Thursday, December 26, 2013

Technology: 2 new apps to try

 The first technology tool I used was SpellingCity.  I’ve been aware of this app for awhile but just never have taken the time to upload spelling list and explore it.  I created a list using our star words and split them into two groups 1st half of the year; 2nd half of the year as well as used some second grade dolch words for my  higher students.  I took my high readers out in a small group to introduce the app and play several of the games including unscramble, alphabetize and hang mouse.  They loved them all and were very interested/engaged.  I was surprised at how well they did alphabetizing since I’ve never introduced the concept before.  One thing I’d like to learn is how to change the difficulty level.  The unscramble sentences game had very lengthy and complicated sentences; It didn’t seem age appropriate with the word list.  I looked at some first grade spelling lists and their sentences had many fewer words and were more appropriate.  I tried reaching out to them to see how they created theirs to have more simple sentence structure but no one knew the answer. I’m still on the look out…

The second app I’m really excited about is Super Duper Story Maker.  It is very age appropriate for kindergarten with lots of visuals and is very easy to use.  Our first time with the app was purely exploration.  I plan on using it with my writer’s workshop next.  Students will participate in the writing process and create a draft and revision first.  Then they will use the app to create the digital picture and then publish their final written sentence.  The only downside with this app is that students often can’t delete the background and you can’t save the work with the free app.  The creation needs to be made all in one day.  A tip: take a picture of the student’s work and then print using your camera roll.  Also, I plan on splitting the class in half or working in small groups so I can help manage and support only a few children at a time.  The other students will be working on other writer’s workshop pieces while I’m helping students with Story Maker.  Hope you give it a try!

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