Common Sense


Best 1-to-1 iPad Apps for Elementary School

It can be tough to figure out which iPad apps to load onto tablets when your classroom is 1-to-1. The last thing you want is to commit to an app and use it for a week or, even worse, a day. This hand-picked collection of elementary school-level iPad apps is a good place to start. Each is highly rated and tuned well to the needs of 1-to-1 elementary school teachers and students. There's a mixture of apps with tons of content that'll keep students engaged and learning, tools for teachers to assess and manage classes, and opportunities for students to think, create, and share.

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Classroom Management and Teaching Apps

Seesaw: The Learning Journal

Versatile digital portfolio appeals to teachers, students, and parents

Bottom line: Students can showcase their work in text, pictures, videos, and more.


Interactive slide show tool engages students and promotes collaboration

Bottom line: This effective tool leverages the capabilities of 1-to-1 environments and brings slide shows into the 21st century.

Time Timer

Easily conceptualize, manage, and visualize time

Bottom line: Goes above and beyond standard timers to include handy customization and visual cues.


Flexible desktop, mobile assignment tool works best with pro features

Bottom line: A flexible way to collect student assignments and offer written and verbal feedback, especially with the premium features.

Stop, Breathe & Think

Appealing app guides meditation, promotes compassion

Bottom line: An accessible, well-designed tool for making meditation an approachable daily practice for kids and adults, alike.

Arts and Creativity Apps

Write About This

Fun pictures and prompts are great for getting kids to start writing

Bottom line: The tool’s flexibility for many possible applications makes it an excellent bet.


Drag-and-drop programming is an effective intro for budding coders

Bottom line: With a little adult help, this is a great platform for getting kids into programming.

Toontastic 3D

Flexible tool hands kids the reins for creative animated storytelling

Bottom line: Despite some lack of variety and simple drawing tools, Toontastic 3D remains a terrific, versatile storytelling tool.

DIY App - Creative Community for Kids

From cardboarding to cooking, this app helps kids find the fun in DIY

Bottom line: Fabulous way for kids to get skills and share their projects digitally.

Wizard School

Curated videos and creative challenges ignite active learning

Bottom line: There's plenty of material to inspire kids to embark on learning adventures that get them to explore, create, and share safely on the screen and off.

Book Creator

Magically easy way to create and publish digital books and multimedia

Bottom line: Top-quality creation tool empowers kids of many ages to publish their own digital books.

Paper by FiftyThree

Beautifully designed digital sketchbook for any age

Bottom line: The simplicity and effectiveness of the app make this a powerful sketch and note-taking tool for the iPad.


Amazingly powerful audio workstation unleashes creativity

Bottom line: There's exceptional functionality in this solid, all-inclusive audio workstation that's fantastic for high-quality, anytime, and anywhere audio recording and sharing.


Pro-quality HD movie maker is easy enough for beginners

Bottom line: This extraordinary tool for making movies anywhere is easy enough for beginners, yet has lots of headroom for advanced users.

ELA, Math, Science, and Social Studies Apps

BrainPOP Jr. Movie of the Week

High-quality animated videos engage young kids in a variety of topics

Bottom line: Great videos, though kids' learning should be enhanced with interactive elements to encourage deeper, more active learning.

LeVar Burton Kids Skybrary

Kids can "go anywhere, be anything" with vast book and video library

Bottom line: Wonderful and practical way to get kids excited about learning and reading -- the greatness of the classic TV series, updated for the 21st century.

Scribble Press - Creative Book Maker for Kids

Terrific book creator encourages self-expression for all young writers

Bottom line: A quality way for kids to explore storytelling, illustrating, and publishing.

Epic! - Unlimited Books for Kids

Free, expansive digital library unlocks treasure trove of books

Bottom line: This large collection of books and videos on a wide variety of topics is an easy -- and free -- enhancement to any classroom library.

myBlee Math

Comprehensive virtual tutor offers great feedback

Bottom line: A supportive tutoring system with excellent features; try out the free version first to make sure it suits your classroom and your kids.

Google Earth

Cool geographical exploration tool has endless classroom applications

Bottom line: Google Earth offers less functionality than the PC version but still thrills.


Tool lets teachers save time, track data while testing reading fluency

Bottom line: Makes the process of testing reading fluency easier by providing a timer, mistake counter, and data collection in one place.


Robust, full-featured reading app measures meaningful literacy gains

Bottom line: A powerful, well-designed literacy platform for developing engaged readers.

News-O-Matic for School, 2016-17 Nonfiction Reading

Flexible, interactive daily stories for elementary school students

Bottom line: Engaging, high-quality news stories help students learn about the world.

Crack the Books

Interactive biomes textbooks impress; subscribe for premium features

Bottom line: If it fits your budget, an excellent interactive science resource that can work for students who have a range of reading abilities.


Animated parts-of-speech app enlivens grammar lessons

Bottom line: It's a cute concept that makes sense out of sometimes hard-to-understand grammar concepts.


Vast word reference features tons of content and word games

Bottom line: Powerful tool crammed full of games, classic reference information, and flexible controls.


Impressive word processor and publisher with great sharing features

Bottom line: Impressive word processor makes layout and publishing a breeze, with easy file conversion and advanced features. And it's free for newer iOS devices.

Project Noah

Contribute kid research to stellar crowdsourced field guide

Bottom line: An outstanding resource that makes science relevant with lots of classroom potential.


Social approach to problem-solving promotes deep math learning

Bottom line: CueThink is an innovative, community-based platform that helps students plan, strategize, and collaborate.

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