Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Monstrously Fun Alphabet App (and Bonus Spelling App!)

I was asked to review this simple alphabet app.  It looked extremely simplistic to me, but we just received iPads in the classroom and I was desperate for a way to spice up letter learning.  Some of my Kinders came in knowing fewer than 5 letters out of 52 (uppercase and lowercase).  Progress has been slow...

Now that we have iPads I can reward them with extra alphabet practice!  One lucky little guy got to be the first tester of A to Z Monsters.  He spent no more than 2 minutes on the app before there were 5 others surrounding him eagerly waiting for their turn.  I'm amazed how quickly students figure out how apps work!  Even my first graders wanted a turn at this app!  I think the app's simplicity worked to its advantage.  It was such a big hit that I even used it during transitions!  Students who lined up quickly and quietly got to press a monster and say the letter.

Here is how it works:
Select the first letter (the first time through you must go in alphabetical order). Once selected, the monster comes to life.  The goal is to squish the monster to hear the letter name.  My students loved chasing the monsters around the screen!  I found out that some of them have better hand eye coordination than others.

This app made learning letter names fun and engaging.  The animations are really cute, too.  What I love most is that it links each letter with a word.  This is really important as my letter learners are also building their reading skills.  Hopefully they will be making the transition from letter learners to beginning sound learners soon!  Get these crazy letter monsters for your students here.

And now an app that I was not asked to review...
While browsing word work apps in the App Store, I stumbled upon Spell Sam Spell.  Ironically, it is by the same app developers as A to Z Monsters!  Spell Sam Spell is like Mario Bros with a spelling focus.  My first and second graders loved controlling the little character and collecting letters to make words.  The fun never ended with new levels and quick brain break coin collections in between.  This app brought spelling to a whole new level of fun!

Now that we have the iPads, I'm sure I'll be trying out many more apps!  You can find my ever growing list of apps for the classroom on Pinterest.

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