Common Sense Review
Updated September 2013

Sentence Maker

Use photos and word tiles to create organized sentences
Common Sense Rating 3
Pros
So many settings; this app can grow with each student's abilities.
Cons
There's some but not enough diversity in the picture choices.
Bottom Line
Elevate kids' understanding of sentence structure in a low-stress way.
Dana Villamagna
Common Sense Reviewer
Classroom teacher
Common Sense Rating 3
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 4

Parents can use the many customizable settings to maximize engagement for each child. The pictures, easy-to-understand user interface, and friendly narrative voice create a fun, low-stress, sentence-making tool.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 3

Start with two-word pairs and progress up to five-word sentences on this app that features adaptable sentence practice. A broader diversity of images in pictures could elevate the app's relatability.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 3

Excellent settings choices and clear explanations. Accessible for kids within a range of language and reading skills as well as for kids with special learning needs.

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How Can Teachers Use It?

If students have trouble grasping the concept of building sentences through proper word choices and organization, Sentence Maker can provide customized practice to meet them at their current level of understanding. Change the settings and even add your own items on the paid version (pictures, sentences, voice, and languages other than English) to customize Sentence Maker to students' needs.

Invite students to watch you complete a few sentences, talk about details in the pictures, and take a turn themselves. Demonstrate how kids can use the same basic sentence structure but include different words to construct new meanings. Kids can stay with this activity for quite some time, as new sentences continue to appear as long as desired.

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What's It Like?

Sentence Maker can help kids learn the basics of word pairing and sentence structure. A crisp, simple photo acts as the subject of the sentence and appears along with scattered words that are used to create the sentence. Grayscale tiles for each word line the bottom of the screen in sentence order. Kids need to read each scattered word (or tap and have it read to them by the narrator), then place words in proper order. If they don't move the word to its match, the app makes a "boing" sound and the word won't fit into that spot. Once words are matched, the narrator speaks the entire sentence so kids can hear how it flows. Sentence Maker includes multiple custom settings on both the free and paid version (more on the paid version) to increase written language understanding.

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Is It Good For Learning?

Sentence Maker provides a direct, visual, adaptable way for kids to practice word pairing and sentence making. The real-life images of actions and objects (such as a kid swimming, a beautiful door, or a baby smiling) are pleasant and relatable. The letter tile and word grouping format is easy to recognize and understand. While there is some inclusion of images of people of both genders, as well as different ages and races, a broader diversity of pictures would increase the app's relatability. Users can add their own images on the paid version. Settings can be customized to fit each kid's needs, including using only word pairs, giving hints, and deleting or adding images and sentences.

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