The search for apps to develop student understanding of vocabulary continues. This month I have been working with the following apps:

  • “Build a Word” is an app in which you can enter your own list of words for students to practice spelling. It also features a recording feature where the teacher or students can record their voice reading the word. When students practice with the app, the letters for new words are displayed at the bottom of the work surface in random order. The recording of the word is played, then students drag the letters to the top, where there is a “crossword – style” series of blanks. When the letters are placed in the correct blank, the app says the letter out loud. Letters must be dragged in the correct order to spell the word, or they will stay in place at the bottom (you can’t move them). Good for ELL students and struggling spellers. I have used it for vocabulary words, as well as weekly spelling lists.


  • “Sock Puppets” is a bit more kid-friendly than the “Strip Designer” app that I explored last month. Students choose from basic backgrounds and different sock puppets. Then they choose props and scenery (max of 4). They may then record up to 30 seconds of voice recording. The different puppets alter voices to be higher or lower than they really are. My students really got a kick out of that! I have had students make brief “puppet shows” to illustrate the meaning of our new vocabulary words through dialogue.