Making Over Third Grade!: Appy, Appy, Appy! Pt. 2
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Monday, June 29, 2015

Appy, Appy, Appy! Pt. 2

As promised here is part 2 of my favorite apps for student use. This list is far from complete so I am sure I will have to add another post in the future about some more apps I love.

I turned to Buddy Poke when Tellagami became a paid app and it quickly became a favorite of mine. In this app students can create avatars and videos. They can have up to four cartoon avatars in a video and through the sharing feature they can share their avatar with others (the app has a built in QR code reader and a unique QR code for each saved avatar). This was a free app but I just discovered last week that now it is $1.99. 

I had students create avatars and we used them for our Kidblog images as well as for creating movies to show what students know via their movie making. 

Tellagami was free once upon a time and then it became a paid app. I bought the EDU version for me and afterwards I had nothing but problems. The app constantly crashed, didn't keep the text I wrote, and wouldn't record properly. I talked to a few others who used this app and they didn't have the same issues so I am going to try again next year and see if I can get it to work.

Popplet has a lite version as well as paid one. In class we used the lite version though I have the paid version (next year the kids will have this version as well). With the lite version you can only create one popplet but we found a work around for this - the page is infinite so we just shrunk one popplet and then create a new popplet.

With the paid version you can create many different popplets at once, you can work online as well. Using popplets you create in the online tab you can share the popplet with others and then they can work in the same popplet with you (their names are on their popples so you know exactly who is contributing what).

Popplet also has an online version now - you get 5 free popplets in the web based version however, you can't use this on an iPad (I tried and emailed them about it) and if you have the paid version on your iPad you still only get 5 in the online version. The work around I found for this is to create your popplets on the iPad tab rather than the online tab. You can't share these but you can project them. Otherwise you just have to make sure you have only 5 online popples at a time. This isn't really an issue if you are using it only with others who have iPads however, my grade level has  a mix of iPads and Chromebooks so during ELD and Intervention I had students with both devices.

Front Row is a great app for math practice. It is standards based, has a teacher dashboard that gives you specific information about student progress by student and by standard. Students solve problems and earn coins they can then use in the piggy store to purchase things for their pig. This app is constantly updating and now rather than just having students answer multiple choice questions they have written response and students work is based on their ability levels. They progress at their own speed but there is also an option to quiz them on a specific skill by standard in a 10 question snapshot. These are good for quick assessments after teaching a lesson or when coming back to class after having a substitute to see if they understood the lesson from the day before. 

Front Row is, and always will be, free for teachers but they have some assessment pieces now that are paid features. Additionally, they have a paid admin dashboard that can be used school wide to monitor student progress. 

Motion Math EDU is actually 7 games in one app. Each game targets a specific math skill, such as multiplication, or addition. Some of the newer games address several math standards. Cupcake (which is very addictive by the way) addresses unit cost, comparison shopping, coordinate grids, and students need to make marketing choices as well as the basics of economics.

The EDU version of this app is used in conjunction with their teacher dashboard which lists each game students have recently worked on and how they did (below, at, exceeds) on the standards addressed in games.

Motion Math also has the same games available in the app store individually or in bundles. Only the EDU version comes with the teacher dashboard however.

If you are interested, you should try them out - they have a 2 month pilot available so that you can try it prior to purchasing the program.

There are many free Math Apps by Clarity Innovations. These apps are wonderful hands on tools and they really helped my kids solidify what they were learning. We still used actual hands on manipulatives in class but I liked these apps because the kids could use the manipulatives at home, we could use them in place of the hands on items and students were still able to manipulate the images to show what they were learning. They were able to take screen shots and add them to their videos in Educreations (at the end of the year in Explain Everything) as well as to their books in Book Creator

Seesaw is an online (free!) class portfolio app. I love this app and can't say enough about it. Students us a QR code to log in once you have created your class. You can create folders and move items into each folder or give students the ability to upload to specific folders. The app allows students to upload work and add recordings or marking assignments on a whiteboard feature. Documents can be uploaded directly from the Google Drive and it converts Docs to PDFs.

They have a parent app so that parents can see their child's work (they do not have access to any other student's work) and soon they will have a feature that will allow students to comment on each other's work.

I like this app because it gives parents the ability to see student work over time, you can collect artifacts to share that shows student growth and you can show the same assignment in different phases (first draft through the published piece) which can be difficult at times on an iPad since they are revising the original document and there is no "rough draft" to reference later.

Newsela is not an app (yet) but this website has been invaluable in teaching nonfiction. This site levels current news articles by lexile levels grades 3/4 through 12. You can use the same article with different lexile levels. They now have an option where you can create "units" where you can link articles with a specific theme and they will be bundled together for easier access.

Newsela has a paid version as well and with that students can take quizzes and you can assign articles. This is not something that is affordable at the classroom level. If purchased it would have to be at the site or district level. I used just the free version and it worked just fine.

Here is a bonus app! I found this at the end of last year and can't wait to use it in my class next year.

Timed Test Arcade this app is very cool! The user chooses the operation(s), the highest and lowest numbers you will be working with, whether you want a fixed operand and if so, which one. The user selects the number of problems, and the time limit for the test. Once the test is started for a split second the user sees the whole test but then they finish the test seeing just one problem at a time. Once the test is done you can see how many problems the user got right and what the correct answers are for the ones that were wrong. The app also tells the tester what their average speed was in solving the problems. They then can email the results to you and upload them to Seesaw!

So, what are your next steps? What apps have you found that work really well for you? What apps have you recently discovered that you will be using next year?
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