Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Must-Have Math Apps I Love

Three years ago, my colleague, Liza, and I decided to implement our own version of the Daily 3 for our math block: Math With Teacher, Math With a Partner, and Math With Self. 

It would be 




But nope.  It wasn't.   (NOTE: Video link at bottom if you rather see the apps in action.)

It was noisy.  Chaotic.  "Math With Teacher" and "Math With Partner" were going okay but "Math With Self" just wasn't what we wanted/hoped it to be.  We THOUGHT it would be a quiet station with the kids engaged in practicing past skills.  We thought it would be the easiest station to implement.

But nope.  It wasn't.  Every time a group rotated to that station, it was an immediate fail and it affected ALL of the stations.

We knew we had to fix the problem and fast.  How could we keep kids engaged in meaningful math activities without them interrupting us throughout that particular rotation? We realized early on that iPads could/would be used (most of the time) in this station for two reasons: 1. Math games are a great way to reinforce skills taught and 2. we needed to have at least one QUIET workstation. But they weren't engaged.  They certainly weren't quiet.  What did we do wrong?

The apps we were using were the problem.  Who knew?!

At first, we used a lot of free apps but they didn't allow the kids to immerse themselves in math.  The kids were too busy clicking off the ads or wondering why there was only one game and everything else was locked. Or the game would suddenly stop to show a video!  And sometimes an inappropriate one. Ugh! The interruptions were constant.  (And those free apps CRASH.  A lot!)

So we made it our mission to find and test-drive the PERFECT apps: some paid, some free without ads (rare) and - this is KEY- we changed when and how we introduced the apps.

It made all the difference in their time on task and engagement.

Liza and I started to introduce them during our Morning Meetings a few times before we expected them to be used independently.  We modeled/played several days in a row so we were certain the kids could navigate the app without help.  This way, they were ready to play by the time we scheduled them into our workstations.

It was just two small tweaks that made the difference in the success of our program.

The first AWESOME and FREE APP  we discovered was Make 10 Plus.  (Ignore the rating shown.  Honestly, a great app!)

No ads.  No in-app purchases.  TOTALLY FREE!  Thanks to this app, my kids know their combinations of 10 early on in the year.  You can also make other combinations by changing the settings.  You can control the speed. too.  My kids love it and are constantly trying to beat their record.  I'm always hoping this parent inventor will make a new app because it's that good!

The next few apps I'll talk about are PAID apps BUT I got them for FREE.  How?  By downloading this app first on my phone and iPad.

Each day, new apps are featured and most of the time, they aren't applicable to me/school. However, once every month or two, they feature apps from EGGROLL GAMES. I love their apps.

Image result for animal math games Image result for animal math gamesAddition Flash Cards for Kids

This is what it looks like in the App:

They usually expire in 24 hours so scan the list daily and grab them when you can.  I grabbed ALL the flashcards for free and one of the Animal Math games.  (And I like their puzzle packs.  Often free.)

On the First Grade Animal Math App, Emma and a cast of animal characters are featured: Manny (counting games)  Phineas (Number Patterns), Charlie (Greater than, less than) Albert (Even and Odd) Hans (Place Value) Henrietta (Number Sentences) Lydia (Missing Signs),  Kicheko (Addition Set 1) Pria (Addition Set 2) Moe (Sub 1) Rupert (sub 2) and Louie (Flash Card Games)

NOTE: The First Grade and Second Grade Apps are SO SIMILAR, you don't need to get both.  
(No multiplication/division on the Second Grade one.)  I have seen ALL Animal Math grades offered for free on the app so be patient if you want to snag them that way.  Again, anything EGGROLL GAMES is well done!

Then I discovered Math Slide. You can download for free and play each game twice before you decide if you want to purchase or not.  I ended up purchasing each game for 99 cents after my kids gave it two thumbs up.  Can't beat 99 cents, can you?

Each game is designed for 1-4 players and kids can easily control that by simply pressing the JOIN button.   If playing solo, a timer appears and kids can try to beat their own score.  I have 3 "Slide" games and my kids have probably played 2-3,000 games in the last few years.  Worth $3 total?  You betcha!  (I use this one for "Math With Partner.")

Here is a screenshot of one of the games:

Although not really a full-blown math game, I think Rush Hour is a must for all classrooms.  
Remember the board game from your childhood? Now computerized and even more challenging.   

Fabo for practicing logic and problem-solving skills and spatial reasoning. There is a free version but I upgraded to one without ads and thousands of games for $2.99. (NOTE:  Although I paid for these Apps, the money came from our PTO.  They gifted us with a $50 Apple Gift Card one year and a  $25 the following year.)

Now for my ALL-TIME FAVORITE APP! (It's only a K-2 program.)  Seriously, I have to be totally honest:  We use it exclusively for workstations now with the exception of Make 10 Plus above.  It's not only a paid app but an expensive SUBSCRIPTION.  Very expensive but simply AMAZING:

                Image result for todo math   Image result for todo math

This is my second year using it in the classroom and my subscription expires in June.  I THINK it's about $300 a year.  Yep- told you it's a lot of money.  Already planning on how I can get some money to continue the subscription.  Why is it so good?  For starters, it aligns perfectly with the CCSS!  Every lesson I teach, there is a game to reinforce.

You can sign-up for a TWO month free trial and you should!  You won't regret it!

You can track kids' progress and have some controls for individual accounts. (Right/Left-handed, Dyslexic Font option, ability to have a child play up/down a grade level. etc.  I set one of my students to the Kindergarten level.)

The games are SO ENGAGING and not filled with fluff.  There is a Daily Mission and something else on the dashboard but I haven't explored them.

Several of my students buy the app to use at home.  (Inexpensive for home use!) That says something!

You can check out the video which highlights what I wrote about on this post but also shows some of the games in action.  (Coming tomorrow!)

I hope this helped you find some quality apps for your K-2 students.

Now go straight to TODO MATH and sign-up for their free trial.  Then come back here and let me know what you and your kids think of it.  Enjoy!

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