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Toy Theater

  What it is: Toy Theater is a fun place for students to practice math, reading, art, and music through puzzle type games.  Toy Theater encourages students in k-4 to get their problem solving brain cells working as they explore and discover the games in Toy Theater.  In the art section, students can animate their own cartoon character, put on a puppet show, or make a Matisse.  In the music section, students can make music with the Composer, interact with notes with The Music Maker, or go on a pounding mission with the Drum Beats, you will have miniature maestros in no time.  In Math students can practice math facts with flippy flashcards, or feeding Freddy, and take a math practice test to put those math skills to the test.  In the reading section students can enjoy a good joke, play with words with a sliding crossword puzzle (highly entertaining for teachers too), write their own road sign, or practice their typing skills.  In the puzzle section students brains gt put to the limit with tic tac toe and memory games.  In the playset section, students can create their very own virtual diorama about cars, sea creatures, plant, insects, ships, characters, aircraft, blocks, dinosaurs, and buildings. How to integrate Toy Theater into the classroom: Toy Theater is a great website to use as a learning center in your classroom.  The short, easy to play games are perfect for short center activities.  I love the puzzle type environment that encourages problem solving and bends the brain a little.  The playset universe would be a great section to use with an interactive whiteboard, students could take turns creating a ‘universe’ to showcase learning on a topic such as ocean, plants, insects, dinosaurs, geometry, etc.  Students can work together to show what they know together.  After students create a playset, have them pull out a writing journal and journal about the playset the class created.  Being a computer teacher I am constantly looking for fun ways to let students practice typing skills.  In the read section you will find a game called letter fall, letter blocks fall from the sky, students have to type the letter before 5 blocks can stack up. There are multiple speeds to make the game a challenge for your different typing levels.  In the computer lab setting, see who can last the longest before 5 letter blocks stack up (there is a timer at the bottom of the screen).     Tips:  This is a great site to send your students to when they finish work early and are asking “what can I do now?”     Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Toy Theater  in your classroom.

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Hooda Math: math fact practice that feels like fun

Posted by admin | Posted in Fun & Games, Knowledge (remember), Math, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Websites | Posted on 09-06-2014

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Hooda Math: Practice math facts and have fun

Flappy factors: learn math playing games

What it is:  Hooda Math is a fantastic collection of math games that give students the opportunity for math fact practice while having fun. The games are based on other addicting games like Flappy Birds and 2048. Instead of just playing the games to see how far they can get, students also get some built-in fact practice. For example, in Flappy Factors, students maneuver a bird through a maze of pipes. Each pipe has an integer on it, students must fly through the correct factor of a target multiple that is given. Students must avoid the pipe with the incorrect integer. As students advance through the game, a progress report is generated that can be emailed to a teacher or a parent. The Hooda Math site has been created for a variety of platforms…perfect for a BYOD classroom!

How to use Hooda Math in your classroom: Hooda Math is organized by category types: Mobile games, Shopkeeper games, Geometry games, Logic games, Number games, Physics Games, Growing games, Building games, and Escape games. The games can also be organized by grade level, subject, or category. There are over 500 games in all, ensuring something for everyone in kindergarten through high school.

Students at Anastasis LOVE mobile games. When Flappy Birds came out, they were often spending hours (truly!) playing these games in their free time. Hooda Math games are a great way for students to practice math facts and skills while they are playing. Math becomes significantly less challenging when facts become second nature. Hooda Math games are a great way for students to practice their math facts without hours of flash cards. Math practice becomes fun and the challenge is not just in figuring out the trick to the game, it is also unlocking the building blocks of math.

When I taught a computer class, I often had students lament that they would NEVER be able to learn to touch type. I often asked these students, “do you play video games? Do you have to look at the controller when you play to see what to press next?” They always answered, “No! I would lose if I had to look at the controller.” I would follow-up by asking them how they memorized what to do to the controller to win. Light. Bulb. Moment. The same is true for these math games. Students can play these games like they would other popular games, if they know their math facts, they are more likely to “live” longer and win the game.

I learned my math facts when my third grade teacher made up rhymes and a Chinese jumprope game where you had to know your facts to stay “in.” We learned our multiplication tables in no time! (If anyone knows this game, I would LOVE to remember how to play it, leave the link/directions in a comment below.) I suspect that Hooda Math games could have the same outcomes for your students. When the facts are the key to winning, there is a different motivation to know them (beyond just completing the worksheet/test).

In a one to one device environment, students can play the games that build skills where they need them. Students can play at their own level. In the one or two computer classroom, use Hooda Math as a math center rotation. Students can travel from center to center in small groups and take turns playing the games that meet their individual needs.

Be sure to pass on Hooda Math to your student’s families. It is a great way to practice at home and over summer break.

Tips: Don’t forget to have your students send you the progress report at the end. This helps you keep track of their progress without the need for worksheets.

Are you using Hooda Math in your classroom? Leave a comment below and share the ways that you use it with students!

Rodan + Fields Consultant

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