Engaging Students in Math, Even When the Teacher Isn’t Looking.


We recently interviewed Cindy Bess, a first grade teacher at Webber Elementary School in Westminster, California. She is always on the look out for apps that will not only supplement her curriculum, but are intuitive enough for students to play independently. Cindy has been using Zap Zap Math since the beginning of this year and continues to use it because her kids love playing the games!

How are you using learning technologies in the classroom?

We have an independent learning center for our first grade students. The purpose of the center is for students to continue to practice their skills ­ (math and others)­ on various iPad or Chromebook applications after we have covered concepts in the classroom. The learning center continues to engage students in their education even when I am not present.

How did you come across Zap Zap Math and why did you choose to use it?

I found Zap Zap Math by googling “first grade apps”. Every few months I google apps and look through them for my class. I download the ones that look good, play it some, and then turn my first graders loose if I like it and see how it goes. When choosing an app I look for something that is going to hold their attention and practice the first grade curriculum at the same time. Since my students are using the iPads at centers the apps need to be easy to use, yet challenging for my higher level students.

How has Zap Zap Math helped you more effectively teach and engage students?

Our kids love playing games and solving problems. Zap Zap Math has a great user interface that is very fun, interactive and exciting. That’s what keeps my kids attention. We’ve stuck with Zap Zap Math because my students say they love playing the games. When my students learn a concept from me and then find it in the game they are playing they become very excited and gain a deeper understanding for that curriculum. Also, it is much easier to teach a new curriculum when they have had some exposure to it before in their games. I’ve also given my students Zap Zap Math information to bring home to their parents. Some of them have just taken their parents smartphones or tablets and downloaded the game themselves! This is encouraging.

What are you most excited about for Zap Zap Math?

I’m excited to see the new games that are being released and I like how Zap Zap Math is tying all its games to Common Core. This is really important as it can help with curriculum planning and choosing the right games for my kids to keep playing. The dashboard is a great new innovation so I can understand what kids are struggling with so I can help them. But most important, looking forward to more games that keep my kids engaged with math ­ even when I’m not around!

We’re glad that Cindy has been able to incorporate fun to her lessons via Zap Zap Math. If you’re interested to try out the app, go here to download a copy! Teachers and parents, sign up for the Teacher/Parent Web Dashboard here .

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