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Monday, May 18, 2015

Apps for Summer Learning

This is a handout used on May 18, 2015 in Palatine, IL for SPARK parents.

Apps for Summer Learning
Linda Wallin

Let me be the first to tell you, if you haven't heard it before, that you are your child's best teacher. You know your child better than anyone else. Furthermore, it is your responsibility to see that your child's needs are met. Take classes, get training, communicate with the teacher or other team members, to get the most accurate picture of your child in other settings. As hard as teachers try, they cannot focus on your child only all day. They are trained, caring people, who want you to know what it takes to make your child successful in school and it never hurts to ask questions.

Technology is important. I tried to advocate for students who couldn't read, saying we should spend as much time teaching them to use technology as we spend teaching them to read. Some of my fifth grade students were very capable on the computer with only second grade reading skills. Unfortunately, it's hard to create a standardized test that measures technology skills. If you want to know what your child should know about technology, look at the International Society for Technology in Education's technology standards: They also have information about apps.

Part I. How do I locate apps for my child?
    ◦    There's always Google: “How to buy apps for kids” 77,800,000 links, took me to page that told me how to buy them with my microsoft account.
    ◦, on the other hand, has videos of the apps to show you what they do. (Apps 4 Children with Special Needs)
    ◦    Don't forget Pinterest
    ◦    Kathy Shrock knows everything about technology. How to select apps for higher order thinking skills (HOTS):
    ◦    Kathy also has many links to evaluate apps:
    ◦    YouTube sometimes has demonstrations.
    ◦    Apple should know which apps are good:
    ◦    Ning is an online community you have to join:
    ◦    So does National-Louis University:
    ◦    Educators to follow:
    ◦    Lucy Gray (all things tech)
    ◦    Rushton Hurley
    ◦    Luke Allen (latest new tech)
    ◦    Luiz Perez (disabilities & tech)
    ◦    Bonnie Thurber (international projects)
    ◦    Arlene Borthwick (multimedia)
    ◦    Randy Hansen
    ◦    Rob Bowe
    ◦    Erin Preder (trends for students)
    ◦    Larry Ferlazzo (special ed)
    ◦    Ginger Lewman (latest trends in ed)
    ◦    Kevin Honeycutt (music)
    ◦    Joe Brennan (video)
    ◦    Judith Ormerod (hearing impaired, disabilities)
    ◦    Toby Price @jedipadmaster  on Twitter
    ◦    On Twitter using search for special ed apps
    ◦    ISTE has a list of leaders on its web site (educational technology leaders 2015)
    ◦    Read the reviews in iTunes, for example, the Xray app:
    ◦    “Junk by Kreneron
This is the worst app that I ever got. I say do not get this app because you can't use your ipad camera to see through things, you can only see the things that the game can remember. If you think that this is a good app, you, are wrong. “

    1.    Part II. iPads and Special Ed
    2.    A. Social Skills
    •    Sosh, for older kids, many good features
    •    Look! Train
    •    Zanny, tells story, but also has feelings portion of book
B. HOTS, higher order thinking skills
    •    Monument
    •    Aqueduct
    •    C. Productivity Apps
    •    DropBox
    •    Evernote
    •    iBooks
    •    Dropbox
    •    Educreation (whiteboard)
    •    Prezi for presentations
    •    Popplet Lite
    •    Notability, can type or write on surface for taking notes
    •    iTunes U, vast wealth of free information
    •    Minecraft, if you don't know it, learn it
    •    D. Storytelling Apps
    •    Animoto
    •    Comic Life
    •    Little Story Maker (to save use back button)
    •    Model Me Going Places 2
    •    Pictello ($19.99)
    •    Puppet Pals HD
    •    Speech Journal
    •    Toontastic, adds location, characters, music into each of the basic parts of a story.
    •    E. Language Arts
    •    VoiceThread, repeated reading increases fluency, can be shared with distant relatives, limited # of projects for free
    •    Readability, makes web sites less distractible
    •    My Story, kids may get distracted by features
    •    Word Mess, find words, rhyme words, leveled by ability
    •    Seven Little Words, difficult word puzzle, creating words out of given letters
    •    Spelling City, (my url is
    •    Snap & Read, reads to student, adjusts reading level
    •    Speech Journal, iSentence, iLanguage, iConversation, Story Builder, iQuestion, language apps for higher ability students (third/fourth grade)
    •    VD Dictation takes disctation, writes text.
    •    Chat Cat gives fun ways to communicate, pirate, Santa, Snappy
    •    Don't Let the Pigeon Run This App, new version of old game
    •    The Story Mouse, has British accent, reads some stories for free, charges for others
    •    Read and Write, names, sounds of letters, also consonant blends
    •    Word Search articulation, for older students, middle school
    •    Book Creator, can be shared in iBooks
    •    Duolingo, learn a foreign language
    •    Translate, translates from one language to another, 70 different languages
    •    Chicktionary, fun game to make words out of letters
    •    Bananagrams
    •    Daisy the Dino, teaches young children computer coding (programming)
    •    Sight words
    •    DTT (Discrete Trial Training) Words, Letters, Colors
    •    Word Ball, make words out of letters
    •    Tap to Talk, limited menu for non-speakers
    •    iComm, gives choices but you have to put in pictures
    •    ArtikPix, gives pictures with words or sentences
    •    Articulation station, records data as student pronounces word.
    •    Game Words, delivers words for pictionary, charades, etc.
F. Writing
    •    Co:Writer, word prediction program for kids who have trouble spelling
    •    Scribble Press
    •    Most word processors are available as apps, including the free ones (open source software)
    •    Day One, reminder to write each day
    •    Write About This
    •    Prompts 4 Kids
    •    Book Writer
    •    Writing Challenge
    •    Shake-a-Phrase, prompts for elementary kids
    •    Imagistory, allows child to record story for given picture
G. Creativity
    •    Garageband
    •    iMovie
    •    Scribble Press
    •    Notebook, makes interactive whiteboard pages
    •    Haiku Deck, for presentations
    •    PlayTime, granddaughters loved it
    •    MoMA Art Lab, fabulous!
H. Science
    •    Discover gives free materials every few months
    •    BBBBombs!, children must calculate angles of bounce to destroy bombs
    •    Science 360, by National Science Foundation, for older students or good readers
    •    Sky Guide for those interested in astronomy
    •    Earth Now shows Vital Signs of the planet ( like temperature, etc.) as well as orbiting satellites
    •    iLearn Solar System, has both explore and quiz functions
    •    Living Earth, amazing!
    •    Star Chart, lots of information, including pictures from Hubble
    •    Kids Discover gives free materials every few months
    •    I. Math
    •    Math Challenges, challenging math activities besides computation, answers given.
    •    Grade 5 Math, Splashmath, space theme, wide variety of topics
    •    Threes, addictive game
    •    Math Zombies, strictly number facts, but cute interface
    •    Jungle Time, Coins
    •    Questimate, has you compare two items' size and then shows correct answer
    •    Little Matchups Tell Time, students have to match digital clocks to analog
    •    J. Social Studies
    •    Discover Kids has free apps every few months, Incas, Roman Empire, Washington, D.C., Civil War, also Science.
    •    Brainscape Mythology
    •    AP US History
    •    Google Earth
K. Collaboration Apps
    •    Showbie
    •    Edmodo
L. Early Childhood
    •  is mostly geared to younger children.
    •    Dexteria
    •    My Playhome
    •    Photo Booth, can be used to teach speech or phonics
    •    World Book World of Animals
    •    Sound Book, makes sounds of animals, people and more
    •    Robot Maker, makes fun robots
    •    Artic2Go, student hears words, then records them
    •    the3Rs, student gets one word for each letter of alphabet, can write capital letters, add and subtract with manipulatives.
    •    Present for Milo, good for position words
    •    PaintMyWings, grandkids love it.
    •    My Little Suitcase, choose items going into suitcase, then tell where you are going
    •    Boca Nature, create a world with mountains, trees, and lakes.
M. Interactive Storybooks
    •    Busy Bunnies, interactive book, British accent
    •    Big Cat series
    •    N. Online Curation
    •    Pearltrees,
    •    ScoopIt
    •    Goodreads
    •    Flickr
    •    Diigo,
O. Naomi Harm’s Contact Information:
    •    Blog:
    •    Email:
    •    Twitter: @nharm
    •    Web Site:
    •    Recommended sources for app information:
    •    Appitic
    •    iPad Curriculum
    •    iPads in Education
    •    iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch Users Group in Diigo
    •    Mind Leap Tech
    •    Handouts: -> iPad Folder ->Presentations Folder

Friday, May 1, 2015


There are those who can sit and write whenever they want.
a prompt will start them writing
and a beautiful poem will result.

I can spend months on one poem, look
at it every day, put it away for a month,
bring it back out and change one thing.

In the end, it is good enough most of the time.
Sometimes it is beautiful.