We're working our way through elementary school, app list style. This week's feature is my opinion on the must-have iPad apps in a classroom or at home for second grade students. But don't forget about the Kindergarten Top 10 list and the First Grade Top 10 list. Many of the apps on the first grade list are still very appropriate for second grade students. And keep watching for the third grade list, since many second grade students are ready for the challenges that list will bring.
There will not be perfect agreement on all of these apps, but these are the top apps I recommend for kids working on skills typically taught in second grade (in the United States, about age 7-8). I tried to focus mostly on apps that are appropriate for any student at this level, even if they are older than the typical age. Most of these apps work well for students who are ready for more of a challenge. This is the "if you're going to buy a quality app, buy this one" list. Please share your ideas with us, too. What are your favorite apps for second graders?
Mathtopia+: Rated 5 stars by Heather H
Mathtopia isn't just one of my favorite apps for second graders — it's one of my favorite apps of all time. OF ALL TIME! (Do I sound like Kanye West?) It's a great app to practice math facts, and second grade students need to have solid addition and subtraction math facts. They also will start multiplication in this school year, and Mathtopia+ provides a great way to start practicing times tables, too.
iPad/iPhone, $3.99 for full version, FREE lite version
One Globe Kids — children’s stories from around the world: Rated 5 stars by Emily
Second grade is a great time for children to spend time learning about other cultures and how they live. It's an age where kids are naturally starting to notice differences, and educating about those differences is necessary so that kids don't form their own assumptions. In addition to that, the app is designed well and is useful for both older and younger kids, too. One Globe Kids includes eight stories of children from various parts of the world, including the Netherlands, Burundi, Indonesia, New York City and Haiti.
iPad/iPhone — $3.99 full version, FREE lite version
TeachMe: 2nd Grade: Rated 4.5 stars by Kelli
If you've been following the series, you might have the idea by now that we really like the TeachMe apps. The 2nd grade version is also excellent. Kelli says it's "A wonderful app for testing skills like spelling, addition and subtraction on a second grade level. The vast amount of content is enough to both keep your kids occupied and satisfy your pocketbook. Kids can earn coins and buy rewards in the different stores provided." It's a great pick to let kids practice skills in a variety of areas, keeping kids engaged with learning.
iPad/iPhone — $1.99
Scribblenauts Remix: Review: Rated 5 stars by Eleanor
While this app is billed as a game, and kids may be familiar with it from their own gaming systems, it's a great app to address problem solving, inferential thinking... and even spelling. Kids type in words to create items for Maxwell to use to solve all kinds of puzzles, from getting across a bridge to getting a lion to take a rest. They have to spell the words correctly in order to get the right items — and it was this game that finally convinced my son that learning to spell was important.
iPad/iPhone — $.99 with in-app purchases
Meet the Insects: Water & Grass Edition: Rated 5 stars by Heather
Second graders are so curious about the world around them, and this app about insects is perfect. It gives great information in an accessible format. It's an amazingly fun and comprehensive encyclopedia-style app with photos, videos, stories and more — all about bugs! Use it in a science unit or simply as informational text to explore for research about insects. There are other versions by developer NCSoft, so kids who fall in love with bugs can continue learning about insects in the village and forest, too.
iPad only — $4.99
These apps are very similar, providing lots of fun, quirky practice with addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. They allow multiple user profiles, and are very customizable, so Sarah can work on multiplication even if Sam still needs basic addition and subtraction review. The math practice is smoothly integrated into a scavenger hunt-style game, making the practice hardly seem like work at all. These apps are a great deal for parents, because they can be used by multiple ages.
playMath addition subtraction: Rated 4 stars by Heather H
Yes, one more math app for this group. I really enjoy playMath addition subtraction for a lot of reasons. Second grade students are working on getting those math facts solid, and this app takes addition and subtraction practice far beyond just flashcards. The games are fun and great for problem-solving in math for first and second graders (suggested ages: 7-9 years old). The multiplayer games are a real strength, challenging and fun even for older students. It's also free to try, to help determine if it's the right app for your needs.
iPad only, FREE with $2.99 in-app purchase for full content
Timed reading is often a boring exercise for kids, but the more they practice reading at their level, the stronger they become as readers. This app makes it just a little more fun, along with comprehension checks, too. The passages are leveled, allowing kids to be able to read anywhere between first and fourth grade level, depending on their individual need. It can be set up to track an entire class, or used at home for reading practice. There's even a free version to try, with five stories for free. This is a great way to try it out first before committing.
iPad/iPhone, full version $4.99
The Simplex spelling apps are so solidly designed, teaching spelling in a way that helps kids really learn phonics rules. Learning to spell this way does also influence reading development, as students become more adept at sounding out unfamiliar words. The spelling lists are available online on the Pyxwise website, so teachers can check to make sure they are getting an app that most closely matches their particular curriculum needs. The app includes over 650 words divided into 54 lessons and supports up to 40 user accounts.
iPad/iPhone — $4.99
Book Creator: Rated 5 stars by Heather
Every teacher needs at least one story creation app, and Book Creator is one of my favorites. It's intuitive and easy to use and can be used for books of all kinds. Use it to make books as a report, to retell stories, for creative writing, or whatever else you can dream up. There's a free lite version to allow you to try one book first. One of my favorite features is that Book Creator works seamlessly to submit books to the iBooks store for publication, which is a great way to publish student work. It's also easy to add music, sound and video to books, and they can be exported as a video, too.
iPad only — Full version $4.99
Heather H's second grade daughter prefers watching videos on the iPad, but this year she will be challenged to grow by using these apps.