Category Archives: Paid

Grammar Expert: English Grammar Beginner

Screen Shot 2014-12-23 at 3.01.57 PMThis app is ideal for English Language Learners. I wouldn’t recommend it, however, for native English speakers interested in improving or initially learning basic grammar skills.

Each topic – or chapter – consists of a brief lesson, followed by four mini quizzes and a chapter quiz. There’s also a final quiz that covers all of the chapters. The app recommends that the user score a 75% or higher on each mini quiz before proceeding to the chapter quiz. But it is possible to move on without obtaining a certain score. It is also possible to complete the chapters out of order. Each quiz consists of a series of sentences with a word missing; the user has to choose the correct word from three choices. On the mini quizzes, options are present to skip the question or to receive a hint. All quizzes have the option of accessing the study lesson.

Topics/Chapters

  • Articles
  • Count, Non-Count Nouns
  • Verbs
  • Demonstratives
  • Adjectives
  • Interrogatives
  • Possessive Adjectives
  • Question Tags
  • Adverbs
  • Prepositions
  • Auxiliaries
  • Modals
  • Tenses
  • Conditionals
  • Gerunds
  • Passives
  • Reported Speech
  • Numerals
  • Causatives
  • Comparitives

The settings tab allows you to turn sound effects on or off, reset the progress meter, and adjust the amount of time the user has to answer each quiz question. The developer – Golden Academy – has also created over ten more grammar and writing related apps.

Posted in 6th - 8th, 9th - 12th, iPad, iPod Touch & iPhone, Language Arts, Learning Apps, Paid | Comments Off on Grammar Expert: English Grammar Beginner

MoMA Art Lab

Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 10.25.28 AMThere are many art apps available and this is a decent option from the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) due to its connection to the Museum and included activities.

A description from the app itself: “The MoMA Art Lab app explores how artists use shape and line in art through creative explorations of the Museum collection, interactive learning activities, and prompts for creativity. Using the Art Lab at home or in the Museum, children, artists, and designers can find inspiration and new ways of connecting with MoMA’s collection.”

Of course students are easily able to use shapes, colors, and other tools to create a masterpiece. However, the app also comes with a bank of ideas such as, “Design a house or building using shapes. Can you create a whole city?” Another is, “Draw for ten seconds without lifting your finger. Color in any shapes that were created.” Little learners can even press the speaker button to have the idea (and the activities listed below) read to them!

Nine activities are also included within the app. Each is based on the work of a MoMA artist.

  • Create a mobile (Alexander Calder)
  • Experiment with paint (Arshile Gorky)
  • Draw from instructions (Sol LeWitt)
  • Create a sound composition (Elizabeth Murray)
  • Create a chance collage (Jean (Hans) Arp)
  • Draw with scissors (Henri Matisse)
  • Create a line design (Jim Lambie)
  • Create an “exquisite corpse” (Breton, Morise, Tanguy, Naville, Peret, Tanguy, Prevert)
  • Create a shape poem (Brice Marden)

Once a piece of artwork is complete, your child must use the camera tool to take a picture of it and then it will be stored in the included gallery. From there, artwork can be saved to the device’s photo album, sent to MoMA, or shared with others via email or Twitter. Note: These sharing options must be enabled via the tablet’s main setting menu. 

Posted in 3rd - 5th, Fine Arts, iPad, Paid | Comments Off on MoMA Art Lab

Geography Drive Arcade

Screen Shot 2014-12-21 at 11.02.10 PMStudents will enjoy strengthening their skills related to United States geography by playing the four games included in this app. I appreciate how the app also includes a study map of the country. In addition, an abundance of detailed information is included for each state via the study map. This information includes: capital, size, statehood, time zone, nickname, postal abbreviation, state tree, state bird, and highest point. You’ll also find a few paragraphs full of other information and a ‘Did you know?’ tidbit about each state. The study map certainly justifies this being a paid app! It makes an excellent resource for research.

State Shape Challenge – Match every state with its shape

Flagstaff State Flag Game – Match each flag with its state

State Capital Challenge – Connect every state with its capital

Honolulu Spelling Bee – Spell all 50 states

Posted in 3rd - 5th, iPad, iPod Touch & iPhone, Paid, Social Studies | Comments Off on Geography Drive Arcade

USA Illustrated Atlas

Screen Shot 2014-05-18 at 9.44.16 PMNot only does this app provide an illustrated atlas of the United States, it also provides an impressive amount of interaction.  Upon opening, students have a choice between two sections – maps and games.

Maps – Scroll between and interact with six different maps of the country.  Some highlight over 200 attractions across the country.  After tapping each illustration, an ‘Info Box’ appears and gives 3 – 5 sentences about each attraction.   I live near Stone Mountain in Georgia.  The Info Box states, “Stone Mountain is a rock hill in Georgia, standing on its own and rising 825 ft (250 m) above the surrounding area.  It is well-known for the enormous carving on its north face, the largest stone carving in the world.  It shows three important figures from the Confederacy: Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee, and Jefferson Davis.”  Other maps highlight mountain ranges, rivers, and large cities.  A ‘Fact Box’ for each state appears on some of the maps.  Each Fact Box contains three sections – Basics (name, nickname, motto, abbreviation, admission to Union, capital, largest cities, and origin of name), Numbers (total area, width, length, highest point, lowest point, and total population), and Symbols (flag, seal, state flower, state tree, state bird, state animal, state fish, state insect, state song, and state mineral).  Simply put, the maps provide a plethora of information about this country!

Games – Each of the four choices (Match the Pair, States & Capitals, Trivia, and Find on a Map) allows students to apply knowledge of the states in a game-like format.  The difficulty level can be altered in some of the games.  Stars can be earned and eventually be used to collect badges.

Posted in 3rd - 5th, 6th - 8th, 9th - 12th, iPad, Paid, Social Studies | Tagged , | Comments Off on USA Illustrated Atlas

Sight Words Games & Flash Cards for Reading and Spelling Success at School

Screen Shot 2014-03-30 at 4.42.40 PMApps that focus on sight words are extremely important for beginning readers.  This one has a simple game-like format that will appeal to young students.

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.

Posted in 1st - 2nd, 3rd - 5th, iPad, iPod Touch & iPhone, Language Arts, Paid, PreK - Kindergarten | Tagged | Comments Off on Sight Words Games & Flash Cards for Reading and Spelling Success at School

Numbers League

Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 1.43.57 PMThis app successfully sneaks a lot of learning into a game-like format.  The app is based off a card game with the same name.  The ‘game’ takes place in Infinity City.  Each villain that students encounter has a specific weakness in the form of a number.  The heroes  – who form the Numbers League – must work individually or in collaboration to add up to the total of each villain’s weakness.  Instead of  spinning to create a new hero (called ‘Hero Up’), students can occasionally ‘Gear Up’ to spin for powerful ‘Devices’ (such as +10 or x3).

Games

  • Minion – Mini Game: Simple heroes and villains
  • Sidekick – Mini Game: Simple heroes and villains, plus simple devices
  • Hero – Base Game: Basic heroes and villains, plus positive and negative devices
  • Hero Plus – Base Game Plus Variants: Add negative heroes and villains and/or multiplication devices
  • Superhero – Advanced Game: Positive and negative heroes, random villains and multiplication devices

At this price point, I expect for an app to come with plenty of options for customization.  This app certainly delivers!

Customization Options

  • Game Play – Dynamic, Fast, or Simple
  • Audio – Turn off/on Music, Sounds, and Voices
  • Hints – Each can be Free or cost 1 or 2 Points (Or entirely eliminate the option)
  • Timer – 40, 80, or 160 seconds (Or entirely eliminate the option)

This is one of the best math apps I have encountered.  It allows students to have an abundance of fun while gaining valuable mental math strategies.  (Or students can certainly have paper and pencil close by.)  I also appreciate how it is appropriate for a broad level of students.

Posted in 3rd - 5th, 6th - 8th, iPad, Math, Paid | Comments Off on Numbers League

HOPE Poster Photo Filter

Screen Shot 2014-03-05 at 5.54.33 PMThis app pulls photographs from the device’s library (Camera Roll on an Apple device) and places a soft filter over them.  The filter mimics the one used in the iconic Hope poster from President Obama’s 2008 campaign.  Photographs can be moved, scaled, and rotated.  After importing a photograph, students can choose from one of 9 filters (each black with one additional color).  They can then add a word or short message that appears at the bottom of the poster.  Most students can create attractive posters in Easy mode.  But there is also an Expert mode that allows for adjustments in three tonal regions – shadows, midtones, and highlights.  Completed posters can be saved to the device’s library and shared via email, Facebook, and Twitter (as poster or avatar).

Posted in 3rd - 5th, 6th - 8th, 9th - 12th, Fine Arts, iPad, iPod Touch & iPhone, Paid | Comments Off on HOPE Poster Photo Filter

Sentence Reading Magic

Screen Shot 2014-03-04 at 1.56.07 PMThis app is designed for early readers.  It has two modes – Sentence Building and Sentence Reading.  Each has the option of using either 2 words or 3.

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.

Posted in 1st - 2nd, Free, iPad, iPod Touch & iPhone, Language Arts, Paid, PreK - Kindergarten | Comments Off on Sentence Reading Magic

Learn Spanish for Kids – Ottercall

Screen Shot 2014-02-04 at 2.59.34 PMThis 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.

Unlocked Lessons

  • Animals
  • School
  • Beach
  • Bedroom
  • Breakfast
  • Clothing

Locked Lessons (Unlocked via an in-app purchase)

  • Fast food
  • Fruits
  • Holiday
  • Music
  • Kitchen
  • Appliances
  • Seasons
  • Sports
  • Tools
  • Vehicles
  • Vegetables
  • Weather
Posted in 1st - 2nd, 3rd - 5th, Foreign Language, iPad, iPod Touch & iPhone, Paid | Tagged , | Comments Off on Learn Spanish for Kids – Ottercall

Ludo Classic

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 3.10.12 PMThe educational value of this app is questionable.  Yet, I still decided to include it because it is a good way for students to practice using strategy (combined with a little bit of luck).

Ludo is sometimes called ‘pachisi’.  The basic premise is to move all four of your game pieces around the square board without getting ‘caught’ by other players’ pieces.  You’re also trying to capture your opponents’ pieces.

Up to four players can play at once.  You can play ‘the computer’ or play with friends via a local wifi + Bluetooth network or Apple’s Game Center.  You also have the option of playing with one or two dice.  I find this game to be very addicting.  To emphasize its educational value – encourage students to focus on strategy rather than just moving pieces randomly.

Official In-App Rules

  • The goal is to walk around the board with the pawns and arrive at the center with all 4 pawns.
  • Roll a 1 or a 6 to put a pawn into play.  Rolling a 6 gives the right to roll again.
  • If a pawn lands on a place already occupied by another player’s pawn, that pawn will return to its starting position.  Again, it can only be put into play by rolling a 1 or a 6.
Posted in 3rd - 5th, 6th - 8th, 9th - 12th, Critical Thinking, iPad, iPod Touch & iPhone, Paid | Tagged | Comments Off on Ludo Classic