How to Start Making Interactive iPad Lessons on Frolyc

NOTE: is a free website where users can create their own interactive lessons and push them to students iPad accounts through the IOS app Activity Spot.

When I was first introduced to the IOS app Activity Spot I was enthralled with its interactive capabilities and its ability to create custom lessons. I was eager to get started. After all, I have been writing lessons for over 30 years and I prided myself in trying to make them constructivist, fun, and engaging. I quickly registered at and opened my first authoring link. But something happened. I became paralyzed. I couldn’t decide what to do next. I wanted to make a lesson for fifth graders but couldn’t conceive how to lay out my six pages. How could this happen? I have written for Scholastic, Pearson, Learning A-Z and the state of Texas, yet, I found myself with a writers block. I could not get off square one when this was something I was so motivated to do.

A voice inside my head said. “simplify, simplify. Make it easy. Do something even a kindergartner could do.” So, instead of making the best interactive plan in the whole of creation I started thinking: “What was the easiest, most needed lesson I could make?” You see, I had made the classic mistake of not reading the directions first. In this case I had not familiarized myself with the system’s tools. I just assumed it would come to me, or I could figure it out as I went. For me, this approach wasn’t working.

So I thought, “What is something every kindergarten teacher teaches at the beginning of the year and so would love an interactive lesson for her students to do?” I came up with numbers and letters.

Finding 4 was my very first Activity Spot lesson. It only uses one template  - the drawing template. I found the drawing template to be the most versatile, constructivist and easiest to use.  I wanted the students to “show what they know” and the drawing template allows for this.

finding 4

So I had up to six pages to fill and I started thinking, “What do you want children to know about four? What opportunities for learning do you want to open?” I found that putting information in a table helped me organize my thoughts.

frolyc table big

Once I got my flow down this simple procedure made it easy for me to explore the other templates. My second lesson was “I Know the Sound of B”. In this lesson I was ready to explore using the capability of linking to videos to build background. Next, I wanted the children to be able to show me what they learned, that they indeed listened to the video so I added the concept map, multiple choice and word search templates. I discovered that I could drag the pages on the sides and reorder them. That was great because I made mistakes and changed my mind about the sequencing.

I would periodically go ahead and published my activity and view it through the test ID that the system gives you, even though I was not completely done. I did not care that the activity was not complete. It was more important to me that the activity actually played out how I envisioned it.

Once I liked the flow, I published my first activity and I felt a huge sense of accomplishment. I was stoked now and went on to create three more lessons in that sitting.

So, here’s my advice in making your first Activity Spot activity:

1. Start with a very easy concept that you know well (it is OK if the topic matches content in grades below where you teach)
2. Limit your activity to one or two templates.
3. Make a concept map, a page flow, of how you are going to execute your lesson.
4. Publish it a couple of times to check that the flow and layout is what you envisioned.

Once you have done one lesson, the second is a breeze and you can move into making lessons targeting the needs of your students and your classroom.

Happy lesson making!

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SmartEdPad Helps Sponsor ASHA

unnamedASHA stands for American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. #SmartEdPad is proud to be a sponsor. One of the coolest things they are doing is they have rolled out a large banner that says school in large letters. They invite teachers to share their teaching “aha” moments on small paper people.


Think of some of your “aha” moments and then congratulate yourself for orchestrating an experience that has influenced a child’s life.

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Special Needs Dream Come True

smartedpad logo

It is a real treat when you have the opportunity to consult with a company whose mission you truly believe in and who is doing great things for teachers and students. I get to do that now with a company called SmartEdPad. I spent over twelve years in the classroom sometimes having as many 6 special needs students in a class of 21. I had bean bag chairs, stools, texture boxes, colored paper, colored pens, and colored gels. I had plain, calm spots in the room and rich, engaging spots. Anything I could think of to help students be successful. How much easier it all would have been if I only had SmartEdPads to help me differentiate my instruction.

The SmartEdPad is a Samsung Galaxy tablet that has the SmartEdApp installed on it. This app is phenomenal! First, I roster my students. Once they are rostered I can personalize their instruction by assigning specific apps that I know will motivate and engage them while supporting their IEPs. Through the management tool I can make sure that they cannot delete apps, get onto the Internet, or see things that are inappropriate or distracting. I absolutely love this feature!


One thing I especially love is that the SmartEdPad comes preloaded with over 100 apps, like Avaz, Pocket SLP and Tally Tots, all specifically chosen by practitioners to help special needs students. They are categorized under headings such as articulation, social skills along with content areas such as math and reading. I don’t have to spend hours searching for, and then trying out, apps I think I need. This is a huge time saver!

The Smart Ed system gives me some great management tools. I can plot lesson goals, indicate service levels, create reports and charts that show progress over time, and write therapy logs. What’s more, any adult can log in from anywhere and see real time information on a rostered student. This means that the therapist can complete a session, the teacher can see how far the student got, the parent can see what they can work on at home with their child and the administrator can get a big picture of how all the students in the district are doing. All this information can also be emailed. This is true collaboration!

Because of apps like Avaz, students who are previously frustrated because they were unable to communicate, can now signal for help or express joy. Tally Tots and Math Magic help all students develop sound math skills. The SmartEdPad comes with over 100 apps categorized under Social Skills, reading, rhyme, music, games, Spanish, text to speech, writing, puzzles, arts and crafts, books, articulation, AAC, and language arts. If you have a student who needs an app you already have on your device or is available from the Google play store, it is easy to add it to the SmartEdPad management system. Who doesn’t love a flexible management system!

From managing students, collaborating with practitioners and parents, and collating student data, the SmartEdPad is a dream-come-true-tool for anyone working to help special needs students succeed.


Go to or call 1- 800-982-9430 for additional information.

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Nice Math App to Practice Automaticity

Monty's Quest2Title: Monty’s Quest 2
Rating: 4.5 stars
Ages: 8 – 12
Price: $1.99

Monty’s Quest 2 is an app designed to help users improve their multiplication skills. Users can choose which times table from 2- 12  they want to practice or, they may choose to have the tables presented mixed. This is great for users who really need to practice say, their 7′s table. When they choose 7 they are presented with a screen that has Monty the mouse running up hill toward some cheese. If the user answers the presented multiplication problem correctly, Monty gets closer to the cheese. The faster the user correctly solves the problem, the faster Monty climbs toward the cheese. If the user answers incorrectly, Monty slips down the hill. If the user  takes longer than a couple of seconds to answer, bit by bit Monty starts sliding down the hill. This combination subtly encourages the user to both solve the problems correctly and quickly. The problems continue to cycle until the user gets the mouse to the cheese. When the mouse reaches the cheese the app tells how many correct and incorrect answers the user had. (SUGGESTION Have users take a screen shot of this screen and email it to the teacher or care giver to show evidence of progress.) Missed problems turn up more frequently among the list of problems to solve.

I would have given this app 5 stars if they had covered multiplication by zeros. I understand that the zeroes table is easy to solve, but it is a part of the family of multiplication tables and learners need to see them that way. There is no choice to practice the ones tables but multiplication by 1s are included within each numbers’ table.

Leaving out the zeroes and hiding the ones times table is small consolation for Monty’s Quest is a great app that helps learners really hone their multiplication tables.

photo(17)     monty quest



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Ways to Use QR Codes in the Classroom

Kathy's List of Ways to Use QR Codes in the Classroom
Kathy's List of Ways to Use QR Codes in the Classroom
Katherine Page Burdick

Kathy's List of Ways to Use QR Codes in the Classroom

This is a list of ways to use QR codes in the classroom. Please add your own ideas.

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  1. 1  Link to Surveys

    Link to Surveys

    Create a survey using Google Forms or Survey Monkey. Print codes for each survey. Students can take surveys when done with their work, chart which surveys were more popular, then create their own surveys and become great statisticians.

  2. 2  On School Letterhead

    On School Letterhead

    Add a QR code to school letterhead that points to the school website.

  3. 3  On Interactive Whiteboard

    On Interactive Whiteboard

    Use an interactive whiteboard and a video camera to record notes/math equations/brainstorming/etc. Host the video online and add a QR code to a
    homework assignment so students can be retaught from home.

  4. 4  Answers to Questions

    Answers to Questions

    Hide the answers to a study guide behind a QR code. Copy the code onto the study guide so students can check their answers.

  5. 5  Point to Audio Recordings

    Point to Audio Recordings

    Have students write or read children's books and record them as they reading aloud. Upload the audio online and add a QR code linking to the audio. Or Qr code a link to the public domain recordings on the Gutenberg Project.

  6. 6  Teacher Bios

    Teacher Bios

    For open house/parent night, have each teachers in the building create a brief video introducing him/herself. Upload the videos and create QR codes that they can place by their doors. This way parents or later substitute teachers can get a feel for the quality teachers working in the building.

  7. 7  Book Reviews

    Book Reviews

    Have students record book reviews and attach the QR code to the inside cover of the book.

  8. 8  Point to Class Calendar

    Point to Class Calendar

    Print QR codes that point to your classroom homework/events calendar. Have students attach them to their daily planners.

  9. 9  Link to Content Videos

    Link to Content Videos

    Create QR codes that link to supplemental materials and add them to the
    teacher edition and/or student editions of textbooks. This way
    valuable resources don't get lost in endless network folders on a forgotten
    flash drive and if on eh student edition teaches students to go beyond the text for information.

  10. 10  Field Trip Docents

    Field Trip Docents

    During a field trip, give students a handout with multiple QR codes that provide supplemental information coinciding with different locations on the trip.
    Students will have a guided tour even if they are not with the teacher.

  11. 11  Laughs


    QR codes are a great way to show jokes, anything that requires an answer.

  12. 12  Link to Web Page

    Link to Web Page

    Display student work posted on a blog or school website. (Edmodo page)

  13. 13  Homework Assignments

    Homework Assignments

    Post homework assignments through a QR code.

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Mobile Education Store Book Apps Offer it All

Title: Pines to Vines – Forest Biomes
Rating: 5 stars
Ages: 7 – 12
Price: $18.99 (well worth it)

I do not want to sound too excited but  Mobile Education Store’s new book app series, Crack the Book, is the closest thing to perfection in replacing the old school textbooks. Their first offering, Pines to Vines, is a science textbook app that explores in depth the forests biomes. Developed in conjunction with Oregon State University’s Department of Forestry, the app not only offers interactive features we would hope to see such as videos, interactive maps, narration, and interactive quizzes; but the golden key to this new series is that it presents the user with a choice of five different readability levels within each book app. This makes it possible for students to access the science content at individual independent reading levels. Once comfortable with the content students reading at first and second grade levels can challenge themselves and switch to a higher reading level. If students are are reading at a fifth grade level but reach a section that they find challenging, they can step down a level and have the meaning deconstructed for them.

Under settings users can choose the type size, have the text read aloud, have test questions read aloud, ask for images in the tests, use speech to text dictation, and have their work synced with dropbox.  Accessing the company’s website gives you access to lesson plans, work sheets, activities, study guides and standards correlations.  The  videos give the reader comparative insights into different types of forests, maps spin and zoom, and the captions to the visually compelling photos gives readers additional avenues that lead to better comprehension.There is nothing this company has not thought of when considering both differentiated instruction and teacher needs. There are many more features in this app series but I want to leave something for you to explore. Because of all it has to offer the app is priced at $18.99 but I feel it is well worth the price. This is close to, if not perfection, in what a mobile textbook can bring to today’s classroom. I cannot wait to see what they do with space and the human body. Great job Mobile Education Store!

Look for other titles in the series:
Seashores to Sea Floors
Aquatic Earth
Cycles of Earth
Parched Planet

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Apps that Make it Easy to Make a Book

Want to make a book? By choosing the right app, it is easy for Preschooler through Adult to author their own ebook. Read the descriptions and get ready to write.


Kathy's List of Book Creation Apps
Kathy's List of Book Creation Apps
Katherine Page Burdick

Kathy's List of Book Creation Apps

These are apps that help users, children through adult, create their own ebooks. Some export to PDFs, ibook or to other apps.

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  1. 1  Book Creator for iPad

    Book Creator for iPad

    Description: The simple way to create your own beautiful iBooks, right on the iPad. Read them in iBooks, send them to your friends, or submit them to the iBookstore. Ideal for children's picture books, photo books, art books, cook books, manuals, textbooks, and the list goes on.
    Grade1 through adult
    BUY $4.99

  2. 2  Storybook Maker

    Storybook Maker

    Super book making app for young children. Fun interface. Choose from many backgrounds, stickers, photos, fonts, draw with large palettes - in short, creativity unleashed!
    Grade 1 through grade 5
    BUY $2.99

  3. 3  Storybooks: Starring You! by StoryBots - Read Personalized Children's Stories for Kids, Parents, Teachers

    Storybooks: Starring You! by StoryBots - Read Personalized Children's Stories for Kids, Parents, Teachers

    These are ready-made templated stories where children can put their own photos and names into the prewritten story to make them part of the story's action. This is for the not-ready-to write-yet crew and can be used to introduce them to the concept authoring. Has a couple stories for free then you can buy additional stories through inapp purchases.

  4. 4  My Story - Book Maker for Kids

    My Story - Book Maker for Kids

    Description ----- The best storybook creator just got much better! ----- Create and share ebooks by adding drawings, photos, and stickers. Then record your voice on every page and share your story with friends, family and classmates. We've made My Story super teacher friendly by adding multiple authors and syncing across multiple iPads through Bright Bot!
    preschool through grade 3
    BUY $3.99

  5. 5  LEGO® Friends Story Maker

    LEGO® Friends Story Maker

    Designed for creative minds of all ages, LEGO Friends Story Maker offers hours of LEGO fun. Become the author of
    beautiful multimedia stories using simple tools like drag & drop, stamps, voice recording, backgrounds, frames, and page captions.
    You can even take pictures of your own amazing creations to capture stories as you build!
    Directed to elementary school girls

  6. 6  bookPress - Best Book Creator, Print or eBook

    bookPress - Best Book Creator, Print or eBook

    Create a book on the iPad. Print it or keep as an eBook! bookPress lets everybody write a custom book in minutes. Offers lots of templates
    so you can do yearbooks , travel books or books for fun.
    Grade 3 through adult

  7. 7  Book Writer - eBook, PDF creator

    Book Writer - eBook, PDF creator

    This app creates a very basic ibook, add a picture then add text, then allows it to be placed in the ibook store. For the same price other apps give you templates and stickers to work with.
    All ages
    BUY $1.99

  8. 8  eBook Creator

    eBook Creator

    This is a full service ebook creator. Choose page orientation, transitions and add your own sounds. It offers 11 different
    styles of library shelves to place your final product in.
    Grade 3 through adult
    BUY $3.99

  9. 9  eBook Magic+ ePub, PDF, Photo Book maker & JPG collages

    eBook Magic+ ePub, PDF, Photo Book maker &amp; JPG collages

    Download eBook Magic+ ePub, PDF, Photo Book maker & JPG collages and enjoy it on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. The
    App for making Books, Pages and iBooks with the most output & share options.
    * Read yours in iBooks, Order a Printed Book online, and share with friends.
    * Optimized for creating any type of book: photo albums, children’s books, scrap books, text books etc.
    Grade 4 through Adult
    Buy $4.99

  10. 10  StoryBuddy 2

    StoryBuddy 2

    Make a basic photo book.
    All ages
    BUY $2.99

  11. 11  Super Duper StoryMaker

    Super Duper StoryMaker

    Description With Super Duper StoryMaker, you can create all the picture and photo stories you want and tell them over and over - plus, you can make your own photo albums, special occasion cards, comic books, etc.
    Grades 1- 5
    BUY $4.99

  12. 12  Book Magic

    Book Magic

    children grades K-2 to make picture stories with. It has clip art they drag in and then they create around it.

  13. 13  Strip Designer

    Strip Designer

    Users can make their own comic strips.
    Grades 3-12
    BUY $2.99

  14. 14  Toontastic: All Access

    Toontastic: All Access

    A very creative open ended way to create cartoon strips.
    grade 2- 12
    BUY $19.99
    FREE versions for educators

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My All Time Favorite Interactive Book Apps

It has been a busy two weeks. I have just been to two conferences on mobile learning and ebooks and I have compiled a list of my very favorite book apps. These apps are of the highest quality and engage the reader on many levels. First, they all have great stories and wonderful illustrations. Second, they all have correct spelling and grammar. I am appalled at the number of ebooks that many reviewers give their highest ratings to that have misspelled words and/or narration that doesn’t match the written text. Most of the ebooks below have highlighted narration and compel the reader to interact in a physical way with the story. Please note that they are all over $.99. They are of very high quality and in fact, are a bargain at the listed prices.

Please let me know if you agree with their inclusion and contact me if you have some books that should be included. And if you have the time do the developer a favor and post a review of the books in the iTunes store. We need to do all we can to keep these developers bringing our children the very best in reading. Happy Reading!


Kathy's List of the Best Interactive Book Apps
Kathy's List of the Best Interactive Book Apps
Katherine Page Burdick

Kathy's List of the Best Interactive Book Apps

These are my favorite IOS Book apps. They are very creative, model good grammar, and most offer interaction that moves the story along.

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  1. 1  The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

    The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

    The award-winning short film is now an interactive narrative experience. William Joyce's "The
    Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore", blurs the line between picture books, augmented
    reality and animated film. "Morris Lessmore" is a story of people who devote their lives to books
    and books who return the favor. There are different kinds of interaction on every page. Buy a new
    version of the print book and add augmented reality to the experience.
    Grade 3-4 independent read
    Buy $4.99

  2. 2  Don't Let the Pigeon Run This App!

    Don't Let the Pigeon Run This App!

    Record your own voice and your phrases get inserted into the story so the reader does in fact run
    the app. Great fun, like Mad Libs for a totally automated book. There are three levels of difficulty
    making it great fun for all elementary students.
    Buy $5.99!/id459749670?mt=8

  3. 3  Mr. Sandman

    Mr. Sandman

    This is very engaging, beautifully illustrated highly interactive bedtime book.
    Readers must interact with the art in order to get to the next page.
    NOTE It is not obvious that the text scrolls.
    Grade 3 independent reading
    Buy $3.99

  4. 4  Night Zookeeper Drawing

    Night Zookeeper Drawing

    Children must roar loudly and make creative drawings in order to move the story along. The story is narrated but the instructions are not like other ebooks so it is recommended that this ebook is best read in tandem with a good reader. Fabulous app that promotes creativity.
    Grades 2-4 lower with help
    Buy FREE

  5. 5  Axel's Chain Reaction

    Axel's Chain Reaction

    A creative tinkerer, Axel Jansen struggles to connect with his classmates and get them to see past the fidgety, distracted, clumsy boy they think he is. Inspired by the work of Kinetic artists, the third-grader decides to build a moving insect to show everyone at school what he’s capable of.

    Axel believes he can help by creating a beautiful sensory experience out of this mess —if they give him the chance…

  6. 6  The Monster at the End of This Book...starring Grover!

    The Monster at the End of This Book...starring Grover!

    A book app filled with pure delight.The interactions in the is book will have even adults laughing out loud. Very clever, a must for for every
    book app library. Check out the sequel: Another Monster at the End of This Book...Starring Grover & Elmo!
    Grade 1-2 independent read
    Buy $4.99

  7. 7  Four Little Corners

    Four Little Corners

    A story about inclusion and problem-solving. With this book it is more the story line than the
    interactivity that makes the story great. The circles are playing with the square but when it is time to go home the square won't fit through the round door. First, they try to get the square to change
    who it is. You must read it for the interactive solution.
    grade 1-2 independent read
    Buy $2.99

  8. 8  Pedlar Lady

    Pedlar Lady

    A two color story inspired by the age-old tale of a man who becomes rich through a dream,
    describes the journey of a poor pedlar woman who, guided by the shifting line between the real and the unreal, discovers a surprising and wonderful treasure. Letters fall, pages shift perspective, and glass clinks all by moving the iPad. This app has challenging vocabulary and a complex plot
    making it a read aloud with younger children.
    Grade 5 and up independent read
    Buy $4.99

  9. 9  The Voyage of Ulysses

    The Voyage of Ulysses

    Description *Kirkus Reviews STAR - Editor's Choice Award 2013 Children's Technology Review - 2013 BolognaRagazziDigital Award Finalist - 2012 Cybil Awards Finalist. You’ll find Ulysses waiting for you under the walls of the city of Troy, ready to launch the last attack together before
    finally setting sail for Ithaca! The voyage is long and full of surprises, including storms, magic spells, sirens, giants, heroes, and beautiful women…
    But there’s no way he can make it without you. You’ll have to take him by the hand and help him overcome various obstacles.
    Grade 6 and above independent read
    Buy $3.99

  10. 10  War Horse Interactive Edition

    War Horse Interactive Edition

    Description The ultimate edition of the story that inspired an internationally successful stage
    play and celebrated motion picture by Steven Spielberg. War Horse,
    by children's author Michael Morpurgo. It is now enriched for iPad by a musical performance,
    audiobook, interactive timeline and expert interviews.
    Grade 9 and above independent read
    Buy $6.99

  11. 11  Pines to Vines - The Forest Biome

    Pines to Vines - The Forest Biome

    Description Pines to Vines is a state of the art, elementary science book based on the forest biome. It has 5 reading levels within the text, movies and images at point of use, and built-in assessment. Developed in collaboration with Oregon State University's Department of Forestry and a team of
    educators, this standards based, core curriculum aligned digital book includes
    both interactive enhancements and universal design accessibility features.
    Grade 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 independent read
    Buy $18.99

  12. 12  Alice for the iPad

    Alice for the iPad

    The traditional story using the accelerometer to move objects within the beautiful illustrations.
    Grade 6 and above independent reading
    Buy $8.99

  13. 13  PopOut! The Tale of Peter Rabbit

    PopOut! The Tale of Peter Rabbit

    A beautifully illustrated fully intercative version of the traditional tale. Does have actions that just entertain and do not move the story along.
    Grade 3-4 independent read
    Buy $3.99!-tale-peter-rabbit/id397864713?mt=8

  14. 14  iPoe - The Interactive and Illustrated Edgar Allan Poe Collection

    iPoe - The Interactive and Illustrated Edgar Allan Poe Collection

    There is no narration but there are music and sound effects and many of the pages have art that moves when the iPad
    is shifted. Makes a sophisticated read a little more entertaining.
    There is a volume 2 with some of Poe's other short stories and poems.
    Grade 8 and above independent read.

    Buy $3.99

  15. 15  Bobo Explores Light

    Bobo Explores Light

    ••• Apple Design Award 2012 Winner •••
    Discover an app that takes fundamental scientific concepts for school-age children and injects them with humor, astonishment and whimsy.
    There is no text narration meaning children need to be readers. There are movies and images with narration.
    Grade 4 and above independent read
    Buy $4.99

  16. 16  IN MY DREAM


    This is a cool take on the game of shifter where you slidethe head left or right to get a different head, same with the body and the feet
    though this one has text that changes to match the pictures and you are shifting a third of the scene. What is great is that there is narration.
    Grade 2 independent reading
    Buy $4.99

  17. 17  Cinderella by Nosy Crow

    Cinderella by Nosy Crow

    Another great Nosy Crow app loaded with appropriate interaction, great font size and a modern retelling of a traditional tale. The devices
    accelerometer changes the perspective of the pages. There is even a mirror that uses the devices camera to put the reader into the mirror.
    Look for other Nosy Crow book apps.
    Grade 2-3 independent reading
    Buy $5.99

  18. 18  Numberlys


    Numberlys presents a fanciful depiction of the origins of the alphabet. A fantastic story to build vocabulary. The world only has numbers
    so there can be no color. They need letters to bring color to the world.
    Grade 4 and above independent read
    BUY $5.99

  19. 19  Three Little Pigs and the Secrets of a Popup Book

    Three Little Pigs and the Secrets of a Popup Book

    In this traditional telling of this tale you can work the wheels and pull the tabs just like a print
    interactive book but touch a tab on the page and you get an x-ray view of how the
    cardboard equivalent works.
    Grade 3 independent read
    Buy $3.99

  20. 20  Middle School Confidential 1: Be Confident in Who You Are

    Middle School Confidential 1: Be Confident in Who You Are

    Be Middle School Confidential 1: Be Confident in Who You Are . In this graphic novel a group of
    friends help bolster one another's self-esteem in the face of teasing, bullying, and self-doubt.
    Look for more in the series.
    Grade 5 and above independent reading
    Buy $2.99

  21. 21  Ultimate Dinopedia: Complete Dinosaur Reference

    Ultimate Dinopedia: Complete Dinosaur Reference
    • New York Times Top 10 Best Children's Books on the iPad * 2011 MOBI Award Winner * Realistic dinosaur reference app. Very graphic art of dinosaurs eating other dinosaurs and small print.

    Grade 5 and above independent reading

    Buy $4.99

  22. 22  Nancy Drew: Shadow Ranch HD

    Nancy Drew: Shadow Ranch HD

    Nancy Drew like you have never read her before. A full interactive story with points where
    the reader must make decisions plus there are games to play.
    Grade 4 and above independent reading
    But $2.99

  23. 23  Sound Uncovered

    Sound Uncovered

    If you like this app also look for Color Uncovered. This interactive app lets readers play with sound, tone and scale as well as loud and soft in many different contexts.
    Grade 5 and above independent
    Buy FREE

  24. 24  Spatter & Spark Pro

    Spatter &amp; Spark Pro

    Spatter and Spark has relevant interactivity that reinforces and moves the story along. Engaging
    animation will delight young readers.
    Grade 2 independent reading
    Buy $3.99

  25. 25  Al Gore - Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis

    Al Gore - Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis

    A fully interactive text with movies, charts, graphs diagrams that can be manipulated - even a
    power windmill site where users blow into the microphone to see how much power
    the windmills can generate.
    Grade 7 independent reading
    Buy $4.99

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Common Core and Apps

Schools, teachers and publishers in over 40 states are busy training and preparing for full implementation of the Common Core State Standards. The Common Core State Standards were presented in 2010 and are America’s first attempt to institute federal guidelines on grade level expectations. Before Common Core, some states had created their own sets of standards so that students could move within the state and be assured that they were going to be held accountable for the same academic standards.  In other words, if your student lived in the city and was taught multiplication in third grade and you moved in the middle of the year to the country, she would still be taught multiplication and wouldn’t be at risk of being ahead or behind of her peers.

America is an increasingly mobile society and families are moving not just across the state but, across the country. On top of that, educators are hearing more complaints that they are graduating students who do not have the skills needed for 21st Century jobs. Today’s jobs often require workers to collaborate, create, communicate and think critically. It was out of these needs that the Common Core State Standards(CCSS) were born. In addition, the developers looked at the habits of mind and best practices that were being used in high performing countries like Finland and Singapore. They discovered that in general these countries studied fewer topics within a school year and their instruction tended to be very focused. In fact, Singapore’s website boasts “Teach Less, Learn More.”

Today, three years after the Common Core State Standards for Reading and Math were published, a recent Gallup Poll ( shows that more than 62% of Americans have never even heard of them despite the importance they hold, and so have no idea what will be required of their children. In very general terms, the standards call for more rigor, require students to use higher critical thinking skills, and ask them to apply their learning to real world situations. Employing the motto “Teach Less, Learn More,” the standards demand quality of instruction over quantity and as a result the number of math topics covered within a year has been decreased.

Educational book publishers are already incorporating the standards into their print product, and a few high quality IOS developers are doing the same. Because of these new rigors it is to parents and teachers advantage to seek out and purchase apps that are built to meet these new standards. Some apps like Tools4Students and CompareNContrast in the reading domain, and Splash Math have been developed with the new standards in mind.  Everything has been included with the intent of helping students become successful in this new Common Core world. They give the rigorous practice called for and often call upon the student to reflect and defend their answers.

Common Core is due to be fully implemented in American schools in the fall of 2014. When purchasing apps that will be staying on devices for many years it is more important than ever to find apps that meet these new requirements and will therefore be valid in instruction long after the standards are formally in place.

Purchasing apps that are Common Core ready will ensure that your children will be one step ahead of the game and better prepared to conquer the 21 Century Skills employers are looking for.


More Resources

Common Core State Standards

Gallup Polls

Common Core State Standards for Reading

Common Core State Standards for Math

CCSS toolbox for Math





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