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Changing your Family Reward System: Teacher Favorite Apps

As the second half of the school year begins, it may seem like the whole world is on a diet (full disclosure:  I’m about mentally ready to start one—I just have to decide if I’m going to go the Charles Barkley route or the Mariah Carey route. Lol).  But with everyone focused on getting into shape, we thought it was the perfect time to focus on ways to alter the way we reward our kids. 
Odds are food is a reward for good behavior.  I know it is at times in my house.  It's easy, kids will do almost anything (even study) for a candy bar and it's a really, really BAD habit.   
Technology to the rescue! 
Perhaps for the first time television has competition in winning the hearts of children.  That competition is technology and the good news is there are tons of entertaining apps out there that are also educational and make for excellent rewards for good grades/good behavior. 
We asked kindergarten teacher/mother of three/grandmother of five—Norah Marie Bischoff (who has more than thirty years of elementary education experience) how she rewards well behaved students in her class - and time with fun learning apps is currently her (and her kindergartners') favorite prize.  (Full disclosure—Mrs. Bischoff is also my mom but that only means I have firsthand knowledge of what a great teacher she is!)
 New technology means there are new educational apps to discover all of the time.  A few of her favorites (all for iPad):
Draw with Stars– a cute drawing app that is great for little ones
Sound Shaker– another cute app for little ones with lots of great noises!
Chicktionary– spelling and vocabulary
Math Bingo–lots of fun
ILIVEMATH series– Featuring beautiful illustrated math questions
SparkleFish– Madlibs-like - where the stories are read back to you
Boggle– just like the original word game
Stack the States– Trivia about the fifty states
Cut the Rope – a fun game involving physics (Android too!)
From older kids we also recently learned about:
Presidents vs. Aliens (an android app) and Star Walk—Five Stars Astronomy Guide (iPhone app)
If you don’t have access to a tablet or smartphone that makes use of those apps Mrs. Bischoff also recommends the website:, which she says has excellent level readers and a tracking feature for teachers.  And my twelve year old loves the fun math stuff on
Some other great resources for finding excellent apps for kids are: (their Editor's Choice list has some great places to hunt for good kid apps)
The iPhone Mom
Cool Mom Tech (educational)
Apps for Homeschooling
Fun Educational Apps

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