Do you have a child or work with students in middle school? This app/book Middle School Confidential by Electric Eggplant for $2.99 is different because it is comic like book discussing topics that middle school students deal with. The book has 8 chapters from Do you Like the Way you Look?, Sometimes I Worry What Other People Think, Sometimes I just Lose it, Meet the Opinionator, Fact Finder, I Don’t Get it, I’m Stressed Out, and I Like Who I Am.
If you are a school Psychologist or School Counselor this is a great app to add to a group as it covers the topics all middle school children struggle with. The use of a comic book is very familiar to young teens also making the book very enticing to read. The book has a built in cast of characters that students become familiar with. It is a great way for students to identify with characters and root for different characters that resonate with themselves.
Students can brainstorm after chapters are read about the different situations. They can discuss how they would feel if they were in the same place. It is also a perfect book to role over into video modeling and video tape the students in similar situations. As everyone knows the middle school years are the most difficult. Here is one way to help students deal with some of the more confusing issues in a format that is not threatening and whether you are a child with special needs or not this app is for all children to learn about tolerance.
This is a great app for teachers, Psychologists and parents!
Children and young adults who are on the Autism Spectrum Disorder generally have difficulty with socialization skills. Here is a very interesting app that incorporates the best practices of Carol Gray‘s Social Stories (Gray 2002)), Comic Strip Conversations (Gray ,1994)
the Alert Program (Williams & Shellenberger, 1996), The Incredible 5 Point Scale (Buron & Curtis, 2003), The Hidden Curriculum (Myles, Trautman and Schelvan, 2004), Thinking about YOU Thinking about ME (Winner, 2007) and other professionals. The Social Express by the Language Express, Inc for $29.99 just for the month of May has taken these different theories and created one of the most interactive, beautifully designed apps. Upon opening it I thought I was going into the set of a sophisticated animated movie as there is an opening scene with characters who play a large part in the app.
First set up your user profile. If this is your first time using the app Read through the Social Express Guide and use the website to keep up with new ideas. ( http://thesocialexpress.com/product-listing/features/). The guide will explain the verbiage used throughout the app making it user friendly. Next, return to the student you are working with on Play Lesson. The app has two skill levels. Depending upon who you are working with will determine the lesson you may want to use. Quite honestly many of the topics are appropriate for all elementary school and middle school students.
Lessons include working on coping strategies, being with a group, how to talk to friends, how to start a conversation non-verbal cues and more. THe app includes 16 lessons teaching the “social rules” of life with the hidden curriculum behind them. Each lesson comes with a skill level, a hidden social key, a goal, lesson summary and follow up activities to continue working on the skill. The app monitors your progress as you answer questions during a lesson.
Throughout the lesson teaching tips pop up. If you do not want them you can turn them off in the upper left hand corner. The lesson uses 2 characters – Emma and Zach and their dog making the students who play feel like they are part of the app. This can be used as a classroom activity or at home. It meets the needs of so many children who struggle with the day to day social skills and decision making. The app makes the student feel as though they already have built in friends, which is extremely comforting. The app is a great way to show video modeling and help with some of the difficult coping strategies of daily life.
IEP Goals: During :number verbal exchanges, the student will control vocal intonation and body language to accurately match the intent of the message (e.g., student smiles when conveying something good).
The student will practice and use various conversational scripts to maintain a :duration conversational exchange.
The student will practice and use ritual greetings and polite conversational statements to maintain :number conversational exchanges. The student will practice and use appropriate initiation of conversations and requests for clarification to maintain a :duration conversational exchange
Do you have a student or a child who is Dysgraphic or has difficulty with fine motor skills? Dexteria- Fine Motor Skill Development by BinaryLabs, Inc, for $3.99 is an inclusive app that will help students with hand and finger activities to improve their fine motor development. The app is not a game but has game-like features to keep students involved.
The app now includes multi users and data tracking for an additional $3.99. If you are an Occupational Therapist this is a great addition to the other activities you use while being able to send reports to parents or keep in a data folio. If you are a single user you still get a report upon completion of the daily activity. This app does not have settings. Instead it has options. These include restoring to default settings and providing feedback.
The first activity is Tap it. The goal of this activity is to develop isolation of finger movements, helps to sequencing and motor planning skills, facilitates tactile desensitization and improves attending skills.
The next activity is Pinch It.This activity helps students with fine motor manipulation needed to pick up objects and holding a pencil. The goal of this activity is to enhance thumb and pointer finger fine motor manipulation.
Finally, the last activity is Write It.This activity assists students in prewriting skills with both upper, lower case letters and numbers The goal is to trace the letters from the correct start point to the end point following the arrow to the balls within the letter.
This app used a few times a week for short periods of time will help students increase their ability to strengthen their fine motor skills. Personally, when tracing I give students a stylus to help the transition from iPad to paper. The stylus will also help the student learn the appropriate pencil holding skills.
Two styluses that I recommend for younger children are the Cosmonaut for $25.00 and the Alupen $24.95. They are both thick and easy to hold onto.
iSequences by Fundacion Planeta Imaginario for $1.99 can be used with children on the spectrum or with developmental disabilities. The app has 3 different activities with over 100 different scenarios. When asked why sequencing is important? It is the foundation to many skills students need to able to do as they move on in their curriculum. It helps to put order into a child’s life understanding what comes first, seconds and so forth. Sequencing is done in comprehension- Teachers prompt students to place the events of a story in order using terms such as “then,” “next,” and “finally.” We do it in writing using an introduction, a plot and a conclusion. In math when placing numbers in sequential order it is necessary to show that numbers create patterns and have value. We even need to sequence in daily living skills such as following the steps to preparing for bed.
iSequences does a great job of teaching a variety of sequences. As always go to your settings. You have a few choices to make before you begin using the app. First, do you want your sequences sequential or random? Do you want to show text and or play back audio. Next, is the configuration mode. Depending on the child do you want to put in the right order? What will happen next? or Emotions? You can have all three or focus on one at a time. Finally, choose level 1 or 2 and the sequences you think the child needs to work on from daily living skills to putting something together. Now you are ready to go.
I like the addition of the emotions as it helps the student validate how they should be feeling. If they feel differently it is an opportunity for discussion. In some scenes students are asked what happens next? This opens the door to abstract thought which may be difficult for some students but may be a goal that the teacher is working on. This platform is not threatening and using pictures helps the student sort the answer out visually.
I would love to seeing data tracking based on the 3 different criteria as they are so important in the learning process. It would help teachers have another vantage point on how to help their students be successful. Right now this is a good app that will help teacher determine where there students may be struggling. It can be used in a group format having an assistant keep track of student responses.
Every September I diligently make sure to copy my 100’s chart for my students. In addition I always have extras in case they get lost or mangled. Now this is one task I no longer need to do because of Hands -On-Math Interactive Hundreds Chart by Ventura Education Systems for $1.99. Depending who you are teaching it can do a multitude of activities. First and foremost in the settings you can set the speech sound on for those students learning how to count. You can also set your chart to start at 0 or 1 and add speech effects. The app comes with a great user’s guide to give you creative ways to to teach vertical and diagonal lines, odd and even numbers, counting by 2’s 5’s,etc and an introduction to to operations and functions.
The real fun begins when teaching different number concepts or patterns. You are supplied with eight colors, and diferent icons to tick off the numbers; a square, a check, a circle or a check mark.
In my class many students use this as a number line manipulative using the colors to help them add and subtract. Since many of the students I am working with are still learning to count by 5’s the chart is an excellent visual allowing them to color in with color of their choice. In the past using paper charts students would lose their place because of different visual disabilities now they can stay on task.
This is a great tool to help save paper, meet Common Core Standards and IEP goals. Students find it easy to use and now like to to be challenged with practicing first with the voice on and then the voice off to help create independence.
Common Core Standards:
K- Count to 100 by ones and by tens
Grade 1 Understand that the two digits of a two-digit number represent amounts of tens and ones.
IEP Goals: Count to 10 independently
Count by 5’s to 100
We talk about increasing memory and connecting ideas when teaching students. Quibble by Chess Pie Media, $1.99 is different than most memory games we play. Usually we turn the cards down and try to find a matching pair. Quibble is about finding a matching theme using photographs or purchasing in app purchases for $.99 using word match, math or math junior.
The purpose to Quibble Kids is to try to understand why a group of pictures would go together learning how to make connections between what they see and what they know. One of the most difficult concepts to teach students is how to inference? It is easy to memorize an answer to a question but how did we get to the answer? What is similar in a photo or what is said? Teaching students to think like this takes a lot of creativity.
Quibble Kids has over 50 puzzles with over 200 photos. Students must put 4 pictures together in a theme. If they are struggling there is a hint button to help you figure out the them. Solving puzzles increase problem solving, language skills and critical thinking skills. Quibble for kids is not only educational but fun. It can be used to increase social interaction when played with a group of children.