Apps to Work on Math Fact Fluency and Counting Money

VZEducation disclosure

Over the last few years, the focus of math education has changed drastically at the elementary school level. Students used to spend a lot of time learning math facts and other basics, now children are diving deeper into mathematics at an earlier age. As a parent and teacher, I see a major difference in these automatic math skills from my oldest son to my younger son. At open house, my son’s teacher noted that they wanted kids to work at home on math fact fluency. They had also seen a decline in the ability of kids to just know the math facts in recent years. To help my second grader with this, we are using the online program that was suggested, but I wanted some more fun items to have on his tablet.  Thanks to Verizon Educational Tools, I was able to search for just what I was looking for. I selected two apps to try with JSL. One would work on math fact fluency and the other would practice with counting money.

Apps to Work on Math Fact Fluency and Counting Money

 

Bubble Pop Math Challenge 1-2

Bubble Pop Math Challenge 1-2 is a free app that you may pay to upgrade.

Bubble Pop Math Challenge 1-2

The app that you get free includes addition facts for sums up to 10 and sums to 20. After this, you can pay to unlock subtraction, money, and time categories for additional math skill practice. These additional bundles cost 99 cents each or you can get the three for $1.99.

Lakeshore shares that the app was made to meet these objectives:

  • Use strategies to add and subtract fluently
  • Tell and write time in hours and half hours using analog and digital clocks
  • Add and subtract within 20 using mental strategies; know from memory all sums of two and 1-digit numbers
  • Tell and write time to the nearest five minutes using a.m. and p.m.
  • Solve word problems with dollar bills, quarters, dimes, nickles, and pennies using dollar and cent symbols

Bubble Pop Math Challenge 1-2

There are eight levels of play for each area of the app. As kids move along they earn points and the pace continues to increase. So far, JSL has only tried the free portions of the game, but he likes it enough that we will probably spend the $1.99 to allow him to do more in the upcoming weeks. He really likes that you simply look at the math problem and pop the bubble as fast as you can to get points within 60 seconds. Your goal is to get as many points and keep bubbles from hitting the water where they pop.

Bubble Pop Math Challenge 1-2 - addition

I appreciate the simplicity of this app. It does not make JSL anxious as he works on fluency of math facts. Some educational apps go too quickly, increase music volume, and can make even an adult nervous. The cute frog blowing bubbles that you need to pop while doing math is perfect to keep kids practicing over and over again. Another item to think about is that Bubble Pop Math Challenge 3-4 is also available and works with children on multiplication, division, rounding, and fractions.

Freefall Money – Coin Math

Freefall Money – Coin Math is a free app that is available to help children work on counting money.

Freefall Money - Coin Math

While JSL can count money, he needs a bit more practice. This seems to have been covered only a little in previous years, so I wanted to make sure that JSL could go shopping and count money on his own. The nice thing about Freefall Money is that you can adjust the settings. Kids can work their way up from problems using only three coins to ten.

Freefall Money – Coin Math

The coin illustrations are wonderful and do a great job for kids to recognize. If the coins are too close together, you are able to move them apart to make it easier to count the amount of money easier. Kids can match coins to amounts, tell the amount, and fill the piggy bank with a specific amount of money. The level of difficulty can be adjusted from three to ten coins at a time.

What apps have you used with your children to increase their math fluency and comfort levels? Please share any math level because kids of all ages can use practice to keep their skills in check. The key is to find something that your children like and does not seem like extra work, but is more fun while they learn.

It's Me

Disclosure: I am participating in a paid campaign about Verizon Educational Tools. I will be sharing how I have used this with my family.  I am a long time Verizon customer, and all opinions are my own.

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Halloween Costume Selections

Captain America and Harry Potter have left the building and will not be here for Halloween this year. Our house will have two new characters wandering around later this month.

Star-Lord and Darth Vader Pig costumes for Halloween

After several years in a row, we decided to let the boys select something new. We started looking at one location, and then made our way to the party store where there was a much larger selection. Gone are the days when it was easy to pick a cute costume and the boys would just wear them and be happy.

Things get complicated when you have one child that needs adult sizes because he’s too tall for the kid sizes. Then, you have to weed out ones that are not appropriate for an eleven year old and are too pricey. Sorry, but I can not justify $50 for a super hero that does not include any of their accessories. By the time you add in a wig, weapon, and various other key items, it would be well over $100 (conservative guess there).

When we were finally able to leave the store, TechyDad and I had two boys that were thrilled with their selections. Of course, later on in the day I saw JSL take his costume out of the bag. He was already half dressed by the time I caught him. I had him go outside with me for a photo shoot. There is just something fun about Star-Lord.

Star-Lord Costume for Kids

Alright, I admit I was saying I am Groot to get the kiddo to laugh. If I had the time, I probably would figure out a way to do something with Groot.

We Are Groot - Perler Beads and Disney Infinity 2

It’s time to share what Halloween costumes your family have this year. What did your kids select and did they have a tough time deciding? Are you dressing up or do you have a costume you would love to wear if you did?

It's Me

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Time for Sukkot

It’s hard to believe that Sukkot is already here. The holiday season continues with the start of Sukkot at sundown this evening. The kids have been talking about it at Hebrew School. JSL came home with an edible sukkah on Sunday.

Edible Sukkah for Sukkot

Making one of these was something we talked about for a family celebration that I am helping to run. If you are interested in making them, it is very simple. You just need the following items:

      • Paper plates for building – to construct your sukkah on
      • Graham crackers – three squares make the sukkah walls
      • Frosting – holds the pieces together
      • Small pretzel rods – for the sukkah roof
      • Candy pieces – kosher candies like mini chocolate chips, marshmallows, gum drops, fruit shapes, and licorice

Kids can make their sukkah while listening to Sukkot stories like The Vanishing Gourds: A Sukkot Mystery which I shared on Tuesday Tales in the past.

Now I am off to finish preparations for three fun Sukkot related art projects that I will be helping to coordinate over the weekend. I leave you with a fun Sukkot Style spoof from The Maccabeats.

Additional Sukkot posts sharing great projects that my children have done over the years can be found here:

Happy holiday to all that celebrate and please feel free to share how you traditionally decorate your sukkah.

It's Me

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Braces Be Gone

Just over fifteen months have passed since the world of braces became a reality for our family. NHL has had wires on his top teeth since the end of June 2013.

Braces Be Gone

While NHL has had some discomfort from time to time, we only had a few issues that were caused by pesky baby teeth trying to vacate his mouth. Over the months, we had to make two extra visits, and one emergency night trek to the orthodontists office. My kiddo was a trouper with what they did in his mouth and rarely complained. When he did in recent weeks, we knew something was up. A spring had sprung and was digging into his cheek. That resulted in his two front teeth shifting forward. For a few weeks, we were not sure if the braces would still come off as predicted.

The weekend before a scheduled recheck NHL had his first wire pop. Of course, it was after 8:00 on a Friday evening. We called the orthodontist and he tried to explain how to shift it back into place to try to wait until Saturday afternoon. When we tried to do this, the wire popped out even more and NHL could barely close his mouth. So we met the orthodontist at 9:30 that evening. Even at that hour, he was amazing. We were given good news that NHL’s teeth had gotten back into the right position and the braces would still come off on October 6 (TODAY). A stronger wire was put on and we were told that it could not and would not pop.

Care to guess what happened next?

Yes, Saturday morning NHL came running into our room. As he was trying to wiggle a loose tooth, the giant wire came out from the bracket. The message for the orthodontist was pretty classic and one he will likely remember for a while. Wire cutters were bought and never used from Home Depot. Then, after a few hours, NHL figure out how to prop the wire up where it would stay and did not hurt him. Score! We were able to wait until our regular appointment two days later.

Once again everyone in the office was amazing. The interesting part, nobody has a clue how the wire came out of place and did not break the bracket. Go figure!

Now we have made it the last two weeks without another incident and NHL is already planning what he is going to eat once the braces are removed. He has been amazing with following the instructions/rules set. We managed to avoid other more invasive techniques to expand NHL’s palette, fix cross bite issues, and work on the tooth crowding. Thank goodness the braces did their magic with the amazing work of our orthodontist. Now, NHL will be wearing a retainer until it is outgrown and then we will see if a Phase 2 of braces will be needed. A lot will depend on how some of the last teeth fall into place.

So I would love some advice from those who have had a retainer or had a child with one. What tips and tricks do you have to make sure they are taken care of properly at school, worn, and all that other fun and important stuff that I am unsure of?

It's Me

P.S. If you are looking for a fantastic orthodontist in the Capital Region, just let me know. The office that we go to is amazing to work with and everyone is so understanding with children that have special needs.

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Middle School is Just What the Doctor Ordered

For years, I was preparing to send my oldest child to middle school. As a parent of a child on the autism spectrum, I felt like I had to advocate even more for this big milestone. One classroom and teacher in the elementary school would be a lot different than nine periods a day with just as many, if not more teachers. Middle schools are much larger, there are many more students, and it is a tough time developmentally for most if not all preteens.

Transitioning to Middle School

Without going into too many specifics, we had an amazing IEP for the start of middle school. Everyone at school greeted us at orientation with smiles and showed us around. The day before school, we went back in drop items off to the locker and make sure the lock was mastered. Each time we went to visit, the individuals at school were amazing. They knew my son, welcomed him, and eased my fears.

The first day of school came and went with only parental nerves on edge. NHL was excited for a fresh start. He was thrilled to already have his schedule memorized. He could not stop talking about having Social Studies and Science every day. He came out of school with a smile on his face and I was able to breathe.

What TechyDad and I experienced the next morning shocked us. NHL hopped out of bed and ran into our room telling is to get moving because he wanted to get to school. There was no hesitation, just energy and excitement to go and learn more from his teachers. This continued the following week. Each day, my son was more excited to go to middle school.

After I sent my son to school for the second full week, I did something that was important to me. I stopped to write a note to every member of my son’s team to let them know I was thankful. The middle school transition could have been a disaster. The reality was that because of everyone involved, NHL was off to a great start.

As I pushed the send button, I was a bit nervous. After so many years of fighting for supports and struggles, I did not want to jinx anything. Still, it was the right time to cheer everyone up and let them know. As a middle school teacher, I know you do not often hear positive feedback. So I sent the email to the principals, several people in the Special Education department, and the guidance counselor. At the last second, I decided to add one more person. Yes, my note praising the team at the middle school for helping my son transition also went to the superintendent of our district.

The responses from various people made me know that I did the right thing. It made me feel wonderful to know that I had made them smile and lifted their spirits.

So why am I writing this post?

My hope is that someone may read it and it will help them as their child is transitioning from elementary to middle school. While I know they are likely as worried as I was waiting for middle school to start, I want to reassure them that it may be just what the doctor ordered for your child. The structure of the day, the fresh beginning for each class period, and the mixture of different students helped my son. My Aspie adores knowing his schedule and not having to worry about changes within a single classroom. The structure of middle school allows that and so far he is doing very well. Sure there will be bumps in the road, but with the support of his team and open communication this experience could open up the world for my child.

It's Me

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