Tag Archives: apps

The Presidency (pre-election) ebook now available!

The History of The Presidency

A limited edition ebook for today’s tech-savvy student

ap-preelection-presidency-cover-092116Contemporary classrooms ought to represent contemporary students—students born of the New Media Age. In the past, students learned dense subjects like science, history, and math from standard textbooks. Today, publishers are creating interactive, educational resources that compliment traditional textbooks and grab students’ interest to encourage learning.

Together the Associated Press and Green Light Learning Tools have created The Presidency (pre-election), a multimedia overview of the U.S. presidency, that does just that—connects students to the content to encourage learning. In an innovative approach to marrying news coverage and curriculum, students can not only read about the executive branch and presidents but also directly hear the words and see video of the presidents as they learn about them. The Presidency (pre-election) features award-winning photos and video culled from AP’s rich historical archive, and it pairs them with clear, succinct, age-level appropriate explanations.

Students have information available at the touch of their fingertips—literally! With the swipe of a finger students can access videos, presidential debates, interactive timelines of the U.S. presidency, quizzes, and slideshows.

The ebook is primarily for students in grades 4–8, but is a valuable resource for anyone interested in the presidency. It also includes a glossary of academic terms and their definitions and three chapters—The Executive Branch, Electing a President, and Election 2016.

The Presidency (pre-election) is available for download on iTunes for $5.99, and is compatible with Android devices, the iPad 2 or later, and the iPad Mini.

Coming Soon!

ap-postelection-presidency-cover-092116Stay connected with Green Light Learning Tools via Twitter and/or Facebook for news about the release of The Presidency (post-election), an updated edition that includes the outcome of the 2016 election as well as the new president’s inauguration speech.


Reading Dailies: Daily Digital Reading Curriculum, Available Now


Contemporary classrooms need to engage students with digital tools—such as tablets and Chromebooks—and digital curricula. That was the intent behind Reading Dailies, a new digital curriculum designed to be delivered through tablets and computers. A teacher need only paste the lesson link into an assignment, and students can access a complete week of lessons that break down one of the Common Core reading standards and that include high-quality, complex, literary texts.

Reading Dailies, for grades 3–5, build students’ reading skills through weekly lessons that break down the skills students need to understand fiction and informational texts.


This supplemental reading program includes a Teacher’s Guide, 19 units, and 19 Checkpoint Assessments. Each unit and Checkpoint Assessment is available as an interactive HTML5 lesson or as a downloadable PDF, and each unit includes 3, 4, or 5 lessons designed to be completed in a single week. Each lesson takes about one day and requires students to read and reread a literary passage and write about it. A checkpoint at the end of each week assess students’ understanding of the main strategy, giving teachers the summative data they need to assess whether students have mastered the composite skills folded into one of the Common Core standards.


Reading Dailies offers students and teachers several features that make the program easy to use and convenient while still being rigorous.


Reading Dailies title pageMain strategy gives the overall big idea for students to understand

Skills show the smaller skills needed to master the overall strategy





instructionalsummaryInstructional summary allows teachers to walk through key instruction at the beginning of the week

Academic vocabulary is introduced at the beginning of the week and reinforced throughout the week




guidedcloserdgInstructional focus begins each lesson to establish clear focus

Quality literature can be found in each lesson to acquaint students with literary use of language and the vocabulary used in authentic texts

Focused responses provide students with scaffolding needed to delve into the text and understand it


responserubricResponse rubrics
give students clear criteria for what is required in a successful response





checkpointCheckpoint Assessments are summative assessments that afford students an opportunity to demonstrate mastery of each unit.






pacingEach unit is designed to be completed in a single week.

  • Start the week by introducing the unit and key concepts. Then allow about one day to complete each lesson.
  • Some students on their own may be able to complete a unit in less time, but the one day, one lesson pace allows time for students to work in small groups to discuss the passages and respond to them. Talking about the passages in small groups will benefit all learners and help them enrich their understanding of the passages.
  • Small groups will also support struggling readers and English Language Learners.
  • Throughout the week, encourage use of the academic vocabulary in the lesson in small-and whole-group settings.

To preview a G3 unit for free, visit http://store.greenlightlearningtools.com/product/rd301/

To preview a G4 unit for free, visit http://store.greenlightlearningtools.com/product/rd41/

To preview a G5 unit for free, visit http://store.greenlightlearningtools.com/product/rd501/



Helen Beyne has years of experience in creating innovative curriculum materials in reading, ESL, science, and social studies. She writes about IWBs and free online resources for teachers.

Green Light Learning Tools is the Featured Provider on the HMH Marketplace for July!

HMH Marketplace

Exciting news for Green Light Learning Tools: We’ve been named the Featured Provider on the HMH Marketplace for July. Hop on over to browse a selection of our products, from our iPad apps to our ever-popular Toolkit of Reading. (Bonus: The Toolkit lessons are Common Core aligned!)

While you’re there, check out some of the great summer resources available! Check back later in the summer for more great activities for back to school. Find something you love? Tell us about it in the comments or on Twitter.

The Best Special Education Apps for Teachers

by Mary Kate Dempsey

special education apps for teachers

Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee | FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tablets and phones can be a huge asset for teachers working with students with special needs. Technology allows teachers to work with students at their ability levels. Below are some of our favorite apps for the special education classroom. 

Dragon Dictation (free – iOS only, similar apps are available for Android)

Speech-to-text apps are great for students who struggle with writing or typing. Dragon Dictation is one of the easiest to use and most accurate. All you have to do is open the app and speak into it. Once the app transcribes your words, you can edit it if needed and share through email or paste it into Google Docs.

Pocket Pond 2 (free – iOS and Android)

Have a student who gets overstimulated easily? Try Pocket Pond. Calming music plays while koi fish swim around a virtual pond. Students can play with the fish until they are ready to rejoin the class.

iReward ($2.99 – iOS)

iReward is a useful app that tracks tasks for students to accomplish to earn a set reward. The app supports multiple users, making it perfect for the classroom.

Time Timer ($2.99 – iOS, $0.99 – Android)

An easy to read and highly visual timer that shows how much time is left in the event in red and the time passed in white. This app is great for time management in any setting, classroom or otherwise.

SoundingBoard (free, with in-app purchases – iOS)

SoundingBoard uses symbols to help teachers and students who are nonverbal communicate easily. Crucially for teachers, the app supports multiple boards for use with different people. It comes pre-loaded with 20 symbols, and each in-app purchase after is $0.99.

Nulite Behavior Tracker ($19.99 – iOS)

Yes, this app is expensive, but it has excellent features that make it worth the upfront cost. Nulite is an app made especially for special education teachers that tracks student behaviors with date, duration, and notes for each student. The easily exported generated charts and graphs are great for sharing with parents and administrators.

Do you use apps in the classroom? If so, what apps do you use and would recommend to other special education teachers? Let us know in the comments!

4 Great Vocabulary Apps for ELL Students

by Hope Morley

vocabulary apps for ELL students

Image courtesy Stuart Miles | FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Most students (and adults!) acquire new vocabulary through reading, writing, and listening. For many English language learners, that isn’t enough. Direct instruction of vocabulary can make students into better readers, writers, and thinkers. Here are four apps you can use to support vocabulary instruction for your ELL students.


Middle, High School | Website, iOS, Android

Vocabla is available as either a website or a free iOS/Android app. The app allows you to create lists of words you want to learn, has you practice with digital flashcards, and then quizzes you. If you don’t want to create your own lists, the library has many lists ready to go. Students can choose a native language or choose “other” for an English-only experience.


Middle, High School | Website, iOS, Android

Like Vocabla, StudyBlue is primarily an online flashcard creator. Teachers can create flashcards for the class or have students create flashcards from their own reading. There are also collaboration settings for small group work. StudyBlue has public lists of words, but they aren’t as robust as Vocabla’s library. Use StudyBlue if you want the most control over the words your students study. (Bonus: It syncs with Evernote!)

English First High Flyers Vocabulary Game

Elementary, Middle School | iOS

This fun iPad game contains both flashcard levels with audio and testing games. The audio helps students with the pronunciation of new words. The app is easy to navigate, allowing for students to guide themselves through their practice. It unfortunately doesn’t have any user options, which makes it difficult to save progress in a classroom with shared iPads.

My Words American English

Elementary | iOS ($1.99)

This app covers basic vocabulary in categories like body parts, colors, and transportation, which means it’s best for kids just starting out with English. The games and quizzes are fun, and the animations are well done. The design is aimed at younger audiences, so this app is not recommended for beginning ELLs older than fifth grade.

What vocabulary tools do you recommend for ELL students? Tell us in the comments.

Hope bioHope Morley is a consultant and social media coordinator for Green Light Professional Development. She writes about social media, conferences, and anything else on the web that helps both students and teachers learn. Follow her @GreenlightLT

How to Use Auto-Graded Exit Tickets

by Erin Dye

exit tickets

image courtesy nongpimmy | freedigitalphotos.net

Are you a fan of exit tickets? Is your administration pushing them at your school? Even if they’re not, it’s something to consider. Running formative assessment during class requires preparation, management, participation, and grading time. As a result, the system tends to work best with multiple-choice questions (and thus, it can’t assess the entire range of skills students learn), but exit tickets can be a great way to figure out if you need to reteach or if you can move on.

As with most things, having an easy daily routine can be a good way to manage your formative assessment and exit tickets. Technology in the classroom can make a big difference here, but even if you’re in a low-tech room, there’s still a lot you can do to lessen your administrative workload.

We’ve divided up this resource list based on the level of access to technology in your classroom.

For one-to-one classrooms:

Find a web-based assessment resource that will export data from your students’ answers into an Excel chart or some other useful format. Daily formative assessment is likely to fail if you are still stuck grading 30+ individual answers. We love Kahoot. The great thing about this resource is that it somehow manages to be engaging and fun for every grade level. And it really is fun—try it with your colleagues at your next staff meeting and watch a room full of adults light up.

You can also use Socrative to issue short quizzes. This service also allows you to export data. A lot of teachers like Socrative for vocabulary test prep and for open response as well. Socrative takes just a few more minutes to set up than Kahoot does, but it offers a wider range of answering options (i.e., more than just multiple choice). Socrative even has templates and sample exit ticket questions already available for you to use.

Classrooms with response devices (clickers):

If you have clickers, you can plug a few questions into the clicker software each day and have your students follow the normal classroom procedures for using the clickers to answer. Depending on how you’ve set up the system’s software, the data will export auto-graded results into a format you can upload into your grade book.

Teacher-Tech-Only Classrooms:

Sometimes the only technology in a classroom is the teacher’s smartphone. Never fear, though, you can deliver auto-graded quizzes using paper and your phone.

Mastery Connect, the group that makes the super-useful Common Core app, have a resource called the Bubble Sheet Scanner. Your students fill out a paper multiple-choice answer sheet. Then you hold their completed papers up to your computer’s camera, scan the papers, and the software automatically grades each quiz. (You can also download a free app for your iPad.) All the data is exportable to your grade book.

You can also try using Plickers (“paper clickers”), which allows you to use your smartphone or tablet to capture student responses. First, you print out (or order via Amazon) a set of cards, which you hand out to your students. When you ask a question during class, students hold up their card to answer the question. Each student’s card looks different, so there’s no easy way for someone to copy a classmate’s answer. While students have their cards raised, you use the Plickers app on your smartphone to take a picture of the classroom. The app reads the responses and shows the data on your phone. You can also log in from your computer and download a spreadsheet with the data.

Give exit tickets a try to figure out where your students understand the curriculum and where they may be falling behind. Exit tickets will help you intervene and remediate at the most effective times. Using tech-enhanced resources with your exit tickets will help keep you sane and will make the data more useful.

What do you use for exit tickets? Let us know below.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAErin Dye is Manager of Consulting Services for Green Light Professional Development and a Google Certified Educator. She has extensive experience creating digital materials for interactive whiteboards and iPads. She writes about technology integration and GLPD’s work in local schools.

Integrating Multimedia: Drawing and Movie-Making Apps

by Jonathan Laxamana

drawing and movie apps

Image courtesy of rakratchada torsap at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

An underrated benefit of the Common Core State Standards is their emphasis on using a variety of media and formats to present content. This challenges students to think beyond the written word as they engage with class material in a creative and enjoyable way. Multimedia can be especially valuable for students who struggle with reading and writing, but every student stands to gain from extra visual and auditory elements in the classroom.

For younger students, drawing on paper has numerous benefits, ranging from strengthening hand-eye coordination to learning how to express ideas and feelings. Drawing on a tablet pushes this development to the next level as students also develop technology skills.

For older students, multimedia offers the opportunity to hone presentation skills while simultaneously collaborating with peers. Some video curricula recommend sharing student-made videos on the Internet (with parental permission, of course) so students can engage in a worldwide dialogue as they learn.

We recommend these (free!) apps to help students integrate multimedia drawing and movie-making into their schoolwork. 


Kids Doodle (Android, Apple: Free)

This app is great for younger students because it’s easy to use. Kids Doodle allows users to sketch on a blank canvass, or you can import photos for students to draw on. Kids will especially love this app’s neon and rainbow brushes, which help make their work extra colorful and vibrant. You can also play back students’ drawing steps like a movie, adding an animated element to their drawings.

Drawing Desk (Android, Apple: Free)

Students of all ages can use this app that offers different modes tailored to different projects: Kids Desk, Doodle Desk, Sketch Desk, and Photo Desk. Kids Desk allows younger students to create with a variety of colors, stamps, 3-D brushes, and even a magic wand. Doodle Desk is also great for younger kids because it features stickers and allows you to import images for students to work on. Sketch Desk features more advanced tools for older students, and Photo Desk is designed for photo editing.

SketchBook Express (Android, Apple: Free)

This app offers a variety of different drawing tools, colors, and functions, which make it especially engaging for artistic students. It’s a little less intuitive than other apps, however, which makes it better suited for older students. 


Magisto Video Editor & Maker (Android, Apple: Free)

This fun app turns videos and photos into a movie, complete with music and visual effects. It also can analyze videos and photos, and even splice them together for you, making it a favorite among beginners. Also available as a Chrome extension!

PicPlayPost (Android, Apple: Free)

Kids will love this movie-making app because it allows them to integrate any of their own photos, videos, music, or GIFs into a full multimedia feature. Users can select a template, as well as choose from a number of Instagram-like filters and effects to perfect their images. PicPlayPost is the ideal app for making and editing creative montages that feature both photos and videos.

VivaVideo (Android, Apple: Free)

This app works like a video camera and allows users to turn their videos into professional-looking movies. One noteworthy element of VivaVideo is that it supports multi-capture modes, including normal, widescreen, fast-motion, and slow-motion. It also features stylish video effects, such as themes, filters, and transitions, all of which are completely free.

Do you use these or other media apps in your classroom? Let us know in the comments!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJonathan Laxamana is Technology Manager of Green Light Professional Development. He has more than ten years of experience in producing educational software products, video, web-based content, and mobile apps. He writes about new hardware and software, troubleshooting tips, and everything iPad.

Use the Third and Long Documentary and App in Your Classroom

Third and Long documentary app

The Third and Long student app

Baseball may be considered the national pastime, but given the revelry that occurs every year at the beginning of the NFL season, it seems that Americans love football just as much. Yet, the story behind the integration of professional football has received less attention in our classrooms. Today, African American players account for more than 60% of the NFL, and the 2013 season featured a record number of Black quarterbacks. But such recognition did not come easily. Most students (and Americans in general) know that Jackie Robinson integrated Major League Baseball in 1947. But many of those same people don’t know that Kenny Washington and Woody Strode integrated professional football the year before. These fine athletes faced many of the same struggles as did the first African American baseball players, so their stories deserve to be a part of the curricula as well.

Third and Long documentary app 6

Green Light Learning Tools has partnered with T-Time Productions to create an interactive student workbook for their outstanding documentary, Third and Long: The History of African-Americans in Pro Football. The documentary includes interviews with football legends, such as Jim Brown, Willie Lanier, and Deacon Jones, plus contemporary greats, including Ray Lewis, Ozzie Newsome, and Tony Dungy.

Third and Long documentary app 3

The workbook breaks the documentary into five parts, each of which can easily fit into one class period. Each part of the workbook contains additional images and information to provide context for the film. Features include historical gems ranging from excerpts of  presidential speeches to iconic images from the civil rights movement. The workbook also includes timelines and vocabulary activities to get students involved in the action.

Third and Long documentary app 4

The student app is now available for free on the Apple or Amazon App Store. An iBook version of the film is available on the iBookstore for $3.99. For teachers without tablets, a PDF version of the workbook is available for free download at thirdandlong.tv.

How to use the app in your classroom

  • Have students watch each part of Third and Long and then read and complete the workbook at home.
  • After watching the film, have students break into small groups to complete the workbook.
  • Have students complete the workbook as homework to prepare for watching the film.
  • Use the film and workbook as a starting point to discuss the civil rights movement and the role of sports in American society.

For more information on obtaining a copy of the Third and Long documentary, contact T-Time productions.

Back to School: Apps Every Student Should Have

by Helen Beyne

back to school best apps

images courtesy digital art/luigi diamanti | freedigitalphotos.net

It’s a brand new school year, one that is full of opportunities. It’s time to make use of the best back-to-school apps that not only will make life in the classroom easier but also will help students become more organized and study more effectively.

The following is a list of mobile apps for elementary, middle school, and high school students. Many of these mobile apps are free and can be loaded onto your students’ devices as they head back to school.


iOS, Free

ScratchJr allows young children (ages 5–7) to program their own interactive games and stories. As children are learning how to code, they are simultaneously designing projects and learning how to problem solve.

SlateMath for Kids

iOS, Free

SlateMath for Kids uses engaging activities, which are aligned to the Common Core State Standards, to teach young children foundational math skills so they are prepared for kindergarten and first grade math.

Britannica Kids: Solar System

iOS, $4.99

Britannica Kids: Solar System is part of the Britannica Kids series. It allows students to learn and play as they explore the solar system. The app features stunning images, engaging videos, informative text, and fun games about the solar system. If you want to assess how much students know, you can use the quiz feature to test their knowledge.

National Geographic World Atlas

iOS, $1.99

National Geographic World Atlas delivers stunning, high-resolution map images to give you the best viewing experience. You can spin the interactive 3–D globe and zoom in on different areas of the world. The infographics allow you to see each country’s flag and learn fun facts about different countries. 

PopGeo USA Geography

iOS, $.99 

PopGeo is an engaging way to learn the geography of the United States. You can use this game to learn where the U.S. states, state capitals, major cities, and National Parks are located. The goal of the game is to travel as far as possible by dragging the targets to the correct location.

Google Drive

iOS and Android, Free

Google Drive provides free tools to take notes, write papers, create spreadsheets, and build presentations. It is also perfect for collaborating, since anyone in a group can work on it from any device.


iOS, $2.99

Notability is a great app if you need to write, illustrate, or record. It also allows you to complete worksheets, type an essay, create an outline, and insert pictures and links. One of its best features is the playback option, which allows you to replay your notes, since every note you take or sketch you make is linked to the audio recording. Another useful feature is the search tool, which allows you to quickly find notes by title or content. You can organize your notes by subject and back up all of your work to Google Drive or Dropbox.


iOS and Android, Free

gFlash+ allows you to create, download, and manipulate as many flashcards as you want for free. You can also easily share them with your teachers and classmates, making this app a must-have study tool.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

iOS and Android, Free

Merriam-Webster Dictionary allows you to look up words and their definitions and even teaches you how to say the words correctly. It also includes example sentences, a voice search, and a thesaurus so that you can find better words to use in your papers.

Learner’s Dictionary

iOS, Free

Learner’s Dictionary by Merriam-Webster Dictionary is designed for English language learners. It provides the tools to master both written and spoken English.


iOS, Free

AccelaStudy is award-winning language software that uses spaced repetition to help you master a language in the shortest amount of time. It includes thousands of vocabulary words, flashcards, and quizzes so that you can assess your progress as you learn.


iOS and Android, $2.99

Wolfram Alpha allows you to search for information from thousands of domains. The software, which Siri uses to answer questions, turns any device into a supercomputer.  When you ask it a question, it gathers detailed answers so that you don’t have to do the work. It also includes a problem generator that allows you to practice solving problems.

Khan Academy

iOS and Android, Free

Khan Academy’s app features more than 4,200 videos. Its extensive library contains content for all grade levels and covers a variety of subject areas, including math, science topics, and the humanities. The app also lets you create playlists and tracks your history so that you can easily access previously viewed content.

Literary Analysis Guide

iOS, $2.99

Literary Analysis Guide is a literary reference guide. It arranges literary elements around poetry, prose, and rhetoric to help students better understand the effect of literary elements on style and meaning. Clicking on a literary element reveals its definition, examples from literature, and questions to ask about how the device is used in the literature you are studying.


iOS and Android, Free

This Shakespeare app includes the complete works of Shakespeare. It allows you to customize your reading experience and jump from one scene to another. Each scene is broken down to provide you with a detailed overview of the scene in each play.

Graphing Calculator

iOS, $1.99

Graphing Calculator turns your device into a high-resolution scientific calculator and function plotter, making it a must-have for any high school student.

Helen bioHelen Beyne is a consultant for Green Light Professional Development. She has years of experience in creating innovative curriculum materials in reading, ESL, science, and social studies. She writes about IWBs and free online resources for teachers.

Math Resources for Summer School

by Helen Beyne

math apps and websites for summer school

images courtesy digital art/luigi diamanti | freedigitalphotos.net

School’s out—except for those of you teaching summer school. There’s often a lot of material to cover with your summer school students, but summer session is also a great time to try out some new tools.

Here are some resources to help get your students up to speed in math this summer.


THE WORKS: Khan Academy is a great resource. Not only does it provide self-guided instruction for your students, with instructional videos and hints that clearly explain the process for determining the answer to a question, but it is also aligned with CCSS. You can even “recommend,” or assign, lessons to your students and track their progress.

THE BELLS AND WHISTLES: If you’re looking for some real-world math problems that will engage your students, check out Get the Math. Students can use their math skills to figure out how to do things like mix music and make clothing with a high profit margin. These lessons include guidelines for teachers, aligned to CCSS, and videos and interactive activities for students. For students who need help with particular skills, the lessons include videos of students using their math skills to figure out each problem.  

THE WELLSPRING: PBS LearningMedia is a huge repository of videos, lessons, and interactive activities that you can use in your classroom. You can search by subject, grade, and CCSS; create shareable folders; and even download media and related guides for classroom use.


WHAT’S IN A NAME?:  For practice with addition and multiplication, share the quick-paced Sushi Monster app with your students. This app is exactly what it seems to be. Students must feed a monster the appropriately labeled pieces of sushi with numbers that can be added together or multiplied to equal the number dangling from its neck. Each level increases the number of problems and answer choices.

FOR THE VISUAL LEARNERS: For a series of apps aligned to CCSS math standards for Grades 1–5, try Splash Math, a visually engaging app with images that help students understand math concepts. The free version limits students to twenty questions per day, so this might be used to quickly reinforce or test a skill that you’ve covered.

What websites and apps do you use to teach math?

Helen bioHelen Beyne is a consultant for Green Light Professional Development. She has years of experience in creating innovative curriculum materials in reading, ESL, science, and social studies. She writes about IWBs and free online resources for teachers.