Posted in iPads, Learning

4 Apps for creating…3 different ways!

Screen Shot 2012-12-02 at 8.32.19 PM

Often iPad apps are seen as a quick fix to boredom – used to entertain, with minimal thinking involved. Here are 4 free apps to use in the classroom, for students to create, rather than to consume!

Number pieces – free

  • Using number lines as a basic counting tool in Numeracy, and annotate to show different numbers on the line.
  • Making numbers to 100 using the Base 10 blocks.
  • Forming a variety of numbers and annotating their extended notation. This could be photographed and added into Educreations, to include students voice to explain their thinking.

ChatterPix Kids – free

  • Counting to 10. Students can take a photo of themselves, add a mouth and record their verbal counting.
  • Role-playing. Students can record their thoughts on what to say in certain situations they may encounter in the classroom or in the playground.
  • Oral presentations. Students can record their thoughts on paper and then read them aloud while recording their own voice.

Make Beliefs Comix – free

  • Inserting characters to use as a basic storytelling tool.
  • Using the characters to add speech bubbles and create dialogue between 2 or more characters.
  • Create a comic which includes dialogue, and follow it up with a lesson on talking marks when writing.

PicCollage – free

  • Learning a specific sound/blend. Students take photos of objects around their classroom that begin with that sound/blend. They can add text, or a title of the letter they are working on.
  • Writing descriptions. Students can photograph an object, and add text to add adjectives around the photo.
  • Modelling behaviours during Literacy – how to Read to Self. Students can take photos of their partner reading and annotate with text to identify the correct behaviours to show during this time.

(These ideas were designed with F-2 classes in mind, but can easily be adapted for higher year levels.)

Posted in iPads, Technology

Recent ‘gems’ from the App Store

I thought I’d share with you a few of my most recent valuable iPad downloads from the App Store. Some of them I found through apps like AppOfTheDay and AppsGoneFree, whereas others were in the featured section of iTunes.

ABC Spy HD – free

A fantastic introduction to the alphabet for students which integrates with the world around them. Students are to scroll through the alphabet and take a photo of something beginning with each letter. They can choose a frame for their photo, add the word using text if they like and email and print the book when they are finished. Taking photos of classmates who have names starting with letters is a good way to start the letter-sound relationship and the fact that it can be made into a concrete material is fabulous!

Curious Ruler – free for a limited time

This app would be a fantastic resource for the maths classroom, especially when measuring using formal and informal units. By taking a photo of an object in the classroom, students can choose an informal unit to measure it with – compare the object’s length to the Australian $1 coin, a soccer ball, or a DVD. Changing the units means that you can view the results in centimetres or inches and encourage students to check that it’s correct using hands-on materials!

Dreamtime – free

This iBook-style app features a variety of Dreamtime stories written, illustrated and animated by students at Healesville High School. It offers an audio feature, so the story can be read aloud, or students can read it themselves. By touching individual words, they are read aloud for a full, authentic reading experience. For anybody who is teaching Indigenous culture and would like to focus on the history of story-telling, this app is a great find! 

K12 Timed Reading Practice Lite – free (Full version – $2.49)

If fluency and comprehension are a focus in your class, this app offers an easy assessment method. By entering a student’s name, you are able to ask students to read a passage as the app times how long it takes and calculates a words per minute score. At the end of each passage there are 3 comprehension questions for the reader to answer, highlighting correct and incorrect answers. While this version is free, it offers a range of passages to choose from without limiting you too much.

K12 Equivalence Tiles – free

Another app by K12 Inc., this app allows you to manipulate values in fraction, decimal and percentage format, to show the comparison between them and highlight the equivalence. With each different value colour-coded, it makes it easy to see the similarities and differences between the 3 types of figures. While there isn’t any option to export the chart, taking a screenshot of it and importing it into another app like Explain Everything or Educreations would allow students to explain and rationalise their mathematical thinking.


Although this is just a snapshot of what I’ve recently downloaded, I hope they’ve been helpful!


Posted in iPads, Technology

Apps for Early Years Literacy

One of my colleagues came to me today to ask me about Haiku Deck. Simple question, simple answer – took no time at all. But while she was in my office she asked me if there were any other apps that she could be using in her classroom.

She is confident in using Haiku Deck and Educreations. Great start. She’s confident, her students are confident, but she realised that she needed to take another step.  As the Junior Primary unit have just introduced the Soundwaves spelling program, I showed her how to use the app Popplet to help students segment into their phonemes and graphemes. I found this idea from the Conversations in Literacy blog, via Pinterest. Even though the blog shows how to break words into syllables, this is also perfect for the segmenting stage of Soundwaves. Popplet is not a strict Literacy app, but for this purpose – it creates the boxes automatically and can be easily photographed to record students’ learning. We only have Popplet Lite at my school, but there is a full version you can pay for.

My colleague’s class is also looking at recounts and retells in Literacy. I showed her the app Tellagami – it suits the purpose of retells really well. If retelling the story using their own voice, students only have 30 seconds of talk time. This is a big point to make to just include the most important points. If students are capable of typing in their retell of the story, they only have 420 characters to type. Personalising their Tellagami, or their character, is all part of the fun – using photos as a background, changing their voice etc. These Tellagami’s can be saved to the camera roll as a video, or emailed.

The final app (or collection of apps) that I showed her were the Collins Big Cat Reading apps. These apps have 3 options – Read to Me, Read by Myself or Story Creator. As most storybook apps, the main function is to read the story, or have it read to you. My favourite function on these apps though is the ‘Story Creator’ option. This allows children to retell the story by building the whole book. From choosing the background to the characters, students can recreate the story and even record their own voice as they tell you exactly what happened in the story that they were reading!

I left work with a very happy colleague this afternoon. I was pretty happy too. People are asking for help and happy and grateful for advice. Small wins 🙂