Alien Assignment in the Classroom-- App Review

There is something about a leg squeeze from an excited 5 year old that solidifies why I chose this profession.  Some of them will never, ever get my name right.  I’ve heard some doozies.  Lamdenhorst…Langhornst…and my personal favorite, Mrs. iPad.  But those little cherubs try, and they melt my heart.

Camden finishing his level!
Kindergarteners, though, can be scary little creatures.  They call it like it is.  They’ll tell you if you have awful hair. They are prone to random expulsion of bodily fluids with little to no warning.  Despite this, any time I see a booking coming from any of our phenomenal kindergarten teachers, I know I’m in for a treat.  This week was no exception.

My tech integration adventures took me to Mrs. Heitritter’s class for an introduction to a new app.  I had been itching to use this app with the kids because it was going to be a very innovative way to help them reach standards they had been working on recently and make them think about their surroundings.  

Alien Assignment is an excellent iOS app developed by the Fred Rogers Center that combines reading and a camera in an effort to search for items with specified attributes (i.e.; something with wheels, something that holds liquid) in an effort to help the aliens fix their broken ship.  Equipped with an iPad, each student was able to travel about the room, in a type of scavenger hunt, collecting images they felt match the criteria being requested.

Upon completion of the round, which is always four photos, the student is told to show a grown up.  It was at this point that Mrs. Heitritter and I could go through their photos and evaluate whether or not each picture met the characteristics needed.  A simple thumbs up or thumbs down on the screen tells the app which pictures students have to retry.  When all four of the photos match what is needed, it’s on to the next round!

Alien Assignment not only builds early reading skills, but it guides children to deeply think about the characteristics of everyday items in a fun and engaging way.  Teachers are easily able to assess problem solving skills and concepts that need work because each student is able to progress at his or her own pace.  It also serves as a great metacognition (thinking about your thinking) tool for students to advance their higher order thinking skills. 

Mrs. Heitritter checking the photos in Alien Assignment
Alien Assignment is free in the app store.  An iOS link is available here.  Ages preschool through 8 would enjoy this app and the parental or teacher interaction it provides.


While I'm here, I also need to give a shameless plug out for a new friend, Leesha.  She is a cosmetologist who also has an impeccable sense of style.  She has stretched her wings into the blogging world.  Check out her adorable outfits.  She's a fun one!  You can find her blog, Captivating Femininity, here.


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