5 AppyHour iPad Apps

My groups are paperless. How in the world do I pull that one off? Well, I have 4 iPads and students who have pushed me to think outside of the box. As the only K-3 Resource Room special education teacher aka Cross Catagories K-3 Special Education teacher, these guys may receive support from me for multiple years--that can be boring.

I was lucky last year when my building gave me 4 iPads. I could use them any which way I wanted from data collection or give them to students to use in class. Well, most of my grade levels work at some level 1 on 1 with technology; most grades its Chromebooks.

I have talked before about using SeeSaw as our main platform for students to turn in work or to get assignments but I have not shared their favorite apps. With their help, here are my students' top 5 iPad apps. They are not in any order nor are all of them free but they are used on a regular basis by my students which means more than anything they are user-friendly and once students are taught how the app works are off to the races.

One other note: I give students time to play with any app I introduce. After which they are expected to use it as taught. I help with troubleshooting but I don't manage the tech as it takes away from the lesson, my teaching, and what I want my students to get from the lesson. It has to be student user-friendly, no passwords and no weird operating problems.

Why paperless? Well, I do tons with SAMR. This idea focuses on why they are using technology to do the task and is more than plug'n play. (Which has its place.)

There are rules to AppSmashing. Wait-what?? Rules? Yes!! They make sense.

  1. Limit to 3 Apps
  2. Limit Time to 10 Minutes/App (I push for them to turn in something they are proud of and shows off their learning.)
  3. Allow Student Choice
  4. Allow Creativity to Shine
  5. Require Audio and Images



For math, fact practice my student's LOVE is Mathtopia+. Yes, it's plug 'n play (substitution) but I can track their progress, have them go back to a specific number in a specific operation to restate practice. I start my math groups with 5 minutes or so of fact practice as a warmup. It's fun and fast-paced. Plus, they don't think twice about practicing or going back to work on a different number.

Make a Scene from Innivo can be used for just about anything from speech/language support, writing, and math. Pair it with Educreation and you are working Modification.  Currently, my student's are creating multiplication story problems with Make a Scene: Farmyard, taking a screenshot, and then adding their work to Educreation to do the math work.

Educreation is freeish and can be found online and in the app world. I love this interactive whiteboard. Students can import a photo, do their work on it, add audio or a video, save it, and turn it in as either a video/audio clip or a photo. We also use Explain Everything and Chomp but not as often. Interactive whiteboards are important for students sharing their thinking and walk you step by step what they did to solve the problem.

 Adobe Spark Post was a life saver in helping a student create his book Movie Trailer. After much trial and error, this was the last app we tried to get writing on his pictures. The workflow to make it happen after so many problems was a challenge and took more time than I would have liked by the time was all said and done but the end product was beyond his wildest dreams. He never thought he could make a trailer like those he saw at the movies. But this app was dream saver. He had already had his pictures, so 1 by one imported them into Spark Post, added the text and resaved the picture.
Yes, there is a free version of Animoto videos. The free version is amazing. My students created Book Movie Trailers and loved the backgrounds and music options. You can also find it on the web. The downside, no adding text to pictures unless you already had it on there. Hint: Adobe Spark Post. Once you have your pictures, upload, follow the steps to create short videos that you'd think took some major work to pull together.

These are just a few of my student's favorite. What are your favorite apps for Smashing? To learn about more AppSmashing apps and how I use them with students be on the lookout
for a free course coming soon.

Happy App Smashing!
Until Next Time,


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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.
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