Free. Yup. One of our very favorite words. The Math Learning Center apps are free.
We’ve had bins and boxes and crates and drawers and plastic baggies… all filled with math manipulatives. I even had one big envelope filled with pieces that could replace missing manipulative sets. Many of the pieces were broom and vacuum bait. Those tiny 1/12 pieces were always missing. And how long can you expect rubber bands to retain their elasticity before they snap when stretched beyond their intended use?
The Math Learning Center Apps have come to our rescue. While we’ve seen many flashy, clever math games for our iPads, these apps are simple, highly functional resources that provide hands-on free virtual manipulatives.This link will take you to The Math Learning Center App Download Page. You’ll find links and YouTube videos that demonstrate how to download each app and some examples of ways to use the app in your classroom.
Last week our post recommended building video playlists. Make sure you log into your Google/YouTube account and add The Math Learning Center videos to a playlist for quick and easy references.
We highly recommend downloading The Math Learning Center apps to your device and to organize them into a manipulative folder.
Snow is on its way in our neck of the woods. We hope it brings whatever you wish for a potential snow day, either an extended weekend, or safe travels to school tomorrow, and we hope that on this “Super Bowl Sunday”, your team wins!
This week I received an invitation to try out Spinlight Studio’s newest app, “Winky Think“. Uhhh…Spinlight Studio? Yes, please.
I immediately downloaded the app and worked through the first 80 levels. Yep…hooked. When I took a break (a.k.a. pried myself away from the game) to make dinner, I caught my 13-year-old daughter continuing on through another 40 levels while listening to her say, “Ooohhh…I like this level….this one is cool!” Well done Spinlight Studio, to impress a 13-year-old social media/video game/app connoisseur. (Side note: there are 180 levels in all.)
“Winky Think” is a logic app that begins with very basic puzzles for the youngest of users. Don’t be fooled though; the levels build upon each other to provide increasingly difficult puzzles for kids who like a good challenge. And the multi-touch feature throws in a layer of complexity that is fantastic. Especially if, as a teacher, you use iPads in small groups.
The former math teacher in me not only loves the use of logic in this app, I appreciate the integration of nicely designed polygons for the reinforcement of shapes and colors. Perfect for early childhood students all the way up into the intermediate grades!
I also value the place of this app to meet Common Core standards. I know…blah blah blah. But really, if you know anything about the Common Core standards, you know the need for students to persevere through problems. This is the perfect app to model this skill. Heck, who am I kidding? Perseverance is really the key to pretty much any life skill, not just a skill coined by the Common Core folks. I would post some CCSS that this app supports, but really, who wants to read that on a Sunday morning Sit and Sip? Not us! Ok…maybe just one. CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP1Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them. Done. And again, DONE. I promise I am done talking about standards!
As many of you know, Mom and I are BIG fans of this app designer. We originally reviewed “Table Tots” which you can read about over here. It’s still one of our all-time favorite “teaching” apps. We continue to love every app they have launched.
And RIGHT NOW they are having a launch sale. That’s right A SALE. Head over to their site and check out all their apps on sale right now for only $0.99. I would, but we already own them all. And believe me, we paid more than $0.99 for them. Totally worth it!
Even better yet…ask the parents of your students to gift these apps to your classroom iPads. Much better than lotion and coffee mugs. 😉
(Mom and I do not receive any compensation for our reviews. We just like to share things we love with all of you. And we LOVE Spinlight Studio!)
I stumbled up on this article and video yesterday, and knew I had to share.
Even though there is a touch of skepticism in the reporter, you could hear the tears and the joy in Lesley Stahl’s voice as she witnesses the personal way the iPad has made a difference in the lives of individuals with autism.
Please take some time to watch this video, and below you will find links to the apps that are mentioned in the story.
As a teacher, and possibly a parent, be sure to have a box of tissues close at hand…
Last spring I was asked to check out a couple of apps from a local company calledSpinlight Studios. AlphaTots and TallyTots. I did.
Now, I’ll be honest.
I have absolutely NO personal background in teaching early elementary.
I filed the apps in the back of my mind, but retrieved them during workshops as suggestions for early elementary educators. They were good. Just not the kind of apps to which I could relate.
Then came TableTots, an app by this same company that was released this week.
I downloaded the day it was released, and I immediately became the “Spinlight Studio” stalker.
I emailed Spinlight Studios to let them know how excited I was about the app. I played with it a little more, and I called Mom to tell her to download it immediately.
I emailed the company again to back up my initial thoughts with more exciting praise.
I know what you are all thinking… CREEPY!
Mom and I have been downloading and playing with apps for use in the educational setting for quite some time now.
We are pretty selective when it comes to apps that we add to our presentations.
I must say, this one is a “no-brainer”.
TableTots immediately went to the “Top 10” portion of our workshop. This app is the first app I have seen that allows teachers to use the iPad for interactive INSTRUCTION. Effective interactive instruction, I might add.
Don’t get me wrong. We are pretty creative girls who can turn almost anything into a learning experience for kids.
Can anyone say Virtual Bubblewrap for number patterns?
“Autotunes” and the Gettysburg Address?
But, what we have encountered is a slew of educational apps designed to review specific, individual skills, many in a Q&A format followed by some sort of game or incentive.
Not that there is anything wrong with that.
Quite frankly, that might be all that a handful of students needs to motivate and reinforce a skill with which they are struggling.
THAT, however, does not represent the style of teaching we advocate using on a regular basis. TableTots DOES reflect our style of teaching… and learning.
This app starts with a “Table” which reminds me of a “placemat” for the iPad. At least that is what popped into my head as I was playing. There are quite a few of these from which to choose, which is fantastic.
Mom and I love to mix it up!
After you choose your table, you move on to the type of manipulative you want to use. Letters, numbers, shapes, money, place value pieces, or dominoes. Are you seeing the potential here?
Once you choose your manipulatives, you can start teaching and interacting with your students. Allow the kids to come up with problems and solutions of their own. Customize it for YOUR curriculum, the skills YOU need to teach!
What a concept!
Honestly, the sky is the limit with this app. There are so many applications that can be used for DIFFERENTIATED instruction.
Take for example, sorting coins. Beginners could sort the coins by size, while higher achieving students could combine the sorting into different amounts of money. Even higher achieving students could create money math problems using these manipulatives.
I love the versatility! Go download it… and no, I am not getting paid for this review.
Instead, the Spinlight Studio Staff, (I love alliteration…yes, I am a geek), might be in the process of acquiring a restraining order.