Sunday, September 9, 2012

it's going to be an APPealing year

Today I am a scavenger for great classroom apps. I started my stock pile last spring and it seems to be growing every moment. However, my critics on keeping an app are tough- any app has to be approved by my five, six, and seven year olds. If it does not make them yell out for more than it gets deleted quicker than it was downloaded.

*Note: This is a rough draft with no time frame of a final being released. The plan is to update this when I find new apps and to continue filling in personal summaries to help further explain each app.*

First Grade:

- Phonics Genius (Innovative Mobile Apps): This app is home to word families and OCD organization. With customization you can highlight word chunks, turn auto-reading off, and record your students sounding out and reading the word. I love to do the SIPPS format of "sound it, sound it, read it."

- Count Money- Coin Matching Game for kids ( Great customization to help keep the game at a "just right level." Students play a matching game to match amounts to coins, or different coin representations showing the same amount. They have also created a new app called little reader that has sparked my interest...

- First Grade Smart Kids (Suma Solutions Inc.): This is built for the iPhone, but can be enlarged to use on the iPad. It deals with topics of Math, English, Social Studies, and Science. Pick a subject, category, and boom multiple choice review questions appear.

- Tic Tac Toe: This is a Lakeshore learning app that requires students to answer a phonics question before placing their symbol. My class could play round after round if I let them.

- Planets (Q Continuum): Great to explore, zoom in, and learn about our solar system. My favorite highlight is to see real time earth as part is under the darkness of night.

- Hungry Fish (Motion Math): Not only are my kids addicted to this, everyone I come across is addicted to feeding math facts to this fish. It is so fun and challenging that you forget you are building fact knowledge! A must get!!!

- Adventures Undersea Math Addition (Brain Counts): Another fun fish game perfect for addition skills. Work to uncover the hidden sea picture.

Dinosaurs: (One of my favorite themes)

- Dinosaurs Unleashed Free! (Lucidifi): Great flashcards for a wide variety of dinosaurs (less childlike images when compared to Dinosaurs: An Early Introduction). You gain all sorts of facts such as weight, height, diet, when and where they lived, etc. You can also test your knowledge with a quiz offered in the app.

- Discovering Dinosaurs (Laughing Technology): Leveled reader that discusses discovering dinosaurs. Interactive with vocabulary to hear harder words sounded out, clear photographs, and finishes with questions to spark class conversation.

-Dinosaurs HD (PicPocket Books): Funky book that mixes computer images with photographs. Nice introduction to dinosaurs without overloading little brains with extra information.

-Dino Kids (Template Magician): Memory match with cartoon dinosaurs

- Dinosaurs HD (Rye Studio Science): More geographical based. Instead of shuffling through dinosaur flashcards, you first select a location off the map, then select a dinosaur, and finally listen to information about it. Honestly, I did not find myself using this app with students yet as I am still trying to figure out if I like it. I kept it on the list for the time being though.

- Dinosaurs Magic School Bus: While either reading or listening to this story be read to you, students gain information about so many different dinosaurs and the eras they lived in. The best part? You get to play paleontologist and dig for fossils, then place them to form a dinosaur. My students learned how to ID bones, built academic language, and knocked the socks of adults with their knowledge!

-Dinosaurs An Early Introduction (Curious Circus): You get to hear dinosaurs, see their skeletons, and hear their names. Best app to spark interest and start the unit with.

-Dino Park Math (Millenium Multimedia): Have fun exploring the dinosaur park while building up your math skills. Cute illustrations, with a nice reward system as you collect and build dinosaurs.


-National Geographic Explorer: This was last updated in March when I downloaded it. Basically it is based off their magazine, however no subscription is necessary as far as I can tell. Topics included are snakes, weather, and lemurs, as well as others. Great images and nice information.

-Educreations: Mobile whiteboard: Best white board app I have come across. Different color ink, add images, and record your whole lesson for easy play back.

-Little Fox (Shapes Minds and Moving Images GmbH): great music app that has a lot of fun surprises to find as students learn about the touch screen abilities of an iPad.

-BrainPop Jr.:

-Preschool and Kindergarten Learning Games (Kevin Bradford): Free topics are shapes, colors, and letters. You can make a purchase for more subjects. Asks simple questions and students choose the correct answer. Cute little owl dances when correct. Straight forward simple app, easy for beginners to just pick up and play.

-Punky Dunk (FamLoop): Great interactive story that allows students to take pictures, draw, and play as they read.

-Where Do I Go? (Camigo Media LLC):Great sorting game to introduce grouping and categories.

-Wood Puzzler (Little Five Games): The name says it all- play with the alphabet, pictures, or build your own. Looks like a classic wood puzzle, but has a nice technology upgrade to it. Best part? No more lost puzzle pieces!

-Time Reading (Kinder): Times reading passages and provides results. I believe you can create a profile for each student and see how they did on each individual story. Love the clearly shown words per minute.

-The Cat in the Hat Lite (Oceanhouse Media): This is the best interactive story I have come across in a long time. Helps build vocabulary and confidence in beginning readers. Love it!


-Teaching Number Lines (Little Monkey Apps): Deals with sequencing, skip counting practice, and tests skip couting. Click the "jump forward" lily pad to do simple math problems using a number line and frog. You have to move the frog each step by dragging, which I love than just tap the numbers, makes it more interactive and meaningful.

-Math Bingo ( Pick out a fun character and what math operation you would like to do. It brings up problems and you find the solution on your board. Try to get bingo! Be careful it does time you and show how many incorrect which calculates into your score! As you win you collect these bugs which can be viewed and played with minimally- cute tiny reward.

-Mad Math (Lunchbox Apps): Nice flashcard app that really allows you to adjust what your student is practicing. Select the biggest number, problem type, number type, and the number of flashcards, all before starting your challenge. Warning: you do have to type in your answer on a calculator keyboard format; don't forget to hit enter!

-Math Chicken- Number Scale (Taptolearn): You are building a bridge for the chicken to cross by balancing the scale (the scale looks like a bridge). The goal topic is finding equivalents. The scale shows the number or numbers on one side and you add a weight to the equivalent. The top of the screen also shows the problem in math sentence form.

-Chicken Bounce (Tiny chicken learns math) (Taptolearn): This app moves quickly and I think gives the answers away. My students like it because you are given an addition problem (or other operation you choose) and than you must place a raft on the number line in the correct location. The chicken than bounces down to your raft answer and back up to the other side of the water.

-Motion Math Zoom (Motion Math):

-Kinder Add

-Comparative Adjectives (Grasshopper App):

-Visual Manipulatives (

-Lobster Dive (Learning Games): This app is pretty advanced. I would recommend for third grade and up. It starts on a nice simple number line, but it quickly turns to negative numbers and such.

-10 Frame Fill (Classroom Focus): Great reusable 10 frame. Now I do not have to create one every lesson (because we all know I cannot seem to ever find the one I "just made".)

-Candy Count (Camigo Media LLC): count the candy as it fills up the jar.

-Lunch Box (part of the Monkey Math series; THUP Games):

-Monkey Math (THUP):


-Magnetic ABC (Dot Next): Just like the name suggests- here is your digital magnetic letters.

-ABC Alphabet Phonics Touch (GrasshopperApp): Helps with letter name identification.

-My first puzzles The alphabet (Alexandre Minard): Complete a puzzle to build each letter of the alphabet

-Pocket Phonics (Apps in my Pocket): Hear the sound, draw the letter that makes the sound. Very picky app to help with precision.

-Letter of the Day: Another Lakeshore Learning app that helps focus on one letter with a song, pictures, and writing practice.

-MyABC lite Write and Learn (PlaySmart-Kids):

-Pre-K Letters and Numbers (Bright Start):

-Wee Sing (Zuuka Inc.): Great app that blends images with each letter name and sound. Each letter has an animal that plays a little song, and the letter is supported by three other images that start with the letter of focus. Lots of different ways to choose how to interact with the app.

Sight Words:

-Sight Words and Spelling (Marcel Widarto):

-Sight words Hangman (Marcel Widarto):

-Word Wall HD (Emantras Inc.)


-Simplex Spelling Phonics 1 (Pyxwise Software):

-Spelling Magic (1, 2, and 3) (Preschool University):

-Rocket Speller (Little big Thinkers): This app is hard for those of us that are not gifted with a rocket background. I had a couple students like it, but in all honesty I think this might be the next app deleted.

-Skill Builder Spelling (Ben Kaiser):

-Word Scramble PCS (DynaVox Mayer-Johnson): Try to build the word shown by the image.


-Phonics Rhyming Bee (Abitalk):

-Build a Word- Easy Spelling with Phonics (@Reks):

-Zap Phonics

-Sound Sorting: Lakeshore Learning app that has you choose three sounds. It then shows you images of items that need to be placed under one of the three selected sounds.

If you have any great apps you are hiding out there please share them out, don't make us dig for treasure you already found! Also, if you have any questions I will do my best to answer them, but no promises.

Happy Hunting!

chicka chicka blank slate

Today I am a survivor of the first week of Kindergarten. We had a wonderful unpredicted turn out of too many kindergarteners, making the first day pretty interesting. Thankfully I have found a supportive team that has tried to combat the 54 and especially thanks to a flexible colleague, I am down to 28 (phew!). We celebrated the start of the school year with a wonderful theme of Chick Chicka Boom Boom, and so without further ado, welcome to our new room!
Coconut tree: puffed up to have a 3D feel.

Calendar wall: Theme section, math number line, months, days of the week, counting the days of school, tally the days in the month, Velcro pattern block, calendar, pocket chart for focus stories, pocket chart for jobs, and weather window visuals.

Library corner: dollar tree baskets and color coordinating zip ties, paint chip labels.
Supply Station

Activity corner: "Jobs" change monthly to grow with students. Currently I have blocks, beginner puzzles, magnetic alphabet, animal cards, lacing cards, etc.

To step back and gain an almost 360 degree view:

The word wall seems so empty, but we add to it throughout the year all together. (Teacher's corner-ish, word wall, rug area).

On the board I have found rocks that I have painted the ABCs and glued magnets on the back. (Library corner, book boxes, writing center).

The garland in the windows is punched paper that is sewn together. (Playhouse, activity corner, supply station). 

(Art center, rice table, to the right are the bathrooms).
Side note: This is a shot of the garland in process. Cute blues, purples, and greens.

I'm just so happy to be in a room this year that I could truly make my own. I am minimalistic, and very cautious to put up anything that does not serve immediate need. That being said, it does seem more bare than my usual room without student artwork. I cannot wait to get started so we can fill up our art wires and art gallery. I also have the chance this year to forgo having a teacher's desk. I like giving as much space to the students as necessary. I have a few filing cabinets and one bookshelf- what more could a girl need? As much fun as it was getting ready for the first few weeks I am already planning for my tree to change as the next set of themes appear!

By the way, we are calling the battle of the rooms a tie. All is fair in love and war.