January 28, 2016
Teach your Monster to Read
It’s rare these days to find a quality educational website, resource, or app that does what it needs to following sound pedagogy and research and is free. But I’m very happy to report that Teach Your Monster to Read is one of these rare breeds. The website is designed to make learning to read fun and covers everything from letters and sounds to reading full sentences; a complete list of what is covered in each of its three games is available here.
Students create a monster and take it on an adventure through a magical world. They travel to exciting places, meet fun characters, play games, and win prizes as their monster learns the first steps of reading. Mini-games help them develop speed and accuracy in letter recognition. There is also reading for purpose with magical, little books.
The web version of Teach Your Monster to Read is completely free. The teacher simply creates an account for him/herself and then adds students. The password requirement for the students can be turned off to make it easier for them to log in. There is currently an iPad version of the first game, but it does not sync to the web version at this time. It is $4.99. A similar Android version is planned, but has not yet been released
What skills each game covers
January 13, 2016
BOOK CREATOR LOVE
If I had to choose just five apps to have in a classroom, Book Creator would be at the top of my list. Whether your students are four or fourteen, there is something about this app that is perfect for the classroom. Maybe it’s the blank slate you begin with, open possibilities, and ease of embedding your own pictures. But this app is all about creation.
So what could this app be used for?
1.) Portfolios. Each student starts a book at the start of the school year and adds a page over time. Recording their thoughts with the sound tool, taking photos of their work, or even typing a reflection. At the end of the year? Publish the book to iBooks and the student can keep their portfolio.
2.) Exploring Books. Snap a few pictures of a book that the class has read, and younger students could put them into Book Creator, in sequence, and add sound clips of retelling the story.
3.) Diary of a Field Trip. Take pics at your field trip and upload to Google Photos (my favorite way to sync my phone photos across devices). Kids can choose from the album, screen shot them, and create their own story about the field trip.
4.) Engineering Journal. Doing a big project? Students can document their steps and reflect along the way using a page each step of the way. Photos to capture the work. Videos to talk about struggles along the way. How great would it be for others to be able to see and hear the thinking that went into a student’s work?
5.) Math Stories: Because Book Creator is so simple to use, I think it opens itself up to being a great place for kids to practice thinking skills like drawing visuals to help solve problems or using the Comics feature to create a math story.
Even your youngest students will be creating in no time with this app and that’s why it’s always going to be on a my “must have” list. So many apps in education are nothing more than a worksheet. But Book Creator is a blank slate just waiting for creativity. And the possibilities are only limited to you and your students’ imaginations.