Just in time for back-to-school: New distance learning resources are available on Wide Open School.
The developers have already done a lot of legwork in thinking about how to incorporate HangArt: Play Hangman, Draw Pictures, Tell Stories into meaningful lessons and experiences. Take advantage and start by reading the grown-up's guide online. There are suggestions for supporting storytelling, such as helping kids define a beginning, middle, and end to their stories; extending learning offline; and using the app with English-language learners. Play the hangman game together in groups and discuss strategies and logic-guided guessing. For instance, point out vowels vs. consonants, and show that every word must have at least one vowel. Look for patterns in words, commonly used letters, or common letter combinations such as "q" and "u." Use some of the app's drawings to spark discussions on cultural or historical topics. For instance, who was Cesar Chavez (in the "farmer" picture), or why is Gandhi in the "walk" drawing?Continue reading Show less
HangArt: Play Hangman, Draw Pictures, Tell Stories gives kids practice with 200 sight words through three types of activities. In hangman, kids play the classic game as a single player or with a friend in two-player mode. Each correct letter reveals a bit more of a drawing representing the word. A help button eliminates possible letter choices, if needed. Once completed, kids trace the letters to practice writing the word. In "draw pictures," kids draw their own pictures of the words. In "tell stories," kids record a story using the words they've "won" in hangman.
Customize by using capital or lowercase letters or by providing a first-letter and/or last-letter hint, and make up to six user profiles. The developer's website features a thorough guide for grown-ups that gives tips and suggestions for supporting learning through the app.
With three ways to engage, kids have a wonderfully interactive experience exploring a good-size bunch of important sight words. Hangman is certainly a classic game that helps kids think about spelling and word construction. Here, there are simple three-letter words for the youngest players up to slightly more complex sight words for older kids. But this app goes above and beyond by presenting opportunities not only to guess words but also to think about their meaning, use them context, and get creative.
Each of the app's elements was clearly well thought out, from the special easy-reading font to the grown-up's guide to the drawings. For instance, drawings are simple and cute, but they also purposefully present diverse representations of words -- a "baby" with brown skin, a Native American corn-husk "doll" -- which make them a wonderful opportunity to widen kids' horizons and expectations. Storytelling and drawing also let kids explore the words in their own way. The two-player mode encourages others -- such as teachers and classmates -- to get involved and play together. The biggest downsides are some technical issues: At times the app freezes or doesn't respond to where you tap, and the letter-trace feature is slow and bulky in its response to where you move your finger. Look past these issues and HangArt: Play Hangman, Draw Pictures, Tell Stories is a jewel of a game.
Key Standards Supported
Reading Foundational Skills
Recognize and name all upper- and lowercase letters of the alphabet.
Read common high-frequency words by sight (e.g., the, of, to, you, she, my, is, are, do, does).
Speaking & Listening
Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions as desired to provide additional detail.
Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.
Create audio recordings of stories or poems; add drawings or other visual displays to stories or recounts of experiences when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.
Create engaging audio recordings of stories or poems that demonstrate fluid reading at an understandable pace; add visual displays when appropriate to emphasize or enhance certain facts or details.
Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to narrate a single event or several loosely linked events, tell about the events in the order in which they occurred, and provide a reaction to what happened.
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