THE MISSION ON CHILDREN’S APP

Mission On puts children firmly in control of their own development as writers. It brings a condensed, child-friendly version of the teaching resource to their fingertips - and a whole lot more. The app, available in infant and junior versions, gets children VIP access to The Sentence Café itself where our expert alien friends take the lead on consolidating understanding of key grammar and sentence construction concepts. Once inside the app, users are introduced to the 4 zones: MagaZone, Learning Zone, Game Zone and AR Zone. To ensure enjoyment and benefit are maximised; users choose the appropriate age phase (5-7 years and 8-11 years) and access the zones in order.

…First comes MagaZone. Here, digital magazine Mission On! takes children to a new and exciting location every month. This location provides the backdrop for an adventure story and the focus for bite-size chunks of non-fiction tailored for young readers, all introduced by the friendly aliens from The Sentence Café. Themed activities, including craft, recipes plus pencil and paper teasers, complete the 24 pages.

The reading material is carefully pitched at the appropriate age phase. It is designed to encourage reading for pleasure and to broaden children’s enjoyment and understanding of the world around them. The non-fiction pages are particularly rich in geography, history and science content. On leaving MagaZone, users are ushered to the Learning Zone where the Mission On! content serves another purpose. Short, engaging animations see the Sentence Café characters really come into their own.

Each takes their turn teaching their specialist aspect of grammar and sentence construction. Lessons are delivered in no more than 4 steps, keeping children focused and maximising their chances of retaining important concepts. Then it’s over to the user. They interact with the screen to answer a series of questions, which cover the teaching points from the lesson and use sentences from the magazine as examples. These brief assessments serve a number of purposes. They are:

  • give users confidence in their skills
  • earn users ‘Cosmic Coins’ to spend in the Game Zone
  • earn users credits towards end of phase certificates
  • diagnose areas for further improvement.

Children giving an incorrect response to any of the questions are immediately referred back to the appropriate teaching point and given another chance at responding correctly. In this way, children’s success rate and motivation remains high.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why the app is so effective


The Sentence Café app is designed for children to have fun, to enjoy learning about the world and to become better writers. Fluent, meaningful writing depends on the ability to spell quickly and accurately through knowing the relationship between sounds and letters (phonics) and understanding the morphological (word structure) and orthographic (spelling structure) patterns of words. Writing also depends on fluent, legible and, eventually, speedy handwriting. The Sentence Café app assumes that users have reached or are approaching this stage of development.

The next stage is effective composition, which involves articulating and communicating ideas, and then organising them coherently for a reader. This requires clarity, awareness of the audience, purpose and context, and an increasingly wide knowledge of vocabulary and grammar.

The Sentence Café helps children to expand their vocabulary by presenting them with ambitious words through the Mission On! magazine content. The main focus, however, is on helping children to organise their ideas at sentence level. This requires a sound grasp of grammar conventions, which are crucial to ensuring that sentences can be understood. Only when children have real confidence in constructing sentences accurately and clearly, in different ways to convey subtleties of meaning, can they really grow as writers able to communicate effectively for a range of purposes and contexts.

It is for these reasons that The Sentence Café is so strongly committed to leaning through fun and to giving children numerous, stimulating ways to return to the same learning. The novel and fun alien characters who lead the learning ensure that users of our app have positive emotional associations with the learning and the learning is delivered through auditory and visual stimuli as well as through touch and movement as the child interacts with the various tasks. Finally, the games and activities in the Game Zone, as well as revision activities in subsequent issues, give children plenty of opportunities to practise new skills and consolidate learning. In this way, the chances of learning reaching long-term memory and making a real difference to a child’s progress over time are vastly increased.

 

 

Concepts covered include:

Infant


  • Full stops & simple sentences
  • Nouns and capital letters
  • Verbs & clauses
  • Pronouns
  • Statements, questions, exclamations & commands
  • Adjectives
  • Determiners
  • Verbs & tense
  • Commas in lists

Junior


  • Full stops & simple sentences
  • Nouns
  • Verbs & tense
  • Subject-verb agreement
  • Joining clauses
  • Prepositional phrases
  • Direct speech
  • Modal verbs
  • Embedding clauses
  • Apostrophes

Opportunities for reinforcement of learning


The Game Zone awaits users who complete the tasks in the Learning Zone. Here, they have the opportunity to spend ‘star bucks’, earned through success in the Learning Zone, and test their skills on a selection of interactive puzzles and games. Some are purely for fun while others provide more consolidation of key grammar and sentence construction concepts. The learning does not even stop there. Users who need help with any aspect of grammar and sentence construction can contact The Sentence Café directly and receive a response offering them a way forward.

The final destination is the AR Zone where users get an exciting opportunity to play with cutting edge Augmented Reality technology. Not only will they be able to bring a fully interactive 3D character (related to that month’s magazine content) to life, they will be able to do so anywhere they like, without the need for a pre-printed marker.

 

 

 

 

Why the app is so effective


Firstly, we hope that The Sentence Café is a place children want to come back to again and again because it is a fun place to be. We also hope that children will thrive in a learning environment where they do not feel pressured or overwhelmed. We serve a no nonsense menu of learning which strips away unnecessary complexity; complexity which is all very well for theorists but can often leave learners hungry for practical guidance. The Sentence Cafe recognises how children learn best and delivers what they really need to develop as writers.

The importance of regular reading of quality fiction and non-fiction to develop effective writing skills cannot be overstated. This is why our Mission On! magazine guarantees reading materials your child won’t want to miss, delivered every month. As stated earlier, grammar and sentence construction form only a part of the rest of the picture and The Sentence Cafe recognises just how fundamentally important a part this is. These are the areas that tend to be a struggle for many learners and a barrier to their development as writers. Finding ways to overcome these barriers often makes the job of the teacher anything but easy. The Sentence Cafe offers an easily digestible solution.

Underpinning the programme of learning your child will experience are four basic sentence types: the starter, main, sub and the burger sentence. Each food-related sentence type is readily identifiable and comes with a very clear set of rules, which really help children get a foothold in what can be a very ambiguous and confusing discipline. Add in a logical, step-by-step teaching sequence, a rich variety of engaging teaching strategies catering for different learning styles and lots of fun opportunities to consolidate learning. Now you have a child-friendly recipe for success.

Learners at The Sentence Café quickly commit fundamental principles of sentence construction to memory. They become comfortable with manipulating clauses in different ways to create a variety of effects and with following grammar conventions to make their meaning crystal clear. Get children to this stage and they are well on their way to becoming accomplished writers. Crucially, they have confidence in their own ability to write, for any audience, for any purpose.