Monday, June 2, 2014

Every Day Apps

Someone asked me today to give them a quick list of apps we use a lot so I decided to do a quick post about the apps we use almost every day! Normally I really only post about free apps. Sadly while most of the apps in this post are free the websites attached to them are subscription based. However, some are reasonably priced for individual teachers, and totally worth it! So here without further ado are our every day apps...

The Raz-Kids app is free in the app store
The Raz -Kids program is part of the reading A-Z family. With this program you can assign tons of just right books to your students. Whole levels of books that are fun to read, and right at their level. They can read, listen, and take quizzes about what they have read, and the program tracks all of their progress online for you to review. This data is great when you're planning instruction. I paid around ninety dollars for a year of this program  and I haven't regretted it for one second. I can create and track accounts for up to 30 students I have students that range from DRA 3 to DRA 28 and this is a great independent reading program that meets the needs of all my students easily. There are also lots of Spanish books available.                                                     We use this for read to self, and listen to reading during our                                                           literacy block.

Find it in the app store
I also paid for a Premium subscription to Spelling City. The free version is okay but I wanted to be able to do more. I paid around fifty dollars for up to twenty five students. With the premium membership I am able to easily manage four differentiated spelling lists. During the literacy block students practice their spelling words with lots of fun games. On Fridays they take their tests online, and it records their scores for me. I can also print out the results with just a few clicks and send them home for parents. I would NEVER be able to manage multiple lists without this program. Plus the kids love it!

Lexia in the app store

Our school was already using Lexia before we received the iPads, but now we can utilize it much more. We use it during literacy block as for word work. It has fun phonics practice games for kids at every level. It also generates lessons for me to use based on their performance, and tracks all their progress for me online. We use an older version that is more cost effective, but those starting out will have to purchase the Core5 version. Individual/classroom licenses cannot be purchased as far as I know, but it would be a great resource for any school!

Find it here

Myon is also a subscription paid for by my school, and I don't think it can be purchased by individuals. If I could put Myon and Raz -Kids together I would have the perfect all purpose reading app, but can't. Myon is marketed as a independent reading system, but it doesn't work that way for us. There is simply not enough teacher control for me. With that in mind I use this for several different things. Listen to reading, guided reading, shared reading, reading in the content areas, and book clubs. The books in Myon are AMAZING,particularly the ones we use in the content areas we love them! The program just needs teachers to regulate it strictly! I LOVE this program, but my kids know how I expect it to be used. If they didn't it would be a free for all!

Go paperless with Notability
This app may cost five bucks, but it will pay for itself by saving on copy costs. We do all of our math worksheets here. I place their assignments in a Google Drive folder, and they upload and complete them here. They write with styluses just like they would with pencil and paper. Then they put it in their personal folder for me to grade. I have big plans for this app next year it is capable of so much that and I've only touched on it a little tiny bit!

Get Google Drive here

Google drive is my best friend! It saves me from e-mail overload, makes printing fast and easy, and puts all my kids work at my fingertips. Each student has a folder that I own (they have editing privileges) to store their work in. We put worksheets from Notability here, and all of their final copies for writing are here. They use their Google Drives to share Popplets and Pic collages too! I would lose my mind without this app!

Schoology is spectacular

Good news Schoology is free! It's sort of like Facebook for schools. My kiddos LOVE that it looks like Facebook! We use it for discussions about our reading, and constructed response questions based on our shared reading texts. You can also create assessments that students can take here! My kids also like to say hello to each other (and me) during our time apart. I love to read their little posts. They say things like "Hi girl" and "You are my BFF". Not academic, but still cute, and still writing!

Wow! I never realized how much we do each day. I just LOVE being 1:1!! Please note that most of these apps can be used in any 1:1 or bring your own device environment NOT just iPads! It's a beautiful thing!

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