Review by Ashley Kemper, Common Sense Education | Updated January 2016
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Skill Champ

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Foundational-skills-practice tool supports specific learning needs

Subjects & skills
Skills
  • Communication & Collaboration

Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Math
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
Pre-K-3
Common Sense says (See details)
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Pros: Adaptable activities with multiple themes and backgrounds engage students with focused interests.

Cons: Data is not recorded long-term, which may not be helpful for educators looking to track extended skill development.

Bottom Line: Well-designed tool for targeted foundational skills practice.

Teachers can use the mini-lessons provided by Skill Champ to supplement classroom learning and social-therapy extensions. Students should begin with the put-in lesson to practice the drag-and-drop action required to complete the other activities. Teachers can also help students see their progress by adding to a sticker chart based on either accuracy (number correct) or elapsed time. They might also help students set goals for completing activities and provide extrinsic rewards to celebrate student success.

Additionally, teachers can utilize the resources provided on the developer's website to create folder games based on the skills practiced within the app. To extend the happy & sad activity, teachers might have students take pictures of themselves or classmates practicing mimicking the faces to include in their folder game.

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Skill Champ is an app that helps kids -- especially kids with learning differences -- hone core skills for school and home. On launch, users are prompted to practice skills combined with a specific interest, or they can choose to play a random combination. Interests include farm animals, the jungle, the beach, trains, and vehicles. Skills include picture matching, letters, numbers, colors, big & little, and happy & sad. Additionally, put-in and put-on skills are included; they target specific fine-motor and visual-discrimination skills. As a student completes a skill, the activity will provide feedback and assistance as necessary. For example, if a student makes an error, the app will reset items and highlight the correct choice in green. The student then has another chance to complete the activity. If he or she selects an incorrect choice again, the game completes the action correctly and moves on to the next item. Incorrect items are only counted at the end of the activity to continue positive reinforcement of successes. Settings can be adjusted to eliminate sound or background based on specific student need or distractibility. It will also allow teachers to turn a timer on or off. At the end of each activity, a time and accuracy score are given. Students can then replay that activity for more practice, or teachers can help them change to a new task.

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From the transition counter at the bottom of the screen to the positive feedback loops to the graphics and theme designs, it's clear that Skill Champ was created with close attention to detail. For students who benefit from repeated practice of the targeted foundational skills, this app can promote learning with its adaptive capabilities and interest-driven nature. The printable curriculum and extension activities available on the developer's website add to the learning potential of this tool.

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Overall Rating

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

Various themes are offered to engage different student interests. Teachers can adapt lessons to each learner to sustain attentiveness.

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

Activities are appropriate for early learners and intentionally target foundational learning skills in a fitting sequence. Data is collected immediately following each activity.

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

Support and help are provided before and during each activity. Extension activities are available from the developer's website.


Common Sense Reviewer
Ashley Kemper STEM Project Manager

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