Sunday, 23 October 2011


Writing Toolkit
This is a great app because it guides you through the writing process.  It describes an explanation of various writing activities, such as describing what the plot and setting mean.  It also explains the parts of speech to students and provides examples of each.  Students who need extra support and direction will benefit from this application because they have the option to review the information again on their own and using a different method.  It breaks down the information into smaller chunks for students who need to go step by step to create a writing piece.  It also encourages the student to be more independent.  This app could be used for students between grades 4-12 who struggle with understanding the writing process.

Fraction Calculator
As a math teacher, I really like this app.  You can choose a fraction and it describes each part (numerator and denominator) and number of the fraction.  It shows the number as a mixed number, and reduces it to lowest form.  It also shows the fraction in its decimal form and with a pictorial.  This application would be beneficial for students who need extra support and reminders about the parts of fractions.  It would be a quick app to use at home for reviewing homework.  Students who have difficulty with changing fractions to decimals could use this application to check their work.  Excellent for junior high students being introduced to fractions.

Tic Tac Math
This application is an excellent tool to engage students in practicing operations.  With a partner they play tic tac toe with math operations - addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.  A great activity for differentiated learning styles or students who finish their work early.  Students can use this application at almost any age because it allows you to pick your difficulty level.

Other applications of interest which are great for reinforcing reading, writing and mathematical skills:

Shakespeare Made Easy
Spelling Magic
Word Photo
Autism Express
Grammar Match
Speak it
Voice Reader

Pictello is an easy to use app to create storybooks or photo albums.  You can load pictures from your device into the storybook, along with text, which the device reads back to you.  You can share these storybooks through Pictello's server or through iTunes.

Some ways students can use Pictello include:
  • taking photos on a field trip and creating a story of each event
  • creating a storybook of a class event to show a student who is absent
  • a student who is going on a family trip could create a story of their adventure in replacement of an assignment missed
  • a student in my class with Autism uses this app to create a story of his day at school to present to his mother after school
  • a student with anxiety or another disorder could use this by reviewing their schedule or class routines prior to attending school

Reflection Day 3

This was a great class!  I learned so much about literacy programs used to assist students with reading and writing.  Learning Kurzweil for my class presentation was a great experience because I will be able to use it to help out some of resource students and I am very excited about this!  In particular I work with a student who is dyslexic and struggles with sounding out the parts of words.  Kurzweil offers the student access to pronunciation of words and syllables, along with text to speech reading of any scanned or computerized materials.  It is also helpful for students with writing challenges because it offers graphic organizers and examples of writing pieces for students to work from.  I've also shared some of the features with colleagues who are not familiar with the program because it has so many options to accommodate students, such as study skills or test taking features.

I also enjoyed using the Ipod Touch and discovering apps students and children can use to assist in learning.  I see this technology as the future of education because it has so many uses for all types of diverse learning styles.  As a current teacher I see some challenges with this technology in the classroom, such as students using the device for inappropriate activities.  As well, with some students I would be reluctant to have them handle the device with care.  However, I do feel like the benefits of this technology outweigh the negatives for struggling readers and writers.   

In my next post I am selecting my favorite Ipod apps and you should definitely check these out!  After using the device, it is now on my Christmas wishlist! 

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Kurzweil 3000 Blog

Below is the link for our blog on Kurzweil.  There are some great screen shots, tutorials and videos.  We also included steps on how to use the most popular features.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Literacy Development Websites!

I really enjoyed the activity we did in class today.  I discovered many new websites which are helpful for developing student literacy skills.  There are so many great websites which are free for students to use.  Often we don't spend time looking for these sites because we don't have time.  I think this is a great activity which will be very useful to my class.  I have posted some of my favorite websites below and encourage any feedback you have!

Into the Book -

A great website to help elementary and junior high students develop their reading and writing skills.  It provides interactive tools which allow you to understand how to complete different parts of the reading/writing process.  Some examples include: writing summaries, making connections from readings, inferring, synthesizing and questioning strategies.  This website is great for students who need to see visual examples and lots of practice.  It allows the student to watch videos and then try to complete the activities themselves.  Some students may feel like this website is too childish for them, depending on their grade and the classroom environment.  The website also includes activities for teachers to use in their classroom.


This website is a great tool to locate literacy, writing, math and study skills tools.  It provides categories which lead into a variety of educational links.  Many of the links are free or provide a free trial.  You can locate just about any activity you need for a student.  Some of my favorites I found on the website are below.
Storyline -
This is a great website that allows elementary students to choose a story (from the collection) and have a famous person read it to them.  It also gives the option of having captions or not so the student can follow along with the reading.  At the end it provides activities for the student to complete, such as questions.  A student who is a struggling reader would benefit from this site, and because it is famous people reading the stories they might be more engaged and willing to use this site.  One problem is the students can't choose the book they would like to read and it doesn't highlight the words as it reads.  It is also fast, so depending upon the student, they may have difficulty following along.

Kerpoof -
This website contains activities for grades 1-8.  It provides templates for students to create stories, movies, cards, etc.  For those students who need guidance, it gives them the opportunity to select visuals and additional tools from a tool bank.  It also provides rewards to students for creating different activites.  It allows the student to save their work as a jpeg as well.  Some of the activities are quite in-depth and may have too many details for students to follow or understand.

Rocket Reader Kids - This is a very elementary website.  It allows the student to develop their orthographic and phonological skills.  The teacher can choose the level of difficulty they want the student to practice.  The student sees and hears the word and then must identify it for themselves.  The student receives a reward if they get it correct.  If they are having problems, it also helps them identify the correct word.  There is a free trial, however, the teacher must buy the program to be able to fully use it.  The teacher has access to control the students' accounts and review their work before they are able to exit the program.