Todo K-2 Math Practice

Todo K-2 Math Practice is a free app which includes 8 multi-level activities designed to support and increase math fluency in Lower Primary.  The play based activities include skill practice in counting, writing numerals, addition and subtraction, sequencing, and early equation building.  Each activity includes individual levels of practice (organized by grade level), but not all activities are available for every grade.   The app includes free choice and timed practice modules. Voiceover narration and how-to videos at the beginning of each practice activity optimize the app for students who are still learning to read.

Todo K-2 Math Practice is suitable for Lower Primary.



Microsoft Word for iPad

ms word

Microsoft Word for iPad is Microsoft corporation’s official MS Word app specifically designed for the iPad.  The app itself is free but is optimized for use with an Office 365 subscription.  All staff and secondary students at ISL automatically receive an Office 365 subscription as part of their employment/enrolment.  Once logged in with a Office 365 username and password, Microsoft Word for iPad will automatically sync with a user’s OneDrive account for simple saving and access options for documents.  The interface is similar to the original Microsoft Word application, except optimized for touch and includes multiple template and format options as well as fonts, pictures, tables, charts, text boxes, shapes, footnotes, page layout options and more.  Choose to autosave back to OneDrive or onto the iPad.  Office 365 sharing options are also available directly from the app.

Microsoft Word for iPad is suitable for Lower Primary, Upper Primary and Secondary.

NASA Visualization Explorer

Nasa Visualization Explorer

NASA Visualization Explorer is a free app produced by NASA that encourages users to explore different elements of NASA’s ongoing space research.  The app’s interface is arranged by ‘stories’ which are picture/text/video combination snippets of an area of NASA’s research.  Wifi is a must for this app’s interface, it doesn’t function well in a strictly offline environment. New stories are added often and users can use a search tool to locate stories on specific subject matter. Each story also has a hyperlink to more detailed content on NASA’s main website. The app stories are engaging and provide a good introductory look at a wide variety of NASA’s ongoing space-based projects.

NASA Visualization Explorer is suitable for Upper Primary and Secondary.

Sight Words by Little Speller

Little Speller

Sight Words by Little Speller  is a free app that looks deceptively simple but its complete customization possibilities make it one of the most dynamic apps of its kind available.  In its default form, Little Speller offers a simple interface: click the blue ‘play’ button and a word pops up on the screen with letter tiles that the user drags to their respective locations under the word.  Voiceover narration says the word, each letter as it is dragged into the correct location and then spells the word again once a user successfully completes it.  All voice narration, sounds, letter and word hints can be turned on and off via the settings menu in the top right hand corner of the home screen.  The default combination of voiceovers, letter hints and spelling repeats can sometimes feel like overkill, even for young students, so I’ve found that turning letter hints (and potentially letter repeat) off makes the visual and audible clues a little more bearable.  Think of this app as the ‘Mad Minute’ of spelling and sight words; there’s nothing fancy, it’s designed to commit the basics and reinforce fundamental spelling skills. The app’s real genius though is in its ability to be completely customizable.  Teachers and parents can add words to any of the five levels via the ‘Customize Items’  option in the settings menu.  Custom words, visual cues, and letter sounds can all be uploaded and recorded in the app. This feature allows for custom spelling or word lists from a class sheet or increased differentiation in a standard classroom, learning support or EAL environment.

Sight Words by Little Speller is suitable for Lower Primary, Upper Primary and students in EAL or Learning Support.

Number Pieces Basic

Number Pieces Basic

Number Pieces Basic is a free app that helps students develop mathematics skills like place value and computation through an open ended platform of base ten number blocks that come in groups of 1, 10 and 100.  Students can group, break apart, regroup, choose one of three colours, and rotate the pieces as well as annotate using the in-app pencil and eraser tools.  Number Pieces Basic is ideal for counting, grouping, demonstrating the concepts of place value, addition and subtraction.  A more advanced version, the paid app Number Pieces, has additional tools for representation, multiplication, and division.

Number Pieces Basic is suitable for Lower Primary, Upper Primary and occasional uses in Secondary.

My Life as a Refugee

My Life as a Refugee

My Life as a Refugee is a free app produced by the UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency, that helps raise awareness about the daily decisions faced in times of crisis by millions of refugees around the world.  Although it is classified as a game, the app is more of a scenario builder in the vein of the classic “Choose your own adventure” model. Users choose one of three characters based on the lives of actual refugees and are faced with different scenarios, choices, and outcomes from the choices they make.  The app is simple but effective.  There is no voiceover narration and the scenarios do not shy away from the sometimes brutal and terrible decisions and situations that refugees may face, thus the  app is recommended for students who are mature enough to handle its content. One of the app’s strongest points is its ability to facilitate thoughtful dialogue about the real situations of refugees worldwide so it is recommended as a discussion facilitator rather than a standalone game experience.

My Life as a Refugee is suitable for Upper Primary and Secondary.



JumbleBook is a free app that lets users create and scramble animal parts: heads, middles, and tails into fun and funky new animal combinations. Each new animal combination makes its own unique sound when tapped. The app offers scenes and a challenge mode as options to the standard animal mix and match. In-app purchases unlock other themes including aliens, dinosaurs and characters. Users can save their creations to a gallery, add them to the ipad photo stream or email them.

JumbleBook is suitable for Early Childhood and Lower Primary.