Common Core State Standards for Apps With Curriculum
What are the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) all about, again? Here is a portion of the CCSS Mission Statement: “The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers.”
Cyndie Seyborne, a retired teacher from Arkansas has created Apps With Curriculum, www.appswithcurriculum.com, an educational technology service to develop Common Core-aligned lesson plans for book app developers. Apps With Curriculum makes educational apps better suited for classroom use. All curriculum is downloadable and free to access.
“Teachers are looking for quality educational apps that can provide more than an hour of entertainment to their students,” said Sebourn, a National Board Certified Teacher who was in the classroom for more than 20 years. “By pairing curriculum with apps, I provide teachers with another tool to integrate technology into education and to help kids be 21st Century Learners. Now through Apps With Curriculum, educators can easily find quality apps that can be quickly assimilated into classroom education.”
The site features book apps with curriculum that includes deeper-level Reading Strategies, and Project-Based Learning.
“Often book app developers provide only fun facts or simple recall questions,” Sebourn said. “Apps With Curriculum engages students with multiple reading strategies that prompt them to think critically, incorporate technology, reach the upper levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy, and align to Common Core State Standards.” “Combining the apps with Common Core-aligned curriculum and group activities allows teachers to use the app in class to foster critical thinking and communication.”
Apps With Curriculum’s Book App Library features popular and award-winning apps such as “Brush of Truth,” the “Treasure Kai” series, the “Human Body Detectives” series, and multiple apps from PicPocket Books. Recently added to the collection is “A Troop is a Group of Monkeys” by Julie Hedlund, which teaches collective nouns.
Sebourn, a speaker at educational conferences and an educational consultant, has conducted case studies about using apps paired with curriculum to integrate technology in education.
After National Board Certified Teacher Cyndie Sebourn retired from the classroom, she founded Sascyn Publishing, Inc. to create educational apps. Her first book app “Smarty Britches: Nouns” was released on the iPad, Google Play, Kindle Fire, and NOOK in June 2012. “Smarty Britches: Verbs” will be released in 2013. “Smarty Britches: Nouns” features a boy who owns a magical pair of britches that teach him the nouns in his life; it is set in Arkansas. “Smarty Britches: Verbs” is also set in Arkansas but, in addition, educates students about the southern states of Louisiana and Texas. She developed curriculum for her own app, then started offering the educational service to other book app developers. Apps With Curriculum offers free, downloadable Common Core-aligned curriculum.
Interested teachers and book app developers can view the free curriculum at www.appswithcurriculum.com/curriculum.
At a visit to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, I was lucky enough to run into not one but two of my picture book author/ illustrator heroes:
Mo Williams was at the museum to install his Red Elephant sculpture. Eric Carle was on hand to supervise. I think it is wonderful that these two great artists from very different backgrounds and different generations are friends. Here are some doodles they sent each other:
Whether or not YOU are a famous, published artist, how about sending a doodle to a friend? You might just make somebody’s day!
Twelve educational apps that offer free Common Core-aligned curriculum are joining for a one-day sale Dec. 7. The discount day is being organized by Apps With Curriculum, a National Board Certified teacher’s movement to create curriculum for book apps.
“This group of developers are trendsetters that are joining with Apps With Curriculum and classroom teachers to educate,” said Cyndie Sebourn, founder of Apps With Curriculum. “They recognize the immeasurable value of providing curriculum for their book apps and are excited about being a valued asset to education.”
Apps participating in the one-day sale are Smarty Britches: Nouns, Treasure Kai and the Seven Cities of Gold, Brush of Truth, and PicPocket Books apps: The Lucky Escape, Battle of the Bugs, A Heart Pumping Adventure, Penelope the Purple Pirate, Gerry the Giraffe, A Royal Pest, A Royal Pest Mine, Choco Gets a Check Up, and Tractor Mac You’re a Winner.
“Apps With Curriculum links book app developers with teachers to promote 21st Century Learning Skills, said Sebourn, a retired teacher who was in the classroom for 25 years. “With curriculum, book apps serve a higher purpose. They become educational tools that provide extended learning for the classroom. Educators are excited to see Project-Based Learning and reading strategies that align with Common Core Standards and incorporate Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy. It empowers them to teach with technology and saves them countless hours in lesson planning.”
Apps With Curriculum was formed by Cyndie Sebourn, a retired National Board Certified Teacher, to create curriculum for book app makers. Sebourn also owns Sascyn Publishing, Inc., which creates educational book apps.
Apps With Curriculum
A Royal Little Pest
Smarty Britches: Nouns
Tractor Mac Arrives
Tractor Mac Builds A Barn
The Lucky Escape
A Heart-Pumping Adventure
Battle With the Bugs
A Royal Little Pest: Mine!
Gerry the Giraffe
Tractor Mac You’re A Winner
Penelope the Purple Pirate
Located in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas, Sascyn Publishing, Inc. develops children’s apps for education, and it creates custom-designed curriculum for other app developers that meets the needs of educators. Copyright (C) 2012 Sascyn Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPod and iPad are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries.
Look for the CCSS tab on top bar of PicPocket Books’ website, and access the curricula via the links next to the app icons.
Check out the fun trailer for Melissa Northway’s “Gerry the Giraffe,” a new book and an app from PicPocket Books.
The month of October is designated Down Syndrome Awareness Month. It is one month in the year to especially highlight the talents of children and adults with Down Syndrome, to advocate for inclusion in school and community activities, and to honor how much they have to share.
In partnership with Woodbine House, a publisher specializing in books about children with special needs, PicPocket Books has produced and published two picture book titles for the iPhone and iPad featuring characters with Down Syndrome. These two titles, My Friend Isabelle and We’ll Paint the Octopus Red, are reviewed below by Renee Grassi, a librarian and advocate for people with special needs. Follow Renee on Twitter at @MissReneeDomain
Picture books about siblings with special needs are few and far between. Picture book apps about this topic are even rarer. We’ll Paint the Octopus Red and My Friend Isabelle help fill in those gaps.
We’ll Paint the Octopus Red. Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen. Illustrated by Pam Devito. PicPocket Books. 2009. iOS, requires 4.0 or later. Version: 1.6. $0.99. Age 5 and up.
We’ll Paint the Octopus Red by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen tells the story of a girl named Emma, who learns about her new baby brother, Isaac. At first, Emma has a hard time getting used to the idea that she will not be an only child. Her dad then talks to her about all the new things she and her new brother can do. Emma later learns that her brother was born with Down Syndrome, and she laments to her dad listing all the things she thinks she will not be able to do with Isaac. Her dad tells her encouragingly that, in fact, all those things that she thought Isaac wouldn’t be able to do—like painting the octopus—he will be able to do. He just might need someone to show him how. In the end, Emma is able to look past differences and is excited about all the fun she and her new sibling will have. The app’s functionality gives the reader the option of having the audio played aloud or turned off. Swiping across the screen easily turns the page. A few turn offs, though–the words are not highlighted as they are read, and the story does not play on its own unless the reader actively turns the page. However, the voice of the reading is clear and well-paced, and Pam Devito’s colorful pencil drawn illustrations—though not animated—translate well on the screen.
My Friend Isabelle. Eliza Woloson. Illustrated by Bryan Gough. PicPocket Books. 2009. iOS, requires 4.0 or later. Version 1.6. $1.99.
My Friend Isabelle is a story about a little boy named Charlie who has a friend named Isabelle. Even though they are the same age, Charlie talks about how they are both different. Charlie is tall, while Isabelle is short. Charlie runs fast, while Isabelle takes her time. Charlie knows a lot of words, and Isabelle’s words are sometimes hard for him to understand. But Charlie also recognizes many ways that he and Isabelle are the same. They both like to play and dance. They like to pretend play together and go down the big slide at the park. What makes book unique is that the reader does not find out that Isabelle has Down Syndrome until the end of the book. There is an added section on the last page that is read out loud to the reader explaining that Isabelle doesn’t look or think quite like Charlie does, but that through their friendship, Charlie and Isabelle are helping to make the world a more tolerant place. The app does a great job utilizing the original illustrations, though the images are not interactive or animated. Each word is highlighted as its being read out loud for the reader. The reading itself is well-paced and clear, ideal for a prereader who may be following along. While the reader must swipe the screen to turn most of the pages, some of the pages turn on their own. I found this a bit odd, but it was nothing that would deter me from using the app.
All in all, these two PicPocket Book apps are solid contributions to the conversation of acceptance and tolerance of people with special need and are worthwhile tools to introduce this topic to a child.
“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” ~G.K. Chesterton