I’m not sure I would consider myself a technology guru, but I am a technology lover (and I’d like to think a technology innovator) and I’ve had lots of people ask me about the apps I have been using with the school iPad. I felt the best way to answer this question is to write about it. Here are some of my app essentials that I use every day. I’m always looking for additional apps so please feel free to email or comment if you have any good apps you are using with students.
This is a free app where you can basically use it like a whiteboard. I use this with my students when I am doing word work time during a lesson. I can write the word part or the word down and display it for students.
As an incentive I usually allow the student who puts the word together the quickest and with the best handwriting to re-write it on the iPad. This has gotten some of my students more motivated to put their words together quickly and correctly.
This is another free app where you can track student behavior, participation, preparation, and a bunch of other behaviors.
As you can see to the right students are either given points or points or taken away based on their behavior in group. I use this as a way to track behaviors during group. I have this setting out for students to see, but they know if they discuss/brag/complain about points then I will deduct points as their job is to focus on their work. Please note that when you download this app you will then need to complete your class profiles on a computer at the Class Dojo website. You can have as many classes as you want–I have one for each group. But all changes on class rosters will need to be made outside of the app.
This is a free running record app from Clemson University and has become my #1 communication tool with the teachers I work with. It says you can either use your finger or a stylus, but I have not found a stylus that this works with. Now, I have to be honest that I am much faster at writing a running record with paper and pencil. So I often do the RR (running record) on paper and pencil first and then transfer it over after school, during lunch, or any other free time I might have. From there you can EMAIL this running record to anyone in a PDF format or as a picture. You can also record your student reading (which sometimes I will record the student reading while I take the RR on paper and pencil so I have the words per minute WPM ready and then save it so I can enter in the RR portion later) and anyone with an iPad can listen to the recording via the email. This app figures out the accuracy, self correction ratio, and fluency for you. You just have to enter in running words and number of errors and self corrections. When you tap on error or self correction it pops up the M-S-V automatically for you to highlight. You can save each running record under a student folder, which is fantastic. I try to send out 1 running record per student each week to their classroom teacher. It’s been a great communication tool between a classroom teacher and myself with a student who has been having trouble being successful. Now she can see every day how things are going. If you teach reading (which we all do!) YOU NEED THIS APP!
This is fabulous for the writing portion of a reading lesson when you are asking some of your younger students to tell you a sentence or sentences that they’ll be writing about. How often does a student get 3 words into a sentence before you hear, “Uhhh, Ms. Acuff. What was my sentence?” All the time!! And when you’re working with 3, 4, 5+ kids let’s be honest–we don’t remember!! Dragon Dictation has been my life saver because you can speak into the microphone and it will type what you said. This is fabulous because I can’t write quick enough to get their sentences down. Each student speaks their sentence and I have it right there for me to check if there are any confusions.
It’s quick and the students think it’s like magic. It’s fun to speak into the microphone and have your sentence pop up. Plus if you are running short on time and need to continue the writing the next day–no worries! It’s saved for you and ready to go that next day, or whenever you are able to write again. Don’t you already feel the stress melting away?
As a Reading Interventionist, I work with a lot of struggling readers and writers. One of the things I have to work on constantly is letter formation. It gets old really quick having to practice writing on the white board or the aqua doodle. This app has made it more fun to work on letter formation. The students are shown with a little train the proper way to for the letter. They are then able to trace over the letter. They have upper and lowercase letters along with numbers. The beautiful bonus is you can pick your tracing color OR fabulous print–like zebra or pink glitter as your “marker”…my girls absolutely LOVE the pink glitter and surprisingly my boys love the many different animal prints. The app even says the letter name and gives an example of the letter used.
Cimo is a penguin on a quest for fish. He can only get a fish if he is able to cross the ocean on little glaciers with letters. These letters must spell the given word otherwise Cimo falls into the ocean and he doesn’t get his fish. Wow! What a mission. You can’t let Cimo down! Cimo doesn’t get to come out and play very often, but it’s nice if there are a few spare minutes. This would or could be a good center activity if you were looking for student mastery in basic sight words. I don’t use Cimo very often, but it’s a good app for a game day/reward/possible center.
The above are some of my favorites that I use the most. Other apps I have are:
- YouTube–great for recently when my students didn’t understand the venus fly trap and we could see it quick.
- Word Family–great for word families. Another possible reward/center app.
- Photo album/Camera (pre-installed)–used to take pictures of my anchor charts and I can easily flip through the album if I want students to focus on a particular topic. This is essential for me since I go into the classrooms to teach and am not able to hang up anchor charts.
- ShowMe–great for wanting to show students a “how to” video on a particular subject. You can even make your own.
- Phonics Genius–lots of different phonics examples/ideas.
- iMovie–($4.99) turn your classroom videos into something a little more spectacular.
- Reminders (pre-installed)–use this so you never miss a meeting or coverage or whatever! It will start an alarm at a specific time or GPS when you arrive or leave a certain location.
- Read Me–stories app which will read stories to students.
- Splash Pad–projects your computer/iPad onto your promethean board from where you are in the room–so you can work Class Dojo on your promethean while you are at the back table teaching reading groups. (I believe this app is around $5)
These are some of the apps on the iPad I use. Like I said before, if you have any additional apps you think are worth while please share!