We are so excited to get the opportunity to use these devices to support our daily learning. We will learn so much as we progress through the year (so I know this list will change/grow), but check back here from time to time to see which apps we are using at school and a short description of how we are using them/how you could use them at home.
If you are looking for an app to buy for your kids, the app that they are over the top excited about right now is called TeachMe. It works on math, spelling, and sight words. When the kids enter ‘Teach Town,’ they can go to different stores or they can go to school. In order for them to have money to spend at the stores, they have to earn coins at school. You earn one coin for every three questions that you answer correctly. They are super good at the math and sight words, it is the spelling that is harder for them. The teacher will only accept words that are written with letters that are formed correctly. Sooooo…when we focused on making letters at the beginning of the year, your kids were told many times, “Where do you start your letters? AT THE TOP, AT THE TOP!!!” If they try writing a letter from the bottom up, the app will not recognize the letter and they will have to try again. It really looks for the letters to be touching all the right spots on the lined paper, so it is great practice for the kids to know whether or not they are forming their letters the correct way. Once they have earned coins, they can go spend them at any of the stores. There is a Shape Store, an Art Store, and a Fish Store. The kids get to pick something from the store and store it up on a sticker page. They LOVE this! The app costs $1.99, but it is worth it!
We tried out a new app for math fact fluency this week. The kids seem to enjoy it much more than they enjoy using the XtraMath website. This app is called: Math Up. The kids get a chance to practice their addition and subtraction strategies and work on becoming more fluent as they work through the levels of this app. The kids get to pick if they will practice addition, subtraction, or a combination of both. Then the app starts them at the most basic level of practice and they progress their way to more complex levels of difficulty. The problems are broken down into smaller groups per level than on the XtraMath site and the kids don’t have the pressure of being timed (just the threat of making this little guy tear up).
Language Arts Apps:
These are sight word apps that have different levels of difficulty in words (Sight Words) or different word feature focuses (Phonics Genius). The kids choose a level and then work in the quiz game mode. When they choose a level, the screen will show about four words and the app will say one word from the list that they want the student to find. In Phonics Genius, the words in the list are all similar and the reader needs to really be aware of word endings to make sure they find the correct word. This is an area that a lot of first graders can use extra practice. The word lists can be very lengthy and the app doesn’t give you any idea of how close you are to the end of the list, but that is the only complaint that we have found. Both of these apps are free.