Category Archives: 1st – 2nd
This app falls into the ‘Brain Training’ category that’s quickly emerging. It’s quite simple, yet surprisingly addictive. The only objective is to tap the numbers on the screen in ascending order as quickly as possible.
Blitz = Tap through numbers until the time runs out
Zen = Tap all of the numbers as fast as you can
The app keeps track of personal statistics. It also has the option to connect to Facebook and Twitter.
Catch this app if you can find it when it’s free.
The free version offers just the following two activities:
Word Machine – The machine verbally announces a sight word. Choices appear and the child has to tap the correct one. Points are earned for each correct answer. More points are earned if students select the correct sight word on the first attempt. Words increase in difficulty as students work through the levels. With each new level, more answer choices appear. The machine repeats each round’s word every few seconds.
Gears – Tap a spot on the screen to hear a sight word. Then students need to drag the written sight word (and its gear) to that spot. Correct answers will make the gear spin.
The paid version opens up all of the grade levels (Pre-K to 3rd) and all of the activities. The others are: BINGO, Memory Games, Spelling, and Flash Cards.
Download the free version to see if it fits the needs of your child, then upgrade to the paid version.
Here are summarizations of the instructions for each mode.
Sentence Building – The purpose is “To lay the foundations and to strengthen the ability to read sentences.” It demonstrates how we pair verbal words with written words to form sentences that can be read or said aloud. As each new sentence (and accompanying picture) appears on screen, the mobile device reads it aloud. Then the child needs to drag the words in the proper order. When done correctly, the tiles will join together and play a brief musical number.
Sentence Reading – The purpose is “To give lots of practice reading short, simple sentences and to prepare children to read books.” To eliminate the reliance on visual clues, the picture does not appear. The words also appear in the correct order. Therefore, the objective is for students to read the sentences orally and then tap the blank picture box to hear each sentence read aloud and watch as the accompanying picture appears.
This review is for the free version. It comes with just two categories in Sentence Reading (15 two-word sentences and 25 three-word sentences).
The Deluxe version comes with four categories in Sentence Reading (72 two-word sentences, 84 three-word sentences, 84 four-word sentences, and 84 five and six-word sentences). It also comes with several sound and font options that are not available in the free version.
As always, I encourage you to try the free version before committing to the Deluxe version.
This app has an interesting concept behind it, but overall – it fails to fully deliver. From the ‘About’ section of the app: “Ottercall helps you practice your pronunciation and learn to speak a new language. We use speech recognition to help judge your pronunciation and give useful feedback.”
Unfortunately, the speech recognition component of the app is in need of improvement. It often gives negative feedback when words are actually correctly pronounced.
To begin, the user selects from the list of lessons. They also choose for the language to be English or Spanish. Then they tap the picture to listen as the device reads the word aloud. This feature is the best in the app! Although the voice sounds very ‘computer like’, it is still beneficial to have the app read each vocabulary word aloud. But I do not recommend using the speech recognition component of the app until the developers greatly improve that feature.
Locked Lessons (Unlocked via an in-app purchase)
- Fast food
While this app is initially free, take note that in-app purchases (ranging from 99 cents to $99.99 – that’s not a typo) unlock higher levels and the final test. But the free version allows students to practice addition facts up to 50 + 1. Unfortunately, all of the levels are +1.
The reason why I decided to post a review of this app is because of the option to ‘turn on’ computation. While on, students are presented problems such as _____ + 1 = 45. This causes even advanced students to think about the problem in a different way. You can ‘turn on’ a maximum of two of the following options: computation, vertical, horizontal, random, and normal. I also appreciate how the app reviews incorrect answers at the end of each round.
Levels Included in the Free Version
- A1 = 1 – 10 + 1
- A2 = 1 – 20 + 1
- A3 = 11 – 30 + 1
- A4 = 21 – 50 + 1
There are several drawing apps available for students. This one has a place in the market because it features 36 objects to draw that are simultaneously unique, yet familiar – such as a strawberry, hot dog, and a piece of cake!
After selecting an object, the student can turn ‘Trace Mode’ on or off. When on, the final object appears as a watermark on the screen. The student can still follow the steps (around 7) to draw each object. Of course the app is more challenging when trace mode is off. All of the tools (pencil, eraser, paint, etc.) needed for each step automatically appear on the screen. But all tools also remain easily accessible throughout the steps. The background ‘paper’ for each drawing can also be changed.
Students can select from one of four zombie-themed ‘worlds’:
- The Addition of Evil
- The Subtraction of Hope
- The Undead Multiply
- Divided We Fall
Each world has 6 levels that are unlocked as each previous level is mastered. In addition, users can select Easy, Medium, or Hard from the Settings gear. The mastered levels can also be reset there.
To play, students must answer the math problems appearing above each zombie’s head. The animated and detailed zombies are walking towards the student on the screen. The object is to input the correct answer before the zombie reaches the bottom of the screen. More than one zombie can appear at the same time! The digits 0 – 9 appear at the bottom of the screen. Students simply tap the digits to input each answer. A correct answer ‘saves’ each zombie and that is how points are earned in this app.
Even though the app has a zombie theme, the content does not come across as frightening in any way. This apps makes a great choice for students looking to practice those basic arithmetic skills.
What this app lacks in academic content, it makes up for in creativity! It is a fun and simple app and can serve as a welcome break from more rigorous work. To begin, students draw a stick man. He (or she) can be as simple or as complex as they’d like. From there, the app acts out an adventure and occasionally pauses to have students draw props for the stick figure and other additions to the scene.
There are no points to be earned and no levels to pass. The app just provides a simple way to express creativity and imagination!