Bottom Line: A wonderful app focusing on important 1st grade skills, such as addition, subtraction, spelling and Dolch sight words. Provides three different types of incentives to keep a child engaged. Although a lot of practice is included, addition and subtraction concepts need to have more practice with the teen numbers, which is a strong focus in 1st grade.
TeachMe: 1st Grade is another terrific app from 24x7digital. It includes opportunities to practice four of the main 1st grade concepts: addition, subtraction, spelling and Dolch sight words. This customizable app is great for classroom use, as it allows for 40 different profiles to be set up, and at $1.99, it is affordable for at-home practice also.
Addition and subtraction problems are provided with the equation and pictures. Clicking on the plus or minus sign will merge the two groups of pictures or throw a set number in the trash. This visual is appropriate for a 1st grade level. The items are counted aloud when each one is clicked. The number also appears on that picture, which helps the user avoid tapping the same picture more than once while counting. For addition, I appreciate the way that the visuals are shown and are moved together with the click of a button for the child to count. I would like to be able to turn off the count aloud feature for some students, just to make sure they can count and add without hearing the numbers.
The subtraction problems are also very visual, but I do not like how the objects go away when the minus sign is touched. The objects move quickly into a trash bin, but there is no counting to go along with them or any way to see how many were actually moved. It would be nice for users to be able to drag each one to the trash by themselves for the practice of actually removing them instead of tapping a button for them to have them remove themselves. The current set-up leaves the child with some things to count instead of actually completing a subtraction problem.
The spelling questions provide a picture of an object and the teacher asks for the child to spell the word. There are two options for input located in the settings for each student. The input can be set for writing, in which a child writes out the word on the screen (which is set up to look like primary lined paper), or to keyboard, in which a child clicks letter tiles to spell out the word. The answers to the addition and subtraction problems have these two input options also. The writing feature on this app is one that I haven't seen on many apps, and I think it provides a wonderful opportunity for children.
Dolch sight words can be practiced by hearing a word and choosing it from four different words that are shown on the screen. At any time during the app, the user can tap the teacher icon to hear the question repeated.
The overall content of TeachMe: 1st Grade is appropriate for a 1st grade level. I did find that it was lacking in practice with the teen numbers for addition and subtraction. There are sums that are teens, but there is only one problem that has a teen number plus a one-digit number. Subtraction does not have any problems that include teen numbers minus a one-digit number that still result in a teen number. First grade works a lot on teen numbers and adding without regrouping as students prepare to learn regrouping in 2nd grade. This app provides a great number of questions for the price and it even allows for different levels to increase the difficulty of the questions presented for a student, but for a 1st grade app, the questions should be more focused on the teens than on sums of numbers from 1 to 10.
Each child's profile can be individualized for the questions asked, rewards earned, number to learn question and input mode. A list of questions that a child has learned and not learned can be viewed in settings. This section can have an adult password set to protect it also. Questions can be disabled for a student and the levels can be increased. An adult can choose the number of correct responses needed to earn a reward and the number of questions needed for a skill to be considered learned.
TeachMe: 1st Grade provides a help button that can be turned off or on in the settings. It can also be set to be allowed once a day per question. As a child plays, questions will cycle through so they are getting more practice with them. If a child receives help on a question, then they should be able to attempt it alone the next time they see it. This auto setting will help children to discover the answer on their own instead of always getting help. Answering a question with help does not reward the child with a green check either.
The user can earn a variety of rewards in the app. First grade can be a difficult time for rewards as children have many different interests. I appreciate that this app has provided three different types of rewards. As a child answers questions correctly, he will earn green checks. Once a certain number of green checks are earned, a coin is rewarded. This coin can be used to purchase items for a virtual fish tank, stickers for a variety of sticker scenes, or shaped rubber band bracelets within the app. These bracelets are something that children wear and love, so incorporating this into the app was a great idea that will highly engage children.
Overall, TeachMe: 1st Grade is a must-have app for children working at the 1st grade level on math facts, spelling, and sight words. It has a low price for the amount of content that it provides. I would like to see it match up more with Common Core Standards, specifically with the teen numbers for addition and subtraction, and I would appreciate if users could manipulate the visuals by themselves, but a child will get a great amount of practice by using this app. I highly recommend TeachMe: 1st Grade.