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Quality of Content: This material presents valid concepts, models, and skills. It is set up in a discussion format, in which common difficulties are expressed and teachers work together to find a solution. This software presents multiple educational concepts, models, and skills related to first grade addition and subtraction.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching-Learning Tool: This particular resource was originally created for the explanation stage of the learning process. This is directed towards the educator, as questions centered on mathematical concepts are presented. The majority of the material, however, is in the practice stage of the learning process. Many materials are introduced so that students may practice the addition and subtraction facts presented, and give students the opportunity to approach and internalize the concepts in a relatable manner. This material also contains short lessons which push student thinking and would be categorized as the applying stage. This is a great resource because it can be used for learners in every stage of the learning process. After successfully learning with the material presented, students will correctly add and subtract numbers through 30. The target learner is one who has difficulty memorizing addition and subtraction facts, and requires a hands-on and more authentic learning approach. This learner must use manipulatives, be given the opportunity to work with others when necessary, and is searching for a personal connection to the concept. The material presented improves both the educator and student’s ability to teach and learn the material. Since there are so many available resources, students and teachers will benefit from the variety of lessons. Resources are listed based on the needs of the teachers and students. The software can also be readily integrated into the current curriculum. Addition and subtraction skills are crucial in first grade and directly tied to future mathematical success. As a first grade teacher, I have found that these resources will seamlessly be tied into my teaching to promote authentic mathematical thinking. Many different learning needs are addressed, and a lesson plan or teaching technique is suggested for each. The teaching and learning goals are easy to identify, and are also easy to search through with the questions listed at the top of the piece. Lastly, good learning assignments can be written easily, as there are many math resources that can be adapted for lesson plans. Many of the resources also include ways to teach the concepts, making it extremely easy for the teacher to envision the use of the material in his/her own classroom.
Ease of Use: The labels, buttons, menus, text, and general layout are user-friendly and easy to navigate. The question links at the top of the page help direct the reader to the information needed. Although the reader does not become trapped in the material or feel overwhelmed, it is possible to become lost in the material. It is somewhat difficult to determine what is written among the commenting and resources, however, once it is deciphered there is an abundance of wonderful information. The module does provide feedback in that it is set up in a question and answer type format. That is, teachers post difficulties and a lesson or technique is provided. It is also flexible in that it can be used for many different learning styles, and provides both drill and practice format lessons, along with extension information to make the learning more meaningful. The learning material does not require much documentation, technical support, or instruction. The software simply presents materials that the teacher can provide to enhance mathematical thinking. The material is familiar to students in that it is all centered on addition and subtraction, but it is also attractive for students because of the wide-variety of resources.