Critical Thinking Company Review

Over the past several weeks we have been enjoying our opportunity to review GPALOVEMATH from GPA LEARN (Great Parents Academy).  This is an online, interactive Math program.  

All three of our children really enjoyed using this program.  It was quite a treat too, as we don’t usually use computer-based programs like this one!  I would have to say, though, the child who truly loved it the most was our first-grader, Alex.

Each grade level has a different character who guides the student through the lessons.  Alex had Pi the Penguin (seen in the photographs below), Audrey (grade 3) had Abacus the Robot, and Simon (grade 5) had ‘The Heroes’.  

This is an incredibly well thought-out, well structured program.  There is a dashboard for Mom and for each student where all progress can be seen and evaluated easily as all age levels.

Here’s how we use the program:

First, we log in on the GPA LEARN site using the user name and password.  This takes us to the general dashboard.  

Here, I choose which child to view by selecting their name in the top left hand bar.  

Once I choose a student, I can see their progress quite easily.  

I can view how they have scored in their lessons (Rockstar, Excellent, or Nice Job) and can see our Progress Tracker (for the year) along with the Week in Focus.  The Week in Focus helps us see where we are for the week (how many lessons completed, how many still needed to complete with regard to the goals).  

I can also see the Motivation Rewards each child has earned and which reward is coming up.  

For Motivation, I was able to hand-pick rewards the children could earn as they worked through their Math.  They were thrilled to earn the reward of “Baking Cookies with Mom” after their first lesson, which motivated them to work for further rewards!  

In the photo below you can see how Alex has earned “Rockstar” status in 32 Lessons and his Upcoming Reward is “Bake something with parent. Child chooses”.  He has also completed 4 lessons over his goal for last week and still needs to complete 2 more lessons this week to reach his weekly goal.

Here’s a look at the Dashboard:

This morning, Alex was planning to do his Math for grade 1, so we clicked on his name in the top left which brought us to his LEARN page where he then selected which lesson he wished to complete.  

The lessons are very well organized in three separate streams.  He can choose from these three streams but must choose the next lesson he is qualified to complete (based on what he’s already accomplished).  He chose to work on a lesson about Skip-counting.

Each lesson is broken down into three parts:  Instruction, Practice, and Quiz.   

Instruction is the part when the characters introduce the concept to the student and demonstrate the concept in a ‘lecture’ type format.  

In the Practice step, the concept is presented in a more interactive way where students are asked questions and are thinking through the concepts/ideas.  They also have the use of three “Life Lines” which help them if they can’t quite get the answer.

The Quiz is either 10 or 15 questions (depending on the grade level) where student must now answer questions related to the topic of study.  At the end of the quiz, they will receive their grade and be able to easily see which questions they  might have missed and correct their answers.

Alex’s lesson dashboard.

Part of the Grade 1 Instruction from Pi the Penguin.

A Quiz – you can either read the questions to your child, have your child read it himself, or click on the question to have Pi read it aloud.

Working through a Grade 1 level quiz.  Alex dragged the correct answers into place.  

What’s Great:

  • Incredibly easy to use online format, I never had a glitch!
  • Great customer service (they were friendly and prompt in answering my questions)
  • Very well organized and laid out for Mom and each student to easily access information and progress
  • Concise lessons with an easy to follow step-by-step progress through the program
  • Lessons are a good length to keep child’s interest
  • Incentives were built in to help motivate the children to keep on working!
  • Email notifications each time a child completes a lesson along with a weekly summary
  • Fun, interactive lessons and quizzes that the children enjoyed doing
  • Humorous characters and scripting (had our kids laughing!)
  • For families who are looking for an independent program, this could be used by children quite independently if you choose

The only concern I had with this program was the voices of the characters.  They are quite robotic and at times, hard to understand.  However, the lovely people at GPALOVEMATH did say they are working on this.

This program would work well for families seeking a computer-based, interactive, fun way to engage children in their Math studies.

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