eSkills Learning: Parts of Speech and Compound Words

Parts of Speech and Compound Words

Over the past several months, eSkills Learning has been hard at work to expand their collection of educational apps.  The eSkills Learning team have designed BINGO like apps that relate to core curriculum standards in the areas of: Language Arts, Reading Comprehension, Math and Algebra Video apps. Both Parts of Speech and Compound Words can be played on any Apple device running iOS 3.2 or later.  The applications may be pricey compared to other educational apps out on the market, however, the eSkills Learning team is devised of members with over 30 years of educational experiences.  Their goal is to motivate and challenge those using their applications.  The academic end results that a parent or teacher will see in their child or student after having played will be worth the download.  Through this game format, students won’t even realize that they are learning, reinforcing and reviewing for their next language arts lesson or even a state preparation exam.

What truly amazes Applicable2U about the integration of the eSkills Learning apps is how the use of a mobile device can change an educational setting while meeting a variety of standards.  In their About section of their website, they clearly indicate that the design of these two apps and all others were built with the Common Core Standards in mind.  When visiting the Common Core State Standards website, I came across a general key point under Languagethe standards expect that students will grow their vocabularies through a mix of conversations, direct instruction, and reading. The standards will help students determine word meanings, appreciate the nuances of words, and steadily expand their repertoire of words and phrases.” At each grade level, this key point will be met and will be developed upon over time. Through the use of various levels of difficulty and multiple ways of playing (single and multi-player and practice mode), each return BINGO experience can be different, without a sense of feeling that there is no reason to return. With a brief set of directions on each question, users will read a sentence and fill in the blank with one of three choices as they practice parts of speech and compounds words.  Both applications will challenge the user as they game for a reason. Below are some highlights of each application:

Parts of Speech 

  • Levels of Play – Nouns, Verbs, Adjectives, Pronouns, Adverbs, Prepositions, Conjunctions and Interjections
  • A collection of real world images that students can make connections too
  • Improve their visual discrimination skills as they locate pieces on a board
  • It is important to note that there will need to be pre-teaching/direct instruction done prior to using this application on definitions of the various parts of speech that the app will focus in on
  • Games are not timed during the single and practice mode to alleviate undue stress on the user(s)
  • Integration of multiple devices as they safely connect with one another via the devices Bluetooth
  • Practice mode gives the user control over how many questions they will need to answer.  There is no BINGO board in this mode of play.
  • Parts of Speech Lite version has 200 questions
  • Parts of Speech Full Classroom Version has 400 questions
  • Developer support is provided for parents and teacher in a Teacher’s Guide

Compound Words

  • Levels of Play – Locating the 2nd Half of the Compound Word – Easy Vocabulary, Locating the 1st Half of the Compound Word – Easy Vocabulary, Locating the 2nd Half of the Compound Word – Harder Vocabulary, Locating the 1st Half of the Compound Word – Harder Vocabulary
  • Through game play, users will be increasing their word recognition skills, the ability to look at words in many parts and the development of vocabulary as they listen, speak and write.
  • Compound Words Lite version has 100 compound word questions in total
  • Compound Words Full Classroom version has 400 compound word questions in total
  • Developer support is provided for parents and teacher in a Teacher’s Guide

Overall, Applicable2U continues to be pleased with the educational apps that eSkills Learning has to offer.  Depending on your child or students level of need in learning or reinforcing either of these two topics will determine the academic approach that will be taken.  For some it may be challenging, so working alongside a higher level partner might be useful so as to differentiate when needed.  A note to the developers, in a future update, might it be possible to include an option for the device to read sentences when necessary.  Although direct instruction will be provided, could users tap on an unknown part of speech, causing a help window to pop up for further support. Finally, within the practice mode, has your team thought about generating a short report which shows how that student did during that session.

If you would like to learn more about eSkills Learning, please visit their website here.  As mentioned in the brief overview of each application, there are two available versions.  When making this decision, do not look at the dollar value, look at how it will support and guide your child academically.  To begin adding Parts of Speech Full Class version to your iTunes library, simply click here.  To add Compound Words Full Classroom version to your iTunes library, simply click here.

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eSkills Learning Verbs

   Verbs

At the end of August, eSkills Learning launched Verbs.  If you love the bingo like concept that this development group incorporates with a variety of academic skills, then you will want to add their recent launch to your collection.  eSkills Learning is a development group that works very hard at building and then integrating mobile learning apps that correlate with the Common Core Standards.  The Common Core Standards are considered robust and attempt to meet the needs of students as it relates to the real world.  Amazingly, there are only 6 states currently not following such standards, but in time, I am sure all 51 states will be following suit.  Looking over my own state standards, the language skills development of verbs is introduced as early as second grade and further reinforced in third.  Whether you are just beginning to introduce or providing reinforcement of various types of verbs or simply preparing for a higher education exam, eSkills Learning Verbs is certainly Applicable2U.

eSkills Learning Verbs has been broken into four levels of play: Level 1 – Action Verbs, Level 2 – Two Word Verbs, Level 3 – Irregular Verbs and Level 4 – Difficult Irregular Verbs.  Interaction and learning can occur as a single player, multiple player or simply practice mode.  As a single player, you compete against yourself on your individual device.  However, when implementing the multiple player mode, each participant has their own device which has been loaded with the eSkills Learning Verb app.  Within this mode of play, each user must set the bluetooth capability to on within their settings of their device.  Together, players will experience an “old school” game of bingo without any real chips or someone calling out numbers and letters like B-10.  Instead it is done virtually with the latest form of technology, your iPhone, iTouch or iPad.  Much like the real bingo, each player is provided their own game board.  Users will be asked to read a sentence and choose from 3 or 4 multiple choice answers in order to appropriately fill in the blank.  The first user to get 5 chips in a row wins.  Players should not assume that each letter/number combination will be on their board as boards are randomly selected.  A thought for the developer – might it be possible to provide a reading option that a user could select before the pop up window indicates a right or wrong answer. This might be a nice added feature when a user is incorporating the practice mode.   By hearing the sentence read aloud, a user might rethink their selection.  In our opinion, it is an alternative way to differentiate a users experience as it challenges them to use their listening skills as well.   Academically each mode of play provides the user(s) a very worthwhile experience.

As a user(s) develops their understanding of various forms of verbs, such an app is also encouraging cognitive processing as they increase their word recognition skills.  In addition, it will provide the user(s) alternative ways to use verbs in their own writing outside of this application.  Through the integration of eSkills Learning Verbs, users will become more aware of how to make their writing pop with details.  Ones word choice will definitely increase with each mode of play.  Our experience and review of eSkills Learning Verb was via an iPad2.  With all the “twitter” about how to make your iPad device accessible with an interactive whiteboard. such a educational app would certainly fit nicely in any regular or special education setting.  To further expand on this idea, eSkills Learning has taken the time to provide a Teacher’s Guide for Verbs as a way to support the implementation of this language skills suite to any learning environment.

As a child, I can recall learning various forms of language with the support of textbooks, the teacher talking “at us” in a very monotoned voice and the creation of  these horrific “trees”.  Applicable2U is just amazed at where education has taken us over the course of several years.  It is through the work of such developers as eSkills Learning that language comprehension can change and connections can be made as your children or students are having fun!  If you would like to learn more about this educational app or any others that eSkills Learning as to offer, please visit their website here.  If you are a parent, educator or homeschooler that is in need of a new way to teach or reinforce verbs, then begin downloading eSkills Learning Verbs today from your iTunes library here.

eSkills Nouns

    Minimod Nouns

As the summer comes to an end many educators are putting their “teacher caps” back on and beginning to plan for the coming months. If you are questioning how you might integrate your particular grade level curriculum as it relates to mobile learning, then think no further. eSkills Learning development group has a wide range of language arts, reading and math apps available.  The most recent addition to their collection is Minimod Nouns for any Apple device.  With a very user friendly design and a game like format, children won’t even realize that their language art skills are being put to work.  One of the many things that Applicable2U likes about the Minimod apps is that they are designed for both tutorial and competitive opportunities. In addition, no educator or parent needs to worry that while experiencing eSkills Learning apps that their child is playing a “mindless” game.  Activities are directly correlated to the Common Core Stands, state testing standards as well as the core curriculum which builds the foundation for understanding sequential skills.

If you are familiar with other eSkills Learning designs you know that interaction occurs as a bingo game.  With this particular app, users will be reinforcing their nouns through four levels of play. Level 1 – Person, place, thing or idea.  Level 2 – Common or Proper Nouns. Level 3 – Concrete or Abstract Nouns.  Level 4 – Collective or Compound Nouns.  Regardless of which level, play can occur in multiple ways.  Users can play on their own as a single player, with another user as each users are on their own device with Minimod Nouns app loaded or in practice mode.  The learning experience doesn’t end with one use of the application.  Within the multiple player option, users can either host or join a session of Minimod Nouns.  Within your Apple device settings, Bluetooth capability must be set to on in order for the game to begin.  There is no need for panic in this mode, it is completely safe as users can only interact with other local devices with this particular app.  Within each level, simple directions are provided along with a sentence and a missing word.  Through a visual representation and three choices to choose from users will be reinforced with both positive and negative feedback.  Answer choices are labeled with the bingo format (ie. 48A or 2B) and can be found on the game board.  If you happen to forget or not pay attention to that label there is a touch window/box for recall.  Similar to the real world version of Bingo, some numbers may not appear on the game board, thus extending the game for continuous reinforcement.

Overall, Applicable2U truly feels this educational app would be an excellent addition to your Apple device.  The only suggestion that we might provide to the developers for a future update is the ability for those in practice mode to have a definition window of some sort pop up.  If users are struggling it might indicate that they are unaware of other types of nouns besides those of: person, place, thing or idea and common and proper nouns.  As indicated earlier, eSkills Learning apps are designed for learning and reinforcing and a definition reminder might just do the trick.  If you would like to learn more about eSkills Learning, please visit their website here.  Already a fan of the Minimod apps, then begin download Minimod Nouns here to add to your iTunes library.

Shake-a-Phrase


Shake-a-Phrase
by Artgig Apps

For our 91st review, Applicable2u would like to “shake” things up a bit.  It’s time to put back the creativity into our educational system while meeting academic standards.  While following my professional learning network today via Twitter, a number of educators were discussing this growing issue of teaching to a test.  Why is it that we are now teaching to “cover the content” rather than teaching for meaning or understanding?  As an educator when you say you “covered” a topic, are all your students understanding it as well.  Unfortunately, education has become so time driven that we end up losing a number of our students along the way. Regardless of this educational trend, educators are reaching out for grants or state funding to improve their forms of instruction. In a number of areas across the United States, we are seeing more and more schools that are implementing various Apple devices. Research has shown an improvement in student academic success due to the integration of such technology.  As the Apple Store continues to grow, there are a number of developers out there that are consulting with others to be certain that their app meets state standards while also incorporating a little fun.   Applicable2U would like to share with you, Artgig Apps.  They will be launching a new language arts application to your iTunes library called Shake-a-Phrase that is designed for students in the upper elementary grades (ages 8+). How do you teach parts of speech or the improvement of well developed sentences? At times do you find it to be dry and boring?  Well then it’s time to Shake-a-Phrase!

Shake-a-Phrase can be downloaded to any Apple device, for this review, our exploration was completed with the iPad2.  Upon entering you will notice that learning can occur in three ways: Shake It!, Quiz Me!, and Story Starter.  Immediately my “teacher brain” was flowing with ways to integrate as a whole group and also individually within a classroom or at home.  Each level of play has four graphically appealing themes:  basic shake starter, animals, fairy tales and monsters.  Simply choose your game mode and let the shaking begin.  With over 1,700 words and definitions users will be completely engaged while learning. Through this engagement, students will be developing and/or reinforcing three forms of parts of speech: nouns, verbs and adjectives.  In addition, students will begin to see the importance of words and how it can change their writing.  Through the development of parts of speech,  sentences can become more detailed.  As Shake-a-Phrase is integrated, sentences become more than just words, they become a visualization of a writers ideas.  With ease, users will be able to navigate between modes of play and themes to extend the learning with each return visit.  In addition, users have the option to save and share favorite sentences with others.

How to Integrate:

Shake It! – This mode of play allows users to tap or shake the Apple device to generate silly sentences based on the theme chosen while building an understanding of words and definitions.  The Shake It! mode can be incorporated throughout a unit or lesson.  When introducing types of words and the development of vocabulary & definitions, connect your iPad device to a large screen and explore these silly sentences within a whole group setting.  Interactively break the sentence apart, attempting to define vocabulary based on contextual clues while also locating the part(s) of speech you are trying to introduce or reinforce.  A note to the developers – has there been talk about incorporating additional parts of speech or even forms of figurative language to a future update? By implementing more language arts strands, Applicable2U thinks this educational app would open additional doors to the upper elementary grades.

Story Starter – As various genres of writing are taught,  students should be encouraged to be creative writers.  For some, writing is a struggle.  If your students have ever felt stumped on what to write about or where to begin, then try the Story Starter mode. With a simple shake or tap, users will be given a topic to think about as they dream up the rest.  Here is an example,  “Imagine a smelly witch and a slow phantom working near the jungle…..”   While exploring in this mode, users should keep in mind the 5w’s (who, what, where, when and why) of a good story.    Initially, users might find it useful to have the teacher model the development of this story with support from the whole group.  Keeping in mind the importance of details and how a variety of parts of speech and word choices can enhance ones writing.

Quiz Me! – now it’s time to put the instruction whether interactive or direct to the test.  Quiz options can be changed based on which parts of speech to have turned on.  Quizzes can occur as each part of speech is taught or the culmination of all three. Whether interaction with the application and the device occurs as a group, in teams, or individually, this mode of play can challenge learning styles of all kinds.  While playing, users will be expected to tap as few as one part of speech to three parts of speech for each sentence.  Users will progress through levels by answering three or more correct questions.  To guide students towards success, a set of clear directions are provided as to what type of word(s) are to be tapped.  Additional support and reinforcement is given with correct and incorrect answers through a visual (green and red boxes) and auditory (buzzing). While in quiz mode, if users are unsure of the meaning of one of the parts of speech, developers have also included a question mark button which defines that word. It is important to note that upon exiting this application, that quiz mode will not pick up the last players level of completion.   A note to the developers – have you thought about a reporting option to either parents and/or teachers for this mode of exploration?  Or to have a multiple user option when gaming for a reason within the Quiz Me! mode.

Overall, Applicable2U was very impressed with Shake-a-Phrase.  Through the incorporation of random, silly sentences a variety of language arts standards will be met.  Whether you are an educator or a parent, this educational app is applicable2u.  Some might argue that this technology approach to teaching parts of speech and vocabulary may not be standardized testing approved, however, users will leave this application with a solid understanding of such material which can then be applied to their own writing.  To learn more about Artgig Apps, please visit their website here. Or you can begin to shake, laugh and learn by downloading Shake-a-Phrase from your iTunes library here.

Grammaropolis


Grammaropolis
by Grammaropolis LLC

I am sure that at some point you have all heard the saying, “It’s all Greek to me!”   I am also certain that many students would feel that this idiom portrays how they may be feeling as it relates to their educational lives.   With that being said, do you need to present parts of speech in an alternative way that makes more sense to children?  Grammaropolis is here to save the day as you can see from their super hero like icon.  With glowing beams and huge smiles, your students or child(ren) can now feel confident in knowing what type of words make up a variety of sentences.  While visiting Grammaroplis, students will become friendly with their characters: Pronouns, Slang, Action Verbs, Prepositions, Conjunctions, Interjections, Nouns, Linking Verbs, Adverbs and Adjectives.

Grammaropolis can be integrated in so many ways in the classroom with multiple forms of technology.  While  exploring with this application, I could envision my fifth graders using it with either an iPad or an iTouch which would meet some of the language arts benchmarks.   Why not begin your lesson with the friends from Grammaropolis?  Connect your iPad to a VGA adapter and an LCD projector.  As a whole group, read the explanations of those parts of speech and extend the discussion by asking students to share their own examples.  Once you feel confident that your students have grasped the meaning of those words, begin to play Word Sort.  Next the user will need to decide their comfort level with the parts of speech and are then instructed to take on the role of a “Champ”, “Fiend” or a “Master.”  These are levels of difficulty which determine how many words will be on screen at a time.    As words appear, a user can drag and drop them into the correct parts of speech container.  Visually students can see how well they are doing and are able to keep track of their play time.  As they finish each round, students will move through the three levels.  Level 1 works on Nouns, Adjectives and Linking Verbs.  Level 2 works on Pronouns, Prepositions and Interjections.  Level 3 works on Adverbs, Conjunctions and Action Verbs.  The skills being reinforced although simplistic, the application can however be a challenge for some learners.  Depending on their success, high scores are recorded on a bulletin board prompting students to try and beat their own score or their classmates.  As a teacher I am certainly not encouraging a competition, however, I am encouraging a student to step outside their comfort level and to embrace a challenge.

Who knew that a dry topic like parts of speech could be viewed as having fun.  Depending on the user, this application may be more appropriate for only certain learners. Some students may need to build up to what Grammaropolis has to offer.  With direct instruction, reinforcement through various activities and then the incorporation of technology like an iTouch your students or child(ren) will want to become a grammar super hero.  Whether you are provided free choice time in school or you are sitting in the comfort of your own home,  they will want to continue their exploration of Grammaropolis via their  iPhone or iTouch device.

If you happen to be a school like mine that currently does not have a class set of either iPads or iTouches but is looking for means to get them at some point and still wants what Grammaropolis has to offer…. then you may want to try using the Word Sort game or Trivia Quiz via your internet browser and get your students involved by connecting to your interactive whiteboard.  Have I peaked your interest with multiple ways to integrate grammar in your classroom, then you will want to visit Grammaropolis’ website by clicking here. Or you can begin your download to your Apple device now by visiting them in your iTunes library in order to get your child onto the road towards Grammaropolis.