Clothed with Grace: Smartick: Mathematics for Children

Friday, July 21, 2017

Smartick: Mathematics for Children

At the beginning of summer I was offered a complimentary family account for Grant try Smartick: Mathematics for Children. Being a teacher, I know that there is around a 30% retention loss for kids over summer break if they don't continue to practice skills they already know, or work on learning new skills. I had a pretty good plan for reading and writing, but other than leftover math worksheets that Grant hadn't completed in his math booklet from first grade, I wasn't sure what I'd do. There are a number of fun math apps. out there, but Smartick is definitely a step above the other apps we have.

Memberships vary for an individual or family, and you can choose how many months you want to sign up for too. So, whether you want to keep your kid ahead of the curve and get in continual math practice before school starts, or if your child is struggling and can use some more practice, this app will be great for your child!

When signing up we put in Grant's information, grade level, age, etc. Then he did a baseline assessment of his skills. What makes Smartick special is that it self-adjusts to the child's ability and grows with them.

I have Grant complete this fifteen minute (estimated) program Monday-Friday and he usually finishes in less than fifteen minutes. He usually does this independently after breakfast while I'm getting ready, but if he is stuck on something I'll help him clarify.

This program can be used on the computer, or there is an apple for both Google and Apple that can be downloaded for free too. When you sign in it looks like this:




There is a page next that allows Grant to select his mood for the day. Grant always chooses "happy" or "very happy" because this varies the type of questions he gets for the day. One day he chose "very sad" because he was mad about something ridiculous and that day was super boring for him and didn't vary the questions at all.



Once he begins questions it says what question he is on at the top and his progress on the left. Note- I had Grant screen shot questions as he went to show the variety of questions he got. These pictures cover two days and not every question.

One of the things Grant is working on is tags and categories for things. He can hear each questions directions or simply read them.



He is also working on compare and contrast. This is pretty hard for him (and honestly, when I tried to help him I did it wrong the first time. Opps!


If Grant gets a question wrong it shows the solution down below. It also give a chance at the end to fix mistakes, which is great!



He's been doing a lot of simple adding and subtracting and he's able to use the Rekenrek to help. His complaint has been that this is too easy and he doesn't need the Rekenrek-he knows the answer.

This app is supposed to self-adjust to the kids level and I am beginning to see that.



He started to have some questions like this:


Then they progressed to this:
 

Then this:


Then finally this:



I'm assuming that if Grant hadn't done well, it wouldn't progress like this in one day, but he understood so this progress was within one session.

There have also been some memory questions. Grant screen-shotted this at the perfect time, but the top only shows for a second then disappears. Grant has to remember, then do that on the bottom.



At the end of his session he gets a page that looks like this. This is literally the worst he's done. Those compare contrast ones were killing him and he got like fifteen of them that day. After missing ten he was pretty upset and we sat down and worked through the rest together.

 

 I don't have a screen shot of this page, but you can also select have easy the questions were for the day as feedback. On this day, Grant marked "very difficult" which was pretty accurate for the compare contrast part, although he was perfect on the other components for the day.

 Then, you are able to go to this play screen where Grant can do things in each building and spend the stars he's earned to buy things like pets and skateboards. He can also personalize his character each day for free too. This is a fun way to end the session and Grant will sometimes play here for longer than his math took.

 

I also get an email sharing Grant's practice for the day, this was from yesterday's session. Usually he does this well.


When asking Grant about the program, he obviously would prefer NOT to work on school stuff during the summer, but he liked the program overall.

Some thoughts that I have:

-Early on I emailed my contact as the questions were WAY too easy, it turns out they had put Grant in the kindergarten program by accident and they were able to adjust that pretty easily.

-You can sign up for a free two week trial, which I highly suggest. I got a phone call asking my thoughts on the program after the two weeks. This is standard, but just because I'm review the program.

-Grant said he didn't mind, but I wish the number of questions was consistent each day or at least there was a way to see how many Grant would have to complete. On any given day he has done as few as 11 and as many as 50 questions. The first thing my students want to know is "how many questions are there." I definitely think adding this feature would benefit the user.

-I have four more months worth of membership for Grant and plan to continue using it with him, at least until school starts and then as needed.

-Being an English teacher, Math is not my jam, we all want our kids to do well, but without the expertise we might not know how to go about it; this program really takes the pressure off me to know all the answers and still help Grant grow!

Many our you still have a month before your kids go back to school, take advantage of Smartick and get your kiddo ready for success!

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