Wednesday, November 5, 2014

This Day in History

History does not always get the time and attention it deserves, especially in the elementary world.  This app, can help put history in the front of the class - one day at a time!

This Day in History by World Book is a free iPad app. Each day, you are presented with various "this day in history" events, including births, famous events, and scientific events. You can view any day/month, which makes planning for future events a breeze. Each event has a link with more information provided. This information may be just what your students need to get excited about the event or person being discussed.

The app itself is rather simple, but the potential is there!  Use the events as a "Did you know..." activity at the beginning or end of the day. The historical and scientific events on the calendar can be the starting point of a history or science lesson. Students (and teachers) can use the great list of historical figures as their potential research topic list.

This Day in History is a simple resource any classroom can benefit from using!

Friday, October 31, 2014

apps for Operations and Algebraic Thinking

These are just a few of the apps I like sharing with teachers when it comes to the Operations & Algebraic Thinking domain. - Click the link to view the entire list

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Thinking Blocks

Thinking Blocks is an app I have come across more than once, but didn't try it out until now.  This is a free app that is a great resource for word problems.  You can download the addition/subtraction, multiplication/division, fractions, and ratio/proportion.  You can also access these on the computer by going to the Math Playground website.

To begin, students select the model and number range they want to work with and select "Starting Modeling".  From there, the app walks the students through how to solve a word problem without giving away the answer. The students have to work, but they have guidance needed to build word problem confidence!

As a student who struggled with word problems, this is a great resource for students to build confidence and a better understanding of solving world problems.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Virtual Manipulatives

Virtual Manipulatives is a free app for the iPad. Virtual Manipulatives is created by, which is a great site to visit.

Virtual Manpulatives allows you to connect the concept of fractions, decimals, and percents. Students have a white space area they can make and write on. They also have fraction, decimal, and percent manipulatives they can drag over into this area.

Within the settings, you can change the manipulatives from tiles to circles. Students can save an image of their work into the Camera Roll by clicking "Save". You can also import images into the white space by clicking the camera icon.

This is one of those apps that can be used in multiple ways - small group instruction, whole group instruction, and individual assessing. By adding the saved image from Virtual Manipulatives to a digital storytelling app, like ScreenChomp or Educreations, students can explain their reasoning behind what they created.

This is a must-have app for any elementary math teacher!

Here is my Graphite Field Note about Virtual Manipulatives.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Number Pieces

Number Pieces is an app I came across while helping my daughter with her homework. This is a free app by the Math Learning Center.

Number Pieces allows students to visualize and manipulative ones, tens, and hundreds to get a better understanding of place value. You can create numbers on the work space and write using the pen tool.

Students can put together and break apart numbers by simply circling the item and making a selection at the bottom of the screen.  The help area explains everything the students can do on the app!

Students can access the same resources on the Math Learning Center website -

This app would make a great addition to your math resource collection on the iPad. Students are able to create and build their understanding on the place value concept.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Lets Get Organized!

Your iPad can quickly become a disorganized mess, especially if you get an app download binge.  One way you can get organized is through the use of folders.  Folders allow you to combine like apps or website links on your Home Screen.

The video below will show you how to create a folder.

click here for video

Step #1 - Hold your finger on one of the apps you want to combine.
Step #2 - Once it starts to shake, drag it over the second app you want to combine. This action creates the folder.
Step #3 - If desired, change the name of the folder.
Step #4 - Click on the Home Button to stop the shaking.

If you want to add more apps, just hold, wait for the shake, and drag.  You can do the same thing when you want to remove an app from the folder.

Folder Ideas:
- subject area
- grade level
- research topic
- student specific
- teacher apps

Who do you organize your iPad apps and links?  Share your ideas with us!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Adding Website Links to Your Homescreen

Just like a computer, iPads can access the Internet and be used as a research tool in the classroom. In order to make life somewhat easier, you can provide students with direct links to the desired research sites directly on the iPad's homescreen.

Step #1: Go to the desired site on the Safari web browser.

Step #2: Click on the icon just to the left of the web address. There are a lot of options, but we want to select the third one on the bottom - "Add to Home Screen".

Step #3: The website's name and address will appear. You can change the name if desired. This name will appear on the Home Screen.

Step #4: Once you click "Add", you will have a link on your Home Screen.  These look just like apps.  

By adding links straight to the Home Screen, you can ensure students won't get "lost" typing in a long web address.  These, just like apps, can be deleted at any time so you can add and delete website links through the year, depending on the topics being researched.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Daisy the Dinosaur

Daisy the Dinosuar is a free app that will get younger students excited about coding!  Daisy the Dinosaur has two modes - free play and challenge.

In free play mode, students can program Daisy to move, turn, grow, etc and then watch what they have created.

In challenge mode, students must meet the challenge by programming Daisy to complete a task. The challeneges progressively gets harder.

This app would be a great addition to any lower elementary iPad app collection. You can read what others have to say about Daisy the Dinosaur at Graphite by Common Sense Media.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Math vs. Zombies

I am a big fan of the apps created by Tap to Learn. They provide apps on a variety of subjects (math, language arts, science) and they are easy to figure out and fun to play/explore.

One of those apps I enjoy sharing with teachers is Math vs Zombies.  The name alone will get the boys in your class excited.  The object of the game is to turn zombies back into humans by correctly solving the math problem above their head. Even though the app is $4.99, it is worth checking out and using with your students.

Students can select from the four operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division). There are also multiple levels within each operation.


One recent addition to this app was the ability to access reports that are correlated to the CCSS.  You can view reports from a grade level stand point or a operation stand point.


The only downside to this app is students can not have their own account, so the reports will be cumulative. The app has a whole though is a great addition to a math center rotation in multiple grade levels.

Monday, March 17, 2014


With this app, there is no need for rubberbands!  I loved teaching geometry, but did not love the rubberbands that would find themselves flying in the air of my classroom.  This is a free iOS app called Geoboard you can download and use when teaching geometry. I would have loved having this app in the classroom.

Students start off by selecting a colored rubberband and placing it on two pins. (see the purple one) You then "stretch" the rubberband to other pins. (see the yellow one)

The shapes created by the rubberbands can be shaded in. This is great when you start talking about composing and decomposing shapes.

If you need a larger geoboard, the app has you covered!

This app is the perfect addition for any grade level to assist with geometry discussions and learning.  This app can also be used for assessing too, with the help of a task card and the camera feature.  Have the students complete an activity using the geometry and then take a screenshot of the board. This screenshot can be emailed to the teacher OR added to a digital creation app, like Educreations, where the student can explain what they did and why.

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Opposites

The Opposites is a simple, yet great app to have on your iPad. This app allows students to match opposites. Did I mention it's free?

To start off, the students select "play" and the level. The higher the level, the harder the words. According to iTunes, the harder words include words from biology, poetry, medicine, and Greek prefixes.

The students will see words float to the top of the screen. Once they find a match, they click on each word. This will turn them a different color and then pop if the match is correct.

Students can also select the dictionary and review the words from each level.  I wouldn't consider this cheating at all. After (or before) completing a level, students could select a match and create a visual for what the words mean and how they are different.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Popplet Lite

Popplet Lite is the free iPad version of the popular website Popplet.  There is a full iPad version out there, but it does cost $4.99.

Popplet is a creation app and can be used for multiple topics and subject areas.  When you open the app, you can given a blank canvas. You can start creating by clicking on the setting icon and selecting "new popple".

A popple is a bubble that can contain text, images, or drawings. Popples connect to each other by clicking on one of the four gray circles around the current popple. Each popple can be a different color. This is a good idea when more than one student is creating a Popplet.

The creation doesn't have to stay on the iPad, you can email the Popplet as a PDF or JPEG as well as save it on the iPad as a JPEG.

Popplet Lite and the web version Popplet are a must for any classroom, no matter the grade or subject area. Popplet can be a brainstorming organizer, a timeline, a presentation tool, and a note taking resource.

If you have an Apple TV or use a program to display your iPad through the projector, students can follow along with the creation and present their own Popplet.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Literacy Leveler

Literacy Leveler is normally a $4.99 app, but today (March 3rd) it is FREE!  I found this gem thanks to Apps Gone Free.

Literacy Levelers scans the ISBN code from the back of the book and provides the user with the Lexile Level, DRA, and GRL. You can search the scanned book to your library by clicking the plus sign on the upper right corner.

Why is this simple app awesome?  Think Common Core!