EGWs6uuBZ3pp-zGuVVdmeLgkJG4 Across the Avenue: Educational Apps for Kids: Sentence Ninja by Smarty Ears Apps

Educational Apps for Kids: Sentence Ninja by Smarty Ears Apps

As a pediatric speech-language pathologist with a lot of pre-teens and teenagers on my caseload, I'm always looking for engaging and motivating activities to make syntax and semantics goals a little more fun. It's not always easy to find apps that truly align with the goals I'm working on with my clients, so when I find a good one, I like to share it with our readers. This week I've trialed 'Sentence Ninja' by SmartyEars Apps to target sentence formulation goals and it was a big hit. There are so many features I like about the app and the scaffolding options allow me to use it with a wider variety of may caseload than I expected. Check out my thoughts below...

About Sentence Ninja
This app is a fantastic way to help kids understand syntax and semantics. To begin using this app, your clients will add themselves as players by typing in their names and choosing an avatar to represent themselves. (You can upload their photo if you'd like, but my kids love to choose from the character list.) The 'Settings' button allows you to customize options such as color coding cues, punctuation presentation, colored lines, and so much more. After you've done that, you're ready to press start to customize the activity level. 

Activity Level
One of my favorite features this app offers is the leveling option. Choose from 39 different levels that begin with building simple phrases like 'subject+verb' and work your way all the way through to sentences as complex as 'subject+past tense verb+prepositional phrase+ verb+object+and+verb phrase'. The app provides a chart to show examples of each level as well as how many times the child has played the it. Once you've selected the appropriate level, click save and the activity is ready to go.

Playing the Game
A picture is displayed on the screen and words are presented in a mixed up fashion. The object of the task is to drag and drop the words in the correct order under the picture to create a grammatically correct description. In the upper left hand side of the screen, the 'Settings' button allows you to customize the activity even further, choosing between two different backgrounds, a 'Hint' button, 'Auto Progression', 'Display Accuracy', and the ability for the child to record the answer. I love having the option to control these things, considering that my kids have different needs.

As the child drags the phrase or sentence parts to the answer space, the app provides a feedback cue for wrong answers and the words return to their mixed up position, or proceeds to the next item. If you allow this feature, kids can select the 'Hint' button if they need help getting started. I like that the correct answer is read aloud before moving on to the next. Also very handy--this app keeps score in the upper right hand side of the screen! This makes data collection easy.

Award Center
After your child has completed the game, head to the Award Center to pull up a progress report of all levels played and the overall accuracy score that can be printed or shared via email. The email feature is an easy way to share progress with parents. Players can also go to the 'Reward Hall' to enter the Belt Dojo and view the belts that they earn as they progress in their skills. They receive one belt per group level completed.

This is one of the first apps I've come across to offer homework that aligns to the work completed! Click on the 'Homework' button to find leveled homework sheets that can be printed or emailed for students to practice outside of your therapy session! (I actually like to use them in my sessions as well for extra practice.)

Overall, my clients have really enjoyed this app and I've found it to be a motivating way to work through sentence formulation with them. The theme has been engaging for both boys and girls and they look at it as a fun game, rather than traditional classroom grammar lessons.  I recommend using it as a teaching tool that you work on together to make use of teachable moments.

Where to Purchase
Head over to the App Store to purchase and download the Sentence Ninja App. While you're there, check the full collection that Smarty Ears has to offer!

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Disclaimer: The product in this post was provided by Smarty Ears. As always, our posts are our own, honest opinions.