This month, I have balanced app purchases and use among Literacy, Numeracy and Science.
  • The first new app that I purchased this month is “Spelling Tutor”. With this app, new users may be created and a custom spelling list (or lists) may be created for each user. Making new lists is the work of about 10 minutes or less. A voice recording and typed spelling of each word is made. Later, students may take a practice test. To do this, students click on the “speak word” button for each word and type the word into the blank. When the students complete the list, the app tells them which words were spelled correctly on the first try, and which words are yet to be mastered. In the settings, the order of the words can be customized, made case-sensitive, and there is an option to repeat “trouble words”. The program also has the capability to email results of the test and practice tests to parents. Very cool!! Price is only $0.99!!
  • The end of the school year will focus primarily on skills related to fractions in Mathematics. To this end, I purchased two fractions apps.
    • The first, simply titled “Tap to Learn Fractions” is comprised of tutorials that present basic fraction concepts in word, picture, and number form. It also gives examples of benchmark fractions and basic comparisons among those. At the end, students can take a test where they have to build fractions. This app is very rudimentary and simple, but is good for students who struggle with the basic concept of fractions. Worth the $0.99 price tag.
    • When students have graduated from the basics, they can use “Jungle Fractions. In this app, students may review the basics, then move forward to more advanced concepts such as
      • Comparing fractions with different numerators and denominators.
      • Converting mixed numbers to improper fractions.
      • Adding fractions with like and unlike denominators
      • Multiplying fractions.
    • There is also a “learn” section that teaches vocabulary and concepts with numbers, pictures and words.
    • The animals may be customized by each user, and results are displayed for students as well as in the “settings” area.
    • Cost is more expensive at $2.99, but it has far more capabilities than the “Tap to learn” Fractions app.
  • One of the science apps that I purchased is “My Birds of Prey HD”. This is a very neat app that fits in perfectly with the fourth grade Ecosystems science unit. The App is set up like a role-playing game where students are given a bird and drag it into a habitat. The habitats are: Marsh, Woods, Cliffs, Field, and River. The bird that they are given cannot be dragged anywhere except for its correct habitat. Each bird has bird sounds, and students may win new birds by matching facts for the bird. Learning new facts is made fun through these games, and students are also required to learn new facts to win food to keep their bird alive in its habitat. Students love this app, and it is worth the $2.99 price.
  • The final app that I reviewed this month is also the most expensive. At $9.99, Audubon Nature New England – The Ultimate New England Nature Guide, is the most expensive app I have bought to date. The app, however, is worth the money because of all it has to offer nature-loving students and its strong correlation to the Ecosystems unit. Students can truly make sense of the natural world around them by studying animal tracks, seeing different species, and in some cases being able to listen to sounds of the animal. Perfect opportunities for research abound as well, as students can see images, research range, and read a description. Best of all, since these are locally found animals, students can report a sighting that gets reported to the Audubon Society, and is automatically added to the “Journal” section with the opportunity to add notes!! The Reference section also includes the following features:
    • How to find mammals
    • Natural history of mammals
    • Mammal habitats
    • Mammal orders and families
    • Glossary