Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sight Words

Price: $2.99
Grade Recommendation: K - 3rd
Subject: Reading
Specific Skill: Early reading
Levels: 6
Players: N/A
For iPad, iPod, or Both: iPad

This is a great app for use with early readers. For each level, students have access to several dozen sight words from the Dolch list. An appealing voice reads the word when students touch it. Blocks also appear to spell out the word. The letter on each block is read when you touch it. Students can choose a color (blue, red, green, or yellow) to use when they trace the word on the screen. Low-achieving students could easily use this app independently.

Levels and Dolch words:

Pre-Primer - and, away, big, blue, can, come, down, find, for, funny, go, help, here, in, is, it, jump, little, look, make, me, my not, one, play, red, run, said, see, the, three, to, two, up, we, where, yellow, you

- all, am, are, at, ate, be, black, brown, but, came, did, do, eat, four, get, good, have, he, into, like, must, new, no, now, on, our, out, please, pretty, ran, ride, saw, say, she, so, soon, that, there, they, this, too, under, want, was, well, went, what, white, who, will, with, yes

1st Grade - after, again, an, any, as, ask, by, could, every, fly, from, give, going, had, has, her, him, his, how, just, know, let, live, may, of, old, once, open, over, put, round, some, stop, take, thank, them, then, think, walk, were, when

2nd Grade
- always, around, been, before, best, both, buy, call, cold, does, fast, first, five, found, gave, goes, green, its, made, many, off, or, pull, read, right, sing, sit, sleep, tell, their, these, those, upon, us, use, very, wash, which, why, wish, work, would, write, your

3rd Grade - about, better, bring, carry, clean, cut, done, draw, drink, eight, fall, far, full, got, grow, hold, hot, hurt, if, keep, kind, laugh, light, long, much, myself, never, only, own, pick, seven, shall, show, six, small, start, ten, today, try, warm

Nouns - apple, baby, back, ball, bear, bed, bell, bird, boat, box, bread, cake, car, cat, chair, coat, corn, cow, day, dog, doll, door, duck, egg, eye, farm, farmer, father, feet, fire, fish, floor, flower, game, garden, girl, grass, ground, hand, head, hill, home, horse, house, kitty, leg, letter, man, men, milk, money, mother, name, nest, night, paper, party, pig, rabbit, rain, ring, robin, school, seed, sheep, shoe, sister, snow, song, stick, street, sun, table, thing, time, top, toy, tree, watch, water, way, wind, window, wood

Monday, June 20, 2011

iGrow It

Price: .99
Grade Recommendation: All
Subject: Science
Specific Skill: Vegetable Gardening
Levels: N/A
Players: N/A
For iPad, iPod, or Both: Both

This app is a must-have if you plan to plant a vegetable garden with your students. It helps determine what plants can be planted each month in your hardiness zone by asking "What can I plant today?" (But you can also check for any other time of the year.)

Appealing pictures show up for each vegetable you can plant during your selected month. After clicking on the picture, detailed information concerning the following appears:

- Materials needed to plant
- Plot selection
- Skill level

Planting and sowing
- Instructions
- When seedlings should appear

After care
- What to do between planting/sowing and picking

Ready to eat
- When to pick
- Recipe ideas

This app is robust, yet simple! It makes a good companion to gardening books you may also have in your room.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Grover Book

Price: $3.99
Grade Recommendation: K - 2nd
Subject: Reading
Specific Skill: N/A
Levels: 2
Players: N/A
For iPad, iPod, or Both: Both

This is actually a children's book disguised as an app. To this day, 'The Monster at the End of this Book' remains one of my favorite books. This app/book is absolutely delightful! The "lovable, furry old Grover" serves as the narrator (and only character). The words appear and are highlighted as he reads them to students.

The reading experience can be customized. Students can start on a favorite page, rather than from the beginning. 'Parent Tip Mode' activates a setting where parents (or teachers!) can obtain helpful information about getting the most from this app. 'Young Reader Mode' adds an arrow pointing to where students should touch to 'turn' the page. It also makes the text appear altogether and highlights words as Grover reads them. No matter the mode, a yellow glow highlights interactive experiences within the app.

Any student even vaguely familiar with this cute Sesame Street character will certainly enjoy this app/book!

Monday, June 13, 2011


Price: Free!
Grade Recommendation: 2nd and up
Subject: Reference
Specific Skill: N/A
Levels: N/A
Players: N/A
For iPad, iPod, or Both: iPad

This is Merriam-Webster's dictionary app. Although it's free, it's quite impressive. But beware of the ad bar that runs along the bottom.

I love it because students can conduct a voice search. This makes so much sense! If a student doesn't know how to spell a word in the first place, how can they "go look it up"?! (Those of you that are teachers may say that phrase a lot!) There's also an option to type in the word - letter by letter - until the intended word appears.

Each listing includes various meanings (when applicable), a recorded pronunciation, and any available synonyms and/or antonyms.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

ABC Phonics Animal Writing

Price: Free! (or $2.99 for full version)
Grade Recommendation: Pre-Kindergarten - 1st
Subject: Reading
Specific Skill: Phonics
Levels: 1
Players: 1
For iPad, iPod, or Both: iPad

For a free app, this is a good choice! At least one different animal is featured for each letter of the alphabet (for example, B features bat, bear, bee, and bird; but Z only has zebra). When clicked, an appealing voice clearly states the name of the animal. Students can then use a finger to trace the entire word or just the beginning letter (capital and lower case). While not necessary, they can change the ink color (blue, red, green, or yellow).

I must admit that the animals are a little more quirky-looking than necessary. I guess they went with whimsy rather than realism.

Ads do appear quite prominently at the top of the screen. Some reviewers in the App Store have reported inappropriate ones, so beware. The app does contain a link to 'Buy the Full Version'; it's $2.99.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Lattice Multiplication

Price: $3.99
Grade Recommendation: 3rd - 6th
Subject: Mathematics
Specific Skill: Advanced Multiplication
Levels: N/A
Players: 1
For iPad, iPod, or Both: Both (but not native to iPad)

Lattice is one of the 3 methods I teach my third grade students to use when multiplying larger numbers. I first teach them how to draw and use the lattice grid on paper. However, I find this app to be beneficial when it comes to them practicing using this method.

It was originally designed for the iPod Touch; however, it also works on the iPad.

A few options for customization are included. The multiplicand can have between 2 - 5 digits and the multiplier can have between 1 - 3. You can also decide whether or not to show the current operation (multiply or add) and whether or not to highlight the operands. All of these options provide students with just the right amount of scaffolding to experience success.

Overall, this app does an excellent job of illustrating and allowing students to practice this method of multiplication. Despite the price tag, it's worth having if you plan on covering lattice multiplication at least once through the year.

Monday, June 6, 2011

History of the United States

Price: $.99
Grade Recommendation: 3rd and up
Subject: Social Studies
Specific Skill: Geography - United States
Levels: N/A
Players: N/A
For iPad, iPod, or Both: iPad

This app is a steal at this price point! It provides yet another way for students to read about a fair number of events in our country's history. It's not interactive, meaning students can't click here or there to encounter additional information or activities.

Here are the topics covered:
- Overview of the history of the United States
- Native Americans
- Colonial history
- American Revolution
- Bill of Rights
- Louisiana Purchase
- Mexican-American War
- Gadsden Purchase
- Alaska Purchase
- American Civil War
- California Gold Rush
- Foreign policy
- World War II
- Cultural history
- Economic history