Back to School can be an exciting time for kids and families, especially during the younger years. At Todo Math we believe all* children should have an opportunity to learn and reach their full potential, and we believe learning and practicing math is key for developing confidence.
We designed Todo Math, which covers preschool to 2nd-grade math curriculum, to encourage children’s independence and success. Our team of educational experts recently conducted a seminar with teachers to discuss math activities for young learners, and we’d like to pass this information along to families who are preparing for the new school year.
This Back to School Resource Guide covers five steps for getting parents and kids engaged in math together.
1. Understand the Teacher’s Objectives: What does it mean to know your numbers?
As a parent, are you aware of the educational goals your child’s teacher is trying to convey? Some commonly identified areas for developing early math skills include number sense, counting and arithmetic. This means students must learn to 1) quickly and accurately identify the value of a number; 2) count up and down from that number, and 3) manipulate the number with operations like addition and subtraction. By understanding the learning objectives of each teacher and classroom, parents can reinforce these concepts at home to facilitate progress throughout the year.
Back to School night is a great opportunity to learn about specific curriculum goals for your child’s classroom, and this article on Kentucky Teacher goes into further detail about how “math nights” help parents understand how new methods are being taught.
2. Math in Real Life: What about activities families can do together?
The team at Todo Math loves to hear about families enjoying math together. Common household objects like dominoes, a deck of cards, dice, or a printer, provide ample materials for math games. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Domino math adding game: pick a domino, write the numbers for each side in an addition statement, and add them together
- Hungry Monster Card Game: Make a monster mouth in the form of a “V” or “greater than” sign, choose two playing cards, and put the highest number in the monster’s mouth
- Roll & Color games with a pair of dice, crayons and a printer: print the page, roll the dice, color the number
3. Trying Todo Math: The ultimate tool for your back to school checklist!
Todo Math is an early elementary math curriculum for the iPhone and iPad, with hundreds of interactive activities to help introduce and reinforce math concepts for young learners. In step 2 we talked about real-life activities, and these concepts can be extended by many of the games included in Todo Math, like Domino Math!
Todo Math’s main menu screen has options for Daily Adventures, Missions, Free Choice, My Info, and Monster Collections. Daily Adventures guide children to practice math for 5 to 10 minutes a day, rewarding them if they complete the task. Free Choice has 26 games covering numbers, counting, reasoning, time, money, and geometry. Mission Mode reinforces skill building, where multiple games are combined to support standards-aligned math concepts. My Info tracks learning progress and lets users to set their own accessibility and language options. Finally, Monster Collections showcases all of the monsters kids earn in one fun place.
Todo Math is growing in popularity and was recently selected as a winner of a Parents’ Choice Gold Award for 2015. Even teachers are pleased with the level of engagement and have implemented Todo Math across 1300+ classrooms. To try Todo Math, a free version is available on the App Store or at www.todomath.com.
4. Our Favorites: Where can parents go for new ideas?
There are numerous books and online resources for creative math ideas. Some are geared toward teacher training, but here we’ve chosen specific materials that can be helpful for parents:
- Pinterest Boards: Entering the keywords “math” and “games” into a search on Pinterest.com will unfold a huge selection of ideas for practicing math. Here you can find tutorials for hands-on math games, even ones you can play outside!
- YouCubed: YouCubed is a 21st-century math education initiative at Stanford University offering innovative and research-based solutions for teachers and parents. Ultimately, their work aims to get kids excited about math. Visit the site to learn more about their mission and additional ideas for math activities.
- Erikson Idea Library: The Erikson Early Math Collaborative hosts an Idea Library on their website where parents can search for math ideas by through criteria such as grade level, math concept, and common core alignment. Search results display a variety of formats including videos, blog posts and downloadable materials.
- Erikson Book List: Reading to our kids about math is another awesome way to connect with kids about math AND literacy! The Erikson Book List has plenty of recommended titles for fun math reading.
5. Best Practices: Tips for using the iPad at home!
In our recent educator seminar, there was a discussion about best practices for using iPads in the classroom. We realize plenty of parents use the iPad at home and want to translate some of these best practices into guidance for families.
- Viewing the content: Have you taken an opportunity to play the game your child is playing? Did you know that the App Store description often provides a summary of what the app is about? By getting familiar with the app, you can assess which content is most appropriate for your child, while guiding them about using the app to its full educational potential.
- Timeframes: Are you setting a timeframe for screentime, so children understand your expectations up front? How much time are you comfortable with the kids playing games versus doing other activities throughout the day? Classroom centers may dedicate 15 minutes per child for daily practice on an app, which is something to keep in mind while constructing a household routine.
- Grouping Apps by Subject: Do you have a specific set of academic goals for your child? If so, sorting apps into folders for each subject keep content organized and goal-oriented. For example, if your child is learning their multiplication tables, having a folder on the iPad for multiplication apps gives them a specific and purposeful place to go on the device.
- Progress Tracking: Some apps, like Todo Math, come with Progress Reports to let kids and parents see summaries of how they are learning. In Todo Math, the “My Info” page displays how much time is spent with the app, the number of questions solved, and the number of math missions completed. This goal-oriented view is helpful for understanding learning progressions, and for rewarding a child’s hard work and effort.
The team at Todo Math is dedicated to helping ALL children succeed in math. We wish you the best in the new school year ahead. You can learn more about Todo Math at www.todomath.com. See you soon!
* When we say all kids we mean all – including struggling learners and children with special needs. Todo, pronounced /Ëto.Ã°o/, means “all” in Spanish.