Friday, April 6, 2012

Students' Top Pick: SparkleFish

Now that we have been using the iPad in the classroom for a few months, students have had a chance to try a variety of apps designed to reinforce Language Arts skills. One that my Fifth Graders  choose most often is the SparkleFish by Whosagoodboy Partners. This app is an audio story completion game much like the writing activities known as Mad Libs. Students fill in missing story elements or parts of speech by recording their word or phrase choices. After completing the story they can listen to what ends up a silly story. 

Educationally, this app has some value as it does ask students to identify parts of speech or story elements. Parents or teachers would be able check for the child's understanding by listening to the story. Ideally, however, it would be best if the teacher, parent, or tutor were working with the child while they are creating their story. If a child has difficulty identifying the requested part of speech there is a help screen that gives some suggestions. Parts of speech requested for the story focus on basic skills such as identifying verbs, nouns, adjectives, adverbs as well as word tense and plurals.
SparkleFish Originals stories are free. There are four choices in this original package, Infomercial, The Cold Remedy, Yearbook Signing, and A Fairy Tale. You can purchase other packages for more stories at a cost of $0.99. Additional story packages come with five new story choices. Additional packages include Tall Tales, A Day in the Life, Relationships, and A Dream World. This app is compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.

SparkleFish  is a fun app for kids of all ages. My students find it motivating and helps them express their creativity. The short stories created can be used as a starter to a creative writing exercise or assessment. This app could also be helpful with students who have disabilities or difficulty with writing skills. Teachers, parents, and tutors can assess their understanding of parts of speech as they work together creating original stories.

There are a lot of great educational apps available for iPad and iPod making it difficult sometimes to weed through them to find those that can be useful in the classroom. SparkleFish is one of those apps that has a balance between being having an educational value and motivational and enjoyable to students. I believe this is a great combination. My students give this app five stars.

Check back, my 5th Graders have more favorites that I will share in the weeks to come.

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