Thisissand

Abstract art creator is simple, striking, and stress free

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Expert evaluation by Common Sense

Grades

Pre-K–12

Subjects & Skills

Arts, Creativity, Health & Wellness

Price: Free, Paid
Platforms: Web, Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Mac

Pros: Relaxing and approachable. No account needed and the website is free.

Cons: The app version has in-app purchases. The gallery lacks moderation and has inappropriate content.

Bottom Line: This art and SEL combo invites all students to play, focus, and create.

How Can I Teach with This Tool?

Thisissand (This is sand) is the perfect blend of art and stress relief. Students simply go to the website and click the screen to begin dropping sand. The sand can be set to cycle through multiple colors or a single color. The sound of falling sand is almost like moving water, and the effect is the same: very relaxing. 

Some teachers may find Thisissand a unique addition to their suite of mindfulness or SEL activities. For example, teachers working on helping students with self-awareness and self-management can teach students to use Thisissand as a stress management tool when they're coping with challenging emotions. While using the tool, teachers or other experts could help students focus on breathing to settle themselves or gather their thoughts. Thisissand is a great option for free choice, indoor recess, or quiet time. As seemingly every color is available, teachers and students may find it interesting to create something that represents their mood or feelings in that moment. Some students will find ways to make complex pieces of art!

Teachers should keep in mind that students don't need to create accounts to use Thisissand. However, if students use the app version, they'll be asked to purchase more features (and also select things the app can access from their device). It's also possible to create accounts on the app (for those 13 years old and up).

Note that on either the app or the web version, students can explore other people's art. While it's difficult for users to create anything explicit in the art itself, submissions also include titles and nicknames. These do sometimes include explicit or offensive content. This isn't rampant enough that teachers should avoid Thisissand, but it'd be best to let students know that they should come to you if they notice anything. There's a reporting feature for this content.

Learning Rating

Overall Rating
Engagement

Students of all ages and abilities will be entranced. It's simple to get going and easy to make something interesting.

Pedagogy

It's both relaxing and empowering, but the simple controls might frustrate over time. Teachers will need to bring some context to connect play to their objectives.

Support

It's barebones but intuitive. There's a basic FAQ and email support. Community creations are inspiring but not well-moderated. No extensions or interactions.

Common Sense reviewer
Shaun Langevin
Shaun Langevin Technology coordinator

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