Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Apps, apps, and more apps

I think I am going app crazy, yes, I DID mean to say APP crazy!  Since getting my new iTunes acct 3 weeks ago, I have been using every spare minute I can find, which is usually around midnight when I finally crawl into bed, to look for apps that will coordinate with my 1st grade curriculum or will help me to modify where needed for some of my outlying students.
I have found some great apps, and at this point, everthing I've downloaded has been FREE!!!! I' hesitant to spend my little nest egg all out one time. Trying to be very frugal to make my money stretch as far as I can. 

Some of my favorites so far are:

DoodleBuddy- I am constantly thinking of new ways to embed this app which is simply a drawing app. My original thought was to have my kiddos use it during their Word Work Daily 5 rotation to practice their spelling words.
Today it dawned on me that I could use then in place of my mini whiteboards for my daily review/mental math. The only drawback would be that we are use iPod Touches which gives us a small writing/drawing area compared to the size of the iPad.

My next fave, is not an app, but rather an app developer called GrasshopperApps. They have a phenomenal library of mostly free apps including books and learning games. I am especially in love with their books. The reader has the option to either read the book alone or to have the book read to them as the words are read and highlighted. I am planning to embed these into my Daily 5 rotation as well but am still pondering my main objective for this app to determine if they would better fit into my Read To Self rotation or my Listen to Reading rotation. Maybe I'm thinking too much about that decision..... I'll have to think about that.... LOL
I'm sure I'll be discussing these apps quite a bit over the year as they offer such a great variety of topics that are so appropriate for the youngest learners. I also love, but have not experimented with this yet, that you can customize their apps including using your own voice, removing and adding pictures, etc. What a great way to tailor an app to your specific curriculum pieces (sight words, spelling words, etc) More on that in a future post.

My biggest dilemna that is still out there in front of me at this point is: how do I want to organize all of these apps on my mobile devices now so that kiddos will be able to quickly and easily find the apps I want them to focus on. Right now I don't see this being a huge problem, but as the number of apps increases along with the number of pages, I foresee needing a system.

I am also toying with the idea of how to organize these apps in an effective manner for me to best utilize them for a specific kiddos specific needs. I want to create some sort of a spreadsheet that will allow me to quickly find which app will best fit a certain learning target. I am especially seeing this with apps that cover multiple learning targets. I started to create file that correlated with our math report card goals, but have quickly realized that this format has a lot of limitations in that it will only categorize apps for secure, end-of-the-year goals.
APPS for 1st Grade Report Card Math Goals

Any thoughts from anyone that has used multiple apps with multiple devices?


  1. If you have multiple devices, organizing the apps can be a very laborious task. I have a class set of iTouchs and I started to organize the apps and then I my enthusiasm for my idea petered out. I had one little smarie {6 years old} who figured out how to move them around and even change the wallpaper. My favorite part was he started showing others how to do it to their devices, too. What a pain it was to go and fix them! We had to have a little chat about customizing the devices!

    One math app that the kids LOVED was called Math Bumpies. It has a cost but it is totally worth it.

    Thanks for sharing and have a great day!

  2. Thanks for sharing these. I wrestle with some of the same issues in my classroom. Have you tried the StoryKit app yet? My firsties figured it out pretty quickly and were able to write stories, illustrated them and then e-mail them to me. I have some examples on my class website:


  3. I too have iPads and I am hosting a what do I do now that I have ans iPad in the classroom support group. I created a wiki that the whole school will be able to access but I was wo during how you actually got the app icon in your chart? I have tried and can only copy the link but I would love to have the icon for a better visual. Thanks, and good luck it sounds like you have a wonderful technology savvy little class.
    Jane plessl