10 Must-Have Apps for the Classroom


Photo by Ash Kyd


The Google Marketplace can be daunting place. As a classroom teachers, researching apps that correlate with your curriculum can be a time-consuming and lengthy process. However, if chosen correctly apps can be a powerful academic tool to enhance learning and instruction.

Here are ten apps that can be used in the classroom:

1. Symbaloo– Symbaloo is a must have tool for students and teachers alike. By now, you have probably assembled a list of websites that are considered classroom favorites. Create a sharable webmix with Symabloo EDU. Using visual tiles,  your websites are organized and saved in the cloud for easy access. Symbaloo provides many benefits by:

  • Creating a safe platform for your students to use when surfing the internet.
  • Saving valuable instructional time by avoiding the manual input of web addresses.
  • Being saved in the cloud allowing access from any mobile device.
  • Being a versatile tool for Grades 5 and up.

2. Global Shark Tracker – Super cool to say the least, offfers the Global Shark Tracker app which allows the user to follow the migration and navigational patterns of sharks.  Grades 4 and up

3. Operation Math– Operation Math provides math practice for ages 5-10 in an engaging game format. Complete with global missions, spies, and an evil mastermind, Operation Math will put the students on track for leveled and focused math practice.

4. 50 States– Keep it simple with this straightforward and effective tool. 50 states is a fun and interactive way to learn states, capitals, and facts using flashcards and quizzes.

5. Brainpop Featured Movie– One of my all time favorite web-based tools is Brain Pop. Now Brainpop offers a movie of the day app that explores a wide variety of relevant topics for your students. Each featured movie is followed by an interactive quiz. Note: your students will love Tim and Moby, BrainPop’s two regular and comical characters.

For early elementary students:

6. Read/Write Phonics– A favorite early literacy app, Read/Write Phonics teaches reading and writing using an easy to use format. Kids can listen to sounds, practice writing, and earn rewards for mastery.

7. ABC 123 Fun– Ideal for Kindergarten and younger, ABC 123 is interactive practice of letters and numbers. Based on virtual flashcards, kids are fully immersed in multimedia learning.

8. My First Letters– Aimed at preschoolers through first grade, My First Letters is a highly rated letter tracing app. My First Letters contain 66 levels and turns letter writing into an adventure by challenging kids to help the baby ladybugs find their mother. Innovative and fun for emerging writers.

9. Eggy Alphabet– Brought to you by the popular reading website Reading Eggs, Eggy Alphabet is focused on honing alphabet and handwriting skills.  With over 208 fully interactive activities, progress monitoring capabilities, and varied levels, Eggy Alphabet is a must have for the early learning classroom.

10. Crabby Writer– Crabby Writer is a teacher created app that focuses on writing, reading, literacy, and phonics.  Designed for preschool through first grade, Crabby Writer simply makes learning fun for kids.



5 Simple Ways to Use a Tablet in Your Classroom


Following the deployment of Android tablets to grades k-4, teachers often ask for simple ideas to integrate tablets into the existing curriculum. Here are five ways enhance the classroom experience through the use of a mobile device.

Use Animoto to create presentations.

  1.  Animoto offers an easy to use app where students can create short videos. Assessment becomes less “painful” when students can demonstrate knowldge using a multimedia format.

Research is at their fingertips.

2. Students have access to endless research resources. For younger students, consider housing links on Symbaloo. Presented in a visual format using tiles, Symbaloo organizes your links into a shareable webmix.

After researching, students can be content creators by writing articles on a class Wiki or blog.

Free E-books

3. While nothing can replace the feel of a paper book, tablets can provide students with free e-books. Emerging readers can use sites such as We Give Books, while Project Gutenberg offers a wealth of books for older students.


4. Kids love taking photos, and they take good ones. Their spontaneity results in sincere images, offering us a glimpse at the fresh perspective of a child. Something as simple as the tablet’s camera can be used in lessons spanning across the curriculum.

Students can take photos to create visuals of a variety of concepts. Send them on math scavenger hunt for angles or geometric shapes. A nice day may warrant a nature walk to photograph science concepts. Create a photo journal of school or community events. Take photos in the style of an artist to accompany a biography unit, or to fit a certain theme.

Compile student photography using Photopeach to display at open house or for class presentation.

Create classroom videos

5. Using the tablet’s video record option can offer a variety of learning opportunities. Creating short videos is appropriate for all grade levels and can incorporate math and literacy skills.

Using props, younger students can create a video demonstrating math word problems. Recreate a part of a story, record speeches, make commercials as part of a persuasive writing unit, demonstrate a “how to”, or develop a public service announcement to share with the school or community.