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Pines to Vines - The Forest Biome
Pros: Lots of learning options, five different reading levels, and interactive components inspire curiosity and engage kids.
Cons: No immediate feedback given for incorrect test answers.
Bottom Line: The price tag is a little high, but if you want a comprehensive resource to teach kids about forest biomes, this digital text delivers.
Use Pines to Vines - The Forest Biome in the same way you might use a traditional textbook to teach a unit about forest biomes. Kids can read chapters independently or in small groups and then complete the chapter or custom tests on their own. If the number of available iPads is limited, you can have kids take turns completing the tests. You could also use the app as a supplement to an ecology unit. Break kids into small groups and assign a different chapter to each group. Then have kids create an illustrated concept map, slideshow presentation, or poster that summarizes the content of their chapter.
The teacher resources option takes you to the developer's website, where you can download sample lesson plans, worksheets, and more.
Pines to Vines - The Forest Biome is a cutting-edge digital textbook. In the reading pane, text appears on the left side of the screen; as various keywords pass through an arrow in the middle of the pane, supporting media appear on the right. Kids tap green keywords to trigger the visual support and purple keywords to see and hear word definitions. Text highlighting and note taking are also available. The Map feature lets kids rotate a globe to see the locations of different forest biomes. Kids can also use the interactive glossary and create notes. A Tests feature allows kids and teachers to access chapter tests, create custom tests, and choose a reading level for each test. When finished, kids can email tests directly to their teacher.
Obviously developed with learning in mind, this innovative app takes digital textbooks to a new level. Six chapters cover topics in great detail, and kids can tap keywords to see supporting images and definitions throughout the chapters. Numerous features support learning, including text to speech, highlighting, and note taking. Kids can choose from five different reading levels that range from first through eighth grade, change text size, have the text read aloud, and record their own voices while reading vocabulary terms. An interactive map of forest biomes, a photo gallery, chapter tests, a glossary, a handful of videos, and a Dropbox sync option make Pines to Vines worth the hefty price tag. With so much info and so many different options, some kids may be overwhelmed when first starting out. Teachers would be wise to review the manual(accessible within the app) with students and practice some of the features before fully diving into the content.