Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Free Place Value Apps and Activities for iPads

We recently wrapped up our place value unit and I finally have time to blog about some of my favorite FREE apps and activities we used throughout the unit.  Be warned: this is a long but informative (I hope!) post.;)

Number Duel is a fun and simple app for practicing greater than/less than.  Students tap the larger number to score a point—with the goal being to score 21 points.  They lose three points for every wrong answer, which encourages them to take their time and focus on accuracy.  My students that needed an extra challenge played the version with sums rather than just numbers.

The Number Math app covers several skills including greater than/less than, before/after, missing number, arrange in order, rounding, and skip counting.  The feature I like most about this app is that it can be customized depending on your students’ abilities.  For example, the student in the picture below is playing “Missing Number” with two-digit numbers.  I was able to have my higher students play this same game with three-digit numbers right away. 

For the Chocolate Chip Cookie Factory app, students must ship and deliver cookies to their customers as fast as possible.  The cookies are sold by ones, stacks of ten, or in boxes of 100.  Students look at the number in the upper left and tap the correct number of cookies to match the order.  The counting version was perfect when we were starting out, but some students moved onto the addition version (pictured below), which helps build the foundation for multi-digit addition.

Even though we haven’t gotten into the thousands, I really like the Math Bugs app.  Students create bugs with the specified number of wings, antennae, etc. based on the place value of the given digits.  There’s no pressure of a time limit and my kiddos love collecting gold coins when they answer correctly. 

Math Slide is super engaging and can be played with up to four players at a time.  Because we love a little friendly competition in my classroom, this app is our current favorite.  Students slide tiles to the center to match the answer, equation, or image (i.e. base 10 blocks or number line).  The player that slides all of their tiles first wins.  There are 10 different games within this app and games 1 and 10 can be played an unlimited number of times using the free version.  (The skills for each of the 10 games are listed in the iTunes Description here.)

I know I’ve mentioned my love for Popplet on here before, but this was my first time using it in math.  My students chose a number to build with base ten blocks and took a picture of it.  
Then I had them create “popples” of their number in standard, expanded, and word form.  I think it was helpful for them to have a visual of the various ways to represent a number all in one place. 

In addition to all of these engaging apps, we had ourselves a little QR code fun as well.  My kiddos had a blast with this FREE base 10 block QR code scavenger hunt. 

In case you missed it, I recently blogged about our mystery number interactive QR code bulletin board we completed last week.  You can grab the free template by clicking on my original post here. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Mystery Number Interactive QR Code Bulletin Board (FREE Template)

I’m a big fan of interactive QR code bulletin boards, and it’s always a bonus when I can get my students to create their own content.  However, when I moved down to primary, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to make student-created QR code bulletin boards work.  But where there’s a will, there’s a way. . .  

We’ve been working on place value for the past couple weeks, and I wanted to do a fun culminating project.  So I created these templates for my students to fill out based on a “top-secret” number of their choice. 


I had them write their number on the back, making sure none of their classmates saw.  Then I generated and printed QR codes with their mystery numbers and taped them to their papers.  Once the bulletin board was set up, I let small groups of students go up and try to guess their peers’ mystery numbers. 

My kiddos had so much fun with this activity and it really helped solidify their understanding of place value.  Here are a couple of close-ups.

If you’d like to do this activity with your own students, click the template images above to download them for free.  (Thanks to Ashley Hughes for the adorable kidlet clipart.)  To generate the QR codes, go to and click the box on the left that says “Plain Text.”  Then type your number in the text box and click “Download QR Code.”  I dragged all of the QR codes into a Powerpoint document so that I could print them all on one sheet of paper. 

In an effort to make sure my students are practicing place value concepts all year as we move onto new topics, I created a QR code mystery number of the day activity.  Each day, my students scan a new “Mystery Number” and fill out a recording sheet with various place value concepts.
To conserve paper, I’ve been having them fill out the recoding sheet and turn it into me via the free app Showbie.  (I promise to blog about Showbie soon!) 
We’ve been doing this as morning work, but it can also be used as an independent math center.  Click HERE or on the image below to check it out on TpT.  There are 180 mystery numbers included (half are 2-digit and half are 3-digit) so this pack can be used all year long!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

iPad Apps and Activities for Sight Word Practice

Today I’m sharing some my favorite iPad apps and activities for practicing sight words.  All of these apps are free, and some have the option to purchase additional words/activities.  
Sight Words: Kids Learn by Teacher Created Materials
The kids start off with tracing each word they see.  If they don’t know the word, they can press the star and have it read aloud to them.  They can also record their own voice by clicking on the microphone.  As they make their way through the list it allows them to play different games/activities.  The bottom images show two of the activities: tic-tac-toe and sentence building with word tiles.  This app is free with the option to purchase additional words.

My students love slicing their way through the words that pop up on this free app.  If they get a word wrong, it gives it to them again to make sure they have mastered it.

Students can choose from a variety of colors (even glitter!) to write with using this free app.  I’ll have them either do sight word steps or write sentences using their sight words.

This is a free and simple app that allows students to drag letters onto the board to build words.
Students drag tiles to make given words with this free app.  I love that I can customize the lists and options to differentiate for my students.  In the picture below, the word is given and read aloud.  You can also make it more challenging by removing the word so it functions like a word scramble. 

We’ve only used the free version of this app, but there is an option to purchase more words and games.  My students have a blast trying to swipe the eggs that are flying across the screen.  Points are lost for swiping the wrong word to discourage them from guessing.  Just be sure to change the speed if it’s too easy.

In addition to these apps, my students also use my audio QR code activities to practice their sight words.  My kiddos love moving around the room during center time, so the “Listen and Write” activity is probably their favorite.  They scan a QR code to hear my voice reading one of the words aloud.  They then write the word they heard on the appropriate line of their recording sheet.        
For the “Listen and Match” activity, students scan a QR code to listen to a sight word being read aloud.  Then they match it to the puzzle piece displaying that word.

For the “Listen and Color” activity, students scan the QR code to listen to the word and then color that word on their recording sheet.   

So far I have these three activities completed for the primer, first, and second grade Dolch lists.  Since I’ve been feeling especially grateful lately for my loyal followers, I’d like to give one of these packs away.  All you have to do is leave a comment with your email and tell me which pack you would use in your classroom.  I will choose a random winner on Tuesday night.  This giveaway has ended.  Congrats to Heather and thanks to all who entered.:) 

Click the images below to check out these packs on TpT.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Spider Week 2014

We spent the past week studying these fascinating creatures while integrating various nonfiction reading and writing skills.  I chose five spiders that I thought my kiddos would find interesting and assigned one to each of my table groups.  They used this graphic organizer to help them gather information from various trade books as well as online books from Myon.

My students were able to identify the body parts we had been studying with real-live spiders using these iPad microscopes.  Each table group had their own spider to look at and they took turns projecting them onto our Apple TV.

My kiddos also took turns coming up to our augmented reality spider bulletin board that I created thanks to a training I attended by Two Guys and Some iPads.  When a spider image is scanned using the Daqri app, a video of that spider in action comes up on the iPad.  In the picture below, my student is watching a video that shows how a trapdoor spider comes out of its burrow to trap its prey. 
Click on the video below to see my students watching a tarantula and black widow video.
Needless to say, my kiddos loved getting up close and personal with spiders.  We are so fortunate to have these authentic experiences that wouldn’t be possible without this amazing technology.    

My students summarized their spider findings with these mini research reports.  I got the adorable spider craft template here. 

Here are a couple close-ups. 
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