Tag Archives: differentiated instruction

Tiggly

Name of Website: Tiggly https://www.tiggly.com/shapes

Cost: Free or with Tiggly tools 29.99

Pros: Based on Montessori teaching methods

Cons: Keeping track of equipment and cost

Describe how the app was used: My vision is to use this  program as alternative teaching tool to differentiate my teaching. For example my kindergarten unit was based on shapes and I would use this app for students who were having a hard time participating based on their IEP.  There lesson could be investigating shapes using the shape tools on the iPad.

Students can also choose a different option which helps with counting. It’s a fantastic tool for young students  ages 3/4/5/6

Conclusion/Commentary: This app is really fun for students because of the hands on tools but it can also be used without the tools which is good since it’s hard to keep track of the hardware.

“Dances for an iPhone” – a gem of an app…

Name of the app: Dances for an iPhone 3 (a.k.a. iDances 3)

Cost: Free!

About the app: the app is a collection of choreographic works created especially for iPhones and iPads. This is the third episode of the app, and previous renditions are currently unavailable. Recently iDances 4 came out, which is dedicated to Stephen Sondheim. More info can be found at dancesforaniphone.com.

Possible classroom applications: The app offers a salient alternative for performance reviews. Students can select one of the dances and write about the work in their journal or answer a prompt for an essay. Since many of the dances are performed by NYC dance icons, it’s also a valuable addition to biographies of them. Some of these icons are Carmen de Lavallade, Risa Steinberg, Deborah Jowitt, and Janis Brenner.

Pros: These days youth is obsessed with mobile devices and technology. This is a terrific way to build on their interests! iDances 3 is a worthy alternative to live performances, and can be used as the basis of dialogic conversation, written essays, and comp study classes.

Cons: Dance-for-film is a terrific medium that can integrate everyday-life and the performing arts. It baffles me that the videos all have been filmed in dance studios. What’s stopping the makers of this app (Riachard Daniels a.o.) to venture out to the streets and perform the dances on interesting NYC locations? Last but not least, these dances expire after a while. iDances 1 is currently unavailable, and iDances 2 will disappear soon as well!

Rating: 3 out of 5

SaveFrom, a website creating downloadable Youtube videos

Name of the website: SaveFrom

Cost: Free!

About the website: the sole purpose of the website is to reformat web videos from Youtube into a downloadable format. After copying the link into a text box, the video can be uploaded to your portable or hard drive in WebM, MP4, FLV, 3GP (2 sizes), and audio MP4 format.

Possible classroom applications: many educational institutions have blocked video websites like YouTube. By using this web page educators can upload video texts off-site and use them during their lessons.

Pros: Providing students with video texts has become an essential aspect of contemporary American education. Using video enables ELLs and visual learners to deepen their understanding of the lesson material. This websites makes this a possibility.

Cons: The site (understandably) doesn’t work on subscription websites like Netflix and Amazon Prime which are often blocked in schools. SaveFrom also doesn’t work on Youtube alternatives like Vimeo.

Rating: 4 out of 5

2wice – Great Supporting App for Cunningham Units

Name of the application: 2wice

About the app:
2wice is the perfect app for units based on the work of Merce Cunningham, and features a series of photos and videos of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company taken between 2001 and 2011. The app is completely free, and also provides the user with several interview that provide insight into Cunningham’s unique creative process. 2wice is developed by Rubenstein Technology Group, and developed by 2wice Arts Foundation.

Possible classroom applications:
2wice can be used in lessons interactively through iPads, iPods, or iPhones. The platform is created specifically for iPad, but, since the only actions needed for the app are swipe or tap, it’s easy to use on smaller devices. An alternative is projecting the app on the smart-board. Students can copy the body shapes featured in the app, and combine them during introductory unit assignments. From there the class could progress to devising dance phrases through the “I Ching” (find an online version for lessons here!) or other chance methods like dice. The videos of the app also offer rare footage that give voice to Cunningham dancers. This gives students the opportunity to identify with the intricacies of being a professional dancer.

Pros:
Firstly, the app is free, which makes it accessible for all students. The app is user-friendly, so can easily be used for elementary students. Only actions needed are tap or swipe. 2wice also has a succinct biography of Merce Cunningham included. It’s also possible to “like” specific images within the app, which allow for student-dancers and educators to retrieve the photos quickly. In short, I discovered a myriad of pros to use this app.

Cons:
The three videos in the app stream directly. Fast-forwarding, rewinding, or pausing the video is not possible. This is particularly challenging if you’d like to have a brief class share while sharing the footage.

Rating:
4 out of 5

Pinterest!

Name of the application: Pinterest

About the app:
Pinterest is most likely not the first app you think about when looking for educational dance resources, but it has proven to be an extremely helpful resource over the past months to me. As many of you probably know, Pinterest is a visual bookmarking tool that exists in website and app format.

Possible classroom applications:
Pinterest is a great resource to search for rubrics, explore classroom management or lesson plan ideas, discover ways to differentiate lessons, and find acrostics or photos to post in your classroom. There are endless topics one can research in dance education. Additionally, middle and high school students could use this app as part of  research projects.

Pros:
The app is free to use, and to see content you don’t need an account. Also, it’s easy to create a board (a group of images, videos, or websites) to send to students’ email addresses. This will provide the class with a specific bank of research material.

Cons:
The app and website don’t offer safety features that block sexually explicit content, therefore it’s essential to monitor usage for students during classroom activities. Also, when connected to other social network sites, it’s easy to be distracted by people’s posts.

Rating:
3 out of 5

Great app to connect Dance to ELA: Dance Writer!

My first unit plan for a recent set of students in the Bronx focused on devising movement. Since many students never had dance before being in my classroom, I wanted to create an experience that made them feel accomplished while building on their prior knowledge. Many of these students had expressed their passion for ELA and mobile devices during my initial assessment of their interests, so for my first few lessons I focused on connecting dance to writing words in both cursive as well as typed font.

I found a terrific app that provided my pupils with confidence and excitement. The app, called Dance Writer, is an easy-to-use app designed by Typotheque that functions on both iPad and iPhone platforms. Simply put, the app converts text into a choreographed sequence of poses based on the shapes of the letters, enabling users to send animated messages to their friends via email, or just enjoy the graceful movement on their own displays.

The app has limitations, and only can change fourteen characters at a time into movement. A second less exciting aspect is the fact that the virtual dancer returns to the neutral position after each executed letter. Conversely, this could provide the class with a worthy scaffolding opportunity into choreographing their own transitions between “movement letters.”

The app costs $2.99, and is definitely worth every penny. If you’re not convinced, or just wish to use it on a less frequent basis, you can also use the application online by clicking here. This free online version allows more than fourteen characters at a time, and offers the user to make changes while the letters are being executed. The online platform is also the best way to use the application on your smart-board.

I give Dance Writer 4 out of 5 stars, since it provided my students with an interesting and enriching experience. This app has a lot of potential, but should definitely be cheaper than the offered price, especially considering it’s offered for free online.