Thursday, June 11, 2015

TouchTronic and SmartTrays in SpEd

I'm one of those people that has lots of shopping apps on my iPad... like, a dozen. And I'll browse through each one occasionally, add things to my cart, and then just never buy anything. But a few weeks ago I made my very first Zulily purchase. I'm so happy about it that I wanted to show you what I got and tell you why you need to get these resources for your classroom!

Enter TouchTronic.

The first thing you'll need when using the TouchTronic apps are the actual alphabet letters and numbers sets. The apps do not work without them. I mean, you can download them for free, but to enter into the app and play the games, you must have their sets.

Once you have the letter and number sets, you're good to go. :)

We first started using the alphabet sets. You can see the letters laying on the table. The letters are magnetic or something, because to answer the puzzles and questions, you use the actual letters touching the iPad screen to answer. It's super neat!
This particular "game" was working on CVC sight words that students needed to spell. It gives a picture for the word, 2 letters of the word, and then one letter is missing (which is the spiral box on the screen shot above). While working the word out, you can touch the letters and it will sound the letters out for the student. You can also touch the picture of the bed and it will tell you what the picture is of (ie. bed).

Once you touch the letter "d" to the iPad, the letter shows up and the app tells you the word.

One con that is a huge deficit in my classroom is that when you touch the letter or number to the screen, only the letter/number can touch the screen. The app will not read the letter/number if any part of your fingers touches the screen. So for our friends with motor skill deficits, it will be a tad more difficult to get the screen to read the letters and numbers when they answer.

The counting app is really neat too. On the zoo train, you can touch the people or animals on the screen and the app will count them for you. A con of this app (besides the same con with the letter app), is that it will only count for them once. Some of my friends may need to count more than once, but I do like that it stops at the correct number of people or animals. For example, if there are 4 people and the child keeps tapping on the screen, it will stop counting at 4. So that is a big pro!
You can see the numbers below the iPad. You also get operation symbols for all 4 operations, plus a greater/less than symbol and an equal symbol.

My rating for this app and the letters/numbers sets is an 8 of 10.


Enter SmartTray.
These are the learning boards that you purchase to complete activity boards. I have a wide variety of ability levels within my classroom, so I purchased all 3 that so I could get the most out of the SmartTrays.
Inside each activity box, you get a set of activities for your students to work through. They come with instructions to help you out your first couple of lessons, teaching you and your students how to use them. I really liked that, and even though I had used VersaTiles before, these were a tad bit different.
This is the actual SmartTray in the box it comes in. I ordered 3 of these.
To use an activity board, you slid it through the slot in the bottom of the SmartTray. You can see the white arrow on the bottom of the activity board giving you a clue how to insert it correctly.
When you insert the board all the way, your SmartTray will look like this.
What you'll want to do is put your number tiles on the clear lid of the SmartTray, as shown above. This shows the actual activity part of the activity board. To solve this board, you could the number of candles on each cake and put that number tile on top of it.
This activity board looks like the above picture when you "solve" the problems. I like that the numbers have lines underneath them because it helps my friends remember which way the numbers are supposed to be (which is key!). The best part about the SmartTray is that it has a self check built right in. Close the clear lid all the way and flip the entire thing over... will look like this. Slide out the activity board by following the direction of the arrows.
If your students answered each question correctly, their tiles will create the pattern that matches the back of the SmartTray activity board. If not... will look something like this (all based on the answers your student provides on the board). The pattern may also come up wrong if the students put the number tiles upsidedown (remember, the lines on the tiles is key in placement).

My rating for SmartTray and the activities is a 9 of 10. I really like them and I love that they're self check. It's an awesome way for students to work independently and have me check their work with a quick glance when I'm working with another student.

For everything pictured above, I paid around $70 including tax and shipping. :)

Have you ever used the TouchTronic apps or the SmartTrays?


  1. I am OBSESSED with Zulily!!! Those SmartTray activities look fabulous! I've never seen those before..thanks for sharing!!
    The Techie Teacher

  2. I love good classroom game finds! The smart trays are awesome! Its hard for me to use any sort of tech since we only have one computer for all the kids & me to share! The district won't let us write any tech grants either. I def. am inspired by the smart trays & I want to look into leapfrog products! Thanks for sharing :)

  3. I'm interested in the smart trays! Thanks for sharing those. Unfortunately our district will not give us iPads and I really dislike bringing mine to school on a regular basis, because the Touch Tronic looks promising.
    Burke's Special Kids