Is four times always the same as two times doubled?

One of the trickiest part of teaching multiplication deals with the distributive property. Because of this, we made the distributive property the focus of Mt. Multiplis, our multiplication app.

The Common Core State Standards expect third graders to use the distributive property when multiplying (which you and I learned in middle school): “Knowing that 8 × 5 = 40 and 8 × 2 = 16, one can find 8 × 7 as 8 × (5 + 2) = (8 × 5) + (8 × 2) = 40 + 16 = 56” (CCSM.3.OA.B.5). That’s one complicated equation, and it’s hard to imagine that most 9-year-olds, who are just learning how to multiply, are able to make sense of that notation. So, we set out to see if we could not only make this complex content more approachable, but also fun.

At its core, the distributive property is about groups. It connects multiplication and addition by letting you break up a multiplication problem into smaller chunks. For example, when solving 7 x 8, you can think of it as 7 groups of 8. But, how does that help you multiply? Let’s say you forgot what 7 x 8 is, but you know 5 x 8 is 40. You can then think of 7 x 8 as 5 groups of 8 plus 2 more groups of 8, that’s 40 + 16.

In Mt. Multiplis students explore this property by using groups of wooden planks to build bridges. To fill a 7 by 8 area, students drag over 5 planks of 8 and then drag over another 2 planks of 8.


The best part of playtesting has been watching kids discover the applications of the distributive property on their own. While playing Level 5, which features a lot of 11 x __ problems, one fourth grader literally said, “Aha!” as he realized for the first time, why the 11s rule works. He explained to me that the 11s facts are easy (i.e. 5 x 11 = 55, etc), but that he didn’t know why the shortcut works, until playing Mt. Multiplis. Solving 11 x 7, he dragged over 10 groups of 7 to make 70 and then dragged over 1 more 7.

Another third grader was working through several 4 x __ problems. She would consistently drag out 2 planks and then use the Double-It card to make another set of 2 planks. She first saw the problem 4 x 6, dragging out 2 six-planks to make 12 then used the Double-It card to make another group of 12. She did not fully trust that the answer was actually going to be 24, but she entered it in anyway and was surprised when it was correct. Next, she solved 4 x 3 and then 4 x 8 in the same way. After solving 4 x 8, thinking about 16 doubled, she asked me, “Does that always work…with the 4 times problems…you can just double the 2 times?” Yep, it always works. And that’s some pretty sophisticated algebraic thinking. Another way to phrase her question: Does 4y = 2y + 2y? Yes, because of the distributive property.

To download Mt. Multiplis, go to: bit.ly/TeachleyApps

For a free extension activity to use with your students, click here.

 

Kara Profile Pic_smallKara

Teachley’s Photo Contest- Win an iPad

Congratulations to @ParoneK for winning our iPad mini filled with math apps! We loved your picture of how you use Teachley in the classroom!

Congratulations to our Finalists: @Chestnutbestnut @scottalan27 @cb6022 @MrsMarkersK

iPad Contest

How to win?

Tweet a photo of an extension activity (i.e. lesson plan, teacher-created game, whiteboard lesson, center activity, etc.) you have used to extend learning from any of Teachley’s apps. Share the photo by tagging @teachley and the hashtags #WeLoveTeachley #elemmath.  The person with the best activity will win an iPad mini filled with great math apps! Four finalists will each receive free promo codes for our apps. Tweet your photo by March 17th to be eligible to win. The winner will be announced on Twitter and the contest blog post on Thursday, March 24th.

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All participants must be over 18, have a valid school email address and a U.S. shipping address to be eligible to win. Visit our official rules to learn more.

Welcome BrainPOP teachers!

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Teachley is so excited to bring demo versions of Addimals and Subtractimals onto BrainPOP’s GameUp platform.


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Here are a few extension activities you can try with your students after they play Teachley Add and Subtract on GameUp.

K-2 Extra Practice

Rekenrek activity

To get the full versions of Teachley’s award-winning math apps, go to: bit.ly/TeachleyApps. We also offer in-depth data reporting and intervention support.  Contact info@teachley.com to learn more.

Teachley Winter Break Math Practice

Happy Holidays!

Slurp and Patooey

To celebrate, we’re giving you Winter Break Math Practice packets to send home over vacation! To download, go to:

http://bit.ly/1M3p1P8

 

Encourage students to practice their math facts over winter break!

We know that students often slip in their academic skills over vacations. So, we’ve created different math practice packets for Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades to encourage students to practice their math facts and strategies.

 

Hope you have a wonderful, relaxing holiday vacation!

Love,

Your friends at Teachley

Avoiding the Speed Round

How to Avoid the Speed Round when Playing Addimal Adventure

While many kids love the task of beating the Professor Possum in the Speed Round (including an entire classroom of excited First Graders we visited yesterday at Brooklyn Arbor School), we wanted to share a tip for using Addimals with younger students (PreK, Kindergarteners) and with students who feel anxious during the timed Speed Round.

To skip the Speed Round:

Students should press the Home button during the “Blocks Won” screen (which appears right after the Tool Round ends) and then tap the Stop Sign. Students will be brought back to the Splash Screen where they can find their profile and begin playing a new Tool Round.

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Questions? Please feel free to reach out to us directly at info@teachley.com. We love hearing from you!

Introducing Teachley: Subtractimals!

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We are thrilled to announce the launch of Teachley: Subtractimals, our new math app for K-2nd grade students. Click here to download.

Subtractimals starts where Addimal Adventure leaves off. The sinister Professor Possum is at it again, this time trying to steal orbs of light from the home of our newest character, Slurp (Patooey’s cousin). Students solve subtraction problems to defeat the villain and are introduced to two effective subtraction strategies: count back and count on.

Slurp, our new cute green frog helps students count back when subtracting. There are two ways to use Slurp to subtract.

  • Count back 1-by-1: Tap on Slurp and he will eat 1 block at a time as you count back. For instance, to solve 6-2, you can tap on him one time and he will take away one block from your 6-block as you say “5”. Tap him again and he removes a second block as you say “4,” which is the answer. For added scaffolding, you’ll notice the count back serial notation appear with each action.
  • Count back multiple blocks (Part-Part-Whole strategy): For more advanced students, touch and hold Slurp to have him gobble up more than 1 block at a time. For 6-2, you can have him slurp up 2 blocks at the same time to see a visual of the 6-block divided into a 2-block and a 4-block.Slurp count back Lila

Patooey makes her return with the count on strategy, as she did in Addimals. This time, she uses count on to help kids connect addition and subtraction.

  • Count on 1-by-1: Tap on Patooey and she will spit out 1 block at a time to help you count on. For instance, for 10-8, you will see an outline of a 10 frame with 8 blocks filled in. After you press Patoeey once, she spits a block onto the 8-block, making 9. Press her 1 more time and she spits another block, which fills up the 10 frame. You count on as she spits, “8,9,10” and see that she has spit 2 blocks, the answer.
  • Count on multiple blocks: More advanced students may be able to figure out that Patoeey needs to spit 2 blocks out to complete the 10 frame. Touch and hold her until the number 2 appears and she will spit out 2 blocks at a time to complete the 10 frame.IMG_0041

Like in Addimals, the Speed Round encourages kids to answer quickly and gives scaffolded hints when needed.  Kids love the excitement and fun of the speed round.Speed round Subtractimals Lila

Subtractimals is optimized for schools with Common Core aligned content and personalizes learning for every child, even on shared iPad devices. Teachers can create or log in to their existing Teachley accounts to adapt the app for each student. Schools that subscribe to Teachley: Operations can get in-depth data reporting in real-time on all of Teachley’s math apps. To sign up for a free trial, click here.

Subtractimals is available for iPad on the App Store for $2.99 in the U.S. and priced accordingly worldwide. Click here to download.

Giveaway: Summer math practice packets

Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 12.40.48 PMWe can’t believe it’s the end of the school year already! As a thank you to all of our teachers, we’ve created K-2 and 3-5 Summer Math Packets that your students can work on over the summer. They’re filled with challenging and thoughtful word problems for students to tackle.  Download the packets below and feel free to share with your colleagues!

 

Have a great summer break and stay tuned for the release of Subtractimals, coming out this summer.

K-2nd Summer Math Packet

3rd-5th Summer Math Packet

Teachley Awarded $300K in New Funding

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We are excited to officially announce that Teachley has been awarded two new federal grants totaling $300K to expand our product offerings for schools.

The first grant, from the Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, will enable third party apps to integrate with Teachley Analytics. What this means for schools? Teachers sign in to one app which syncs their class lists with a variety of fun and engaging new apps!

Our second award is from the National Science Foundation to develop a fractions product line for 3rd-5th grade students. We’ll be reaching out to schools for beta testers of our new app, which we’re sure students and teachers will love!

Sharing devices: What this means for teachers and students

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We all know that tablets are best suited for personal use. But, let’s face it. Tablets are expensive and schools are on tight budgets. It’s also an enormous feat to roll out a 1:1 iPad program successfully (think LAUSD). Thus, the majority of schools (75% in fact) have students share devices.

This sounds like a great solution. Spend less money, have kids share.

 

But here’s the problem. The overwhelming majority of apps save kids’ progress locally on whatever device they are using and don’t have logins. These apps do not have a way to keep track of individual student’s progress (aka personalize learning) on shared devices. Now this may not be a problem for creativity apps, like Explain Everything or iBook creator, but for content apps this is a real problem, especially considering that a class of 25 first graders may have some kids who struggle to count correctly while others are ready for multi-digit subtraction. It means that when Malik plays a math app and gets to level 4 and he passes the iPad to Shania, she either has to start playing where Malik last left off (even if she should be on level 2) or she has to reset the game and start from the beginning again. All this talk about personalized learning goes right out the window when you’re dealing with shared devices.

 

So what are we doing to help?

At Teachley, we’ve heard from so many of you about the frustrations of having iPad carts or a station/center model where kids share devices but can’t save their progress. So, we developed classroom features, like the teacher login, that let’s you create a class list to let students continue playing right where they last left off, no matter what iPad they use.

 

Here’s how it works:

Teachers create a free Teachley account on our website: www.teachley.comWhen you create this account, you add your class list.

 

Center/Station Model (A set of shared iPads that lives in a classroom, but not enough for every student in the class)IMG_0060-2

The classroom teacher logs into each classroom iPad with her email and password. She only has to do this one time, for each of our apps. When a student presses the play button, he simply taps on his picture to keep playing where he left off.

 

Cart Model (A set of iPads that travels from classroom to classroom. Usually there are enough tablets for each child to have her own iPad, but not always.)

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The tech coordinator (or the teacher in charge of the cart) logs into the devices with a cart ID and password (Teachley connects all the classrooms together to create a cart ID for schools). The coordinator then logs into each iPad on the cart (Rest assured, this only happens one time). When a kid presses the play button on our apps, she first taps her teacher’s picture and then her own picture to start playing.

 

1:1 iPad Model:

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With a 1:1 iPad program, apps may save your students’  work, but if something happens to one of your devices or students need to switch tablets mid-year, they’ll lose all of their hard-earned progress. With Teachley, teachers with 1:1 iPads login to each classroom device once with their teachley account. Once logged in, a student simply finds her picture and the device automatically remembers it’s her iPad, even after the app is closed. (It’s easy to reassign the iPad if a child moves away or switches classrooms. Learn how here).

 

And, there’s more.

Because Teachley saves students’ progress, we’re able to give rich data to teachers about how students are doing and where they’re struggling. Check out a free trial of Teachley Analytics here.

 

Questions?

We always want to hear from our teachers. Send us an email at: info@teachley.com and we’ll get back to you right away.

 

We’re Springing into Action

We’re celebrating Spring with lots of exciting new product launches and updates!

App Updates:

Mt. Multiplis is now optimized for classroom use.  You can log in to your existing Teachley account and personalize the gameplay for each of your students. Watch the trailer below to see how it works. Download the update at bit.ly/MtMultiplis.

Don’t already have an account? No problem, it’s easy! Create your free account here.

 

An update for Addimal Adventure is also available. This update includes enhanced login functionality, especially for schools using shared iPad carts.

 

You’ve been asking for it, so we’re developing it. A Teachley subtraction app is currently in development. Expected launch: Summer 2015!

 

Free Trials to Teachley Analytics:

In-depth Reports

 

We know it’s been a busy year! If you haven’t had a chance to try our in-depth data reporting and intervention support features, now is the time. We’re opening up free trials to Teachley Analytics for the rest of the school year. End the year knowing how much progress your students have made. Use the reports during parent-teacher conferences or share your students’ success with your principal. Take a minute and sign up here.

 

 

PD Resources:

PD ResourcesWe’ve launched a new feature on the Teachley dashboard: PD Resources. Here, you’ll find a library of instructional videos designed to help you use apps to teach specific math lessons.  More resources, including quick assessment tips will be added soon! To access PD Resources, simply login to your Teachley dashboard here.

 

 

 

Have ideas or suggestions for other updates or new features we should develop?  Email us at info@teachley.com. We’d love to hear from you!