PrepositionBuilder

Preposition builder icon 2 PrepositionBuilder by Mobile Education Store

For iPad – AUD$8.49

I was excited about the prospect of using PrepositionBuilder in the classroom. Students sometimes have difficulties understanding that prepositions link nouns, pronouns and phrases to other words in a sentence. Bring in the iPad and PrepositionBuilder and you can use it as part of your literacy block activities.

PB1Like all Mobile Education Store apps, PrepositionBuilder launches on the settings screen, where you can add multiple students and customise the app settings for each profile. You can switch on or off the following:

  • audio instructions,
  • correct answer reinforcement, and
  • the option to record the correct answer.

I went through all nine preposition categories with my students; and each category had 21 preposition questions with between 3-4 preposition words to work on. The goal is for the student to view a cartoon image and partial sentence and then drag the word they think is correct from a choice of 3 similar prepositions up to the sentence strip. Overall, the students I used PrepositionBuilder with were able to visually interpret the pictures correctly on their first to third attempt. The images are appealing to children in the 5-10 year age category. Some students thought that they were really funny and wanted to create their own funny images after using the app.

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In our literacy unit we were learning about reading visual literacy. This is the ability to see, to understand, and ultimately to think, create, and communicate graphically. Generally speaking, the visually literate viewer looks at an image critically with an eye for the intentions of the image’s creator. The first level of visual literacy is the basic identification of the subject or elements in a graphic. Understanding what we see and comprehending visual relationships is important. These higher-level visual literacy skills require critical thinking, and they are essential to a student’s success where information is conveyed through visual formats. It is great that every question in PrepositionBuilder requires students to ‘read’ the visuals as well as the written sentence.

While I generally liked the format and images associated with PrepositionBuilder, I thought that some of the images could be (and were) interpreted by students incorrectly. One student was visibly perplexed when explaining to me that “The family was driving to the grocery store.” because the car was not parked and was moving towards the store and it couldn’t possibly be ‘at’ the grocery store when the wheels were still moving. We do teach our students to be critical thinkers!

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Another student thought that “The girl is riding her bike to school.” was more appropriate than ‘at’ because people were waving at her as if she had just got there.

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All of my students answered the question wrong about the library. They thought it should be “The girl is reading a book at the library.” rather than ‘to’ the library because it didn’t make sense to them and the girl was at the library – just not inside. I had to explain that they had to look at all of the clues in this picture. The library had a face and a speech bubble.

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All of these student discussions led to the students using more expressive language. I wasn’t expecting this to happen on such a large and lively scale, which made it a fun and teachable moment!

What do I like about PrepositionBuilder?

  • I like the cartoon images and the humour in them, which I have come to expect from Mobile Education Store. Students tend to respond better to learning which involves some form of visual supports.
  • I also like that you can have multiple users and can email results to parents or teachers.
  • I think that the stepped animations were a great idea to help motivate students to successfully reach the end of the next level (so they could view the next part).
  • It is great to see that when a student gets an incorrect answer, the app will show a picture and a written sentence of that preposition in its correct form.

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What could be improved?

  • Although I had lively discussions with my students about some of their answers and explanations about preposition questions, I think that some of the pictures were a little confusing. Perhaps short animations could be added in a future version or update (similar to those included in TenseBuilder).
  • I would like to be able to generate a batch email that could include all of my student’s progression through the app, instead of single emails for each user. While it is good to see that a user can access their individual results, it would be more beneficial to see the actual question they got incorrect (and perhaps the answer they originally input). This could help me plan further follow-up activities.
  • I found it confusing that the app didn’t advise the user that they had finished the section (other than the animation), it kept going, repeating only certain questions over and over again. This repetition did not seem to be related to any incorrect answers recorded earlier. It would be great if you could use a pop-up option to return to the same set or continue on a different set.
  • More prepositions please or the ability to change the combinations of the preposition sets.

Overall, I like the format of PrepositionBuilder. It is in an easy to use format, and is visually appealing to students. It is a great tool for the classroom.

10 Must Have Educational Christmas Apps

10 Educational Christmas Apps pic

You better watch out, You better not cry
You better not pout, I’m telling you why..
iTeach: Apps for the Classroom has the best apps for you.
I’ve been making a list, and checking it twice,
To try to find apps that will en-tice!
This page has the best apps for you.

Who said learning and Christmas fun can’t go together? 
The 10 Must Have Educational Christmas Apps can be used at school or at home. 

Ho Ho Ho!

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Kids Christmas Pattern Game logoKids Christmas Pattern Game
by Laura Bangerter facebook logo

(Universal iDevice – Free )
Kids Christmas Pattern Game is a fun educational game for kids from 4 years. The game is played by identifying a picture that is missing from a pattern or sequence. The game gets progressively harder; from simple to complex repeating patterns and sequences.  This a great app for developing mathematical thinking and visual discrimination. Children will love this app. Check it out!

Christmas matching game logoChristmas Matching Game
by Good Neighbor Press facebook logo

(iPad – Currently $0.99)
Christmas Matching Game requires players to identify images that match with target images. They must then drag and drop them alongside the target. It is a short fun festive game, and is ideal for students with short attention spans or that require alternative modes of learning. It is great for developing visual discrimination, memory and fine motor skills in a fun and festive way. Check it out!

Santa's tap and match logoSanta’s Tap & Match
by Cambridge English Online facebook logo
(iPad and iPhone version – Free)
Santa’s Tap & Match is a memory game that involves concentrating on a sequence of events involving 4 Christmas picture tiles, recalling the steps in the sequence and reproducing it. Some tiles also have audio which may support players that are still developing their visual discrimination and memory skills. The sequences get longer and quicker as the game progresses. Santa’s Tap & Match is ideal for young learners and learners with special needs. Check it out!

Snowman Math logoSnowman Math (Santa’s Christmas Village)
by EnsenaSoftfacebook logo

(Universal iDevice – $0.99)
Snowman Math involves your children answering simple addition and subtraction questions. The snowman is made from random parts so it is not always the same snowman each time the game is played. It has great music and festive sound effects. Children can visualise the numbers in the form of candy canes. This helps with early counting and is useful for learners that need visual supports. It includes a point system and rewards. Snowman Math is suitable for ages up to about 8 years. Check it out!

Christmas Jigsaw puzzles 123 logoChristmas Jigsaw Puzzles for Kids 123 – Fun Learning Game for Kids by GiggleUp Kids Apps 
(iPad and iPhone versions – FREE) facebook logo
This fun festive jigsaw puzzle app is suitable for children aged 1-6 years. You can customise the  number of pieces from 2 up to 16, to suit your child’s level of game play. Select a puzzle subject by pressing an object that is missing from the main picture. Cute pictures and playful animations are sure to make this puzzle game a favourite. Christmas Jigsaw Puzzles 123 helps to improve concentration, problem solving, and memory. This app will be a favourite with younger children. Check it out!

First words christmas logoFirstWords Christmas by Learning Touch facebook logo
(Universal iDevice – $1.99)
FirstWords Christmas is a festive spelling app designed for children aged to about 7 years. It has 40 beautifully illustrated Christmas words and matching holiday sounds, including sled, chimney, star and more. You will find all your favourite festive words here. As children tap the letter they can hear the letter name being said and when the word is complete, the word is spelled and the related animation moves. FirstWords Christmas is sure to make your children merry!

Christmas PostPad logoChristmas ~ PostPad by Tapfuze
(iPad – Currently $0.99 from $1.99)
Christmas ~ PostPad is a magical way to build and share beautifully crafted holiday cards with your family and friends. There are over 19 custom designs. This app could be used for home or school. At school, it could be used as part of a literacy activity or for just fun festive creativity. Children can add their own photos and then save the completed cards or email them to family and friends. Christmas ~ PostPad helps to foster creativity in children (and adults) of all ages!

Preschool Christmas Kitty logoPreschool Christmas Kitty by Irina Koenig
(Universal iDevice – $1.99) facebook logo
Preschool Christmas Kitty is a jolly jingle app designed to educate children in a fun and festive way. It features over 230 games including:  matching objects; spot the difference; where is the object?; picture puzzles; patterns; catch the snowflakes; and find the right images. Preschool Christmas Kitty is suitable for children aged up to about 6 years. Children receive rewards and parents/educators can track progress. It is sure to be popular with many children.

TES Christmas HD logoTES Christmas HD by TSL Education Ltd
(iPad and iPhone – FREE) facebook logo
TES Christmas features 3 educational maths games with a Christmas theme. Great for school use, and fun for all of the family. The games are: Elf Flinger – where children fling Santa’s elves into the air to catch the presents; Bell Ringer – where children have to copy a sequence of bells; and Add with Santa – where children win carrots for Rudolph by solving addition questions. TES Christmas helps to build math fluency, memory and motivation, and hand-eye coordination. It is fun and engaging, and children won’t even realise that  they are learning!

Scrap It christmas HD logoScrap It: Christmas HD by Dirk Bost
(iPad – FREE – IAP $0.99)
Scrap It: Christmas HD brings out the inner creativity in you and your children. Designed to be used before and after the holidays, it is just like using regular scrapbooking materials. Scrap It: Christmas can be used for Christmas collages in the classroom, as a gift for parents or relatives, or as a tool for other curriculum subjects. Children (young and old) will love making new festive themed scrap pages!

Please CLICK the images below for
more great Christmas Apps!

topp5bannernewtop10funxmasapps

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Moving Christmas

Moving ChristmasMoving Christmas

By Trusted Cape LLC

(iPad 2+ – $2.99; iBooks – $1.99)

I hadn’t heard anything about Moving Christmas prior to downloading it, so I didn’t have any expectations. When I opened it, I was immediately entranced. Christmas had come early to my iPad! While this story is not your everyday Christmas tale, it will quickly become one of your favourites.

When Santa’s workshop at the North Pole falls victim to the effects of climate change, Claus and company need a hero: someone to help the village and save Christmas! They find Frank Duffy – Mover of the IMPOSSIBLE, but can Frank help Santa and save Christmas? Download it and find out! That is Top-Secret.

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Moving Christmas has familiar parts that are similar to one of our favourite Christmas tales, but it is nothing like the regular stories. It is a one of a kind humorous adventure. While it has the same features as other quality storybook apps, I was in awe of the illustrations, holiday music and special effects.

As an educator, I feel that it is important to do more than just read aloud in order for children to tune in. The narrator has done an outstanding job, and the tone and inflection used match the visual imagery presented on each page (in other words, when you see the words getting larger or jiggling, the narrator matches his voice to emphasise these parts). Different “voices” for each of the characters (as well as the narrator), make Moving Christmas come alive. You feel as though you are on the journey with Frank, Santa, Bricks and company.

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I would normally want to see some highlighted text that matches the words that are spoken to help emergent readers; however, it is not needed with this book. Sentences appear and disappear when you hear different parts of the story or when characters speak. There are a lot of animations and zany illustrations to keep you guessing and wanting to see more.

The storyline is great for readers young and old, but it is particularly appealing for children aged 6-12 years (as well as the young at heart – me!). I can easily see Moving Christmas being adapted into an animation for television. Not that you need it though, when you have the app to view all the time!

moving xmas3 moving xmas4

I would gladly use it in the classroom in the lead-up to Christmas. There are a lot of teachable moments in this great storybook app from the time you open it. I could easily use it as a platform to discuss global warming. It could also be used for activities such as:

  • Writing a letter from Frank to a relative describing what happened (or from another perspective, such as Bricks),
  • Predictions about what will happen next,
  • Self-beliefs and overcoming events in our lives,
  • A poster about one of the characters,
  • Investigating the elements of the text,
  • and more…

Final Thoughts…

I am Christmas-wrapped in this quirky tale. Moving Christmas is exciting and engaging with excellent graphics and an even more excellent narrator! I would expect to pay around $4.99 or greater, and I would gladly pay it. However, you can download it in iTunes for $2.99 (or iBooks $1.99). Ho Ho Ho.

Check out the video below to see more:

5 Must Have Christmas Storybook Apps

top 5 banner

Ho Ho Ho! Yes, it’s that time of the year again! Have you noticed that Christmas seems to come around a little quicker each year? Deck the halls with iTeach: Apps for the Classroom’s top five six SEVEN favourite Christmas storybook apps. There is a  special book at the end which is fantastic (and FREE)!

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Moving ChristmasMoving Christmas by Trusted Cape LLC
(iPad 2+ – $0.99 was $2.99; iBook $1.99)
Coming soon to other devices!
Moving Christmas has won the iTeach: Apps for the Classroom Educator’s Choice Award. It tells the quirky and humorous tale of how Frank Duffy, the IMPOSSIBLE mover, and his trusty side-kick – Bricks, help save Christmas. This version is a funny and modern and children aged 6-12 years will love it. Moving Christmas is a MUST-HAVE Christmas app. The narration and illustrations help make this app out-of-this-world! Check out my review HERE to find out more and see how it can be used in the classroom.

wubbzy logoWubbzy’s The Night Before Christmas
by Cupcake Digital Inc
(Universal [all devices] – Intro price $1.99)

Wubbzy’s The Night Before Christmas is a fun and engaging Christmas app suited for ages 2-6 years. It provides an entertaining look at the Wubb friends; Wubbzy, Widget, Walden and Daizy, on a special Christmas Eve adventure at the Wubbclub house. It features interactive elements, 3 reading options, activities and videos, and a Grown-Up’s Corner. All Wubbzy fans will love reading and interacting with this great version of the Christmas classic. Check out my full review HERE to find out more about how it can be used in the classroom. You can now WIN this app by joining iTeach: Apps for the Classroom Facebook! Join using the button at the top of the page.

rudolph logoRudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer
by Oceanhouse Media
(Universal iOS- $4.49)

Step back in time to read and watch this timeless story unfold. Poor RUDOLPH! All the other reindeer make fun of his bright red nose and won’t let him play in their reindeer games. We know how the poem goes, but here is your chance to view and interact with the storybook app version. It has 3 different reading options and text highlighting to promote early reading development. A must for children aged 2-8 years. This classic version would make an ideal family viewing experience, and could be used very successfully in the classroom to teach about difference and diversity. Check it out!

twas night before xmas logoTwas The Night Before Christmas
by Moving Tales

iPad – $4.49; iPhone/iPod – $2.99
This version of our favourite Christmas tale is unlike any other. Twas The Night Before Christmas is uniquely animated, playful, funny and engaging. There are 3 different reading options (and I recommend that you lock the text in on the settings menu). You can record your own voice reading the poem, includes film caliber music and sound effects, and numerous animated surprises, including an hilarious one minute intricately choreographed St-nick-delivering-gifts-in-a-home-dance-routine. This is great for children aged between 7-12 years. Check it out!

a christmas carolA Christmas Carol by PadWorx Digital Media Inc
Universal iOS – $1.99
Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol has been a family favourite for generations. This app brings it into the 21st century. It features unique and engaging animations and interactive elements. The text is suitable for older readers, and there are contraptions to click on throughout. A Christmas Carol’s steampunk-style animation, illustrations, original score, and sound effects will draw you into the story’s unforgettable lessons of darkness, despair, joy and life. This app will delight children aged 9+ years. Check it out!

Christmas Eve logoChristmas Eve by Chocolapps SAS
(Universal iDevice – FREE)
I know I said 5 apps, but Christmas Eve is worthy of a jolly jingle mention. Your children and students will love reading (and watching) this Christmas Eve story unfold.  It is great for beginning readers to advanced readers, with many special and unique features I have not seen in many books. Beginning readers can view illustrations when clicking on words to facilitate comprehension, while more advanced readers can click a word to see the word spoken with a definition. Christmas Eve is a MUST HAVE for both school and home. Check it out!

slinki malini christmas crackersSlinky Malinki Christmas Crackers
by Pearson New Zealand Ltd.

(iPad – Currently $1.99 was $5.49)
Slinky Malinki Christmas Crackers is a story about the adventures of a mischievous cat at Christmas. It has  word highlighting and enables students to hear specific words, or their spelling, by touching them; both great features to support literacy learning and development. The book also has a read and record option, and colouring activities. It is suitable for readers above four years old, but younger children in this age range will need support from adults. Check it out!

Please CLICK the images below for
more great Christmas Apps!

top10funxmasapps10 Educational Christmas Apps pic

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Wubbzy’s The Night Before Christmas

wubbzy logoWubbzy’s The Night Before Christmas

By Cupcake Digital ($1.99)

(Available for Apple, Android & Nook devices)

I hopey hoped to review Wubbzy’s The Night Before Christmas from the time I first heard of its upcoming release. When the opportunity came up, I was there in a flashity flash. Wubbzy’s The Night Before Christmas is a fun and engaging Christmas app suited for ages 2-6 years. It provides an entertaining look at the Wubb friends; Wubbzy, Widget, Walden and Daizy, on a special Christmas Eve adventure at the Wubbclub house.

wubbzy1

When I first opened Wubbzy’s The Night Before Christmas, I felt like a child opening her first Christmas present. I was pleased to see three different reading options to suit a variety of learners. They are:

  • Read To Me – which features interactive elements and a narrator reading the story with text highlighting to help promote reading development for emergent readers.
  • Read & Play – this mode is designed for early to advanced readers (or an excited parent). It has all of the interactive elements but your reader has the ability to tap the words on the page to hear them aloud. Users that can read or are developing their reading skills can read the story with appropriate support to read any unknown or difficult words. This is fantastic for reading development and helps to promote fluency and comprehension.
  • Just A Book – as the title suggests, this is a good old fashioned book option. There are no interactive elements or distractions. This option is great for all readers and could be used to promote many discussions around Christmas.

Included is a Help option, which is quite detailed. The Help screen explains all of the features of the app, including how to change the reading options, the videos and games, changing the volume and other settings, and jumping back or forward to favourite pages. I really like how Cupcake Digital have included the option to change between the reading modes at any stage of the storybook.

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Readers will be exclaiming “Yes, Yes, Yes!” (just like Walden) when they see all of the festive features included in Wubbzy’s The Night Before Christmas. The colouring activity will delight young readers. The three clips included in the videos section are favourites in my household, and I found myself singing the Wuzzleburg chart topper – the Wubbzy Wiggle… “Put your hands in the air, wave ’em all around…”, well I am sure you know the rest! The games in the games section are embedded within the story and are fun for kids to play. In Santa’s Sleigh Ride, they have to avoid the presents and snow balls. Wuzzle Tree Dress–up and Snowman Dress-Up are puzzle style activities. All three of these games help to improve visual discrimination and hand-eye coordination.

Wubbzy’s The Night Before Christmas begins in the Wubbclub house where the Wubb friends are snuggly snug in bed, until they have a surprise visitor… If you don’t know who it is, I will not reveal this or the events of the night; you will have to purchase the app to find out more about this festive adventure yourself. The digital format of this version of the famous Christmas poem is all too familiar to today’s toddlers and pre-schoolers; however, Wubbzy’s The Night Before Christmas has something to offer for the young and the young at heart.

As an educator, I was thrilled to see the Grown-Up’s Corner. The suggestions help to promote deep learning and aim to improve comprehension, reflection and critical thinking in all readers. I can easily see these questions being asked in a whole class discussion after viewing the storybook on the iPad or projected on an interactive whiteboard. It also provides an opportunity for both educators and speech language pathologists (SLPs) to motivate reluctant speakers to talk about events in the book. In theme with the tv series, Wubbzy’s The Night Before Christmas is filled with alliteration and rhyming, which are explored in any early primary or elementary school literacy curriculum.

wubbzy4

One of the things that I liked about Wubbzy’s The Night Before Christmas was the opportunity for the reader to control their experience by skipping pages or games. However, some parents or educators may not find this very appealing. No problemo! This could be solved on any iOS 6 device by enabling Guided Access to limit game play.

Final Thoughts…

I enjoyed the interactive experience of Wubbzy’s The Night Before Christmas. Wubbzy has been a mainstay in our house for several years. For households like mine, that are comprised of Wubbzy devotees, this is a must have. For those unfortunate others who are not familiar with Wubbzy and the gang, this is a great opportunity to acquaint yourself with a fun, festive Christmas app. On the Wuzzleburg scale of quality this app’s rating is Wow Wow!

How would you like to win a copy of Wubbzy’s The Night Before Christmas? Make sure you join iTeach: Apps for the Classroom to enter.

Lavender Lollipops! Check out the video below to see Wubbzy’s The Night Before Christmas in action:

Wubbzy13

All views expressed are those of iTeach: Apps for the Classroom.

HELP – I Have a Guided Access Problem

In a previous post about Guided Access, which is new in iOS6, I outlined how the feature can keep easily distracted users on task. However, if you are a regular user of Guided Access, you may encounter a situation where you are locked in the feature. I am aware of two types of problems that can lock you in Guided Access.

1 My device has a bug or freezes

You will be locked in Guided Access if it is active when the device freezes. This can also occur when the password pin pad does not pop-up when using triple click home to exit from the app/program.

2 The password to disable Guided Access cannot be entered

The administrator of the iDevice is not available or cannot recall the password to exit Guided Access.

The problems mentioned in the first point are the result of a bug(s) associated with iOS6. I understand that these problems are still occurring very rarely despite a recent iOS update. This only seems to occur with third-party apps.

How do I exit Guided Access when I encounter a problem?

There are two solutions to this problem which will allow you to disable Guided Access:

  1. The first method is to force a reboot of your iDevice, and
  2. The second method is to use the Find My iPhone app or iCloud website.

Both of these processes are outlined below.

How do I perform a forced reboot and exit Guided Access?

To perform a forced reboot and to fix the problem with Guided Access follow the steps below:

reset

  1. Hold both the Home and Power buttons for 10 seconds until the apple logo appears on the screen. The apple logo indicates that a forced reboot has commenced.
  2. Immediately after the device has rebooted, the home screen will briefly display before returning to the application that is in Guided Access. While the Home screen is displayed (or just as the app/program is opening – but before Guided Access has been re-enabled), press the Home Button once. This will  keep the display on the home screen.
  3. Settings icon To disable Guided Access click the Settings icon. From the left-hand sidebar select General. From the right-hand sidebar select Accessibility. The right-hand sidebar will open a range of Accessibility options, select Guided Access. The Guided Access screen will be displayed. Move the Guided Access Slider to the OFF position. The iDevice should now have Guided Access disabled.

Note: Occasionally this process does not disable Guided Access. When this occurs Guided Access must be turned on at the slider and a new password set before repeating the reboot and disable process. The iDevice should now have Guided Access disabled.

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2 How Do I Use Find My iPhone and exit Guided Access?

  1. Start the Find My iPhone app on another iDevice (or if you don’t have one – go to iCloud.com, where you must login with your Apple ID and password, and select the Find My iPhone/iPad tab).
  2. Select the name of the iDevice that is locked or frozen in the Guided Access feature from a list of devices and select the Lost Mode button.
  3. When prompted set up a new password for Lost Mode. Then select the Next and Done buttons on the next 2 pages after that to exit (see images below).
  4. The iDevice that is locked in Guided Access will then lock and enter Lost Mode.
  5. Go back to the original iDevice to continue disabling Guided Access. To unlock the iDevice enter the password that you just set in Find My iPhone. Your device will appear normal and display one of the app icon pages.
  6. Next start the process to disable Guided Access by clicking on the Settings icon. From the left-hand sidebar select General. From the right-hand sidebar select Accessibility. The right-hand sidebar will open a range of Accessibility options, select Guided Access. The Guided Access screen will be displayed. Move the Guided Access Slider to the OFF position. Your iDevice should now have Guided Access disabled.

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