Free Educational Apps – Act Quickly!

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I found these today, thanks to http://techinspecialed.com

Please share with any speech therapists or educators who may benefit from this!

(Quoted from https://www.facebook.com/techinspecialed/info)

Not Sure How Long this Will Stay Free ***$40 Speech App gone FREE*** (39.99–>Free) Articulation with The Speech Wizard app is an innovative speech therapy tool to help children develop their articulation skills. This app includes: sound discrimination activities, flashcards, consonant blends, word, phrase, & sentence levels, data tracking, and a record button. It has been created for speech therapists, parents, and teachers to effectively teach children articulation skills in an engaging and motivating way. We use strategic sound sequence patterns with key target words and sound discrimination activities to help ensure positive outcomes.

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***$20 Speech App Gone Free*** (19.99–>Free) Social Skill Builder Full is an app that uses videos to teach appropriate behaviour and social expectations in a variety of situations for preschool, elementary and high school age students. Users are shown a video clip and then are asked a series of multiple choice questions about what happened in the clip. Correct answers turn green and there is a short animation along with a verbal reinforcement. A mistake causes the question to be re asked. I thought the app used some good common examples that most students could relate to. It would definitely be helpful for those with ASD who have difficulty “reading” subtle social cues and knowing what is expected of them. – Dianne http://bit.ly/PKwZqI

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***FREE app of the day*** (2.99–>Free) Neon Tiki Tribe: Bullies Written in a Dyslexia-friendly font, this title, which teaches children how to handle bullies, features bright colors, adventure, the Neon Tiki Tribe, and a review at the end for parents to create a teachable moment with parents with kids. Let this app help your child become a T.I.K.I. (Thoughtful Intelligent Kind Individual)! – Angie http://bit.ly/1lOeoqA

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***Free Price Drop Alert*** (3.99–>Free) Preschool Genius Math Booster Zoo Complete. 12 richly rendered games. Play with your zoo animal friends while learning basic math skills. More than just great graphics the interesting gameplay engages kids to have fun while learning about numbers. http://bit.ly/1lrqzdg

 

***Free Price Drop Alert*** (2.99–>Free) Toy School – Letters (Educational Game for Kids to Learn Alphabet and Letters). Learn to write letters, match words with missing first letters, find animals and food that start with different letters and do much more creative tasks with TOY SCHOOL teachers. Time to play and learn the first letters!

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Domo – Excite and Create with Animation Presentations

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I am on a constant quest to find new sites and #edtech resources to integrate into my classroom. Today’s students are digital natives who have the potential to do so many great things with computers and technology. That is why I feel a huge part of my job is to expose them to different types of technology, websites, and ways of doing things. In addition to this, I also realize the potential that technology has to allow students who might struggle with a pencil and paper assignment, to showcase their knowledge in a more appropriate way. I love when these students blow me away with a digital presentation that showcases all the skills and knowledge they have acquired!

Working with special need students over the years, I have learned the importance of allowing students to exhibit their acquired knowledge in a way that was easily accessible to them. As teachers, this requires a shift of thinking while creating a lesson. It requires us t put more weight on what we want the student to know (our lesson’s objective), and less on how we want them to display this knowledge to us (the product). By differentiating the product stage of the lesson, we allow students to show us what they know, without hindering them with activities that involve skills (which aren’t this particular lesson’s objective) that might hinder their ability to express their thoughts and ideas.

One such resource I found is DomoAnimate! My kids always love new sites, because they are “novel”
and the brain loves novelty. However, they LOOOOOOVEEEE this site! We are currently using DomoAnimate for a social studies unit on community (which I will post more about in an upcoming lesson when they are done), to produce group animations about life lessons every kid should know. (#whathekidsneedtoknow)

After what was a brief 5 minute introduction of the different aspects of the site, my students were off and creating. The interface of Domo is super easy to learn; it just takes a few clicks here and there, and you are off creating wonderfully entertaining animations. In fact, my students loved it so much, almost all of them went home that night and created their own (FREE!!!) accounts and made their own animations. This waswithout being assigned any homework to do so. I love it when they get this excited about things.

Brief Overview of DomoAnimate

The site is powered by GoAnimate, and it is a free animation site. Students are able to animate characters of their choice and they can add unique backgrounds, music, and sound effects too.  They can also add speech as text bubbles or add interactive elements for story-telling activities.  The website has a very easy to learn interface, with a drag and drop platform that is familiar to students. The best part is that students can make their characters come to life, as each character has a set of actions and emotions that can be added by simply clicking on the character and selecting from a drop-down menu. Domo animations can be embedded on websites or blogs, and can be shared either publicly or privately.

How Can I Use It In My Classroom?

While the possibilities are endless, here are a few ways I came up with.

  • Book Report
  • Trailer for a Book
  • Biographies – animating a subject’s life
  • Interviewing a character from a book
  • Interviewing a historical figure
  • Public Service Announcements
  • How-to-Videos
  • Bullying Prevention Videos
  • Social Issues
  • Illustrating Vocabulary Words (they won’t forget them after that)
  • Illustrating real-world math concepts
  • Sequencing

Have more ideas. Please share by placing them in the comments below! 

Click here for a video one of my students went home the first day and made. Pretty impressive for only have used in one day!

 

ModMath: An App Helping Kids with Dyslexia and Dysgraphia

Modmath app

“Make sure you line up your place values.” This is a phrase I utter over and over in the classroom and write on countless papers. For some kids, it just takes a little practice to remember this step. However for others, practice will not make perfect, it won’t even make “consistent.” That is because so many of our students suffer from Dysgraphia (a learning disability that affects writing), Dyslexia (specific learning disabilities in reading), or some other disability which makes writing difficult for them. But there is an app out there that is finally helping to level the playing field… and it is FREE!

ModMath is a free app on iTunes that is effective because it eliminates the need for students to write out their math equations longhand. In other words, it allows them to circumvent the most difficult part of the process for them, writing the numbers neatly on their paper. ModMath works so well because it allows students to use the touch screen and/or on-screen keypad to set up and solve math problems.

Having worked with children with special needs for years, I know the reaction many people will have – “Well how is that going to help them if they cannot do it on pen and paper?” My answer is always this: What is your learning objective? Is it to get your students to write neatly? Or is it to teach them to solve a math equation correctly? See the thing is, we still need to reinforce the longhand written form of solving the problem for these children, that much is clear. However, it would be a huge disservice to our students if we let them get stuck at this stage simply because their hand-writing and fine-motor skills haven’t developed far enough for them. Think of this app then not as a permanent solution, but as a scaffold to help your students move along learning the math that they are capable of solving, rather than making them frustrated, upset, and stuck at a level much lower than their true potential.

A Simple Overview Of ModMath

  • Works as a virtual piece of graph paper that allows the students to set up math problems in a grid format that is easily legible for them. In fact, graph paper was what my student’s were using before I found this app.
  • Students can independently solve addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fraction and equation problems, using the touchpad and never having to put a pencil to paper!
  • Once completed they can then print out their work pages to turn into their teachers, or they can also e-mail them directly to their teachers.
  • The ModMath app is free on the iTunes store, however, it is only available for iPads.
  • It has a very simple interface, that requires only a little modeling and practice.
  • The setting allow you to display bright text on dark backgrounds, allowing the numbers to be read more easily for students with dyslexia.

Take a quick look at the app being used with a 3rd grade student:

 

Read more on their website: ModMath

Symbaloo – A Wealth of EdTech Resources

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SymbalooEDU

Pinterest is a great resource for teachers that I constantly use, except that this year I found myself blocked at work! Looking for an alternative means to share resources and websites with fellow colleagues, I came across SymbalooEDU. For what I was looking for it worked perfectly and it also had an added bonus- it is already full of tons of EdTech resources!

What It Is

SymbalooEDU is a free, fully customizable, educational tool that allows teachers (or students) to save their online resources in the cloud with access from any device. It is very similar to Pinterest, however it differs in that it doesn’t require an image to pin. User adds “tiles” (sites saved as a tile) to a “webmix” (collection of tiles) and can easily share them with colleagues and/or classes.

Why I Love It

  • Teachers can easily save their favorite Web2.0 sites to a “webmix” with just a few clicks.
  • Registered users can access resources available on any device.
  • There are tons of already great webmixes out there that you can easily search for, and add to your collection.
  • When you update a webmix, even after you’ve shared it, those you shared it with will also see any changes you’ve made automatically.
  • Makes collaboration seamless!

How I Use It

I created a great homepage webmix for my classroom computers, so students don’t waste time typing in long URL’s or searching for a bookmark! It’s also available on my class homepage and Edmodo page, so students can access these sites at home quickly! Last, it has allowed me to store and share many Common Core Resources with fellow teachers, as well as helping me to locate a wealth of new ones.

Boards I Like:

Common Core Resources

K-2 Sites

EDU Tools

SmartBoard Widgets

Elementary Ed Websites for Math

Sumdog – Making Math Fun with GBL

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A huge trend in education lately has been the infusion of Game-Based Learning (GBL). GBL is any type of game-play that has defined learning outcomes. Game-based learning provides our students with learning opportunities that  engage them in fun, interactive instruction, while preparing them to participate in our globalized, technological 21st century society.

One site I really enjoy using with my students is SumDog. SumDog is a game-based math site, where a teacher is able to control what skills the children are learning. The site is free to use, and allows you to set up and monitor your class as well. You have the option to purchase a subscription to get progress reports on your students and analyze their strengths and weaknesses.

The website itself is really a fun place for the kids to practice their mental math skills. It requires quick thinking in a competitive environment. The students are able to choose from a large variety of different games.  The games are played by having users race against three other players who are using the site, which adds a competitive element that they really respond to (especially when they are competing against their own classmates).

Each student is assigned an avatar. Based on how well they placed in the games, they are able to collect coins which allow them to purchase new items from the Shop, for their avatars’ ensemble. Trust me, your students will spend hours practicing math skills to level up and get great accessories for their avatars to wear.

Check it out and I know you will love what you see! www.sumdog.com

They also have a free iPad app, but you’ll need a log-in to use it!

 

Biblionasium – Keeping Readers Excited About Reading

Biblionasium

Engaging Young Readers

If you read my blog, you know I am a Pinterest addict. While many (thousands really) of my pins go unread, some of the resources I find on Pinterest are very exciting. One such resource that I stumbled upon recently is a website called Biblionasium (think GoodReads or Shelfari – for kids).

Biblionasium is a great tool to get kids excited and engaged in their reading. Research has shown us that in order to get students to read better, we must get them to read more. Biblonasium is working to do just that in my classroom.

The site is a social network that allows students to share recommendations with one and other, and review books they have read.  On the site, thousands of books are categorized by their Lexile scores (but can also be change to Guided Reading, DRA, or Reading Recovery)  and are displayed in personal virtual bookshelves. As you input books you read, they are placed on your bookshelf with your reviews and recommendations. What I love most about this is that the students are more passionate about what they read. This is because they are given the opportunity to think about how they felt about each book, and then share it with their peers. Where normally, they just grab a new book and move on.

Likes:

  • Has a very simple interface that is kid-friendly.
  • Teachers and parents have access to reports with information including time spent reading
  • Medals are awarded to students for participating on the site
  • Easy to involve parents and share vital information about their child’s reading habits with them
  • Ability to create challenges that engage students and get them reading longer!
  • Pre-made letters and emails to send to parents and get them involved!

Dislikes:

  • Set-up required me to manually input each student’s information. I would have preferred the ability to use a CSV file, which most other edtech sites use.
  • Students have a lot of confusion entering challenges, and so it would be nice if I could just enter them all myself.

Over winter break, I set up a Winter Reading Challenge to keep my students reading over the break, so that they wouldn’t lose all their reading stamina. While not all participated, it was nice to see that so many met the goal’s challenge of an impressive 200 minutes of reading!

Give the site a try, you will be happy you did!

Why You Should Be Using XtraMath in Your Classroom

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The information processing theory supports the view that automaticity in math facts is fundamental  to success in several areas of higher mathematics. Without the ability to retrieve facts directly or  automatically, students are more likely to experience a high cognitive load as they perform a range of  complex tasks.

Two summers ago, as I was prepping for a new school year (okay I was pinning on Pinterest), I came across a website called XtraMath. It is easily one of the best websites I have found for our 3rd grade class and the results speak for themselves. If you want to raise your student’s math fluency, then search no further!

What Is XtraMath?

XtraMath is a free web program that teaches addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts which are critical to success in mathematics. Speed and accuracy are both important to fluency, and XtraMath will help kids build up both. Math fluency is essential for success with fractions, decimals, multi-digit algorithms and any higher level math. It is based on the assumption that students who regularly practice will quickly and easily recall answers when needed, freeing up mental resources for more complex problem solving (also known as fluency). Read more about Math Fluency here.

After a simple placement exam, fluency goals are achieved through timed practices. Students are given 3 seconds to correctly answer each individual math fact. If they answer the fact in under 3 seconds (the deemed rate for fluency) they earn a smiley face. An answered keyed in under 10 seconds earns a green check mark. Finally, if a student takes 10 seconds or more, the answer will display in grey beneath the math fact and the student still must key it in. Any incorrect answers show a red “x” and still require the correct answer to be keyed in. This is great, because it forces the student to focus on the right answer before moving on. These problems will also show up again soon, so that the student reviews them quickly, before they have lost the fact from their memory (a research based strategy for learning new facts).

Why Use XtraMath?

  • It runs itself (all you need to do is setup your class roster)
  • Parents can monitor student progress
  • Weekly Progress Reports: beautiful and informative graphs
  • It shows exactly what facts a student has mastered
  • It takes only 5-10 minutes a day
  • Works on tablets too!
  • No more grading mad minutes or fluency worksheets! (save the trees

Check out this video that explains XtraMath in the classroom.

Now get onto www.xtramath.org and get your kiddies started! You’re Welcome 🙂

Have you used this website in your classroom? Leave a comment below and tell us why you love it.