The Day I Forgot My Laptop

7:20 AM: Realized I had not packed my laptop in my bag, left it at home. Already half way to school, so just kept going.

7:30 AM: Took attendance at morning study center using a spreadsheet on Numbers on an iPad. Able to walk around the room and greet the students while I noted who was present.

7:45 AM: Prepared pictures using Photos on an iPad. Put them into an album to share with students at our all-school Jumpstart, a PBIS celebration activity.

8:00 AM: Walked morning study center students to breakfast. On the way, snapped a photo of student work on the walls with an iPhone.

8:05 AM: Took another photo with iPhone of students walking laps in the gym during our morning exercise program. Shared photo on school Twitter account using Tweetbot.

8:15 AM: Went pack to office and checked Photo Stream on iPad for photo of student writing I took with iPhone. Moved it to Jumpstart album so student could read it to peers.

8:20 AM: Checked Aesop for absences on Safari on iPad.

9:00 AM: Tried to access email on iPad, but wireless in building is spotty. Asked my office assistant to send a message to staff member on my behalf.

10:00 AM: Did an instructional walkthrough using a stylus and Notability on iPad.

11:00 PM: Wireless still spotty. Asked assistant to send another email on my behalf. (Hmm, maybe I should forget my laptop more often.)

12:00 PM: iPad now able to send and receive email. Quickly realized I didn’t miss much.

1:00 PM: Started to draft a thank you letter to all the families who maintained a bed for the school garden. Used Pages on the iPad, emailed it to assistant to check grammar and print.

2:00 PM: Checked progress of tasks on Priority Matrix on iPad.

2:30 PM: Read aloud Pete the Cat to kindergarten students, then created a story board using Felt Board on the iPad. Used iMovie to record audio of student reading the text from the story board, then uploaded movie to Vimeo to share with class and parents.

3:00 PM: Sat in a 1st grade classroom to help with a science experiment. Took pictures with iPhone of students involved with each step of the process, as well as the posted learning target. Put all the images together in a collage using Frame Magic on the iPad and emailed it to teacher.

3:45 PM: 1st grade teacher stopped by my office after school to inquire how I made the collage. Gave a quick tutorial on the iPad.

4:00 PM: Updated school’s Google Site using Chrome on the iPad.

4:15 PM: Left work, questioning how much I truly needed a laptop as a principal.

Author: Matt Renwick

Matt Renwick is an 18-year public educator who began as a 5th and 6th-grade teacher in Rudolph, WI. He now serves as an elementary principal for the Mineral Point Unified School District ( Matt also teaches online graduate courses in curriculum design and instructional leadership for the University of Wisconsin-Superior. He tweets @ReadByExample and writes for ASCD ( and Lead Literacy (

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