Activities are best for practice rather than introducing new topics. With no progress trackers in the free version, kids are on their own to experiment through trial and error with the material. The premium version offers more infrastructure and support. Teachers can show the introductory videos to the class, then have kids go through the topic sets on their own. Or, allow kids to explore and choose which topics they want to practice. When kids enter the Brainzy world, all learning topics are open to them, so teachers should provide some guidelines so the little ones don't get stuck with something that's way over their heads. Teachers need not be tied down by Brainzy's grade distinctions, though. Use the progress trackers to gauge what and how well kids are doing; some kids may be ready for more challenging material than others. And be sure to include lots of in-class activities that touch on the same topics to give kids a well-rounded learning environment.Continue reading Show less
Brainzy is an interactive platform (website and Chrome app) that gives kids practice with PreK, K, and first-grade math and reading skills. There are two ways to use Brainzy: the free way and the premium, paid way. The first offers a catalogue of games that gives kids a fun way to practice skills with numbers, sight words, addition, or vowel sounds. Scroll through the topics, pick a game, and get started. Then, search around to find another. The premium version packages these games (and more) with songs, videos, stories, and quizzes.
Kids play in their own individual account and with a personal avatar. They choose reading or math, and a grade level, and then enter an activity world where they can choose which learning subtopic they want to explore. A progress tracker shows how much and how well kids have done for each subtopic. When kids finish, they get very general feedback on their performance and can move on to the next topic, or play again to improve.
Brainzy is a nice collection of activities that address very typical early learning themes. The learning content is not unique, but the presentation, quality, and range of approaches is good -- particularly for K and first grade, somewhat less so for PreK. Math topics are more varied, whereas reading topics focus mostly on letters and stories (preK and K), sight words (K and first), and vowel sounds (K and first). Kids need to have good mouse skills, which may be hard for those who are beginning mouse users. Kids also get a nice package of different ways to interact with the learning material, which makes the site accessible to those with a range of learning styles and strengths. While the free version does not offer extra material or feedback, kids can still get simple, but fun, practice with common early learning topics –- as well as ads encouraging purchase of the premium version. It would be nice if grown-ups could suggest particular topics for kids to explore –- this could be especially useful in a classroom setting.
Key Standards Supported
Counting And Cardinality
Compare two numbers between 1 and 10 presented as written numerals.
Count to answer “how many?” questions about as many as 20 things arranged in a line, a rectangular array, or a circle, or as many as 10 things in a scattered configuration; given a number from 1–20, count out that many objects.
Count forward beginning from a given number within the known sequence (instead of having to begin at 1).
Correctly name shapes regardless of their orientations or overall size.
Measurement And Data
Order three objects by length; compare the lengths of two objects indirectly by using a third object.
Express the length of an object as a whole number of length units, by laying multiple copies of a shorter object (the length unit) end to end; understand that the length measurement of an object is the number of same-size length units that span it with no gaps or overlaps. Limit to contexts where the object being measured is spanned by a whole number of length units with no gaps or overlaps.
Tell and write time in hours and half-hours using analog and digital clocks.
Number And Operations In Base Ten
Understand that the two digits of a two-digit number represent amounts of tens and ones. Understand the following as special cases:
Operations And Algebraic Thinking
Relate counting to addition and subtraction (e.g., by counting on 2 to add 2).
Decompose numbers less than or equal to 10 into pairs in more than one way, e.g., by using objects or drawings, and record each decomposition by a drawing or equation (e.g., 5 = 2 + 3 and 5 = 4 + 1).
Fluently add and subtract within 5.
Key Standards Supported
Reading Foundational Skills
Know final -e and common vowel team conventions for representing long vowel sounds.
Distinguish long from short vowel sounds in spoken single-syllable words.
Demonstrate basic knowledge of one-to-one letter-sound correspondences by producing the primary or many of the most frequent sound for each consonant.
Associate the long and short sounds with common spellings (graphemes) for the five major vowels.
Read common high-frequency words by sight (e.g., the, of, to, you, she, my, is, are, do, does).
Distinguish between similarly spelled words by identifying the sounds of the letters that differ.
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