By Christina Hefele & Stephanie Furman
Over the last several months, all K-5 students have been using our new math software program, DreamBox. It is an adaptive learning program which provides individualized math instruction based on the developmental math level of each individual child. It personalizes learning with games and themes that turn lessons into adventures. In addition, students show their work with unique virtual manipulatives, encouraging them to explain, discuss, and defend their mathematical thinking. It does not simply focus on right or wrong answers, but on what strategies the student uses to arrive at the answer.
As students work thorough lessons, the program is designed to continuously recalibrate giving them a series of challenging questions. If they do well, they are moved on to something that demonstrates deeper understanding of the concept completed. If they don’t do well, they are then provided with a series of lessons and activities that help them develop this understanding.
The lessons are not designed for students to get all questions correct. In order for students to develop their understanding of mathematics they need to able to persevere through a problem and work through the different strategies on their own. If parents provide assistance or allow siblings to use the account, it is quite possible that the system will temporarily attribute levels of understanding – or misunderstanding – that do not accurately reflect that of the child. This can make using the program in school and home extremely frustrating for your child until it is able to recalibrate back to their own independent level.
We strongly encourage parents to allow their child to work through the lessons and activities in Dreambox independently.
Dreambox provides the following tips for parents on what to do when the math games get tough:
- Encourage your child to make his or her best guess. Remind them it’s OK to make some mistakes. We learn a lot from the types of mistakes they make and will respond accordingly. (Really!) Answer a question with a question. “What do you think?”
- Click help.
- Click help again. The second help is more explicit than the first help and will provide additional hints to your child to help them solve the problem.
- Ask your child to explain the game to you. Sometimes talking it through like this will give them the answer.
- If all that doesn’t work, perhaps it’s time for a snack or a break.
Please remember DreamBox is designed to be a fun and educational program. If your child is experiencing ongoing frustration, please speak with his/her teacher. DreamBox also provides some great resources for parents that can be accessed by visiting:
Accessing DreamBox Math from Home
For student access to DreamBox from home, simply follow the directions below:
- Go to https://play.dreambox.com/login/cm3g
- Click on your child’s school
- Click on your child’s class
- Have your child enter the same password, they use at school.
(Hint: primary grades use a picture icon the student selected; intermediate grades use a username and their lunch code).