put a ~ in between the words like my~dog).
Enter 2012 THREE times in the list to make it larger. (the more times you enter a word, the larger it is in the word cloud). Make sure words that are the same are typed the same like Family not family (capitals matter!)
Click Go.
Print out the word cloud and save it for each year. Compare/discuss what your family values. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

National Mock Election for Students

In 2008, our school participated in National Mock Election for students. We used laptops set up as voting booths and students came with their class to vote for President. We are going to be doing this again this year for the 2012 Presidential Election. Voting via this website takes place Oct. 25-Nov. 1. It's very easy to register to set up your class or your school. There are resources for educators as well as I Voted stickers that can be printed on Avery labels.
Help your students learn more about the voting process and this election by participating this year!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Printing from your iPad or iPhone

This application runs on a mac computer and will allow any networked printer to be used from an iPad or iPhone. It's a great deal for $20! We use it at my school and you can select what networked printers you want to use to print from iOS devices. You just need to run the application from a computer that is always on.
It's called Printopia and here is the website.
I highly recommend it if you are wanting to print from an iOS device without purchasing a new printer.