What is OSMO and Why it needs to team up with MathRack

I am a huge proponent of using manipulatives at all ages, but I am also a proponent of integrating technology based manipulatives. So, I am a fan of using both. The world kids live in now, they need that experience with the technology...but there is just something to say about having the real thing in your hands. Recently, I learned about a tool called Osmo for your iPad that lets kids do both. As soon as I watched the video they have on their site, I bought one (but they are backordered until October:( )...it is a very cool concept. The kids have the physical manipulatives, but Osmo lets them interact with the tools through games on the iPad. Amazing!!!  For instance, Osmo comes with a set of Pattern Blocks and the game on the iPad shows the puzzle to make, but the kids make it with the physical manipulatives right in front of the iPad and the iPad recognizes the placement of the shapes and shows when the kids place it correctly.  Who ever created this is a genius!!  

I also think Adrian Treffers is a genius because he came up with the idea for the Rekenrek, also known as a MathRack, Number Rack, and Arithmetic Rack.  The original rekenrek was designed in the Netherlands to help kids develop number sense and strategies for their "basic facts," but I work with the MathRack company who makes this version:
When I saw the video for Osmo, my first thought was how many cool things you could do with the MathRack using the Osmo device.   Here is a video I created of some of my favorite activities to do with kids using the MathRack.  I think Osmo could do a lot of Number Sense building for kids if the next game they create is using the MathRack...what do you think?

Watch Out for How Numbers are Shown in Ten Frame Apps

Ten Frames are amazing!  But how you fill a ten frame builds different reasoning for kids.  For instance here are four different ways to show the amount 7 using ten frames:

Builds 7's relationship to the Benchmarks of 5 & 10, my personal favorite!!!
Students can see 7's relationship to 10, but not to 5.  But, this format can be used to discuss doubles and doubles +1 along with even and odd
Showing 7 using two ten frames allows students to look at all the ways to decompose 7

Randomly placing the objects into a ten frame allows kids to develop their own grouping system and let them come up with the idea that it would be nice to use the built-in structure
So, how you represent numbers in ten frames builds different mathematical ideas...none are WRONG, but I do feel that some are more important than others.  I guess am having a hard time with the 'random placement' of objects in ten frames.  I don't see it building anything for kids except their own development of a personal grouping system instead of reliance upon using the structure of the ten frame...however, the power of using the ten frame is ITS STRUCTURE, so why place them randomly????  I believe it probably has a place later down the line of work with ten frames, but I am questioning even that??

This question has been plaguing me for a long time, mainly because of all the darn ten frame apps out there that place the objects randomly within the app.  What are your thoughts?  Does it bug you to see ten frames filled randomly or am I the only one?????


Ok, it didn't take long for this blog community and my Twitter friends to help me realize this is another case for why I call myself a RECOVERING Traditionalist.  Randomly placed Ten Frames have bugged me for years, but you guys were quick to let me know it was just the Traditionalist side of me that was bugged.  We should allow the kids to fill the frame whatever way they want instead of us dictating how they fill it...that way they make sense of the tool for themselves.  I am totally slapping my head this morning, because I just recently posted about how I hate when teachers tell students how to use Base 10 Blocks for subtraction and we need to just let the kids decide how to use them, and here I am saying the complete opposite for Ten Frames...just shoot me.  I want to give special thanks to Tracy Johnston Zager aka @TracyZager .  If you are on Twitter, go follow her...and if you aren't on Twitter, come join us!  I've learned so much in these few months that I have been active on Twitter.  The hard part is you can only type 140 characters.  I'd like to share with all of you what Tracy shared with me and my Twitter response to her, but it is separated into multiple messages due to the character limitations of Twitter:

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So, thank you for helping me realize that filling the frames sequentially has a purpose when subitizing after kids have had time to play with the tool and see the usefulness of the structure.  The structure is apparent to us adults, but we need to let kids play around and help them make sense for themselves.  Also, note the change to the caption on the random Ten Frame...it used to say "forces kids..." but now reflects more of my Recovering viewpoint. :)

App Task Challenges

App Task Challenges were developed by Craig Badura.  I saw his App Task Challenges on his website and decided to make some for the iPad trainings I do with K-5 Math Teachers.  Normally, I distribute these challenges to the participants via the Showbie app, but often there are participants there without their iPad.  So, here are the App Task Challenges to help you lean how to manuever through these apps: Educreations, Evernote, Note Anytime, Showbie, Qrafter, and App Smashing with Pick-A-Path, Educreations, and Skitch.

Download them all right HERE!!