Today’s contributor: Kate Luft is a 4th grade teacher at Bear Creek Elementary. She is in her fourth year teaching and her second year as their Campus Innovation Coach. When not at school, Kate enjoys walking her dogs on the hike and bike trail.
Zearn is a software program that can be utilized for math located in the Austin ISD Portal. It has been provided to the district for K-8th grade, at no cost, as part of a TEA grant. Students and math teachers have already been rostered into Zearn from Frontline SIS by the district. As a teacher, I am really impressed with the step-by-step scaffolding this application provides for problem-solving. This scaffolding provides multiple strategies, models, and other ways to support students.
Zearn Math includes:
- Digital videos and activities for students to complete asynchronously
- Off-line problem sets
- Materials in Spanish
- Student note pages and exit tickets
- Professional learning opportunities within each mission
- Access to reports
These tools allow my students to solve more challenging problems in a guided way as they work their way through the leveled lessons. My students also are eager to engage with the application! They report:
“Zearn helps me remember facts and techniques to use when solving a problem.”
“Zearn helps me with taking my time on questions and understanding more mathematics.”
“Zearn helps me learn math and makes me confident in my math skills.”
And when asked, the majority of my students said that Zearn was the application they like most compared to Dreambox or ST Math.
The Zearn Teacher Portal allows teachers to see student progress, move students within the scope and sequence, and has a lot of resources to help Zearn be more than an individual student activity in the classroom.
When working in Zearn, students receive a lesson with 5 different activities that provide a fluency review, guided practice, and independent work as students make progress through the Zearn scope and sequence. These activities can include:
The Number Gym is the designated fluency embedded within every lesson of Zearn. My students love the mix-up of games and skills the number gym provides. This quick activity embedded in every lesson allows for lots of fluency practice to happen in an engaging way.
A Math Chat offers the opportunity for guided practice and is very similar to a Playposit. The students begin the math by making sure they have the required materials like a pencil and notebook. Students then have a digital teacher that guides them through the lesson while asking them to solve and record solutions within the video.
The Learning Lab is also part of the guided practice. This practice includes a few short teacher videos and then offers the opportunity for discovery through interactive scaffolding. My students enjoy manipulating digital tools to explore the different concepts.
Tower of Power:
The Tower of Power offers some really impressive independent practice to students. Challenging problems are chunked out in ways that build upon each other as a student is solving. This feature stands out to me even more as it uses relevant strip diagrams and other visual models to help students solve these problems. Then if students are struggling, the program will ask if they need a “boost”. This boost provides detailed how-to steps to guide students as well as provides multiple ways the student can solve the problem.
My students have enjoyed the challenge Tower of Power has provided them. They report:
“The Tower of Power helps me practice the math I learned in the other parts of this lesson.”
“The Tower of Power helps me with learning from my mistakes.”
Zearn Math has become a great digital tool in our classroom! The kids love using the application and the room echoes with celebrations of “Zearned it!” as they make math progress. I would definitely recommend checking out the application or any training opportunities provided this summer to learn more about how Zearn can be used in your classroom!
Here is a link to Zearn in 1 minute – check it out!