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Elementary iPad A short list of essential apps for elementary age children

Contents Drawing Pad

PuppetPals HD


Fun Felt

Create a Car




TeachMe Ist Grade LEARN

PocketPhonics iWriteWords Interactive Books - Sandra Boynton

- Beatrix Potter - Lucy Thomson


- Dr. Seuss

Quick Intro Who are you? My name is Laura Wright. I am the wife of a brilliantly talented musician and teacher, and mother of two equally wonderful boys aged 4 years and 7months. I have a BA in English Literature and History and a GradDip in Primary Education. Why have you written this? I have written this little information book for other teachers and parents who have an iPad and want the best apps for their students/children. Why do I need this list? This isn’t a list of reviews. The iTunes website has excellent reviews published both by themselves and customers. This is a list of apps and how we use them for learning. This list is current as of June 2011.

This powerful little drawing app is where we regularly go to jot down our thoughts or quickly record our learning. We also practice beginning handwriting here. You can easily save your creations to Photos and then use them in other programs.

Create a Car Upon finding this app I had reasonably low expectations: this will hold our boy’s attention for a few minutes at best and I can’t imagine him creating more than one or two cars. I couldn’t be more wrong: First time he used it he created three cars - all unique. Images of these cars can be saved to Photos and used in other programs.

Fun Felt Do you remember playing with felt boards as a child? Making pictures and stories with cut out animals, people and shapes, then sticking them to a large plain board. This is exactly the same thing except you now have the ability to change the felt pieces size, colour and shape. You can easily save your creations to Photos and then use them in other programs.

Keynote Out of the three iWork apps I consider Keynote to be the best for elementary/primary age children. Short snippets of text, media rich content, all embedded into an animated presentation. My only disappointment with this program is that it does not have the timed/voice recording feature.

PuppetPals HD The basic version of this app is free yet let me encourage you to purchase the full version as this allows you to download more background and character sets and you can import your own. This means you can animate your artworks from DrawingPad, Felt Fun and Create a Car or even animate photographs of yourself!


Drawing Pad


BlogPress This may seem like a strange program to include in an essentials for elementary/primary children list but it could be argued that this is the most important app of all. Electronic portfolios are the filing cabinet of the future. When I was in primary school we would try to compile our school work in exercise books and folders yet papers always seemed to get lost, artwork would get squashed or folded, and many items simply had to be thrown away as they where too big or cumbersome to fit i.e. dioramas and big group work projects. Not only where these books/ folders incomplete they were also stagnant. The only chance they got to see the light of day was at the end of the year during parent/teacher conferences and when Grandma and Pa where over at Christmas. It seemed like all my hard work didn’t have much purpose. Today students can create a blog online. Free sites include Blogspot or Wordpress - just be aware of privacy. The other option is having a school blog on the school server - this is the best way to ensure student privacy is upheld. Which ever platform you decide to use this blog becomes an online window into their learning. All work that we once would of thrown away or accidentally lost can be digitized with a digital camera (built into the iPad2 or a separate unit) or scanner. This is only the beginning as blogs can also hold digitals artwork created in programs like Drawing Pad, Felt Fun, and Create a Car. It can hold movie files exported from PuppetPals HD or Keynote*. Dramatic plays, dance, sporting events etc. that are not

documented work can also be photographed or videoed and included on the blog. All this evidence of learning is in one centralized place accessible at anytime**. Teachers, parents, fellow students and the wider community can give instant feedback and encouragement. Students can see that their work has an audience and that they are apart of a wider academic community. The next step after mastering the publishing abilities of blogs/electronic portfolios is moving into collaboration. Lets just stick to publishing first :) And Blogpress? This is a clean, simple to use app that allows you to quickly and easily publish content to your blog. It also has optional multi-blog publishing and Twitter/ Facebook notifications.

* Keynote for iPad does not currently allow you to export presentations as movie files. You can however export a file from your iPad to your desktop/laptop where you can record your voice and export as a movie. ** Level of accessibility is defined by blog access restrictions - within school network, password protected, requiring student login, or open/free access. See your schools internet publishing policy.

Blogpress interface


Published blog post viewed in Safari

This was one of the first apps we bought for our son to use on the iPad. This simple little app is mainly used to practice letter recognition and handwriting. The design is really fun and the sounds always get a laugh. The only criticism I have is that the letter names are used rather than the sound and the letters are not written in one flowing stroke but broken up i.e the letter ‘h’ is written in two strokes.

PocketPhonics This app is similar to iWriteWords in that it combines handwriting and letter recognition yet Pocket Phonics takes it all one step further. Letters are grouped together to create phonograms, students are prompted to say the sounds and the handwriting style can be either manuscript or cursive, Zaner-Bloser or D’Nealian (both written in one fluid stroke).

Teach Me 1st Grade This fantastic game, available also for Toddler and Kindergarten, gives children the opportunity to practice reading, writing, mathematical and memory skills. Players are rewarded with gold coins. These coins can be exchanged for animated fish, food, ornaments and more that can be seen in their own aquarium.



Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss

The Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss

The Lorax by Dr Seuss

Dr Seuss ABC by Dr Seuss

Going to Bed by Sandra Boynton

Squirrel Nutkin by Beatrix Potter

Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

A Fine Musician by Lucy Thomson

Here is a list of our favourite iPad interactive books. Ebooks, which can be purchased form the iBooks store are simply digitized books. These books on the other hand, are stand-alone applications where the reader can interact with the content of the book. Turn on hot water taps in “Going to Bed� by Sandra Boynton and watch the screen fog up. Burst blackberries as they are picked by Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail in Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter. Open doors and make the musician dance in the Fine Musician by Lucy Thomson. The classic stories of Dr Seuss come to life with interactive text and illustrations. More of these wonderful book apps are being created everyday so keep checking the apps store.


Horton Hears a Who by Dr Seuss

For more information... For more information on how we are using the iPad in our home learning see The Two Spies blog at: And for more information on how to integrate technology into the classroom see my professional blog Teaching and Learning at:

Elementary iPad by Laura Wright is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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Elementary iPad  

A short list of essential apps for elementary age children

Elementary iPad  

A short list of essential apps for elementary age children