Axel’s Chain Reaction By Allison Pomenta and Cubic Jigsaw  – Review

Axel’s Chain Reaction By Allison Pomenta and Cubic Jigsaw – Review



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What we love…

Totally kid friendly and Internet safe! Love-love-love the sparkling hints to activate the hidden special features within the story.

What we’d love to see…

A hint to turn off multi-tasking gestures in settings so that all shortcuts work properly (those on the main page and those within the story itself).

Summary

A beautifully illustrated story with captivating voice-overs that put readers in Axel’s shoes as he faces daily social challenges and as he uses his special talent to become the story’s hero.

Our Rating

Axel's Chain ReactionThis beautifully illustrated and well thought out story takes readers through Axel’s daily challenges – difficulty attending to his teacher, trouble getting his thoughts out clearly, unintentionally bumping into friends, … But, it also lets readers see a side of Axel that his friends haven’t seen yet – his special talent for creating new toys out of common everyday household items. Axel cannot contain his excitement as his teacher shares the latest class project – kinetic art. Within the story, readers click the computer monitor to see clips of real-life pieces of art created by modern day Kinetic Artists. Readers can learn more about these artists via biographies within the main menu. The app also shows users how to make three different kinetic art pieces of their own! Details for all needed materials are listed along with step-by-step written instructions and pictures of each step. A video clip of the final product is also provided to help users see the completed project in action before they start to create their own.

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The app is compatible with the iPad, iPhone, and iPod (requiring iOS 5.0 or higher). The main menu shows a link to a game feature that is soon to come. The upbeat music and character voices are captivating and entertaining (a separate on/off feature is provided for each for those that may be too distracted). Within the story itself, readers help Axel along his adventures as he creates his own kinetic masterpieces (from helping him unglue his fingers to helping him design his creations). Actions and movements required go beyond the simple click and drag – requiring users to use a variety of fine motor movements (finger-to-thumb opposition, bilateral coordination, wrist rotation, etc – an OT’s dream.)

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My testers enjoyed reading and watching the story over and over. It opened up conversations with my older students about accepting other’s differences and recognizing that everyone has something special to offer. It also was reassuring to some of my students like Axel – helping them see that everyone has a special talent to share. My youngest students loved activating the sparkling hint buttons and watching the moving kinetic art – I have to admit, I was mesmerized by the rhythm and pattern too.

Overall, a beautifully illustrated story with captivating voice-overs that put readers in Axel’s shoes as he faces daily social challenges and as he uses his special talent to become the story’s hero.

 

Code drop November 27

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2. http://redeem-now.com/1342b867f623
If you would like to download this app please use this link: Axel’s Chain Reaction – Laura Allison Pomenta Badolato

Axel's Chain Reaction
Axel's Chain Reaction
by Laura Allison Pomenta Badolato

Category: Education, Books
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone4-iPhone4, iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74, iPhone8-iPhone8, iPhone8Plus-iPhone8Plus, iPhoneX-iPhoneX
Size: 312.89 MB

$2.99USD

Screenshots
(Click to enlarge)
Screenshots for iPad
(Click to enlarge)

 

“Marica is a married mother of three girls (ages 3, 7, and 9). She works as a school based occupational therapist in Northwest Ohio servicing children with unique needs from ages 3 -22. In her free time ☺ she enjoys learning and exploring with her loving family.
 Featured App: Justin Time’s Jig Jag Jog by Guru Studio

Featured App: Justin Time’s Jig Jag Jog by Guru Studio



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Jig Jag JogJig Jag Jog from Guru Studios is an iPad app featuring Justin Time and his co-stars from the award-winning TV show for pre-schoolers. Justin and Squidgy star in 3 games that are great for hand-eye co-ordination, but simple enough for toddlers and pre-school aged children to play. Justin’s imaginary friend Olive is here too giving advice and encouragement. All three games are accompanied by lively toe-tapping music that can be switched off in settings. It is a very child-friendly app with no external links, adverts or in-app purchases. Each game has clear child friendly directions.

Froggy Bog

Justin is paddling his boat along the Bayou, with his trusty sidekick Squidgy by his side, collecting frogs as he goes. There are three channels in the Bayou and  tapping on a channel will make Justin paddle into it. To collect the frogs Justin just has to paddle up to them and they’ll hop in, but watch out there are rocks, crocs and other obstacles to avoid!  There are nice surprises too such as butterflies in the reeds and water lilies that burst into flower. The music is so catchy that even the frogs are dancing along.

iPad Screenshot 2

Yukon Gold

In this game Justin and Squidgy are in an old mine looking for gold, and this adventure is accompanied by honky-tonk piano music. Their mine car is running along the tracks and they pick up any gold that lies in their path. The mine has lots of obstacles too – from waterfalls and rock falls to loose mine cars and missing tracks. By changing tracks Justin can pick up the gold and avoid the obstacles. Or maybe your kids, like mine, will find that going through the obstacles is even more fun than avoiding them ! If you knock over the lantern the mine is temporarily plunged into darkness and if you go through the closed track warnings Justin’s mine car is jet-propelled to fly over the holes in the ground, there are lots of other fun interactions too, but you’ll have to find them for yourself.

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Ready, Set, Zoom!

In the third game Justin and Squidgy are in a race to collect checkered flags. Justin is driving a beautiful blue 1920’s style race car and the crowd cheers him on as he races to collect flags. There are lots of things to look out for on the race track- chevrons on the track or gas pumps will give him a speed boost, but look out for the oil slicks or stray tool boxes which will slow him down. What will happen if Justin crashes into the car in front? Do you want Justin to avoid the piles of tires or hay bales or see what happens when he plows through them?

 

Toddlers, pre-schoolers and early elementary school- aged children will all have a blast playing these games. They are great for working on hand-eye co-ordination and fine motor skills, but also fun! Some children will want to collect all the frogs, gold and flags as quickly as possible, whilst others will want to have fun playing with the obstacles on the way. It is a great app for very young children as there is no time pressure and no wrong way to play, and even if they crash into something or run into an alligator, the worst that happens is they slow down for a few seconds. A very fun app for the pre-school set,  fans of the show will really enjoy playing the games, but even children who have never seen the show will have a lot of fun too.

Jig Jag Jog is currently only $1.99 so download it today ! Jig Jag Jog – Guru Studio

Jig Jag Jog
Jig Jag Jog
by Guru Studio

Category: Games, Family
Requirements: Compatible with iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74
Size: 134.58 MB

$1.99USD

Screenshots for iPad
(Click to enlarge)

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NOTE: A fee was received to feature this app.

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).
 Ollie’s Handwriting & Phonics by Blue Mango LLC – Review

Ollie’s Handwriting & Phonics by Blue Mango LLC – Review



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What we love…

Universal letters; ability to add custom words.

What we’d love to see…

Eliminate the need to flip the iPad from landscape to portrait within the word frames; more characters for custom words (currently only 5 are offered); use of capitals in custom words.

Summary

A kid friendly, easy to use app that teaches children how to form letters correctly and introduces beginning phonetic awareness.

Our Rating

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Whoo-whoo’s ready to learn letter writing and letter sounds?? Ollie’s Handwriting and Phonics app by Blue Mango LLC immerses children in the sights, sounds, and touch of letters and simple words. It is targeted for children preschool age through early elementary age, but my own school-based experience tells me its most appropriate for the preschool years and the very early kindergarten months. The app is compatible with the iPad (requiring iOS 6.0 or later). A lite version is available for free (offering uppercase and lowercase letters A-M as well as 2 out of 10 phonics words, 2 out of 10 sight words, and 1 customizable word). A nominal fee for an in-app-purchase unlocks the remaining letters and words as well as an additional 9 customizable words. We always love apps that give you a “taste” for free and then offer additional features if your child is intrigued by the app.

My testers loved the app, going back through it often. They most enjoyed seeing their names and their friends’ names on the screen (available via the customizable word list). Although the app only provides one font, the letters are a universal font and should be recognizable to all learners. As a school-based OT, I appreciated the sequence in which each letter was presented: 1) A visual of an apple and the letter A along with the verbal “A Apple /A/” is given; 2) Ollie the Owl then traces the letter using correct form and sequence giving users a visual of the motor plan needed to form the letter; 3) The verbal “/A/” is given; 4) The user is given a turn to trace the letter; 5) The verbal “/A/” is given again followed by “whoo-whoo” from Ollie the Owl accompanied with applause. A visual starting point is given for each letter stroke, with subsequent starting points appearing only after the previous stroke was completed (appealing visually and not overwhelming to the eye). As the user forms each letter, only those strokes that stay within the general guideline of the letter appear, thus encouraging only correct strokes. The app also grows with users, giving the option to switch the outline from an easily visible outline to a barely-there outline.

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The same tracing features are provided for each phonics, sight, and custom word. The app takes phonics one step further by verbally segmenting and blending letter sounds to read the words. Ollie the Owl bounces to each letter and each letter is highlighted as the phonetic sound for each letter is given (e.g., “bug” — “/b/ /u/ /g/”). Special note: within the custom word frames, only the letter name is stated (not the sound) and the custom word is not read to avoid any mis-pronunciations of the custom word.

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The app does provide links to the web on the info page (something to watch out for with accidental access by the youngest users). However, the links give a wealth of practical and useful knowledge. For example, a companion guide is offered that links parents/teachers/therapists to scenarios with suggestions on how to use the app and also how to apply the skills learned in the app to paper/pencil and reading materials. The links also provide a student checklist and comprehensive teacher checklist (as well as guides/examples of those checklists) to track progress and mastery (in RTI ready formats for those of us in the school-based settings). Just a few examples of additional resources and links included are parent friendly (and accurate) tips to strengthen fine motor skills, handwriting, establishing tripod grasp, and reading skills.

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iPhone version – FREE with IAP $2.99 for full version Ollie’s Handwriting & Phonics – Blue Mango LLC

Ollie's Handwriting & Phonics Ollie's Handwriting & Phonics by Blue Mango LLC
Category: Education
Requirements: Compatible with iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74, iPhone8-iPhone8, iPhone8Plus-iPhone8Plus, iPhoneX-iPhoneX
Size: 50.17 MB

$FREE


iPad version – FREE with IAP $2.99 for full version Ollie’s Handwriting & Phonics for iPad – Blue Mango LLC
Ollie's Handwriting & Phonics for iPad Ollie's Handwriting & Phonics for iPad by Blue Mango LLC
Category: Education
Requirements: Compatible with iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74
Size: 59.45 MB

$FREE

 

 

“Marica is a married mother of three girls (ages 3, 7, and 9). She works as a school based occupational therapist in Northwest Ohio servicing children with unique needs from ages 3 -22. In her free time ☺ she enjoys learning and exploring with her loving family.
 Write On Handwriting: Conquering Cursive Letters & Numbers – Review

Write On Handwriting: Conquering Cursive Letters & Numbers – Review




iPad Screenshot 5

What we love…

Multi-sensory approach, letter groupings by initial stroke, research based approach.

What we’d love to see…

Ability to set different tolerance levels, option to write words, multiple student profiles.

Summary

A multi-sensory app for teaching cursive letter and number strokes, good for promoting motor learning. Works on single letters not words.

Our Rating

Write On Handwriting:  Conquering Cursive Letters &amp; Numbers

Write on Handwriting: Conquering Cursive is an iPad only app and part of the range of handwriting tools available from Write On Handwriting LLC.  It is the second app in the series; we have previously reviewed Write on Handwriting: Powerful Printing. As well as the iPad app there are also computer programs and paper workbooks based on the same method available from their website. The Write on Handwriting method is a research-based method that was developed by educators, you can read more about it in our Developers Interview, and on the Write-On Handwriting Website. The app contains no in-app purchases, adverts, or external links.

 

The app follows a very similar format to the Powerful Printing app but this time focuses on teaching the strokes for cursive writing rather than printing. There is a lot of debate in educational circles at the moment about teaching cursive, as many children learn to type and use computers at an early age so some schools are no longer teaching cursive. There are reasons why I still think it is important to learn cursive – for many students it is much faster to write in cursive than printing -I noticed a huge improvement in how quickly my son could do his written work once he mastered cursive and there are some areas of your life where you still need to be able to write – typing is not always an option.
When working in the app the student can chose to work on upper case letters, lower case letters or numbers. They can pick individual letters if they have particular ones they need extra practice on; or work in alphabetical order but my recommendation is to work on the letters in the groupings provided. The letters are grouped according to initial stroke and working on them in these groups makes it easier to memorize the stroke sequence and is better for muscle memory.

For lower case letters the groupings are: cad, goq, ijtp, elf, hkb, nm, rs, uvwvy, and xz.
For upper case letters the groupings are: CAEO, TFD, UVWY, PRBK, HNM, LJ, XZ Q, and GSL.
Letters are grouped: 1456, 237 and 890.

There are 2 modes: Practice and Learning.

The app starts in learning mode for each new letter or number, but this can be manually over-ridden. The Learning Mode utilizes a multi-sensory approach- audio instructions accompany a video of the letter being drawn. Then the student draws the letter – a star marks the starting point and arrows show the direction of the strokes, if a letter has more than one stroke the arrows appear only for the stroke the student is currently working on. If the student goes outside the lines, they have to restart the current stroke. At the completion of each letter they get positive audio and visual reinforcement with cheers and shooting stars.

iPad Screenshot 3

 

In Learning Mode the student practices each letter in the group once, then they can choose to practice that group, or learn another group. In Practice mode they practice each letter three times before moving on to the next one in the group. A star marks the starting point, but the arrows only appear if the student is having difficulty.

 

I think learning cursive (or “joined up handwriting” as we call it in England), is an important skill even in todays computer-age and I think it is sad that some children are no longer being taught it in school. Whether they learn it in school or not, I think it is important that all children get the opportunity to learn this skill.

 

iPad Screenshot 2There are a few things I would like to see added to the program in future updates. I would really like the option for the child to work on words as well as letters – it is an important next step in cursive writing, of course the child can practice this on paper but it would be nice to have it in the app also. I would also like to see multiple student accounts, so families who have more than one child working on this skill can keep separate accounts for them, and I would like the ability to change the tolerance levels- adding a beginner level -making the app more forgiving for students with fine motor difficulties.

 

Things that I really like about the Write on Handwriting method are that it utilizes a multi-sensory approach, and that the letters are grouped according to similar stroke patterns. Motor memory is really important in making complex motor plans, such as those used in handwriting, automatic. My daughter has Apraxia and Dyspraxia, which affect her motor planning ability, so motor memory is something we are very aware of, as she has to work on this more than most children to acquire new skills. Always using the same stroke pattern, using a multi-sensory approach and doing lots of repetitions the same way help to build motor memory and thus the handwriting strokes become automatic rather than something the child needs to think about.

If you would like to download this app please use this link: Write On Handwriting: Conquering Cursive Letters & Numbers – Write-On Handwriting LLC



Write On Handwriting:  Conquering Cursive Letters & Numbers Write On Handwriting: Conquering Cursive Letters & Numbers by Write-On Handwriting LLC

Price: $2.99 USD

Conquering Cursive is a developmentally sound app supported by research and years of educational experience. The Write-On Handwriting app fully engages students through multi-sensory instruction of letter.


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Special Offer: If you buy or win this app or Powerful Printing, you can receive practice page pdf’s. Simply email: sherry@writeonhandwriting.com and tell her which app you purchased or won

NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).

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