H-APP-y Valentine’s Day… as we say in the app guru land! Since my last article, I have recovered my iPhone from the depths of despair and I have discovered new apps that will be perfect for our children, for our possible New Year resolutions and for pure fun. Strange way to begin an article but hopefully I have you hooked and ready to read about this quarter’s new discoveries that I learned about my iPhone and all the apps that are just a click away…
Before I write about my favorite apps, I must share the worst thing that has happened to my iPhone. However, it was from this experience that I learned how to save my iPhone or as my family calls my phone now…my rIce-Phone. Just before the holidays, I dropped my iPhone in the toilet!! I had my phone for less than a year and I couldn’t believe that this was how I was going to lose my phone. I quickly grabbed my phone thinking it was gone forever! (For those of you thinking gross….the toilet was clean…I promise!!). Next, I did the worst thing possible and immediately started to dry it with my blow dryer. Meanwhile, my husband did a Google search on how to recover a drenched iPhone and he saved the day! First, he put my iPhone in the box of rice. The theory is that the rice will absorb the moisture from the phone. I was willing to try anything because this phone had everything that I needed to stay on task for work, for my family and for my sanity!!! The next step was really bizarre but it did work. After heating the oven to 200 degrees, he placed the box of rice with my iPhone, inside the oven. Once the oven door closed, he shut off the heat because he didn’t want to cook the phone. Why inside the oven? My husband read that after the phone is in the rice, we should put it in a hot glove compartment for at least 12-24 hours. It was freezing outside and the next best place was in our oven. We modified the glove box theory and didn’t leave it in for more than an hour. After the oven cooled, the rice box came back out and the phone continued to stay inside the rice overnight. The next day, we were able to place the rice box with the phone inside in our glove box during the hottest part of the day. By Saturday night, we took the phone out and charged it for 24 hours. This was the final step. By Sunday, the phone was WORKING!!! My advice to you is PLEASE don’t bring your phone in the bathroom. If your phone gets wet, immediately put it in the box of rice and store it in a hot place. Don’t forget to charge your phone, too. Good luck and I hope this never happens to you!
New Research for 2012…
Now that my iPhone is working, I was able to research and explore some exciting new apps!
I will start with my favorite apps for the young children:
Oceanhouse Media creates wonderful apps for our children. They have created a digital library of interactive books of our favorite children books. I am impressed by their visuals for each app as well as their educational focus as our treasured stories come alive for the reader. Imaginations come alive for the children as they explore the characters as well as the creative worlds that the authors have created. The children are entranced and discover that reading is fun. My favorite apps from Ocean house Media include:
There’s a Wocket in my Pocket- This book is a staple in my 1st grade classroom because it teaches the children to rhyme with nonsensical words. It allows the children to see patterns in words and enforces the important first steps in reading. This story is perfect for your early readers. Read this app with your child.
Leo the Lightening Bug- I chose this app because the story has the endearing messages that all children should hear….to believe in themselves and to always be the best that they can be. This should be a beautiful bedtime story to share. I love the voices in this story as well. This app is a treasure.
Dr. Seuss Band- If your child loves Dr. Seuss, the characters and whimsical drawings; they all come together in this app. Your child can create music and learn about rhythm and sound.
Spinlight.com/apps caught my attention because they offer great apps for the toddlers as well as your older children that are learning their basic ABC skills and math facts.
Alpha tots- If you have a child learning basic ABC skills, this is an interactive app that will teach your child sounds and letter recognition through games and fantastic visuals. Spinlight’s AlphaTots is “… designed to take full advantage of the iPad’s interactive capabilities, AlphaTots™ uses action-based verbs that encourage young minds to “do” as they learn. Whether they’re building robots, digging for treasure or zapping alien ships from the sky, they’ll discover all 26 letters of the alphabet through fun-filled games that invite them to look, laugh and learn.” This is a perfect app for your young reading explorers!
Operation Math- This is an AWESOME math app. If you want your children to be excited about math and see how math is used in everyday life adventures, than this is the app for you! Spinlight has “ …designed (this app) for children ages 5 to 12…Operation Math teaches basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division through interactive game play that turns boring tables into a global adventure. The faster they work the further they’ll go in a game designed to take your novice mathematician from the pyramids of Egypt to a seat at the head of the class.”
“We already anticipate Operation Math becoming a mainstay in the world of great math apps!” – www.teacherswithapps.com
My three sons contributed to this article by showing me their favorite apps but I wanted them to be educational as well.
RoboMath- My youngest son, Joshua, chose this app because he uses it in his fourth grade class to practice his math fast facts. I personally know the developer of this app because he was a tutor in my after school-tutoring program. Blake Asbill created this app as a student at UC Davis. I am so proud of my former student. He created an innovative and educational app that encourages the students to learn all important math facts in a fun format. Check this app out. Congrats Blake!!
Weird but true- My middle son, Lucas, chose this app because he loves the book. I must admit, this app is actually better than the book. With the sound effects, weird and interesting facts that come alive on your iPhone or iPad and the ability to email the facts to friends and family just makes this app one of my favorites.
Vevo HD- My oldest son, Noah, found this app. Vevo HD app is FREE and plays music videos on your iPad. Educational? Absolutely!!! We got to see the 80’s music style …is that why mommy wore blue eye shadow when she was younger? AND, I finally learned how to shuffle with my sons and with the LMFAO Party Rock Anthem video…Check it out and have fun!!
Other worthy apps your children will LOVE…
Drawing with the kids- This is a simple app that teaches your young child to draw, and add their own imagination into each of their creations. This app will “…help early drawers gain confidence, coordination and dexterity with the Drawing Step-by-Step app from Amaya.” I love that the children can choose from 5 drawing tools and add their own creative touch to their drawings. It is a simple app that encourages your children to use their imagination.
Road trip A-Z-If you have ever played the A-Z game during a road trip, this is the app for your family’s next adventure. Developed by Randa Zalman, “…the A to Z app is a must–have to both educate and entertain on the long road.” This app has taken the classic family game and made it into a challenging and entertaining game that tracks player’s target letters and even adds 3 new unique variations to the game. This is an app to download for your next family road trip.
What Did Snakey Eat?– The National Wildlife Federation has created a very silly and irresistible app for kids ages 2 to 5. Pre-schoolers help Sammy the Skunk figure out what his friend Snakey ate by matching the shape in Snakey’s belly to one of the suggested objects. If they guessed right, the snake barfs up the object and feels better. It seems like it would be gross to watch, but my sons and I laughed so hard when we first saw Snakey regurgitate his meal. If you have a good sense of humor, and need a laugh download this app. It is hilarious AND your kids are learning at the same time. It is a win-win App!
Apps for New Year’s Resolutions…
iCookbook- My resolution is to cook better meals. This is a stretch for me because as my family will tell you…I burn water! So when I read the app’s review, “iCookbook has…hands-free voice control of any recipe, grocery list builder, timers, and an option to add personal recipes, a gorgeous user interface, and more! New recipe collections for iCookbook are released every month.” I was instantly hooked! There are so many incredibly delicious and easy recipes to view, download and research. This app is voice activated too! Also, I love the feature that you can instantly access the ingredients to each recipe. This app will make a chef out of you and me…cheers!
Smilebox- If you are interested in organizing all of your family photos, this is the app for you. The app description made me download it instantly…”The Smilebox app is an easy-to-use (and free!) photo sharing tool that allows you to enhance and decorate mobile photos with dynamic designs. The app also helps you easily share your moments with friends and family and receive feedback from recipients in a unique way.” I am already sending photos to my family with this fun new app. Try it today and see how easy it is to share memories!
Apps for Pure Pleasure…
Jumping Frenzy- This is an addictive and very fun app. If you need to pass your time waiting for something or someone, you will love this app. You have a stretcher and each game you need to save a person or an animal from a high-rise building. According to the app creators, in Jumping frenzy …“the more victims gamer saves, the higher is the score. Apart from being an entertaining game, the game can also improve motor skills, as well as develop creativity to little users.”
Chinese Zodiac- Did you know January 23rd was the Chinese New Year? It is the Year of the Dragon and this app will help you read the details about the Chinese year that you were born. Are you a dog, an ox or maybe a dragon? Download this app By Hiratte Software Solution and find out about your friends, your family and your own Chinese zodiac sign. This will be a hit wherever you go!
The iphone and the iPad are new avenues of discovery and learning with our families. I love how these apps are helping our children learn in a new format and encourages our children and students towards new avenues of discovering their educational success. Continue to learn with your children…these apps are so much fun for the New Year because together you make new discoveries. The world is at your fingertips. Enjoy and learn and let me know what new discoveries you have made, too. Until next time, H-APP-y Valentine’s Day!
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Maya Ramirez Drake lives in Carlsbad with her husband Todd and their three reading sons, Noah (14), Lucas (12) and Joshua (9). She is a third grade teacher at Buena Vista Elementary School. Maya graduated from the University of California, Irvine with a Major in English and a Minor in Spanish. She recieved her Teaching Credential from the California State University, San Marcos. Her teaching experiences include ESL/Citizenship instructor, EL and Reading tutor as well as first and second grade teacher. Maya grew up in a family of educators and values all that she has learned from her family and from her own teachers throughout her educational career. Her teaching philosophy is to value each child and to instill a love of learning in all her students. Maya and her family enjoy surfing, paddle boarding, soccer and camping in Northern California.