Alien Buddies

alien buddies





Age Scale: 2+
Device: iPhone, iPod, and iPad
Quick Line: Toddlers off to a Great Start
What Educators Need to Know:
progress board

I was searching for a creative way to approach this post, and I stumbled upon this bulletin board from Pinterest.  It pretty much sums up why I like this app.  Milestone mastery varies from child to child.  Artgig supports this concept with another customizable app that provides a sound pathway for early educational skills.  Toddlers and preschoolers who probe this app are sure to have a great time landing on the milestone moon.

The app begins with four activity choices:  Match, Puzzle, Dot to Dot, and Stickers.  The heaviest content can be found with the Match selection.  Users can examine letters (lowercase, uppercase, and mixed), numbers (to ten, to twenty, and to fifty), colors, and shapes  in both audio and visual modes.  The goal is to drag aliens to matching space pods.  Those needing a little assistance can tap an alien for an audio clue.  Launch Puzzles for visual discrimination and fine motor skill practice.  Practice sequential counting with Dot to Dot.  And create your own universe with eight landscapes and over forty stickers.

My little space explorer loves this app.  D knows his colors, letters, and numbers to ten, so I have been choosing the more difficult categories before he starts playing.  But that little smartie has figured out how to finish, go back, and choose the categories that he has mastered!  This is a such a catch-22.  I love that he is able to complete the activities independently, but sometimes I wish I could lock them.  Gotta keep an eye on that little bugger!

Overall, this is yet another Out of this World app from Artgig Studios.  If you’d like to know more about their other fantastic apps, see my posts here and here.

Price: $1.99



Kids’ Vocabulary MindSnacks

Age Scale: 7-12

Device: iPhone, iPod, iPad

Quick Line: A Satisfying Vocabulary Meal

What Educators Need to Know:

What’s on the menu in my classroom? New words! In an effort to switch from memorization to internalization, I rewrote my recipe for growing a vocabulary. Gone are the bland flash cards. I’ve introduced color to our vocabulary plates with Kids’ Vocabulary MindSnacks!

Each patron at the MindSnacks diner has access to a unique meal with lots of flavor. For the lighter appetite, MindSnacks will provide one lesson free of charge. It includes a single list of related words on which to nibble. Sample the word, hand-drawn picture, part of speech, and simple definition.. Hear it pronounced and see it used in a sample sentence. Best of all, expand your palate by reading its origin, word parts, and homophones, when available. To aid in the digestion process, nosh on the nine fabulously creative and engaging challenges! You’ll learn to use, spell, pronounce, and visualize the list of words easily and without heartburn! Concerned that your Snacks might be bad for your health? Don’t be. MindSnacks are based on the Common Core Standards, so you are sure to grow healthy and strong!

Have a heavier appetite? Upsize your meal, and be prepared to devour 25 full lessons that include 350 words. Having trouble with a particular set? Don’t worry. MindSnacks will adapt to you. The customer always comes first!

My students gobbled this app up! They ate their veggies first, and read about their words before feeding on the goodies or games. They came back to their lists for refreshers, however, so I knew that they were getting a square meal. After each quest, students could see which words needed a little more attention, and they adjusted their play accordingly. It was wonderful to see them applying their knowledge of etymology! Mission accomplished!

I highly recommend that you taste this menu. You will not leave hungry!

Price: free for first lesson ($4.99 for full version)

Free Apps: 09.23.2013

Hi all! I’m back with free apps on a Friday. Remember, some of these are only free for a day, so you will need to act quickly. The Symbaloo graphic is bookmarked with the websites that I consult. There are others, but I’ve eliminated many because they either don’t focus on education, or they do not update weekly. Have fun! There are some good ones out there, including Shake a Phrase! See my post here.

Here are a few that caught my eye:

Smart Apps for Kids: Kids Coin Fun, Kids Math Fun (each grade 1-5)

Fun Educational Apps: Gorilla Band 3D, GeoWalk 3D Fact Book, Shake a Phrase, Ordered Fractions, Dream School, The Tree I See, iTooch 7th Grade Math ($.99)

Free Apps: August 9, 2013

Hi Everyone!

There are many free apps out there just waiting for you to grab.  But act quickly!  Some will only be free until 10:00 p.m.  Since there are so many websites that now offer Free App Fridays, I decided not to highlight individual apps but rather my three favorite websites.

Note:  Not all reviewers are teachers, and I cannot comment on the quality of these freebies.  But, again, free apps are low risk.  If you don’t like them, you can always delete them!

Check this every Friday morning, and you will stay in the know!

Best apps for kids



smart apps for kids



Fun Educational Apps


Back to School with Popplet


Age Scale: 5+

Quick Line:  Popplet to Produce!

What Educators Need to Know:

In an attempt to freshen up my first week, I put myself on Twitter. If you are an educator, and you are not on Twitter, you should be. There are AMAZING people doing AMAZING things in classrooms all over the world and are sharing their free resources and advice. Reading tweets is like popping snacks- quick, satisfying, and oh so good.  I don’t know why I resisted the urge to join for so long.  I guess I was trying to avoid such craziness as #sharknado!  Ha!

I found this link to starting the new year with technology:

[I must mention that this was tweeted by @mattbgomez and is a post from Karen Ogen’s blogspot site:  Matt B Gomez has an AWESOME blog.]

The very first idea caught my attention because it used an app called Popplet Lite.  I have used this app several times.  It is a very intuitive app that allows users to make graphic representations  while brainstorming, diagramming, listing, scrap-booking, presenting, and planning.  A quick tap produces a rectangle (popple) which can be stretched, moved, labeled, and filled with a photo.  The sides and corners of the popple can be connected to other popples to show relationships.  Think:  graphic organizers!  The Lite version (FREE) allows users to create a single popplet, save as a jpeg to the photo library, and email as either a jpeg or pdf.  This is what I have been using.  The paid version ($4.99) lets you create an unlimited number of popplets, which can be shared and edited by other Popplet users on the Popplet website and on other iPads.

The idea is to have the students create a graphic representation of themselves using popples.  Here is a quick mock-up of a Popplet about me!

2013-08-05 20.35.40

I have used Popplet after reading quite a bit.  For example, my kiddos tackled a nonfiction article about the Titanic.  Although the article detailed the events of its demise, they were not in chronological order!  Those tricky authors!  I had students create a timeline Popplet to show exactly what happened in the order in which it happened.  I hope it solidified exactly how quickly it actually sank!

I’m not sure if I should invest in the full/paid version.  Any thoughts?  Care to share any of your uses for Popplet?

Oh, and let’s connect on Twitter!

Price:  FREE (for Lite version)


$4.99 for Full Version:


Dropbox: The Best Productivity App?

dropbox icon
Back to School time means a fresh start – for students, teachers, even parents. For teachers and students, it is time for self-improvement, and who doesn’t want to be more productive? Is Dropbox the best productivity app on the market?

Age Scale: 10 to adult

Quick Line: Access EVERYTHING on the Go!

What Educators Need to Know:

For those of you that are unfamiliar, Dropbox is an app that allows users to save and share all of your photos, documents, and videos. You can access any file that you save to your Dropbox from all of your devices, your home computer, AND the Dropbox website. A very smart coworker [you know who you are! wink, wink] shared this app with our staff in the fall of last year, and I was fascinated but not convinced I needed it.

Enter The New and Improved iPod Teacher Blog. In an effort to maximize a minimal amount of time, I’ve rediscovered this gem. It immediately made me more efficient and streamlined my saving processes. [Note: Once you create an account, do not confuse yourself by creating a new one. Changing the preferences was a hassle. Actually, knowing that I needed to change my preferences was more of a hassle than actually changing them, but I digress.] My Dropbox account now houses my blog documents, images, logos, and media library. As I move into the fall, I plan on adding my teaching documents and personal iPhone photos as well. It will be interesting to see how quickly I fill my 2GB of free space!

I am, by no means, a Dropbox expert. However, now that my eyes have been opened, the opportunities for students usage are plain and clear. Could my students be saving their work at home and access their files at school WITHOUT a thumb drive??

Do you use Dropbox or another feature such as Google Drive? Do your students have access to Dropbox? Or has your network blackballed it?

Share your comments below. I’d love to hear how you use Dropbox or similar productivity apps in your home or classroom! Perhaps my humble coworker will share some of her awesome insights!

Price: FREE