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!
“The sheep’s out of the bag! YodelOh™ Math Mountain hit the App Store today, and we can’t wait to hear what you think about it!”
We love Spinlight Studio and their professional commitment to developing apps for educators. Why?
They are our neighbors located in Champaign, Illinois.
Their apps do not contain “third party ads”.
Their apps do not link to a social network.
Their apps do not track your location
Their apps do not link to web access.
Their apps do not include “in-app purchases”.
For 99¢, you have an app that “blends arcade action with traditional classroom math drills”. The game is fast and is designed “to help elementary students memorize the basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division tables essential for math.” It is rated for ages 6-12.
My only wish is that we had a few mountains around us so that, on this beautiful Sunday, we could hike a few ourselves. I will have to be content to take a walk through the woods surrounding Lake Shelbyville…
Now I can’t vouch for much more since I belong to the generation where mostly boys took the advanced math classes and carried around slide rules in their back pockets.
I only made it through Geometry, Advanced Geometry*, and Algebra I and II.
Sad, but true.
(The exception was my younger sister who was the smartest person I knew next to my father… Both of them were left-handed which leads me to believe that left-handed children are most certainly exceptional.)
Shannon, however, took accelerated math classes, and taught upper math.
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.
This little website was a frequent resource in my classroom and is perfect to use on your SMARTBoard. It provides excellent reinforcement to math lessons, and is appropriate for grades 5 and above.
Math Live was developed under the direction of the Learning Technologies Branch of Alberta, Canada Education.
The four strands of math presented are:
Numbers, Patterns and Relations, Shape and Space, and Statistics and Probability.
The lessons are presented in “real world problem-solving” format with videos that include a cast of animated students.
Lessons included are:
Place Value Multiples, Factors, Primes and Composites Proper Fractions Equivalent Fractions Comparing and Ordering Fractions Comparing and Ordering Decimals Addition and Subtraction of Decimals Multiplication of Whole Numbers Division of Whole Numbers Multiplication and Division of Decimals Patterns Area and Perimeter Area and Perimeter of Irregular Shapes Volume Time Triangles Polygons Slides, Flips, and Turns Tessellations Ordered Pairs Displaying Data Probability Estimating
The presentations include interactive components, along with parent and teacher notes, and assessments.
The only drawback we can see is that this is a flash-based website, so it cannot be viewed on the iPad, iPhone, or iPod.
This is one of the websites to which I often linked within my SMARTBoard lessons making it a quick reinforcement or review.
We both love this site, and we hope you find something useful on it, too.