Kidspiration 3 is an updated version of the popular Kidspiration software that has been around since 2001. There is a 30-day trial version that is available for download. The new features are “user friendly” and make it a more valuable teacher and student tool.
One of the new features are the activities. These prepackaged lessons provide an example and then reinforce with follow-up problems for the students to solve. This has great potential to extend and remediate right in the classroom even with two computers like we have in POB. For example, as students finish a lesson with the teacher they can move to the computers.
Another option is during math learning centers (a.k.a-meeting the needs of all learners) the computers can be set-up as a choice. The great part of this is that the teacher, as needed, can modify the prepackaged problems. All that the teacher needs to do is click on the word problem to change the words and/or the numbers as needed. The fact that students cannot only solve the problems on the screen, but they have manipulatives right at their fingertips is a bonus. There is no need to leave the computer to get any type of material. If students are developing the concept of finding common denominators, students can click on a fraction box and each time they click, a new fraction is shown. If the new fraction is equivalent to the original fraction, the dotted lines of the original fraction match the solid lines of the equivalent fraction.
Besides the activities, you can choose the “Math View” option under new. This allows teachers and students the opportunity to create their own lessons/activities from scratch. They have various tools including color tiles, pattern blocks, base-ten blocks, fraction tiles, and fraction boxes. As well there is a free space option that leaves the decisions directly in the hands of the user. Click here to see a lesson that I created for a 6th grade algebra lesson.
There are the same options of prepackaged lessons and new activities available not only for math but reading, writing, science, and social studies. In science they have concept maps, classification charts, comparison charts and more. In social studies you can create graphic organizers based on biographies, times in the past, as well as completing a branches of government chart. Reading and writing activities include blending sounds, character webs, KWL, and poem frames to name a few.
Although designed for the K-5 crowd, I could see middle school students can use this without feeling it is at an “elementary level.”
For more information, you can visit http://www.inspiration.com/productinfo/kidspiration/index.cfm.