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Appy Classrooms {Money App}

When I begin a new unit in my classroom, I immediately start searching for an engaging app to integrate.  To be honest, I was very disappointed in the engagement factor of most of the money apps I came across.  That is, until I found this Money Bingo app.  I love it for many reasons!  Let's take a look.

App Name:  Money Bingo
Price: $1.99 in the Apple store
What to Look for:

I know, I know....an app that's not FREE?  Is it really worth it?  In my opinion, absolutely - it is one of the best thought out practice apps that I've come across!  Other money apps haven't held my students attention for more than a few minutes.  This one, they're purchasing at home to play!

To begin, simply hit start!  I turned the volume off, but there are options to click on coins to have them named and their values told.  When you use this option, students just double tap the coin and it will say, "Quarter, 25 cents" and then the coin will flip over to reveal the opposite side - super helpful!

The first time a student plays, he/she will click "new player" and type a player name.

They will also select their gender (this is because they will create a character) and click next.

There are many character options - MANY.  Students will first select their head from ones with various hairstyles and skin colors.  Then, they will select their own clothes, from pirate wear to regular wear there is something for everyone!

Students have three buttons to choose from - Bingo, Practice, and Fish Tank.  The ultimate goal in this game is to build your own fish tank.

Students can play Bingo to earn fish for their fish tanks!  There are several different levels to help differentiate for your students.  My students love challenging themselves here. :)

After selecting the level, you also have several different grid options.  This helps to differentiate even more.

To play the Bingo game, students must count the coins in the white space.  The pencil and eraser come in handy, especially for the harder levels, so students can write down their dollars before moving on to count the change.  Once students know the amount, they click on the matching amount on the gameboard.  Then, a new set of coins appear.  Fish pop up to cover the correct answers until students have three in a row (on this game board....more on the higher grids).

Once BINGO is achieved, students earn a new fish for their tank.  It also gives them a score based on the seconds it took them to get BINGO.  This score will show on their leader board, motivating them to try to beat that score the next time.

The other option, is to play in Practice Mode.  During this mode, students are given a money amount at the top of the white space (53 cents on this example) and are required to drag money from the left side onto the white board to make that amount.  Then, they click "check" to see if they are correct. 

The goal is for students to get 10 correct.  Once they have 10 correct they WIN all of the money they counted.

Once students have won money, they are able to shop for items to go in their fish tanks.  They can only purchase one item at a time, which I love....it makes sure they don't spend too long shopping!  HOWEVER, students aren't guaranteed to receive the item they purchase.  First, students must solve a word problem.  If they get the word problem correct, they receive the item.  If they do not solve it correctly....wait for it....they LOSE ALL OF THEIR MONEY!  This is my students favorite part...and the teacher loves that word problems are integrated!!!!

Students use their fingers to write on the notebook paper to solve the problem.  You don't have to worry about them using the calculator - there's not addition or subtraction sign on it.  The calculator is simply for them to input their final answer and {hold breath} hit enter to see if they are correct.

If correct, students are taken to their fish tank so they can position their new item how they want.  While there, they can double tap the screen to drop a piece of fish food in the tank and watch their pets swim to get it.  Then, they click the back arrow and keep playing!

I hope that your students love this app as much as mine!  Creating #appyclassrooms one app at a time!

Tongue Twisters & More {All About Alliteration}

Since it is poetry month, I thought I would share a bit about how I teach alliteration.  Teaching literary devices is probably one of my favorite things to do, but they can be tricky for the little ones!  That means I provide a lot of different kinds of activities to help the concepts stick!

Here are just a few of my favorites with alliteration.

Tongue Twisters

Tongue twisters are a favorite!  I love sharing some with my students and have them try to say them three times fast to the class.  We usually end up doubled over in laughter. :)  Once students are familiar with tongue twisters, we set out to write our own.

We publish them on the tongues of these cute displays!  No template - we just trace lids for the circle faces and I free-cut tongues out of the large construction paper.

Poem Practice

We read the Jack Prelutsky poem, "Bleezer's Ice Cream" and I ask students to identify the flavors that alliterate, like checkerberry cheddar chew or cotton candy carrot custard.  This poem is in the book The New Kid on the Block and it's an all-time favorite poetry book that I highly recommend! {affiliate link below}

There are a few ways to access this poem online if you can't get your hands on the book.  Here is a YouTube reading of the poem.

You can also play the musical version of the poem being sang by Natalie Merchant here.

After analyzing the poem, I put students in partners and let them create their own wacky ice cream flavors that alliterate!  You can download the freebie below to do this activity with your students.

Games Galore

Games are so important in the primary classroom.  We play games every single day.  Multiple times a day.  For alliteration, we play an old fashioned car game.  It's great, not only for alliteration, but for listening and memory, too!

The items being taken on the trip must all begin with the same initial sound as the destination.  To play, I read the card, for example, "I am going to Paris and I'm taking a parachute."  The next student in the circle would repeat my item and add one of his own, for example..."I am going to Paris and I'm taking a parachute and a piano."  The sentence keeps getting passed around the circle with each student repeating it and adding another "p" word.  They are amazed when it make it all the way around the circle!

I also teach students how to play it with just two players - perfect for the car ride home from school (sorry parents)!  One student starts it, and it keeps alternating until one player either can't think of an item to add or can't remember an item.  What fun practicing alliteration!

Clever Crafts

Since we study literary devices during the spring, we love to decorate the hall with clever craftivities.  For alliteration, we create "Alliterainbows."  Students use planning pages and brainstorm parts of speech to alliterate with each color and then use these ideas to write their own sentences with alliteration on each color band of the rainbow.  By now, they are amazing at alliterating! :)

Story Surprises

Throughout our study, I always throw in a couple of surprise read-alouds!  These are a couple of my favorites for alliteration. The first book I read is The Little Book of Alliterations.  It is a simple alphabet book with one phrase per page.  It's perfect to read before having students write tongue twisters.  The next book I read closer to the end of our study.  It's called One Smug Slug and it is written in story format.  The story uses as many "s" words as possible.  They enjoy trying to figure out what the smug slug is climbing throughout the story and are always surprised when he is eaten at the end!  But, their favorite part of the book is that there is a hidden "S" somewhere on each page - some are super tricky and they love searching for them.

{affiliate links for books}

I hope this post gave you a few new ideas for teaching alliteration!

Spring Into Books {Freebie & Giveaway}

Who is here for a FREEBIE today?  Keep reading!  You can pick up 8 of them!

That's right!  I'm linking up with seven other fab teacher bloggers to share some of our favorite spring-inspired activities and picture books.  One lucky reader will even win all 8 books to accompany the free activities.  What a wonderful asset to any classroom!

I chose a classic book that I feel like most teachers may already have easy access to from their libraries.  This is a quick read and one that can be a springboard into many other activities - plants, colors, spring....and even poetry!

April is poetry month, after all, so I like to use this book as a springboard to writing color poems with my students.  I've included all of the resources that I use to do this in my freebie - a step-by-step procedure poster, a prewriting graphic organizer (and sample), a poetry frame (and sample) in both a half-page format and full-page format, and a class book cover.

You can download the freebie from my shop, Teacher's Clubhouse.

Then, you'll want to hop through the other seven blogs to collect MORE freebies.  But, before you hop over to Digital Divide and Conquer to visit Matt, you'll need to jot down my number on the image below, so grab a piece of paper!  You'll collect a number at each of the 8 blogs in this hop.  Just add up the numbers to find the "mystery number."  You'll enter that number into the  Rafflecopter at the end of any post for your chance to win all 8 books that correlate with the freebies you collect!

This giveaway will end on April 16th!  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Appy Classrooms {Digital Portfolios}

Have you searched for an easy way for students to keep individual portfolios?  Looking for a way to make student-led conferences easier?  I have the app for you today!

App Name:  SeeSaw
You can find it in the app store for FREE!
Here's what you will look for:

The fact that this app is a free tool for teachers is simply amazing!
You will set up a class account.  When you do, you will decide if you want your students to add work to their portfolios using their own email address (intermediate students) or have them sign-in using a class QR code (suggested for primary students).  I chose the QR code.  A sign to post in my classroom containing our QR code was sent to me immediately after choosing this option.

When students open the SeeSaw app, this is what it looks like.  They simply choose "I'm a Student."

Then they will be prompted to scan the class QR code.  I printed four of the signs and posted them around our classroom for easy access.  The great thing is, you don't need to add a QR reader to your ipads - this is built right into the app!

After scanning the QR code, this screen pops up.  Students simply select what it is they want to upload to their portfolio!  I mean, just look at those options!!  

Seriously, let's take a look at each of them.

PHOTO:  If students select this option, the camera is on and ready for them to use.  They simply snap a photo.  But THEN, they have the option to draw over the photo, record a narration of the photo, add text to the photo, or rotate the photo.

VIDEO:  If students select this option, the video function automatically begins.  Students have the option to add text to the video once it is finished.

DRAWING:  If students select this option, a white screen with drawing tools pops up.  They simply use their finger to draw on the screen.  What a wonderful and quick way to assess understanding!  How much do you love the fact that students can record a narration to explain their drawing??

NOTE:  If students select this option, a notebook paper background pops up with the keyboard so they can take notes.

LINK:  The link option lets students paste a link they've previously copied to their clipboard to their portfolios.

Speaking of adding their work to their portfolios, just HOW do they do that?  When a student is ready to add one of the above options to their portfolio, they just click on that green plus circle to "add" the work to a portfolio.  A list of students' names pops up and they select their own name.  You can see that the work below was added to Madison's portfolio.

Do you notice how there is a "like" and "comment" button underneath her work?  This is so that others can give her feedback on her work!  How cool is that?  It is important to note that no work can be added to portfolios without going through teacher approval first.  And, no comments can be added without teacher approval.  So, just who comments?  As a teacher, I can comment on all student work that is added.  Classmates can also add comments to each others' work when viewing the class feed.  AND, if you have given parents access, they will be able to comment on their own child's work (that is the only work they are able to see).  You know students just eat this up, right?!  Knowing mom and dad can send them notes about their work during school hours!  #socool

If you want to give parents access to students' portfolios, it's super easy!  You can print out letters in your teacher account to send home with students.  They will give parents step-by-step instructions (including a QR code to make it super easy) for signing on.  Just print and send home.

This is a look at SeeSaw from my teacher's account.   You can see that it says I have "1 unapproved item."  This means a student submitted work to their portfolio, but before being added it is pending my approval.   I simply click on "unapproved items" and the work will appear on my ipad.

I can click the green check to approve it or the red x to dismiss it.  

There's much more to SeeSaw if you're interested!  Students can have folders for different subjects to make organizing their work in their portfolios a breeze.  You can even set up a class seesaw blog where parents can see the work.  I would suggest downloading this app and playing around with it to get comfortable.  I'm positive that it will be a beneficial tool for you and your students!

Join me again soon for more ways to create #appyclassrooms!  Use this hashtag on Instagram when sharing apps so we can see how you are using apps in your classroom!

Appy Classrooms {Literably: Automated Running Records}

This app is "literably" the most amazing resource for running records EVER!

App Name: Literably
Here's what you'll be looking for in the app store.  It's FREE!

What is it?
This app is pretty much a teacher's dream when it comes to running records.  It was designed to do ALL of the work for you so that you are not taken away from instructional time to benchmark!  Can I get a hallelujah?!

How do I get started?

You will need to register and insert all of your students' names on the Literably website.  It takes 2 minutes...literably. (See what I did there?!)
Simply enter your email.  I used my school email.  You'll want to use whatever email you want your students' results sent to.  

Then, you'll create a username - pick one that your students will remember.  I used my last name and our room number.  They will enter this when they login.  Create a password that is just for you.

Next, enter your students' names.  I entered first names only.  Easy peasy!

It is important to note that the teacher dashboard can only be accessed online (not using the app).  Here's a peek at my dashboard.

You select the level (A to Z) to assess students on and then if you'd like to assess using a fiction or nonfiction text. 

How does it work?

Once students open the app, they will enter your username.  Then student names will appear and they'll choose their own name.  Then, a story will pop up for them to read.

When students are ready to begin, they'll click the "start" button at the top.  The app will record them reading it.  The default is set to record for 1 minute (though, you can change this in your settings).  After one minute, a pop-up will appear.  Students will hit "continue" to keep reading the story in their heads.

At the end of the text, students will click the "comprehension" button in the top left corner.

Five comprehension questions will follow.  Students can click the speaker icons to have the questions and answers read to them.

At the end of the five questions, a summary page will appear asking students to tell about the passage they just read.

When ready, they will hit "record response" and again they are recorded speaking.  At the end, they simply select "log out" to finish.

What happens next?

Next, is when the REAL magic happens.  Once scored (usually a couple of hours later), you will receive an email letting you know the student's record is ready. You can click on the link in the email or head back to the website to view your dashboard.  What awaits is simply AMAZING!
The app not only sends you the ACTUAL RECORDING of the student reading and summarizing the story so you can go back and listen to the reading, but it sends you the actual running record....COMPLETED!  That's right, the text with all of the markups, the errors analyzed, the accuracy rate, the fluency rate, the self-corrections....everything.  Done FOR you. Is that singing I hear?!

The above record is one I did as a "demo student" to really test out the app.  It was incredible.  It marked the text up JUST as I read it.  Absolutely amazing!

Important to Know:
While the app is free to download, you are limited to 10 students per month.  If you want to test more than that, you need to inquire with them about pricing.  Pricing depends on the number of students who will be using it and the frequency of which it will be used.  However, with 10 FREE students per month, what an amazing resource to track those students who need it most!
I hope you'll check out this app and let me know if you are as impressed as me!  I'll be back soon with another app to make your classroom an #appyclassroom!

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