* A new year!

I’m looking forward to putting 2016 in an attic box, out of sight and out of mind.  Of course, that reminds me of what a pastor used to say: You might prefer the cards you have already been dealt.  Uh-uh.  Not this year.  I’ve never been good at cards and this has felt like a losing hand.  I know it’s not, but I’m stumbling.  What I need is a good snowfall.  Or more chocolate, which my dearest teaching widower just plopped into my hand.

The antidote to this malaise is gratitude.  So thanks, dear Miss Emily, for your Three Things Thursday challenge.  Here goes.  First, our son and his wife bought me something amazing for Christmas.  It just arrived and wow, I am loving it!  ipad-air2-hero

Yep, it’s the iPad Air 2 (I added a Zagg shield and Incipio case).  I am still pushing down guilty feelings because this is such an extravagance.  Ooh la la!  Now I am creating courses for Tiny Tap!  I’ve wanted to do that for so long, but needed an iOS.  This iPad is a gift that keeps on giving!

I’m thankful for the thousands of answered prayers this past year.  And the millions of unanswered prayers, because only God knows what’s good for me and others.

I also thankful for the precious kiddos I teach and their amazing families.  These kids work sooooo hard, face heartbreaking challenges, and inspire me to press on.  Their parents/guardians are incredible.  They invite me into their hearts and homes, enriching my life beyond measure.

Let’s hear it for 2017!  Snow, chocolate, and teaching, not necessarily in that order.

 

* Tiny Tap’s terrific online courses

Tiny Tap takes online learning to a new level with curated Tiny Tap Courses!  Now teachers and parents can combine lessons to create seamless learning units!  Competency can be determined by requiring students to reach a certain score before advancing to the next lesson or continuous practice is available without requiring a minimum score.  Students also earn certificates as they complete courses.  Here’s a look at how phonics instruction can be personalized by grouping skills for particular students.  With over 80 thousand available lessons, comprehensive instruction is a tap away!

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Tiny Tap’s lessons and units are available in 30 languages and offer personalized instruction on a wide range of topics.  In case you’d forgotten, Tiny Tap offers parents and teachers insights on individual and class performance while providing differentiated learning experiences for students.  Tiny Tap is a terrific resource for special needs students with a wide range of needs.

If all that isn’t enough, what about making money while you individualize instruction?  Here’s the Tiny Tap teacher-driven economy.  You gotta love it!

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I could easily imagine a social skills unit for my dear Christopher.  I think it’s time for me to start tapping!

 

* Tiny Tap Keeps Growing!

Tiny Tap may have to change its name to Greater Tap!  Now partnering with Oxford Picture Dictionary, students have unlimited access to animated units on family, friends, the solar system, health, and much more.  The illustrations are excellent, although my preference would be a more appealing recorded voice (I’ve been spoiled by Siri!).  On the other hand, English learners can model a clearly articulated vocabulary.

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In my previous review of Tiny Tap, I noted that although there is already a huge library of resources available, teachers are limited only by their imagination in creating multiple kinds of activities.  And they can make money by producing activities and apps of interest to others!

I have been analyzing some of the activities for their use with special needs learners.  I have been especially impressed with the work of Ellen Weber, a speech-language pathologist.  She has provided a well-crafted example of how Tiny Tap can assist kids on the autism spectrum (and others) with their daily classroom schedule.  “Michael’s Schedule” provides a personalized schedule with tips for how to behave during each segment of the school day.  Unlike some other general education Tiny Taps, this activity is not cluttered with extraneous visuals.  Check out the Social Skills category for more Taps relating to this topic.

With Tiny Tap‘s potential for supporting dyslexic students, I should get busy creating some activities!   I do wish Tiny Tap operated on a Windows platform.  Even though it seems to work for some ChromeBook users, that appears inconsistent.

Bottom line, Tiny Tap is a gem which can be easily shaped to meet the needs of special learners.

* Tiny Tap

Despite its diminutive name, this app is HUGE!  Tiny Tap describes itself as a “social platform” for virtually anyone to create unlimited games and activities.  My focus is on its boundless application in special education.  From systematic practice of spelling rules to communication boards, this app does it all.  You want it?  You can make it!

Where to begin?  Tiny Tap allows teachers (and kids and parents) to create crossword puzzles, flashcards, brain teasers, greeting cards, games, shape puzzles, electronic books, and more.  Tiny Tap is useful for blended learning, assigning students to demonstrate their learning by creating their own activities.  A typing feature is available, so that students can type responses if required.  For the competitive kiddos, any activity can be fashioned into performance mode, with leaderboards and scores.

Tiny Tap is free but going Pro is inexpensive and allows teachers to create groups and track student performance.  The app connects easily to my Google Drive and works on Androids and iPads/ iPhones.  I am hoping they extend its use to PCs.

Here’s what the “cover” of my first lesson looks like.  I have access to artwork  (thankfully!), background images, music, gif images, sounds, and more.  I have recorded my voice on this lesson and editing is simple.

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From teacher-made videos to tutorials on everything Tiny, Tiny Tap wants you to succeed.  You might even make money if you create some cool lessons.  Check out their blog from Valentine’s Day.  It’s packed with terrific puzzles and accompanying research.  Valentines never looked so cool.  If you are uncertain about jumping in, there are thousands of lessons available from “trusted” teachers.  Trust me, the ones I’ve seen are excellent.  Authors are also using this tool to spread the word about their books by creating digital experiences for kids as the story is read aloud.

As a novice Tiny Tapper, I am excited about the potential of this dynamite app to meet the needs of special learners.