Balefire Labs rates educational apps for children with the mission of guiding parents and educators to navigate the app world and choose high quality educational apps. This month, Balefire Labs selected Gracie & Friends Treasure Bubbles and Gracie & Friends Jungle Gym as two of July’s top rated Kids’ EdApps.
It has been such a joy to work with Head Start teacher Rania and her preschoolers on the Next Generation Preschool apps over the last two years! Here’s a short video from our last visit of the school year (thanks to a third party app called Magisto!):
We’re sad to see some of our young friends graduate from preschool, but excited for what their lives will bring! Good luck, and many thanks to Head Start, Rania, and her class!!
Our team was proud to present our research and development process behind Early Math with Gracie & Friends in the National Science Foundation’s 2015 Teaching and Learning Video Showcase. We are honored to have received NSF funding to create Gracie & Friends and to have received the Facilitators’ Award during the Video Showcase!
The Gracie & Friends Photo Friends iPad app is designed to foster collaboration among preschoolers. Our partner teacher, Melisa, masterfully reinforces the audio from the game, encouraging our young friends to work — as what? As a team!
Melisa Perez is an incredible teacher. From her, we’ve learned so much. She and her classroom children (along with 52 other teachers and over 300 additional children) worked with us to create the Early Math with Gracie & Friends apps and curriculum.
In our work with teachers like Melisa, we ask them to stretch beyond what they typically teach, and we support teachers by providing rich professional development and resources like our Teacher’s Guide. We also listen closely to teachers like Melisa so we can design our materials (including our apps and teacher support materials) in a way that real teachers find useful in real classrooms.
Many of the teaching strategies and words that Melisa used in her classroom are now part of the delicate scaffolding and audio feedback in the Early Math with Gracie & Friends apps. Many of her approaches with our hands-on activities helped shape the curriculum. We have been blessed to have her as part of the team!
To our delight, Melisa shared with us a little insight into how the Gracie & Friends apps and curriculum have also helped her.
That’s true partnership. That’s public media at its heart. That’s what makes First 8 Studios at WGBH.
Our Early Math Teacher’s Guide is now available!
We are thankful to our teachers and researchers for helping us develop the web-based guide and curriculum supplement that provides support for the Gracie & Friends iPad apps (now available in the Apple App Store).
The free guide includes 3-week curriculum sequences for two math units: subitizing and equipartitioning. It shares pictures of real teachers in the classroom using each of the activities, including digital and hands-on games and activities, books, songs, snacks, and outdoor play!
Not familiar with subitizing and equipartitioning? The Early Math Teacher’s Guide helps to understand the math as well as how to teach it. More professional development videos and topics coming over the next few months.
We are thrilled to share this guide and look forward to hearing how you use it!
There are so many fun things to share in the park! Shake apples out of the tree and share them among Gracie and her friends, divide up pie to share with the birds, and give dancing kids the same number of hula hoops. Check out the Gracie & Friends Park Play app, now available in the Apple App Store!