Friday, 13 December 2013

December 13, 2013 – 'Appy Holidays to You'

Happy Friday the Thirteenth everyone!!

This week I have chosen to pass along a few iPad apps which I have found to be beneficial for staff and students in the classroom.  I hope that you can find something of interest here for you...

ShowMe – Free  
I have found this app to be terrific for students who have limited written output and could benefit from verbal assessment and evaluation. Here students are able to capture an image of work they have done with manipulatives, a drawing, or simply use the whiteboard feature to write their name.  Next they record themselves discussing what they have done or responding to test questions, etc.  Teachers can then listen and assess the students learning from the iPad file or upload the audio files to the ShowMe website and listen to them directly from their computers. Additionally these files can be further downloaded and stored on the computer for instructors to access later (i.e. for parent conferences or to review at a later time).  Although it sounds like several steps, the process is quite intuitive and allows the teacher to have direct record of the student’s achievement and learning without requiring written work.

SnowDrift – Free
This is a fun, wintry app which allows student to practice their spelling or fine motor skills in a fun and engaging way.   When in the draw mode, you write on the screen and cause the snowflakes to swirl around the letters.  Shake the iPad to erase or use the eraser function in the tool bar.   In the play mode, (snowflake icon in the toolbar) your written words are recreated with the falling snowflakes.  Turn the device to have the snow fall in a different direction, or swipe your finger on the screen to cause the snow to be swirled away. Use the email icon to send your snow drawings and words to someone else. This app is also available as an online game at the web address   

10 Frame Fill – Free
Ten Frame Fill is a great app to help students practice recognizing additive ‘10 Families’ by completing 10 frames.  To begin tap the new frame button and a set of blue chips are placed in the ten frame.  Students are asked to determine how many more will be needed to fill the 10-frame.  Drag the yellow chips to help determine the answer, and then choose your answer from the numbers offered along the side of the screen.  Additional options include being able to have the frame fill sequentially or randomly, show number sentences and the length of wait time before providing feedback to the student. 

World Map for iPad – Free 
This app for the iPad lets you quickly share with students where various countries are located in the world.  Additionally, it allows you to view the time zones around the world and is able to be viewed Offline!  So if you are having difficulties with the wifi in your class, you can download the app when you are connected and then be able to access the maps whenever and wherever you happen to be.

Google Drive – Free
Once you to sign into your Google account with this app, you have access to all of your Google documents, spreadsheets and folders.   It also allows you to create documents and spreadsheets while you are on the go and have them available to you from laptops or Chromebooks at a later time.  One of the best features which is available on this app is the ability to utilize the iPad camera to instantly upload images to your Google Drive - a great option for recording student work and saving it for future reference.

These are only a few of the super apps which are available for use in the classroom and provide teachers with new and innovative ways to engage and support student learning.  If there are any apps which you have found that you feel would benefit other teachers, please feel free to share and I would be happy to pass them along.  Past Tech Tidbits posts can be found on the blog at

Thanks and I hope everyone has a safe and relaxing winter break!


Saturday, 7 December 2013

December 6th, 2013 – Surfing in a Winter Wonderland

Wow, I can hardly believe that another year has come and gone and the holiday season is upon us once again.  This week I have some holiday websites you can use as resources to learn about celebrations around the world at this time of year, in addition to some which add a fun holiday twist to math and reading practice, as well as entertain. - This website offers word and math games for students in kindergarten through grade 5; many with a holiday twist.  On the home page you can choose one of the featured games or click on the grade level in the tree to the right, to be taken to a variety of games at your student’s ability level.  When you visit the grade level page, you have the opportunity to view the games and activities grouped into categories such as ‘Letters’, ‘Numbers’, ‘Holiday’ and ‘More’.  One feature which stood out to me was in the Christmas and Hanukkah word search and crossword activity.  It asks how you would like to play your puzzle (computer or printer).  By selecting printer, you will be able to print off a paper copy of the word search or crossword for your students to use should the internet go down or if the technology is not available. 

This is a fun website which allows you to choose one of the buildings in Santa’s village and learn about the activities going on there.   The reindeer barn you can read (or have read to you) holiday stories, the mailroom allows you to write letters to Santa and view his responses to your messages, and in the kitchen you can try out some of the recipes from Mrs. Claus’ own cookbook. This is a really cute website with a wide variety of activites.

This website offers a wonderful variety of resources on the Kwanzaa celebration – from lesson plans to art activites. Additionally they have a full page of winter activites ( for teachers who prefer not to specifiy a particular holiday and still want to celebrate the season.

NORAD Tracks Santa ( - also available as an app for iPhone and iPad).
The North American Aerospace Defense Command has set up Santa’s sleigh with a radar system so they are able to track him as he travels around the world making his deliveries.  This is great fun for students to watch as he travels all the countries of the world and there are even some videos of him visiting important landmarks.  Until he begins his journey, the website lets you play some games and learn more about Santa. 

New Year’s Traditions Around the World ( This website contains brief descriptions of New Year’s traditions from countries around the world as well as how to say ‘Happy New Year’ in many different languages.   What a great way to remember that the world is a much larger space that what we interact with on a day-to-day basis. 

These are just a few fun and educational holiday activity websites available to you.  If you find others and would like to share them, I would be happy to pass them on.  Past Tech Tidbits posts can be found on the blog at and if you have an idea for a future blog topic, please feel free to pass it along to me.