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RoundUp February 2015 – English Language Arts

We are excited to announce that App Ed Review is undergoing some big changes!

By: Todd Cherner and Alex Fegely

We are transitioning from being an app review website into a comprehensive support network for teachers who are or who want to use apps with their students. As part of that network, our high-quality reviews will still be available, but with even more! For example, we are creating our own app! That’s right, we are putting the web-based App Ed Review that you know and use into app form so our reviews can be easily accessed from tablet devices! Plus, we will be releasing The App Teacher, an e-publication that will keep teachers abreast of need-to-know happenings in the field of educational apps.

These products – with more to be announced later – will be available starting in April 2015! Until then, enjoy this Roundup dedicated to English language arts and feel free to contact us at [email protected] with questions and comments!

  1. 301+ Short Stories Lite is a collection of writings from famous authors ranging from Louisa May Alcott and Ambrose Bierce to Franz Kafka and O. Henry. In this app, students are able to read the stories’ complete text page-by-page. The trick, however, with this app is to combine it with other apps so students can demonstrate their learning. For example, teachers can have students read O. Henry’s The Gift of the Magiin this app and then illustrate its most interesting point using an art app, such asBrushes 3 or Tayasui Sketches. Or, teachers can have students create a graphic organizer related to the story using the Popplet or RWT Timeline The important aspect for using this app is to combine its rich content with other apps in meaningful ways. With high scores for its design, students and teachers will be able to navigate this app easily to find stories of interest.
  2. Venn Diagram is an app created by the International Reading Association and it provides students with an easy-to-use Venn diagram. Although it may not have the “flash” of other apps, its functionality makes it one of the most useful apps for teachers to use in their classroom. Some ideas for using it include teachers assigning students a text that compares multiple ideas and having students organize those ideas using this app, or teachers can lecture about two topics and require students to record their notes using this app. Once students create their Venn diagrams, they can be emailed, which makes collecting and grading student work easy! Scoring high for its rigor and design, this is a must-have app for preparing students for college and upper-level learning.
  3. iThoughtsHD will help your students get their ideas from brain to draft with its completely customizable, multifaceted mind mapping tools! Students can create professional-looking word webs, flow charts, and other mind maps with bubbles, their own hand writing, text, images, and more! One of the greatest strengths ofiThoughtsHD is how easily students can share and collaborate. Students can collaborate on mind maps by transferring user-to-user over the same Wi-Fi network, or email, upload to cloud storage, or share to social media. This quality app will change how your students get their thoughts out and add enthusiasm to pre-writing activities!
  4. ABC Alphabet Phonics teaches students letter identification using an engaging format. ABC Alphabet Phonics shows anywhere from 3 to 10 eye-catching letters and prompts students to select a letter from the group. When students tap the correct letter, they are praised by the app and advance to the next screen and set of letters. ABC Alphabet Phonics consists of lots of different customizable ABC libraries –ABC Fun- Professions, ABC Phonics Animals, ABC Letter- Lowercase, and more—students can customize what they learn by ability or interest. Garnering a stout 8.1 out of 10 on our comprehensive app rubric, ABC Alphabet Phonics is sure to engage and teach your students!

That’s all for this month’s Roundup. If you would like more information about any of the apps mentioned in this Roundup or that are on the App Ed Review website, please contact us at [email protected]. And remember, the content of English language arts is the present, with apps being the wrapping paper!