In this post, I have some recommendations for iPhone apps to help 4-6 year olds learn their times tables. All in good time though. If that's all you came for, scroll down, otherwise, indulge me while I regale you with the usual sort of tale of our day...
Elizabeth has worked super-hard today. She did her maths app while I did violin with Francesca. Then, she moved on to literacy. She read some of the words from the last Jolly Phonics big book. Words like: swing, broom, roundabout, bat and ball, squirrels and lobster pots. Good stuff!
Then she did her word wall with me and we've started ticking on the backs of the words she is confident with, with a view to removing these from the pack and replacing them with harder ones. These are the words that I am hoping she'll get to know by sight - like 'said' which is hard to sound out but very common.
Then she did some of her new maths book. I had found it in a pile of stuff donated by a kind friend. It's perfect for where she is with her maths because it is about counting to ten and number recognition and formation. She did the first page and got a sticker reward. She was especially pleased when I showed her that the book is for 5-6 year olds.
Then she did some cutting and sticking to match pictures with the letters they begin with and the word written fully.
Still more after that, she did one of the phonics sheets that I'd made her - with sounds b and f. She drew a bone for b and a fan for f.
AND she did some of her literacy book, practising writing sounds ff, ss, ll and zz in the right places to make words. I'm very impressed with her work ethic. Long may it last!
Francesca did a pretty good practice on the violin this morning. She didn't get through everything but there was an awful lot to do, so we'll tackle more tomorrow.
After that, she went off to listen to a story tape (she's found the long lost and much loved Matilda) despite my saying that I wanted her to do her maths and English. This meant that later, when Elizabeth had her tv time, Francesca was still working on her maths and English. She didn't mind too much and she did get to watch some tv later. We've moved tv day to a Monday so that Francesca isn't such a zombie at her violin lesson on a Friday.
Later, she appeared downstairs again and did some maths on an app. More on those apps in a moment.
She's not the only one interested in maths apps. Sebastian wanted my phone and refused to be fobbed off with the easy-peasy drawing thing or the fishy game. "My maths!" he insisted, so, I made a log-in for him to do that maths that Elizabeth has just worked through. It was too easy for Elizabeth. It didn't do any harm to let him play with it.
Well, he followed the instructions perfectly and had no problem with the first section, on grouping objects according to shape and colour. He fell down on the second section, which required one to know ones colours. So, we know what to aim for next with Sebastian - once he knows his colours, this app will be a breeze!
For literacy, Francesca made a word family picture. This is a way to help with spelling. You take a group of words with the same spelling pattern and make a picture to remind you that they all belong in the same family.
Ours was 'ound'. Francesca's picture represents lots of 'ound' words.
The writing says, "A hound found flowers in the ground round the mound. A pounding sound is bound to wake them."
It was a fun way to think about spellings - I hope we'll do a whole set of these pictures, for memory jogging when it comes to spelling. Francesca asks for lots of spellings when she's writing her stories. She hates to make mistakes so she always wants confirmation. I'm writing them all in a spelling book for her, so she can look them up herself. This word-family work ought to reinforce this.
Elizabeth made cakes again. I wrote my Be-Ro recipe out more simply for her, with pictures, and helped her through it. I'm hoping that it'll jog her memory when she does it the next few times, even though she may not be able to read it all, so she'll become more independent when cooking. She's certainly confident and enthusiastic. No reason why she shouldn't make her own cakes these days!
Those apps I mentioned....
Someone was asking me if there were any apps I could recommend for getting a child of about 5 to learn their times tables.
These are a few that we've been using to encourage Francesca.
Mental Maths by Trilliarden - This is our favourite maths app at the moment. Well worth a few pence for the full functionality, though you can try it in 'lite' for free. It does all sorts of maths and caters for many levels of ability. For times tables, I love that I can specify which tables I want Francesca to work with. She loves the challenge of finding out what the picture is going to be and she works hard so as not to get any grey squares (questions wrong). It only goes up to 10x, which is fine for us at the moment but I wonder why it doesn't do the full 12?
Times Tables Game by WissApp - This is a simple, sweet little game for practising times tables. It is easy to use and very cheap to upgrade to get all the tables, right up to 12x12. I like this as a change from Mental Maths. I can select which tables are to be practised.
Times Tables Personal Assistant by Unit11 - For variety and versatility, this app scores highly. Francesca loves the fact that she has her own login and a little icon which she chose to go with her name. I like the fact that I can choose from a range of styles of questioning - multi-choice, keypad entry, drag and drop etc. It is useful for practising the full range of tables and, again, I think we'll enjoy using it as a change from Mental Maths.