Wednesday, July 31, 2013

FASTT Monsters Teach Kids

Scholastic released a really neat application a few months back, and my son is almost old enough to start playing with it. Okay, not really he just likes to watch me play with it. Sushi Monster is a fantastic application (particularly on iPad) for kids who need to learn fundamental mathematics.

4 Out Of 5 Stars

Sushi Monster has gotten great reviews already, but please let me add to the chorus of raving parents and teachers. Common Sense Media rated the app 4 out of 5 stars for Quality, saying it “is a fun and effective way to practice addition and multiplication.”

The monsters are well drawn, both funny and colorful (and cute?) enough for boys and girls, moms and dads alike. Imagine if Domo suddently had an app to teach fundamental math skills, and he brought a dozen friends along! That’s what Sushi Monster is like.

Aside from the well designed characters, the application really does offer value in terms of learning. The application is based on a math fluency curriculum offered by Scholastic, and the game engages learners in challenging but fun exercises to learn addition and multiplication. Sushi Monster disguises the learning perfectly well, no boring math here... again, even my 2 year old wants to play with it.

Best Apps for Kids writes: “Sushi Monster is on eof those apps that you just can’t go wrong with -- it is entertaining, educational, and free!” And Free Tech 4 Teachers says you should definitely add Sushi Monster to your list of apps for elementary math. Agreed!

FASTT Math Next Generation

Fastt Math is a math program for grades 2 through 8 which stands for Fluency and Automaticity through Systematic Teaching and Technology. Scholastic developed the program to address Operations and Algebraic Thinking, Number and Operations, The Number System, and Expressions and Equations, and has nicely unpacked how their program addresses new Common Core Standards for each of these.

The program works well as digital content due to the short duration. Rather than a demanding 30 minutes (or more!) the progam calls for just 10 minutes a day. This great for attention spans of young people, but also great for delivering content via a tablet. It’s also easy for teachers, who can implement the program is a variety of ways including in-class, as intervention, at home, etc. It’s fun and versatile.

Coming soon, Scholastic promises to release 17 more new games built on the FASTT math program. Hurray for us all if they are as engaging and creative as Sushi Monster!