Category Archives: Language Arts

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

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

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

BrainPOP Jr. Movie of the Week

Screen Shot 2014-02-06 at 1.35.50 PMI am a big fan of Brain Pop movies.  This app is geared towards students in grades Kindergarten – third.  Another version is available for older students.  Good ‘ole Moby (the robot) appears in all BrainPOP Jr. movies with his dear friend Annie.

This app does allow all students to watch one ‘free’ movie each week.  However, students with access to a subscription can log in to access part of or the entire collection of BrainPOP Jr. movies!  Bonus features (such as quizzes and activities) are included for each movie.

There are two different mobile-device based subscriptions.

  • Explorer – $1.99/month.  Provides access to the free ‘Movie of the Week’ and its bonus features plus 3 related movies (per week) and their bonus features
  • Full Access – $5.99/month.  Provides unlimited access to all movies and their bonus features

Note: Login credentials for the web-based BrainPOP sites also work on mobile devices via the BrainPOP apps.

Subjects and Categories

Science – animals, plants, habitats, conservation, land, matter, forces, energy, weather, space, science skills

Health – be well, be safe, relationships, be responsible, bodies, teeth, food, drugs

Reading & Writing – authors, reading skills, story elements, comprehension, phonics, word, sentence, communication, writing

Social Studies – American history, ancient history, biographies, holidays, communities, Native Americans, government, economics, citizenship, geography

Math – number sense, addition and subtraction, measurement, geometry, time, money, data and probability, fractions, multiplication and division

Arts & Technology – art, music, technology

Posted in 1st - 2nd, 3rd - 5th, Fine Arts, Free, iPad, iPod Touch & iPhone, Language Arts, Learning Apps, Math, PreK - Kindergarten, Science, Social Studies | Tagged | Comments Off on BrainPOP Jr. Movie of the Week

Easy Portfolio

Screen Shot 2014-01-08 at 4.10.51 PMDigital portfolios are still a fairly new concept in K – 12 education.  But apps like this make it easy to bring this new technology into classrooms at all grade levels.

After creating a new portfolio, it takes just a couple of taps to add records.  The records can be in the form of videos, images, audio files, notes, URLs, and documents.  The app easily retrieves records from DropBox or from the iPad itself.

Individual records or even the entire portfolio can be exported via DropBox or Google Drive.  The app links to tutorial videos and blog posts that help navigate the process of creating and maintaining portfolios.

Posted in 3rd - 5th, 6th - 8th, 9th - 12th, Fine Arts, Foreign Language, iPad, iPod Touch & iPhone, Language Arts, Math, Paid, Science, Social Studies | Tagged | Comments Off on Easy Portfolio

Complete the Words

Screen Shot 2014-01-02 at 11.46.07 AMThis app provides young learners with an opportunity to match print words with both oral and visual versions.  It is divided into 3 activities: Shapes, Letters, and Words.

Shape Matching – The objective is to drag the colored object from the bottom of the screen to its card that contains the word and a black-and-white image of the same object.  The name of the object is stated each time you tap it in order to drag it to its correct spot.  Although the name of this activity is “Shape Matching” and traditional shapes (star, hexagon, triangle, circle) are shown above the title for it, students are actually matching objects, not shapes.  Sample objects include a fence, letter, and bicycle.

Letter Matching – Students need to drag the missing letter from the bottom of the screen to its card that contains the rest of the letters and a color image of the object.  Unfortunately, when each letter is tapped the app says the name of the object it’s supposed to be dragged to, instead of stating the letter or the sound the letter makes.

Word Matching – This activity requires students to drag the word to its card that contains dashes to represent letters and a colored image of the object.  Like in ‘Letter Matching’ each word is read when it is tapped.  From there, students have to simply drag it to the card that contains the picture of the stated object.

Verbal feedback (such as, “Great”) is given in all 3 activities for correct answers.

‘Smudge Mark’ is the name of the reports section where you can access the total number of correct and incorrect responses.  The data can easily be cleared.  Note that it only stores information for one user.

At this price point, I expect this app to do much more.  Specifically, I wish it had the ability to make the 3 activities more challenging.  For example, it would be beneficial if the black-and-white images of the objects in ‘Shapes Matching’ could be removed.  Then students would be required to match the picture of a cup with the word that says “cup”, rather than simply matching the colored cup to its black-and-white version.  Sure you can mute the mobile device in order to make the app more challenging, but these types of options should also be built into the Settings menu.

Currently the only two options in Settings is ‘Use only CVC words’ and ‘Use Open Dyslexic font’.  I am not familiar with Open Dyslexic font, but I didn’t notice a discernible difference after enabling it.

A lite (free) version of the app is also available.

Posted in iPad, Language Arts, Paid, PreK - Kindergarten | Comments Off on Complete the Words

Go Away, Big Green Monster!

Screen Shot 2013-12-02 at 8.50.49 PMThis is the app version of Ed Emberley’s book of the same title.  The big, green monster comes to life in a not-so-scary way.  The monster’s features appear as the book is read (see options below).  But the user also is able to touch and tap the features to make them become even more animated.

There are four options for the reading of this book:

  • Read Along with a Friend
  • Sing Along
  • Read Myself
  • Read Along with Ed Emberley

Despite this app actually being an animated book, I still recommend it as a fun way to infuse literacy with technology.

Posted in 1st - 2nd, iPad, iPod Touch & iPhone, Language Arts, Paid, PreK - Kindergarten | Tagged | Comments Off on Go Away, Big Green Monster!

Kidpedia

Screen Shot 2013-11-23 at 3.27.58 PMThis app provides students with a way to explore the names of a variety of objects not only in English, but also in Spanish and French.  In each category, students can tap on an object that appears across the bottom of the screen.  The app will state its name in the language selected from the Settings menu (only one language can be selected at a time).  After tapping an object, students can drag it across the screen to begin a simple animated sequence.  The graphics are very visually-appealing and the voiceover is pleasant (and can be made as loud or soft – or even muted – as necessary).

The categories are:

  • Alphabet (with an example word for each letter)
  • Numbers (0 – 9)
  • Shapes
  • Colors
  • Animals
  • Fruit
  • Space
Posted in 1st - 2nd, Foreign Language, iPad, iPod Touch & iPhone, Language Arts, Learning Apps, Paid, PreK - Kindergarten | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Kidpedia

Book Creator

Screen Shot 2013-10-22 at 10.37.18 PMThis app allows users to effortlessly create anything from a simple to complex book.  After choosing from portrait, landscape, or square orientation, the process is unbelievably simple.  Begin by adding text.  You can choose from all fonts installed on the device.  Also change the font’s size and color; make some or all words italicized, bold, or underlined.  Photos (and videos) can be added from the device’s library or directly from the camera, then moved and resized as needed.  Finally, sound can be recorded from within the app or imported from elsewhere on the device.

Completed books can be opened in a variety of apps on the device – such as in iBooks.  But each can also be exported to iTunes or as a PDF (no audio/video capability with this option).

Use the free version to make one book before committing to the paid version.

Posted in 1st - 2nd, 3rd - 5th, 6th - 8th, 9th - 12th, Fine Arts, Foreign Language, iPad, Language Arts, Math, Paid, Science, Social Studies | Comments Off on Book Creator

Educreations

Screen Shot 2013-09-17 at 7.07.46 AMThis is another interactive whiteboard type of app.  It is similar to Show Me and Screen Chomp.  But it is even more closely related to Explain Everything due to its ability to move through more than one slide (or page) during a single recording.  Students can also scroll on the same slide/page if they need more room.

After hitting the record button, everything that is said in close proximity to the device is recorded – along, of course, with everything that is done on the screen.  Students have a choice of 10 ink colors – black, blue, red, green, purple, white, gray, brown, orange, and yellow.  The eraser and undo tools are also readily available.  Text can also be added.  It is quite simple to add an image to a slide/page.  Students can take a picture from the device’s camera or import one from the Camera Roll, DropBox, or the Internet.  Once imported, images can be moved, rotated, and resized.

Sharing is easily done by email, Facebook, or Twitter.  Students can access ‘Featured Lessons’ created by other users from within the app.  The Featured Lessons are grouped into the following categories: Computer Technology, Creative Arts, Health/P.E., Language Arts, Mathematics, Professional Development, Science, Social Studies, Special Education, Vocational Studies, World Languages, and Other.

Posted in 1st - 2nd, 3rd - 5th, 6th - 8th, Fine Arts, Foreign Language, Free, iPad, Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies | Tagged , | Comments Off on Educreations