Sunday, July 17, 2011

Some Math Apps by Alexandre Minard

I came across some Math apps by Alexandre Minard, although I have not yet bought them!  Just thought I would list them here...for those who might be interested in buying the apps.  I have several other apps by this developer...they are generally decent apps, but read the reviews before you buy.

Learning to Tell Time is Fun

My First Weighing Exercises HD 

Connecting the Dots is Fun

Learning Tables is Fun HD

Friday, July 15, 2011

More by Toca Boca

Toca Boca, designers of Toca Doctor, Helicopter Taxi, and Toca Tea Party, have added a few additional apps.  I recently purchased:

Toca Hair Salon
This app was $1.99.  The app begins by having the student/child pick a face/character (from 6 choices).  You then can select multiple tools to interact with the character's hair:  scissors for clipping, power clippers for shaving/clipping, comb, hairdryer, and multiple colors of spraypaint.  There is also a small jar of 'hair growth' gel for regrowing hair. Very fun app, I enjoy it and my 4-year old loves to ask me to play this app with him.  It would be really wild and cool if they added the ability to do pigtails, make curls, more characters, etc.

Therapy ideas:
*Social Skills: This app would work well for focusing on turn-taking and 'being flexible'.  Partners could work together to create a hairstyle for their character, but would need to exhibit appropriate turn-taking, flexible thought (Superflex anyone?), and conversation skills.  Of course, there is always room 'problems', which can then be discussed or acted out through some role play.

*Describing:  Have the student describe their character prior to beginning.  A graphic organizer, such as a web, could be useful.  Allow the student to 'play' and change their character.  For each new tool, have the student describe what they are doing.  When finished, have the student use another web to describe their character.  Lastly, Use a venn diagram to compare and contrast how the characters changed, are the same/different, etc.

*Adjectives/Adverbs: Have the student formulate and write sentences containing specific adjectives.  It may be beneficial to provide a word bank initially.  Ex: "I will quickly shave Bob's head." "Bob has colorful hair with spikes on the top of his head"

*Verb Tense: Have the student formulate past, present, and future tense sentences.  Ex: "I will comb Bob's hair, then I will spray it orange."  "I cut Bob's hair before I sprayed it blue."  The clinician could write the sentences and compile the sentences.  If working on word order as well, these same sentences could be cut apart and mixed up.  Have the student put the sentences back together.

*Before/After:  Sentences containing before/after are often challenging for some students.  Have the student take turns following and formulating sentences/directions containing before/after. Ex: "Before you shave his head, blow dry his hair."  "After you spray her hair orange, give her a mowhawk!"

Toca Robot Lab
This app was $.99.  For this app, the student/child is able to build a robot by selecting parts. First, s/he chooses a set of legs, then a body, arms, and head.  Each time you build a robot, there are new parts. Once you finish building the robot, there is a quick game.  The student/child must hold down/drag the robot through a maze of items to collect stars.  Once all of the stars are collected, the child steers the robot towards a giant magnet at the top of the screen. The robot is then dragged away and a score (for stars) is provided.

Therapy ideas:

*Social Skills and Non-verbal communication: students work in pairs and use non-verbal communication to indicate which robot parts to use, and later, how to guide the robot through the maze.  Other social skills could also be incorporated, such as turn-taking, eye contact, staying with the group/attending to task, and 'being flexible'. Again, it is always fine if problems happen as they are opportunities for discussion/role play.  I am very lucky to have a 4-year old son (who loves Toca apps and is always willing to be my assistant) to try these apps with.

*Following directions and basic concepts (left, right, center, middle, next to, etc): students can follow or give directions to indicate verbally which body parts to use.  Ex: "Pick the legs in the center".  You could expand on this skill during the game portion  by providing higher level directions.

*Describing: Have the students describe which part they want, then the clinician or a peer will locate that part. Reverse roles by giving a description and having the student locate the part.  Once the robot is complete, have the student provide a complete description of the robot.  This could become a writing exercise as well.  The student could use a graphic organizer, such as a web, to jot down descriptions of each part.  Once the web is complete, the students could write a paragraph and add other story details. 

They also have: Toca Boca Paint My Wings, which is an app for painting butterflies.  I have not bought this app yet.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sight Words, Sound Awareness, Etc.

It's been busy this summer, so I haven't done much updating.  A friend was curious about apps that I have that address sight words, sound awareness, etc.  Here are a few that I have.

Sight Words List - Learn to Read Flash Cards and Games:  This app is FREE and has some nice has premade word lists designed for preschool, kindergarten, first grade, etc. You can also shuffle/mix the decks.  The decks are very basic with large print.  If you go to the settings icon (small gear), you can turn the sound on/off and control a variety of options such as: timing, capitalizing, font size/color, etc.   You can also make your own custom lists...which was fun to do with my son.  We thought of words, listed names of friends/family, etc and made his own word list.  With therapy in mind, I started making articulation lists, of course!  You are also able to record spoken words.  I made some word lists and recorded the words in my voice; however, a student could do their articulation practice by making their own list and then scoring if they produced their target sound correctly.  The 'make your own list' has lots of therapy options...I would like to try writing phrases and having phrase lists. 

Sight Words - by Photo Touch: This app is Free as well, and also by the same company as the first app.  Again, the nicest feature is that you can customize this app to suit your needs.  You can display hints, control how many items you want to display, customize items, customize sounds, and choose between different levels.  It also levels up or down depending how well the child/student does.   It should be noted that it says 'photo', but it doesn't appear to have actual photos...the mode that my son plays in has 3 words to choose from when he hears a word read to him.

ABC Alphabet Phonics: Another Free app.  The child/student must identify/touch the letter that is said. As the child progresses, additional choices/letters are added. 

Word Blocks: This app presents a series of words with an auditory model (person reads a sentence). The child/student must drag scrambled words into the correct places.  This app is free.  It lacks some of the customization that other apps have. I would use this more with students who are working on word order.

Alphabet Zoo: This app is Free and targets learning the letter-sounds.  You can play in practice or quiz mode. The app shows the alphabet along the bottom of the screen.  The child can select letters to hear the name (first tap) and hear the sound (second tap). Additional taps reveal an animal and make the animal move.  A very nice app as it has repetition, basic designs colors, etc.

ABA Alphabet by Pictures that are associated with each letter. Auditory model provided.

Alphabet Tracing: This Free app addresses alphabet tracing...the child learns the movements necessary for letter production.

Phonics Land:  I have the Free version which only includes letters A-F...I haven't bought the upgrade.  The child is presented with a letter and can uncover 3 pictures that are associated.  There are some additional activities that follow each letter.  The repetition is nice.  There are even little songs and sentence-stories that go with each letter.

Here are a few more apps that I still need to write about:
Kids Learn Sight Words Lite has a few more free sight word apps that are similar to some of the apps above.