Here’s an article which I wrote for the July/August issue of Families Leeds.
STOP the SUMMER Brain Drain…
How do you stop the hard work of the past academic year simply falling out of your child’s head over Summer? Should you keep learning going over the six week break? And can you do it without arguments? Yes, if you take advice from Kip McGrath’s Bill Moody and his hi-tech holiday solutions. You’ll be begging your child to get on their tablets!
Duolingo is a language app that offers various ways to learn. It uses your smartphone to speak to you so you can translate and uses the microphone so you can practice pronunciation. It ‘gamifies’ learning so there are various activities and lives to be lost. I’m learning Spanish on it with my daughter who is 13 but it is suitable for Years 3 to 6.
DragonBox is an algebra skills app. There are two levels both of which are quite expensive for an app. Instead of x and y, the app begins by using animated boxes and creatures. The screen is split into two sections and the idea is simply to match up opposites to eliminate them and leave the DragonBox on its own. The game is all drag and drop and a really intuitive way to learn.
My daughter and I have finished both versions of this app. It gets more complicated and gradually introduces the more traditional looking algebra forms but is completely addictive. There are skill builder areas where you can practise certain functions. Even the basic version gets quite sophisticated quite quickly so I would suggest this is for Year 5 or Year 6.
RADIUS OF THE LOST ARC
It’s the worst pun you’ll hear today, but it’s also a great maths game where the player answers questions to progress through the level. Graphics, if not Xbox standard, are cute and there are four levels of difficulty. There is no sign up and it’s good to go. This game is probably suitable for Years 3 to 6 depending on the level.
Evernote Peek is an app which requires some input at the beginning because you are making your own flashcards. It works on an iPad with Apple’s own smart cover (the bendy, folding one) because you use that to reveal the question, or a clue, or the answer. This app can be used to generate reading flashcards to practise sounds, topic flashcards to revise, or more open ended activities like suggesting complex sentences to complete. Because the range of topics is up to you it is suitable I would suggest for any age.
I recommend this to parents who want some extra fun with their maths homework. It has loads of fun games that help with times table practise.
ONE FOR PARENTS – ELEVATE
I’ve been playing with this for the last ten days. It’s all about verbal reasoning. It’s expensive for the monthly or annual licence but for free you get a new set of activities once a day which you can play as many times as you like. Listen to a conversation and drag and drop relevant details, match opposites, complete words from clues, précis passages, and many other activities. It looks beautiful too. When you have 10 minutes to spare, give yourself a brain workout! Enjoy your summer!
Bill Moody runs Kip McGrath in Adel. http://www.kipmcgrath.co.uk • 0113 266 0965
If you have any other app tips for learning over the summer, I’d love to hear about them! Just add a comment below.