Friday, May 6, 2016

MarcoPolo Arctic

I have been meaning to write about this app for some time, but it is free today (5/6/16) and fairly priced at $2.99 anyway, so pick it up! Thank you to Smart Apps for Kids for always being a great resource. Do you follow their Friday posts detailing app sales and freebies? There is a "Free App Alert" you can subscribe to on the site. The website is also a wealth of information on interactive apps, with many features on apps from an educational and therapeutic point of view-- very FIVES Criteria-friendly!

MarcoPolo's apps, such as their previous wonderful Weather entry, are "sandbox" apps encouraging interactive exploration and play within a context, specifically geared toward STEM education. However, being quite language-neutral, the visuals provide a great avenue for talk, description of items and actions, and causal and conditional language. Overall the apps can be used for developing descriptive schema (perhaps with the use of the Expanding Expression Tool) or expository text structures as well (e.g. list, sequence, cause-effect, compare-contrast) as post-activities.

Arctic (please click through to download from Smart Apps for Kids and support them) provides an interactive land-sea environment allowing you to insert and name species in different categories and interact with them (e.g. feeding). Students can also observe their behaviors as they are placed in the arctic habitat. The app also features puzzles that provide brief auditory narrations (ask wh-questions or prompt students to summarize) focusing on categories such as land animals or birds, describe body parts and functions. The app can also be paired with many books as a post-book activity (e.g. Winston of Churchill or The Emperor's Egg).

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