Archive | January, 2012

iPhone and iPod apps

31 Jan

Apps is a word that might scare some people. Don’t be afraid. Its another word for computer programs.

A while ago, I posted about Class Dojo (it seems to be working well so far) and the recently came out with an app for the iPhone. What that means is that I can update my student’s behavior and perticipation grades as I’m walking around the classroom…conducting class! Additionally, our PowerTeacher program has an iPhone app.

There are a bevy of iPhone and iPod apps (programs) that are free or for a small fee can be downloaded directly to your students phones and music devices. Here are a few new games I found this week for Italian. I try to recommend one new app a month for students to try for free. You can find a LOT of programs that are not translators, but games.

iSpeak Italian – Translates and allows you to listen to the translation for pronunciation.

OoO, I just found a website of the 50 Apps that May Help you Learn a Language





18 Jan

I know this is the final realm of nerdiness, but podcasts are truly nothing to be scared of. Think of them as radio shows of yesteryear…only on your iPod. Podcast is short for iPod Broadcast, meaning a recorded audio broadcast.

Last year, I began to listen to podcasts for television shows that I enjoyed and then decided to search for podcasts to use in the classroom. I found this,

Learn Italian Pod has a number of great segments that are free audio files that you can either play via your in-class laptop, or students can download freely straight to their mp3 device. Listen Up & Learn is a segment where listeners hear a short story and are asked questions afterward. The answers are then found on their website. There is also 5 Minutes a Day lessons series, again free to download. This is a “divine comedy” about Dante Alighieri.

Both French & Spanish have a podcast that I hold near and dear to my heart, as I tried using it last summer while I walked my dog. Coffee Break French and Coffee Break Spanish are a series of 15-20 minute language lessons in each respective language. The series is completely free and reviews each lesson weekly. The nice thing about these podcasts is that they are short and start off with the very basics.

Sticker technology: Making reading fun

12 Jan

Maybe you have seen the Hallmark commcercials where someone records themselves reading a story to their children, and then the book somehow records their voice so that the child can read to him/herself without that person being there? No? Its very touching.

One of my favorite products just brought things to another level. This video demonstrates how Smartpen stickers work.

Imagine the implications this can have for our classrooms!? Students can record themselves, someone else, or YOU speaking a story/vocab/instructions to them and use them forever! Each sound sticker has a unique pattern so the pen recognizes what audio file to produce. This is an amazing product for students with trouble reading or students that are better audio learners…


I’m just baffled by this amazing technology. Here is an article from Livescribe that truly fleshes out some ideas for the product.




Wordle Clouds

9 Jan


This is something I’ve been using for years but I always seem to find a new use for them. Wordle cloud can take any group of words and ten them into a visual representation. The more times a word is used, the larger it will appear in the visual representation.

I use these for Do Nows where I scramble up a sentence, for word banks, and even for inspiration boards for class topics.

They are called clouds because they look like one floating in the sky…only made of words. No matter how you may choose to use them, they certainly make for interesting talking points. Click the wordle for a link to their website.

– Christina