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Pros: Lots of ways to customize learning for each student.
Cons: Virtual coins-based reward system may frustrate some kids and move the focus away from learning.
Bottom Line: Multiple-choice questions test kids' early math, reading, and spelling skills.
Use TeachMe: Kindergarten to help kids retain and recall basic preschool lessons, as well as to discern the subject areas (numbers, letters, basic phonics, shapes, counting, and colors) in which individual students may need more attention. This app tracks number of correct and incorrect answers, as well as when a question has been mastered (that number can be set by the teacher for each individual student; the app's default settings start at three correct answers for a question to be mastered). Since teachers can also set how many questions kids must answer before they get a reward sticker, there's lots of flexibility in how much time kids need to spend per play session. The app stores progress for each student, so they can build their coin total over time.
TeachMe: Kindergarten allows teachers to fine tune and track each student's learning experience. After Mimi the mouse teacher gives introductory instructions, kids tap the green "Play" arrow and see a question about sight words, addition, subtraction, or fill-in-the-blank spelling. Mimi gently explains incorrect answers and prompts kids to try again: "'Z' is not the missing letter. Find the missing letter for the word 'apple.'" Math questions show objects to be added from a bucket or subtracted into a trash can above the math problem. After answering a certain number of questions correctly (which can be set by teachers at a different number for each student), kids receive virtual coins that they can spend on stickers to decorate a scene or fish for a virtual aquarium. Kids are turned away at the cash register if they don't have enough coins for the sticker or fish they want to buy. Teachers can also manually raise a student's skill level and toggle subjects on or off.
Kids can learn simple math, sight words, and spelling from a cute mouse dressed as a teacher in TeachMe: Kindergarten. Each question is multiple choice, so kids use deduction as a red "x" appears for wrong answers. Level 1 (of 5) helps kids count by displaying numbers as they tap on objects added (from a bucket) or subtracted (into the trash); in other levels kids count objects themselves. Questions include Pre-K and Kindergarten-level Dolch sight words. Math problems are done especially well, allowing kids to manipulate a number of objects onscreen to see how a math problem works in literal terms; for example, "2 + 2" may be accompanied by two balls, and the child can pull two more balls out of a nearby bucket to then count all four together. Click-and-drag controls make playing easy for young ones. The reward system gives nice incentives for continued use, as long as kids don't focus too much on collecting coins and buying stuff at the cash register.