How I Use It
Front Row can be a very useful tool in the classroom, especially for individual practice. I use this product as follow-up work to my whole group and small group lessons with my students, both assigning my students to work on a particular domain they need continued practice with, as well as having them continue in their adaptive practice in the domain we are currently focusing on for the unit/quarter. I find it most useful to monitor the progress of my students to see what they have and have not mastered on a weekly basis.
Students remain highly engaged, especially because they earn "coins" for every problem they answer correctly, and may trade in those coins for accessories to dress up their given avatars. While this is a highly motivating and engaging tool for students to use, it is not as customizable as I wish it could be. It does have an option for teachers to generate worksheets based off of their students' progress in specific standards, but this is not made available as an electronic option through their main online program.
Overall, I see a lot of benefits through using Front Row in my classroom. My students remain highly motivated and engaged with each and every lesson, and cannot wait to get on to continue their practice. It has helped to generate a lot of buzz about things they are learning and mastering in the different domains of math, which has fueled positive conversations between my students both in and out of my classroom. Other great benefits of Front Row are that the lessons and resources align with the Common Core and are reminiscent of many of the computer-based assessments my students are required to take throughout the school year. The program does a great job of keeping track of students' progress and adapting the material as they continue with their practice. Students are given multiple attempts at solving each problem, and if they do not input the correct response after these attempts, Front Row provides a video mini-lesson to help clarify how to solve the problem.
In order for my students to get the most out of Front Row, I often still have to provide physical manipulatives for some students who need those additional supports when the available virtual manipulatives are not sufficient enough. In addition, all my students also use dry-erase boards to work out most of the problems because it is difficult to "show their work" using the tools on the website. While I appreciated the fact that there was a variety of ways for students to input their responses (e.g. multiple choice, free-response, drag-and-drop, etc.), students sometimes had difficulty understanding exactly what they needed to do in order to answer the questions; moreover, students had the most frustration with inputting certain fractions because the program did not allow for the use of mixed numbers.