An App and Freebie

I can finally relax after a long week of parent/teacher conferences. Next week I have to start on progress reports and report cards. Perhaps something I can get done Wednesday afternoon. I want to share two free apps that I found early this month and have been trying out on my students. Both apps are free and you have to use both to get the program to work. Its Socrative Student and Teacher Clicker.

Student Socrative

Teacher Socrative

You have to create a free account on their website to create the quizzes on. The students log into your digital classroom and complete the activity that your created. I have used these as a quick check about students know and results are send to me by email and I can create a plan of attack. This has been a great way to engage my students using iPads.

My 6th grade students are getting ready to start decimals. I have created a game to help them practice decimals. You can get your copy here. Have a wonderful week. To my readers Back East be safe and your in my thoughts and prayers.

Free Reading Apps

As of the first of September, there are 700,000 apps in the Apple app store! In June, there were 650,000. If they are adding more than 25,000 apps per month, how do you keep up with it? Short answer is, you can't. Couple of hints in how not to get lost trying to find what your looking for. I start with learning goals and go from there. Remember, it isn't about the nouns.

Reading is a passion that grows as we grow. I spend most of my day teaching students how to read and helping them find a love for reading is not an easy task, it takes so much time, diligence and efforts. It also calls for some kind of creativity on my part. In this regard, there are some awesome free reading apps that you can introduce to your students. Some of these apps have cool narrative and others are illustrated, but they will all help you get your kids into reading.
reading ios apps

This is a great story of friendship which mixes animation and audio to interest kids. The interactive feature that shows the name of everything pictured on each page with accompanying voice over.

2- Pango Book 1 and 2

This app has a wide variety of funny adventures, animated stories, and sweet characters. 

3- Play Tales
reading ios apps

This app offers interactive books, traditional and classic, popular and new, for toddlers and beginning readers that will engage them in books and stories once again.

4- iHowToBook

reading ios apps

This is a cool app that provides a nice library of procedural test, and reads in a very clear and soft voice. Pages can be read, or read one word at a time.

5- I Like Books
reading ios apps

This app provides 37 read-aloud stories for young children.

6- MeeGenius
reading ios apps

This free app includes hundreds of books that are read aloud. Some of the downloads are given for free but others are pro.

favorites out there to share? Does anyone have a text to speech app that reads PDFs or Word documents that they love? I'm looking for one.

Math Freebie

My 4th graders have been working on their basic multiplication facts. We're taking our time moving through the facts--well more like moving as fast they mastery them. They have been taking multiplication games to play with their families and the practice is showing. We have to do through 12s. This array chart that I found on Pinterest has helped them understand the concept behind multiplication.Click on the picture to get a free copy of Dragon's Multiplication.

What tricks do you use to teach kids multiplication? Have a great weekend.

App Finds and a Freebie

I think the iPads will be up and running by mid-week. It seems like it has taken forever to get them up and running but what can  you do when iTunes crashes after an update. My building computer techs work Friday on getting the VERY long list of apps on to them. I wish share a couple of discoveries. 

In my app store wandering I came across several for preschool/kindergarten. They have been the hardest to shop for. Since, my main goal is to find apps that work within the Blooms Taxonomy and are not games.

I came across several free apps concerning Letters of the iPads just right for through little minds and hands.  Those apps are: ABC Phonics,  Little Matchups ABCABC Alphabet, Beginning Sounds ($.99), and Spelling Bug.

Little Matchups ABC by matching uppercase, lowercase letters, sounds and pictures with beginning sounds together. In that app and ABC Phonics, the more answer students answer correctly, the more choices appear on the screen. Spelling Bug helps students spell three and four letter words.

ABC Alphabet Phonics asks students to identify letters by name. Little Sorter is even lower:  students discriminate between several letters, puzzle style.  As they matched each shape to it’s spot, the app announces the letter name.   Beginning Sounds allows users to choose three letter sounds by picture. 

Early last week I was at a class, "I have an iPad...Know What" hosted by my district. The presenter pointed out two apps that I love and can't believe I didn't know about them earlier. It takes only having one iPad to a new level. Students can interact with the apps without being tied down to my doc camera. 

One is Airserver. This one mirrors the iPad through my computer and onto my SMART board. There are two levels: one free (for 7 days) and a paid down that you can use on 5 machines. It replaces the VGA cord. One thing to keep in mind its that your iPad and computer  you download the software to need to be on the wireless network. In my building we have three wireless networks--iPad connects to one and my laptop a different one. To get it to work they both have to be talking to each other on the same channel. 

The other is Splashtop Streamer.  This one mirrors my computer on iPad. So if I'm running a power point on my laptop and displaying it on my SMART board, I can walk around the room and not be tied down to my laptop. It works like a remote. So very cool. This one you have to pay for but if you have only one iPad; just think of the ways you can engage students.

My sixth graders are working on fractions, decimals, and percents. They have to be able to smoothly translate fractions to decimals to percents and back again. The more fluently the better. Here's a sample that you can download at my store and pick up the at 32 pages if you like. Be sure to stop by my store for all of them and other great small group activities.  

Have a fabulous week. Thanks for stopping by. What apps have you found that your students love or ones that your can't leave with lot?

Multiplication Fun

Last week, a group of my fourth graders started down the road to learning their multiplication facts. In theory, they should have a working knowledge of multiplication but in this case they must have been out for the unit. Which means, I get to have all the fun!!!. I came across this pin and thought with a sneaky smile that they would love this.

                                                                     Source: via Alison on Pinteres

But to get their to a place where we go raise the roof we had to start from the beginning. What's the beginning, you ask. Its an anchor chart and knowing the scope and sequence to getting them to three digit factors times three-digit factor. If you don't know the basic multiplication facts you can't to multiple digit multiplication. After the basic math facts and by the end of third grade, students should be able to do one-digit factor times two- or three- factor. (5 x 35, 43 x 9) 

By the end of fourth grade (in order):
one digit times three-digit factor (405 x 2) ; one digit times three-digit factor, horizontal alignment (364 x 5); two-digit factor times two-digit factor (37 x 25); two-digit factor times three-digit factor (324 x 29). 

By the end of fifth grade (in order):
three-digit times three digit factor (284 x 346); three digit-factors times three-digit factor, zero in the tens (382 x 506,320 x 402).

After they start getting the facts down, we're going to move to the scope and sequence a laid out above. And  I have only four weeks before they move on to division. Have a great week. 

Reading Comprehension Strategies and ELL Students--Freebie

This year, it seems like I have more second language learners in my small reading groups than in the past. Last year, I spend I lot of time using the Comprehension Toolkit for these small groups and had great success in using it. That success was not so great with the ELLs that may of been part of those groups. Reflecting on why, these students didn't grow as much as the others in the group, lead to me to look more closely at the language needed to use the skill.

Working with our building ELL Resource teacher, she suggested using sentence stems that target where students language and support them to learn how to use each strategy. You will find two sets of posters: one of the comprehension strategies and another matching set but with sentence stems to help students learn the language around the strategies.

Reading Comprehension Strategy Posters for Blog

ESL Prompts Reading Comprehension Strategy Posters

Quick Differentiation

Something quick to help with differentiation on the fly as your planning your lessons. Kind of a cheat sheet. I find it helpful when thinking about how to reach small pockets of like needs in a classroom. Differentiation is designing and implementing curriculum, instructional strategies, and assessments that are responsive to the needs, background, interests, and abilities of students.

Three ways to differentiate the K-6 lessons:

Modify the student independent practice.

  1. Change how students are required to demonstrate mastery - multiple choice, open response, illustration, dramatic performance.
  2. Provide word banks to written response questions.
  3. Provide texts on students' reading level when-ever reading a text is a requirement for the student independent practice.
Modify how you teach the lesson. 


Add or revise visual scaffolding during the lesson, such as charts or graphic organizers.
  • Teach the lessons in small groups.
  • Vary the allotted lesson time by breaking up the lesson into two days, focusing on more modeling examples in day one.
  • Allow students to preview the text used for the lesson before the lesson.
Modify the content used to teach the lesson.

  • Choose a text for the lesson that is at the reading level of your students.
  • Add supporting learning objectives to the lesson to help students master the original learning outcome.
Six Rules of Differentiating
Students should always be grouped based on their needs and abilities.
  • Sometimes whole class, sometimes small group, and sometimes individual.
  • Individualized instruction at 20 - 30 levels.
Student work should always measure a specific learning outcome explicitly taught in class.
  • It is Responsive to the learning outcome of the lesson.
  • It is not Busy work or separated from intentional instruction.
Students' needs and abilities change over time and therefore groupings should reflect that change.
  • Flexible groupings that change based on student abilities.
  • It is not: Static groupings that stay the same throughout the year.
Students' work should be done at their level.
  • It is Qualitative student work.
  • It is not Quantitative student work in which some students do more and some do less.
Decisions about differentiation should be based on assessment and anecdotal evidence of students' needs and abilities.
  • It is Using assessments to identify students' strengths and weaknesses.
  • It is not Using assessments as a pass or fail approach.
True, responsive differentiation will not look the same in each lesson.
  • It is sometimes necessary to change the student independent practice, other time requires changing how the lesson is taught, and other times it will require changing the text of the lesson.
  • It is not: The same differentiation plan for every lesson.

About Me

Welcome to my all thing special education blog. I empower busy elementary special education teachers to use best practice strategies to achieve a data and evidence driven classroom community by sharing easy to use, engaging, unique approaches to small group reading and math. Thanks for Hopping By.

I contribute to:

I contribute to:

I contribute to:

I contribute to:

I contribute to:



Follow by Email

Search This Blog