Review by Dana Villamagna, Common Sense Education | Updated April 2013
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Kids' Vocab - Mindsnacks

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Solid word lessons reinforced by somewhat-stressful games

Subjects & skills
Subjects
  • English Language Arts

Skills
  • Character & SEL
  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
4–7
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (2 Reviews)
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Pros: Lessons are multimodal and well-organized.

Cons: Some games are a bit hectic, especially for kids who don't like fast-paced word games.

Bottom Line: Great vocab practice for kids who enjoy thinking under pressure.

For classroom use, the best feature on this app is the wealth of progress data provided to teachers and students. Each student using this tool gets a profile page that tracks levels completed, active days, "hot streaks," skills, and achievements. The words they have trouble with are listed, and they're notified via bar graph about how close they are to mastering other words.

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Kids' Vocab - Mindsnacks includes nine games and 25 lessons that help kids learn 350 vocabulary words and phrases based on Common Core standards related to spelling, context, categorization, and more. First, students view the lesson. Kids can hear words pronounced, see them as images, read them used in sentences, and learn a fun fact about each. Then kids tap "I'm done reviewing" and move into a mini-game called "Swell," in which they simply tap on a word that matches the word in bold before the time runs out. Kids can move on to other games (with names like "Pounce" and "Belly") that include cute animations but test speed and accuracy when identifying vocabulary words.

The lesson-first format is reinforced with fun games. For lessons, words are listed by groups of related words. By following directions, viewing images related to the words, reading the definitions and words in a sentence, and listening to the words spoken, kids encounter new vocabulary through multiple modalities. They can then reinforce what they learn via the fast-paced games where they practice handling stress and working efficiently. Some of the games in Kids' Vocab -- Mindsnacks can be quite hectic, with words popping up, answers being timed, and fast-paced music in the background. If kids like high-pressure sorts of games, this may be a good vocabulary practice app for them. For kids who need time to think about vocabulary, some games may not be a good fit. Muting the sound may make learning more productive.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Colorful lessons and games draw kids in, and detailed feedback will keep them striving to improve. Especially engaging if kids like rapid-fire word games.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Kids are introduced to the vocabulary words through an organized list: Each word is given verbally, in a definition, in a sentence, and with an image. Then vocabulary is reinforced through games.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

The app gives clear written instructions. A lot of data is provided, including points earned, number correct, high score, a bar graph to indicate mastery, and a list of "trouble words."


Common Sense Reviewer
Dana Villamagna Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

(See all 2 reviews) (2 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Susie L. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Cecil Intermediate School
McDonald, United States
A series of vocabulary snacks becomes a meal.
Each patron at the MindSnacks diner has access to a unique meal with lots of flavor. For the lighter appetite, MindSnacks will provide one lesson free of charge. It includes a single list of related words on which to nibble. Sample the word, hand-drawn picture, part of speech, and simple definition.. Hear it pronounced and see it used in a sample sentence. Best of all, expand your palate by reading its origin, word parts, and homophones, when available. To aid in the digestion process, nosh on the nine ...
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