A really hot topic in education right now is the need for critical thinking. The Common Core State Standards, love them or hate them, require students in most of the US to make inferences, predict, and analyze at a very young age. That means that my students with language impairments are increasingly disadvantaged in the classroom, and I spend a lot of time targeting language-based critical thinking in my speech-language therapy. Of course, that means I also spend a lot of time looking for good resources! Here are a few of my favorite apps to target these areas.
Apps from Janine Toole: There are four apps from Janine Toole targeting critical thinking skills. I first tried out Inference Ace with the free version, and immediately purchased the full version app. There are two apps for inferring, and I really like how they provide structure to understanding inference. Main Idea 1 and WH Expert 2 also help break down the information needed to answer these types of questions effectively.
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You’re the Storyteller: The Surprise (Home Edition) HD: This great app from Hamaguchi apps is one of my favorite for narration. But there are a surprising number of opportunities to practice making predictions and inferences. The questions built into the app are excellent, and the visual cues of the animated scene help kids tune into the necessary clues to make a good inference. The Home version is a good option for parents at home.
Conversation TherAppy: One of my most-used therapy apps, this app is designed for use by an SLP. It allows for group data, which is great in school-based therapy. Each picture has ten questions, including infer, predict and evaluate, and all questions are even customizable. The pictures are high quality and provide a great opportunity for discussion.
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Understanding Inferences Fun Deck: This app from Super Duper Publications is simple in design, simply presenting images that are just like the photo deck many speech-language pathologists already own. It's a convenient way to teach the underlying concept of inferring–being able to take the information from the picture and text and combine it with background knowledge to make an inference.
StoryBuilder for iPad: This app from Mobile Education Store was the first app I used in speech-language therapy, using my husband's original iPad. I was so sold I had my own iPad within three months. I love how the structure of the story helps kids to think critically and analyze what is happening. The question prompts are a great way to scaffold instruction as needed.
I also use many book apps to implement the skills learned with these apps. Picture books are a great way to practice inferring, and if you watch our site you'll find many great books go free!
What's your favorite app to target inference and critical thinking?
Heather H is so worn out from the weekend, she fell asleep twice while writing this post.