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April 8, 2014 Free App to Differentiate Math for K-8 By Erin Klein
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

    I have started using a FREE new math program this spring called Front Row. I’m really excited to start using this resource to teach math — I have heard amazing things about how engaging it is for students and how it has the potential to really help them grow in math. I’ve also played around with the dashboard, and I can’t wait to use it to tailor math instruction in my class!

    In particular, here’s why I’m most excited:


    1. Front Row is adaptive.

    Every student works at their own pace, so no student is in over their head, and no student is bored. This is a huge deal — the fact that Front Row can just do this automatically without any intervention from me frees up so much of my time to help my students individually and in small groups. And while I do, I can be sure the kids are learning at their own pace.

    They do this using a diagnostic pre-test the kids take the first time they use Front Row. This shows where the kids are, and then they practice at their own level. When they’re ready to move on to the next topic, they do so automatically! And when they need remediation or review, they get that automatically too!


    2. It’s Common Core aligned, and visually rich.

    Every question and every video in Front Row is Common Core aligned, so I know the material is keeping my kids on track. The program covers K-8 math, and has tons of Common Core aligned problems and videos for every standard — no matter where my kids are, they have material they can practice.


    3. It’s "Gamified."

    This really keeps the kids engaged. When they get questions right, they get coins. When they do well on a level, they earn stars! And occasionally, the little Front Row piggy makes an appearance, getting kids really excited.

    This gamified part of Front Row just makes it a joy for kids to use. This sort of engagement can make even the most disinterested kids really excited to practice math, helping them get the skills they need to succeed. The motivation is huge!


    4. It helps kids when they get stuck.

    Front Row has a lot of ways for students to get un-stuck when they have trouble. The greatest help for them is a short, one-minute video. The video goes over exactly what they’re stuck on, without giving away the answer. This helps the student figure out step-by-step what they might be forgetting, and helps them practice better.

    Front Row also encourages collaboration! When a student gets a question wrong, the program suggests another student he can talk to. This way, the student who is doing the explaining gets the material solidified in her head, and the student getting help gets to learn from a peer. It’s great to see this dynamic in which students are not only using technology to learn, but they’re helping each other out in real life.


    5. It has learning resources right in the program.

    When students use Front Row, they don’t need anything except the iPad or the Chromebook on their desk. This is because there’s scratch paper built right into the program! The iPad version has a whiteboard like educreations that the students can use to do math right in the app. They can also use virtual manipulatives to help them solve math programs, building a really strong understanding of the material.


    6. It offers individualized printable practice.

    One of the least fun things to do as a teacher is to make a worksheet that only a third of my kids will be able to do, and the rest of my kids will just hate. And it’s even worse to grade it. Amazingly, Front Row solves this problem too. With the click of one button, I can generate a separate printable for each student, and it will be at their level. It’s adaptive practice on paper that I can send home with my students!


    7. It automatically creates standards based report cards.

    In the teacher dashboard, there’s a tab that auto-creates standards based report cards for each and every student. This makes it really easy to have parent-teacher conferences where I can point out exactly how the student is doing on every topic - without having to grade tons of tests and quizzes! Step 1: Sign up for Front Row If you have an iPad handy, get it from the app store: Apple. Then click “Sign up” on the left to make a new account.If you don’t have an iPad handy, use the web version to sign up:

    click here to get starte


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Susan Cheyney