Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Freebies for Readers

I keep getting requests for apps which will support literacy for school age children. Here is a short and quality list (10) of apps for teachers and/or parents to use to motivate their budding readers. These apps will not teach the content but reinforce the effective teaching occurring in the classroom. :)  It is best practice for the adult to preview and play/use the app prior to sharing/implementing.


LAZ-leveled reading libraries. If you type in LAZ, then wait to see what pops up, you actually don't download a LAZ app but search through some lists of leveled readers. My son loves the "Discovering Dinosaurs", the girls are enjoying the "Three Little Pigs".

Mad Libs: Who doesn't enjoy Mad Libs! There is also a Goofy Libs (etc) but that comes with a prices. This will broaden children's vocabulary and inspire creativity, plus laughter!

Puppet Pals HD: Contains one sample pack, which is great for kids to start using then you can upgrade to other packs. Your student/child can create their own skit and produce a theater presentation with very little direction. What a great way to promote plots and cause/effect writing.

USA Today: No need to buy a set for your classroom or home. Students can read it like the traditional version.

Shake and Spell:  Remember Boggle? Same concept and it has built in differentiation for various levels of learners. yes!

Spell It 2-3-4-5: (Lite): This encourages kids to spell 2-5 letter words. There is a practice mode and a quiz mode. Hours of fun.

Middle School/High School

Constitution and Declaration of iPad:  Tired of  hearing about or reading one more blog or article how  students today do not know or understand the basics of our's the answer! There are actually two different apps. They are very basic and information, no interactive characters or frills, but very important for our future leaders to read and have access to these primary source documents

Shakespeare: No Shakespeare is not dead, he's free!  You can search for terms from his complete masterpieces. The 'pro' version is pricey but has a glossary and portrait gallery. The free version is perfect if you need multiple copies of each play.

Goodreads: Let your students be the critics of the books they read. This is a great social networking site, they can rate the books, get suggestions and form book groups online. NOTE: students must be 13 to set up an account.

Spell It 6, 7, 8, 9: (Lite): Keep those students increasing their vocabulary and spelling more challenging words. It has a practice mode and a quiz mode. Addicting like scrabble.

Hope these will get you started...come back for more. Remember: reinforcement and reviewing of knowledge helps students rise to achievement!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Spring Break?

It IS Spring Break at Rockhurst, but that doesn't necessarily mean there is a break from learning!  This week I have been meeting, reading and talking with community members, teachers, students about new technology in the classroom. Don't feel so sorry for me yet, it has been over coffee, email, or I am enjoying the relaxing aspect of a week away from campus. 

This week has shown me how exciting learning can be with technology as I could be just pushing this all aside until next week. But, what I have been discussing with others has been extremely interesting!  Many exciting opportunities are coming to our students in the KC area in the next few weeks-next few years. There are several schools in our area going to 1:1 devices, mainly iPads. Undergraduate students in my course: Technology in the Classroom will be sponsoring Tech Clubs in two of our local Catholic Schools once a week for free.  Several teachers I have talked with this week have shared articles, workshops, blogs they have learned from on how to further improve their use of technology in their own classrooms. Out of all these  conversations, one theme is apparent: selective use of technology tools for learning. More and more educators are realizing the importance of taking the technology integration into the the classroom with ease and purpose. No longer can we afford to take a 'break' from questioning the specific purchase and use of technology with our students.  I applaud those educators who would rather research, reflect and THEN integrate the technology found to be the best supporting material for students and themselves rather than jumping on the next fast bandwagon to the latest and greatest gadget.

To all of you who are on spring break or have spring break coming up...learning comes in all shapes, sizes, and situations. Don't take a break from learning!