Tuesday, October 23, 2012

My iPad Apps


I took screen shots of most of my teaching related iPad apps.  These are aimed mostly at k-2 age students, but some apps will work for any age, or have a similar app for older students.

First up, my teacher tools:

  • Common Core.  Simple: just lists common core standards.  Free.
  • Doceri: Use your iPad to control your computer.  Create videos of lessons.  This one is complicated, but I love to use it to run my computer while I'm teaching.  Free and paid versions
  • Rover: This is a browser which allows you to run flash games and movies. Free.
  • Educreations: Create movies or slideshows.  Their website has already finished movies for share. Free.
  • Dropbox: a MUST have for your computer and iPad.  Free.
  • Threering: an online portfolio of student work.  They have just made it available for students and parents to log in and view.  Free (but I'm not sure for how long, so get it now.)
  • Slideshark: make powerpoint like slide shows. free.
  • Showme:  another video creation app. free.
  • Screenchomp: another video creation app. free.
  • tooloud: decibel meter you can use to show kids how noisy they are being. free.
  • cloudon: use this to view office files and also access dropbox and other cloud resources.  free.
  • chrome: just the browser.
  • classroom:  I haven't used this one much.
  • makegroups: helps you set up groups.
  • The quiet game:  buzzes when the class gets too loud.  The class competes against itself to stay quiet longer and longer.
  • classdojo:  I actually just use their website on safari with my iPad because the app is still rather limited.
  • win a spin.  99 cents.  This is a great teacher-created app.  Kids spin to win one of 6 prizes which you can determine ahead of time.
  • the last one is just a link to my district's gradebook program, and not an app.  (you can do this in safari by clicking the share button and add to home screen.)

Reading Apps

  • ReadingRaven: phonics, letter writing, reading, etc.  Set at age 5 and up and it starts around kindergarten level.
  • Read On Sight: Reads a sentence, then scrambles the words, student reassembles the sentence by reading the words.
  • Reading Rainbow: free version only allows one book to be open at a time, but there are tons and tons of great books.
  • Fluency Test:  Student reads a sentence and answers yes/no.  Gives you a general reading level at the end of many questions.
  • iStorybooks: takes a while for the books to download.  A narrator reads the pages of the books.
  • Read Me Stories.  Another book app.
  • Play Sight Words: Sight word practice.
  • sentencemagic:  sentence building and sentence reading with blending and hints available.
  • Fluency:  A simple 1 minute timer.  Students touch the red record button and record themselves reading whatever selection you give them (not from the ipad, but from the actual book).  when it's finished the student can save the reading or email it.  You can later listen to see how the child did, or the child can listen to him or herself read.
  • Sight Words: Student tries to read the sight word, if they can't, they tap the word and it's read to them.
  • GrammarJammers: Practice with parts of speech
  • Comparitive Adjectives: "touch the angrier child" "touch the straighter hair" etc.
  • Opposites: tap words that are opposites to match them and clear them from the screen.  The words are read so this is nice for non-readers.
  • Sight (gopher finding):  Gophers pop up with sight words, you touch the one they tell you to.
  • TimeReading: Stories students can read and be timed on.  The story is on the ipad screen.

Phonics Apps

  • pocketphonics.  Good for very beginning readers and writers.  Students trace letters on the ipad, hear and say sounds and match them.  I bought the paid version for my lower kids.
  • playwords. Students put in missing letters, or choose a word from a list of words.
  • words.  This is actually not a phonics program, I put it in the wrong place.  This is sight words.  The student traces the sight word.
  • ReadingSkill. Students can practice segmenting and blending words.
  • Phonics Genius. This one lists sounds.  Students can hear the word, then record themselves saying it, then listen.  Great ELL app.  Great speech app.
  • Wordball.  Fun Electric Company game.  Videos about phonics where they collect word balls. Then words go across and the child throws a wordball at the correct words.  For instance the silent e on has you throw e's to words like cap to change them to cape.
  • WordFamily.  A word building game.  Change twist to twin, change twin to twig, etc.
  • Phonics Awareness.  Has segment, blend, vowels and check yourself options.  Good basic phonemic awareness and phonics.
  • PlaySquare.  Word World.  Basic phonics.  Early first grade or younger.
  • ReadingSkill Part 2. Same as reading skill with some different, more advanced options such as blends.
  • Tic Tac Toe phonics.  Students answer phonics skill questions to earn spots on a tic tac toe board.  This is done by Lakeshore.  The biggest problem is non-readers or low readers won't be able to read the questions.
  • Fun Rhyming. Uses word families.  Student clicks on rhyming pairs.

Story Creation

  • These apps are all for students to create a story.  They could easily be used as a prewrite.
  • sock puppets
  • toontastic
  • storykit
  • puppetpals hd
  • scribble press
  • sparklefish
  • clickysuper
  • story creator
  • my stories

Math: Addition/Subtraction

  • Find Sums.  Ten frame: make a ten. (or other selected sum)  Part/whole, make a part/whole chart.  It tells you the whole, you find the parts.
  • Lunch Rush.  Print out QR codes and students solve problems, scan the code to earn rewards in the game.
  • Math Drills Lite. Add, subract, multiply, divide.  Numberline help.
  • Math Ninja. Will appeal especially to boys.  Arcade like game with addition and subtraction practice built in.
  • Math Evolve Lite. Arcade type game with all 4 operations.
  • HungryFish.(motion math app--all motion math apps I've seen have been great, but this one works for my students' level.)  Combine number bubbles to make the food equal the sum on the fish.
  • MyMathApp.  very simple add/subtract practice.
  • Koala Math. Add or subtract.  Uses pictures and numberlines to help solve problems up to 20.
  • Speed Games.  This is by success maker.  Simple addition and subtraction.  Good fluency practice.
  • Multitouch Math.  This is combining numbers by using your fingers to tap. Good for multiple addends.  Challenging app.
  • MathRacing Turbo.  Race car moves along track.  Timed:  good for fluency.
  • MathTrain Free. Addition or subtraction.  Has some scaffolding built in add or subtract.  If you touch "show me" it shows a picture to help.
  • Adding apples. Students create their own addition problems.
  • Math Puppy.  Math bingo, Math Challenge, and Math Calculator.  Simple practice to make bingo, or fluency practice in math challenge.
  • Butterfly Math.  I got this one for free but it's worth paying for.  Lots of ways to add and subtract.  Includes missing addends, subtrahends, etc.  Very visual.  I highly recommend this one.
  • OperationMath.  A spy story where students have to solve math problems to find clues.
  • MathZombie. Touch numbers to add up to the sum given.  Good challenge.
  • ChickenBounce. Move the rubber raft by solving the addition or subtraction fact and helping the chicken jump across the river.
  • NumberScale. Use numbers to balance the scale.  Great for the idea of = means the same.
  • KnowYourMathFacts. Uses fact triangles.  Find the missing number.
  • Easy ABC 123.  This one quit working when I got ios 6.  Hopefully it'll start up again.
  • Ladybug Math.  Similar to Butterfly Math.  Very good.
  • Bingo Free.  Solve math facts and cover answers to get bingo.
  • Froobles Maths.  Build number sentences.  Has a place value part to it.

Okay, this is taking longer than I thought it would.  So I'll post these and add more later.

I hope this is helpful to you iPad users out there.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Halloween Decor


I just wanted to share some of the Halloween decorations we've somehow managed to sneak in a few minutes to make.  (Don't get me started on the lack of time for anything but language arts and math especially in title 1 schools these days.)

We made these ghosts.  I inherited the pattern from my team years ago when I first started teaching at my school.

This one is mine.  The pattern is printed on white xerox paper. Then it is glued onto colored butcher paper. This year I let the students choose between orange, black, green and purple backs.
If you do this in your classroom, it's important to have students only put glue where they're not going to cut, or give it plenty of time for the glue to dry before they do the cutting.  I just look on the back and use a pencil to draw a line along the spiral to show them where to put the glue.

Here they are hanging from my lights.  The camera doesn't like shooting into a light. Sorry.

The kids love the spiral tail hanging down.

It's fun to see how they each decide to decorate their ghosts' faces.

You can see the colored backs better in this one.

Ghosts coming and going.  

Another angle.
On a completely different note, I spent some time this weekend playing with one of the ipod touches I got from Donorschoose.org.  I'm so excited to get these into the hands of kids, but first I need to get screen covers and over the ear headphones.  If you give a mouse a cookie....


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

October Craziness

Hi all,

I'm going to quit making excuses and just post whenever I can.  Thankfully, I have a long, four-day weekend coming up.  Just in time to take my car whose "check engine" light turned on yesterday to the shop.  (Not at all what I planned to do, of course.)

In happy news, my kitchen which is in the  middle of a remodel is getting much closer to finished.  I have cabinets and a floor.  The counters are supposed to come tomorrow.  :)  It will be so nice to have a new kitchen, and even just a working sink!

I managed to get a few pictures of our almost finished art project.  It's a crayon resist painting.  The kids drew the jack o'lantern faces and colored them with crayon, then painted over them with orange paint.  Here are some of them as they were still sitting out to dry before the kids cut out the pumpkin shape.

That's about it for now.  Not much, but it's a post.  :)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Donors Choose & Chevron

Hi all,

I'm SO excited!  My donors choose project was just fully funded by Chevron through their Chevron Fuel Your School program.

We are going to get 8 iPod touches for our classroom!  Oh, I can't wait to present them to the kids and start using them!

It feels like my lucky day!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Woohoo! I'm a Winner!

I occasionally run around cyberspace and enter some of the blog giveaways.  I figure I might as well try.  Besides there's just so much good stuff out there, and I can't afford to buy it all!  Well, I am very excited to say I won!

Dana over at Fun in 1st Grade had a huge 500 follower giveaway, and I was the lucky person who won the $80 vista print card!

I didn't let the ink dry on the e-mail (hmmm, need a better saying for e-mail!) when I got the news.  I ran (okay clicked) right on over to vistaprint and started dreaming and spending!

So, the first thing I found was magnetic business cards.  Now, this is my first year using the Super Improver Wall from Whole Brain Teaching.  I've been wanting to give the kids little rewards each time they progress.  So, I bought 200 of these:
Oh, I think they will LOVE them!

My super improver wall is based around a Hollywood theme, so I also got these pens which say:  Ms. Wilkins presents...A Super Improver!  Thanks for all your hard work.  They have a picture of a clapboard on them.

And the last thing I got was a little something for me.  It's a self inking stamp.
Thanks again to Dana!  I'm sure the kids are going to love the great prizes!  Click on the link below and go take a look at her wonderful page.


Saturday, October 6, 2012

First Grade Common Core

Hi all,

My state has adopted the common core standards.  I am excited to be teaching the same thing as many other teachers in other states.  Here is a resource I'm going to try out.  It has activities listed by common core standard and the pages I've seen look very cute and engaging for the kids  I really like that it's separated by standards, that makes it easy to find the pages I need.

You can preview The First Grade Common Core book and see for yourself if it's something you would like.

Are you teaching the common core standards?  How do you like it?  I'm still rather undecided other than the fact that students in most of the U.S. are learning the same thing.


No pictures


This school year is just so overwhelming, it's all I can do to get through the day.  With so many new things I'm required to do, my brain is so full that I don't think to grab the camera until I get home and have nothing to post on my blog.  So, I'm going to take a moment and try to focus on some positives.

1. My super improver wall seems to really help motivate the kids and is even working with my student who just came knowing no English at all!  I love when the new things I try work out.  Especially after putting all the effort into them.

2. We had our first spelling test of the year this week.  All but one of my students (and not the ESL kid listed above!) passed with flying colors.  I only hope this will continue when the newness of it wears off.

3. I work with a wonderful team of teachers and even though things are extremely difficult, we support one another and are helping each other through it.

4. My students are starting to know the expectations and routines of the classroom.  This makes things go so much smoother (or is it more smooth?).

5. I have had some very kind compliments from one of my kids' parents.  If you're not a teacher and you have kids, I can't emphasize how much just a "thank you" means.  And when you're more specific like this mom was, it really helps make facing all the crappy stuff that comes with the job a little easier to take.

I can't promise you pictures next week, but I'll try.