Mixing It Up With Apps

Jayne Clare and Anne Rachel are two inspiring, experienced classroom teachers who’ve got their finger on the pulse of apps! We regularly refer to their website, teacherswithapps.com, a credible resource to help educators wade through the vast educational apps out there and share tips on using them effectively and responsibly. We think what they are doing is amazing and are thrilled they’re sharing their expertise with us!

Last weekend was spent downloading FREE apps from the iTunes store. We were inspired to explore more free apps after working with and reviewing the FREE BrainPOP Featured Movie App because we saw our students returning to it over and over again. The BrainPOP app offers a new movie everyday, and the content is always pertinent to what’s going on. For example, on Super Bowl Sunday, the Featured Movie was all about Football!

Downloading sixty+ free apps was painless… until we began the review process! Then the real work began. We culled the apps we had downloaded, covering all different subject matters and age levels, looking for a handful worthy of a review that go hand in hand with BrainPOP’s free app. There are many; this is just a beginning. We promise to get back to you with more reviews and recommendations of FREE apps in the near future.  Our reviews start at the elementary level and work up to intermediate/high school levels. Take a look at the following and consider adding one or more to your library of apps:

How To Draw by Mind the Kids Ltd, is a little gem! It’s an adorable tutorial on how to draw at cat! They suggest that you get your own paper, preference of drawing tool and follow along. The app has wonderful narration (love the accents and voices)! The two friends, Busby the Bird and her friend, Grace the Giraffe are amusing and truly effective guides. “How to draw a cat is the first of our books… Start with a line, end up with real skill!” As you progress through the app, you are given options to see visual Once Again, Step Back a page, or go to Next Step.  The music is sweet and the end product is “lovely”.

We recently got an update from Mind the Kids saying they have five more “How To Draw” apps about to be released. And who knows, maybe BrainPOP will add a How to Draw Moby & Tim to their mobile app!

History:Maps of World, by Seung-Bin Cho, is a fun and educational collection of high-resolution, historical maps from all different eras in history. We found it fascinating. So much so, that setting the iPad up to print crossed our minds. Old maps are so cool! This app has received over 5000 reviews and was asked to be part of the book titled, “100 most wanted APPs in my iPhone,” in Korea.


▪               Wide variety of historical displays
▪               Support for Category/Era view
▪               Keyword Search
▪               Displays the source about each map
▪               Zoom in/out (zoom-in/out with pinch, zoom-in with double tab, and zoom-out with two-fingers tap)
▪               Free screen rotation

FYI:  This developer has seven other map apps currently available in the app store,  History: Maps of the World is the only free one.

We highly recommend that before using any maps with your kids, show them BrainPOP’s Map Skills movie and interactive features. This topic is the perfect tool to preteach, introduce, and review.

Shakespeare In Bits: Romeo & Juliet iPad Edition Lite, developed by Mindconnex Learning Ltd. Mindconnex is an educational, multimedia company recently formed and based in Dublin, Ireland. When we first saw this we had our doubts, as the illustrations are not the best. However, content and interactivity won us over. We realized that the lite version only contained two scenes and the full version was $14.99. We weren’t put off though, as you still get all the features of the full version including: characters and their relationships, plot summary, themes, imagery, language, quotes, and a bio about Shakespeare. The vocabulary in the written play accompanying the video is interactive. You can tap the highlighted words and a word or phrase is explained. It might be worth splurging for the full version or the lite may be all you need. “If you’re an English teacher struggling to awaken your students’ appreciation for Shakespeare, Shakespeare in Bits is an all-inclusive multimedia resource that makes your job easier.” Add BrainPOP Featured Movie, William Shakespeare, and your job gets even easier! William Shakespeare is one of the featured movies that is always available on the app, this five minute flick can be found by tapping the button More Brainpop at the top right hand corner of the screen. Then tap See More Movies; scroll through the different categories, William Shakespeare is under English.

World Maths Day 2011 – What a delightful surprise this find was! Students play at home and at school against other students around the world in live games of mental arithmetic. You still have time to practice; the official start isn’t until March 3, 2011. There are four different age groups and five different levels of math. Can’t wait to get my students involved, sometimes a bit of competition can bring out the best in people. Access BrainPOP’s free math content available on the app to build background knowledge.

  1. The countdown has begun – the platform opened for practice on February 1st
  2. This year features an exciting new sprint format over 100 games
  3. Go for the Platinum Certificates by completing one hundred games
  4. Teachers, parents and media are invited to participate
  5. Practice and play on your iPod Touch, iPhone or iPad
  6. Can we beat last year’s Guinness World Record of almost 2 million students from 204 countries correctly answering 479,732,613 questions on the day?

What apps do you love using along with the BrainPOP Featured Movie app? We’d love to add on to this list!

Jayne Clare and Anne Rachel
  • Kari Stubbs

    WOW! What a wonderful collection of recommendations! An app that I like to use along with the BrainPOP app is one that let’s the user design a t-shirt. There are actually several fun and easy to use T-shirt designing apps that students can use to design thematic t-shirts for Tim to go along with the day’s featured movie!