Teacher Blog: 5 Free Apps That Align To The Common Core: ELA Edition

Below is the third blog post in our Teacher Guest Blog Series. Today’s blog post comes from Monica Burns, a 5th grade teacher in NYC. She also runs a website called ClassTechTips, which offers tips to teachers regarding education technology in the classroom! Below is her post about free common core apps!

5 Free Apps that Align to the Common Core: ELA Edition

The App Store can be overwhelming for anyone to navigate. For educators there is the extra challenge of choosing apps that meet the needs of their students and align to the curriculum and Common Core Standards. It often requires one to think outside the box, looking past the original purpose of the app to make it work in your classroom.

Here are five free apps that I love, with lesson ideas that connect to the Common Core:

1. The Perfect Captions app allows users to add text to their pictures. They can use a picture found on the Internet, saved on the iPad camera roll or taken with their iPad camera. I’ll have students take a picture of the cover of a book and write text bubbles that show what the main character is thinking, their predictions for the story, or record examples of figurative language. (Reading:Literature –Standards 3 and 4 across grades)

2. The Idea Sketch iPad app is fantastic for making your own graphic organizers. I love to use it with my students in writing: for creating story maps, brainstorming, planning and taking notes when researching. (Writing Standards 5 and 6 across grades)

3. iPrompt is a free app that turns your iPad into a teleprompter. Add text that students have written themselves – try a persuasive essay turned into a speech. Customize the size of the text and the speed it moves on the screen. (Speaking & Listening – Standard 4 across grades)

4. One of my favorite apps for literacy skills practice is Bluster. McGraw-Hill has lots of app but this one is free (these prices often change so download it sooner than later). Even though it lists grades 2 -4 in my classroom we refer to these “grades” as “levels.” Students can practice skills like: rhyming words, prefixes and suffixes, synonyms, word roots, homophones, and adjectives (Reading: Foundational Skills – Standard 3 across grades)

5. If you’re not familiar with TED Talks these videos are worth checking out. Speakers are given 5 to 20 minutes to wow an audience with their knowledge, perspective and discoveries on their area of expertise. Topics range greatly and can be applied as extension lessons for all sorts of activities. I use them in my classroom most often in small groups to extend guided reading or book club discussions. (Reading: Informational Text – Standard 7 across grades)

Monica Burns is a NYC teacher with a passion for using technology with her students. Check out her website ClassTechTips.com for iPad lesson plans aligned to the Common Core Standards and more ideas on using free apps in your classroom.

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