Name: Simplex Spelling Phonics 1
Free or Fee: $0.99 when reviewed
Rating: 5/5 stars
From the makers of Simplex Spelling HD, Pyxwise Software presents Simplex Spelling Phonics! Using the same structure as Spelling HD, Phonics 1 presents students with 42 spelling lists that are organized by letter sounds and letter combinations. Similar to Spelling HD, Phonics 1 uses spelling to build literacy since students are required to spell the word using a keyboard (ABC or QWERTY) after hearing the word said and used in a sentence as opposed to learning the word solely based on sight and memorization. (Please see our review of Simplex Spelling HD for details regarding the structure of the app- http://mobileieducator.com/?p=786). This app is incredibly easy to use- there is even a tutorial for first time users. If students already have experience with Spelling HD using Phonics 1 will be a snap! Phonics 1 is an excellent app for English language learners and emerging readers. It could also be useful for students in speech therapy by including the pronunciation of words by the student. Each spelling list begins with a mini lesson and the mini lesson can be repeated at any time while working through the spelling list. The lesson gives rules on pronunciation, which is also helpful for students that are saying the words after they spell them. Pyxwise included a mail icon, which allows users to contact them, see some FAQs and, most importantly, view the word lists. Previewing the lists students are using can enable teachers to prepare supporting items in case a student is struggling. I love that multiple users can be added to the app and that each users progress is saved! Simplex Spelling Phonics 1 is another excellent app by Pyxwise.
The link below provides information regarding the thoughts and ideas behind Simplex Spelling.
Name of App: This Week’s Words School Edition
Free or Fee: 12.99 when reviewed ($3.99 for non-school version)
Rating: 4/5 stars
Why I like it: Studying for the weekly spelling test just got easier for both teachers and students with This Week’s Words School Edition. The app features a teacher’s dashboard (password protected) that allows the teacher to add multiple classes, enter various word lists and track student progress. Once the classes’ information is added students can go into the app, select their name and study their words using a 3 different practice levels. My favorite feature of This Week’s Words is that the words are pronounced for the student. This feature allows students to practice the way that they are presented with the test. Once a list of words has been completed they are saved for students to go back and review later. All in all this is a great way to help students learn and practice their weekly spelling words but, one improvement that would make selecting word lists easier would be the ability to add a word list to an entire class at once instead of selecting a word list for each student individually. I also must add that the non- school version is SmarTots enabled (http://www.smartots.com/app)!
Practice makes perfect so download This Week’s Words School Edition and help student make perfect scores on their spelling tests!
Name of App: Words With Friends
Free or Fee: Free! (or $1.99 for ad-free version)
Rating: 4/5 stars
Why I like it: Words With Friends is an electronic version of Scrabble, but you don’t have to be in the same room with the person you are playing. In fact, you don’t even have to be in the same state! Words With Friends can be a great brain buster for students as well as adults. Students can create an account on their device then select other students in their classroom to play a game with. Students can search for their friends or they can create a contact list that is stored on the device to find their friends more easily. Students can play several games at once and there is even an option to chat with the other player. There are a few downfalls to this app since it is open to the public. An option to play a game with a random opponent is available and cannot be locked. This is a challenge because a random opponent may have a more advanced vocabulary then the student they are playing against and the chat option also poses a threat since there is no way of knowing who the opponent is. These challenges can be overcome with extensive monitoring of the students games and contact lists. As a teacher it would be fun to contact a teacher of the same grade at another school and switch contact lists so the students can play each other. Even create a teacher vs. teacher game. It is recommended to purchase the ad-free version for students since there is no control over the type of ads shown. Words With Friends can be used as a new form of pen pals!
Name of App: SpellBoard
Free or Fee: $4.99
Rating: 4/5 stars
Why I like it: Most classrooms have a weekly spelling test. The words are given at the beginning of the week and the test at the end, but what happens during the days in between? Studying of course! SpellBoard makes studying a snap. Once the words are programmed into the app, the quiz can be studied or taken as a test. Each word can have audio programmed with it, as well as a sentence created with audio. The bottom half of the screen is a note pad where the word can be written using your finger. It reads the touch of a finger very accurately making it easy to use and reducing user frustration. There are many fantastic uses for SpellBoard. Teachers can create a spelling list and email it to students or parents so students can practice with it all week long. Students could also be given their spelling list and be required to enter all the words into SpellBoard giving them the practice of spelling each word and entering in the audio. Students can even be challenged to create their own spelling tests! One improvement that would make this app 5/5 would be the option to email study scores allowing teachers to follow each student’s study progress. Give students a new way to study their spelling words with SpellBoard!
Name of App: Chicktionary 300
Free or Fee: Free!
Rating: 3/5 stars
Why I like it: Chicktionary is an educational and fun app that challenges all ages! There are 7 hens each with a letter displayed on it’s breast. Above the hens is an egg carton filled with eggs. Each row of eggs represents a word (from 3 to 7 letters) that can be made from the scrambled letters found on the hens. The app challenges you to make as many words as you can. When creating words the app tells when you have made a word or if you have duplicated a word already in the egg carton. Similar to Who Wants to be a Millionaire, you have a few “cheat” options called Beak Sneak and Free Bird. As you complete the word puzzles, you earn Eggchievements, such as completing your first game and sending challenges to friends. This app can be used to encourage students to think quickly (if timed option is selected), to create words from jumbled letters, and to learn new words. This would be a great way to challenge students to make words that they don’t know then look up the definitions. One downfall is that you can make more words then will show in the egg carton, but on the upside it will still recognize it as a word. Students can track their progress by saving and reviewing their high scores. Younger students may have a hard time making all the words possible, but you could ask them to make all the 3 letter words, then all the 4 letter words, etc. You could also egg on classroom challenges!