Zorbit’s Math Endorsement


Sometimes it’s hard for bloggers to know what to do when we fall in love with a product, app or locale that isn’t an exact match for the things we talk about every day but is still something we want to share with our readers. Recently I had that conundrum with Zorbits Math.

zorbits math counting games

You see I’m moving away from blogging every day and concentrating on blogger outreach for brands like Zorbit’s, Shopetti, Brighter and Sprint. In fact I’ve even launched a little site for my new business.

Here’s where things get sticky. After playing with Zorbit’s Math (pre-launch) I knew that I was looking at a great application. One of the things I did in my 30’s was go back to school and get a Master’s Degree in Education. It didn’t serve me well career-wise because I quickly found that the only children I am interested in educating are my own. However, I do have this body of knowledge that’s helped me teach my own children essential reading and math skills, it’s helped me find good schools for them and guide extracurricular activities as well. When my kids were learning math our go to games involved matching, pairing, colors, drawing, manipulatives and a few games on PBS Kids or possibly something I’d found on Yahooligans. That otherwise not-very-useful Master’s Degree drew me to Zorbit’s as it was (is) clear to me that this is a game which is rich in teaching.

Since my kids are more Algebra than Adding I don’t have a test group to review Zorbit’s Math Adventure. With that being said if you have a child who is right for this app they don’t get to choose their games, you do and I’d encourage any parent of a pre-reader or early reader to download Zorbit’s Math Adventure for their kids.

Math isn’t 1+1. Pre-math skills are about counting and sorting, knowing shapes and classifying objects. Pre-Math is really fun and if you have a cast of characters who are zooming around space solving puzzles (that require no reading) it’s all the better. Currently Zorbit’s Math Adventure is an iPad only game.

It’s ideal for a four year old but certainly three year old’s will enjoy “popping bubbles” and “collecting stickers” and older kids really enjoy it too.

I loved the Zorbit’s App and I really enjoyed the team who built it. Having them as one of Word of Mouth Women’s first clients demonstrated to me that I’m in the right business. I can’t write about every great app I come across, I don’t want to endorse every brand but when there’s something special like Zorbit’s I get to share it with you and other bloggers as well.

I’ve spent about an hour playing with Zorbit’s Math (this is a very long time for someone who is approximately 39 years older than the intended audience) and I emphatically want to state that it’s an example of the best edutainment has to offer. To download Zorbit’s go to the iTunes store.

Camp With Nerds


Jane came home from her first day of specialty camp thrilled beyond belief. There are about 100 boys and a dozen girls and she stood in my living room gesticulating wildly while exclaiming, “They’re all nerds. You sent me to nerd camp and it’s the most wonderful place in the world.” She told us about the kids that were there to learn to hack, program and build computers. She told me that no one cared about clothing or things like making eye contact and she was the only kid who really wanted to be outside for part of the day. She then went on to tell me how much she enjoyed putting music to video and I had a moment where I thought: She’ll be a sound editor. But then I remembered that she’s 13 and she also wants to be a hairstylist and a race car driver.

Jane thinks nerds are cool. I’m a good mother.

I went to Kelsie’s house for a visit last night and she’s drain free but still very bandaged. Breast cancer is violent. It has nothing to do with pink products and a lot more to do with blood, stitches, lymphaitic fluids and ports semi-permanently attached to your body. It’s weird to see her look so okay, but she’s one of those people who is always okay. She talked about not feeling like less of a woman without her breasts. She also talked about the fact that there is no bright side to cancer… which is a total AMEN SISTER. I bring up Kelsie because I was chatting with her husband who is a sound editor and told him that Jane is really loving Final Cut Pro and told me to not waste her time learning that, no one is using it, just get AVID and learn that. I told him that she’s also learning Adobe After Effects and he smiled and nodded and thought that was valuable for a kid to learn.

Which is awesome, until next year when she wants to be a veterinarian or maybe an astronaut.


Things I Know About Teaching Kids English and Math


I know few things. I suspect many things but I know these for a fact.

Comic Books: Comic books are wonderful for teaching kids to read. Kids learn things faster and better when they’re interested. There are two common ways for kids to learn to read, phonics and whole word. With phonics readers learn to sound words out. Readers learn the rules of English (there are many) and they pronounce words phonetically. With phonics readers may break the word into pieces. With whole word reading the entire word is learned at once. This is the more common way that readers learn in the US.

I don’t believe that one way is better than another, but I do believe that for certain types of learners one way of learning to read will be better than another.

Comic books are perfect for either type of reader. Words like POW and KABAM are fabulous and rewarding for phonics, and sight readers (whole word readers) will enjoy that most words on the page are five letters or less. More importantly they can skip the words they don’t understand and just look at the picture for the story. Because reading is supposed to be fun. Reading at home doesn’t have to challenge them, and not every word needs to be looked up in a dictionary. If they can’t read “beautiful” they can look at a picture and guess that it might say beautiful, for a new reader, this is enough.

Further, kids tend to read comics over and over again, eventually they’ll figure out the missing words, and their meaning without frustration.

Flashcards: You can teach math any way you want. You can teach theory, you can have a spiral curriculum or a flipped classroom. You can have the kids use grids, beads, computers or their fingers, but you still need flashcards. I know that memorization has gone out of style, and that everyone wants kids to have a sense of math. The reality is that they need to know 1 to 12 addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. They don’t need to understand why, that will come later, but they need to memorize these equations. Flashcards can be fun, there are plenty of games to play and a lot of screaming (the good kind) to be had.

Buy some flashcards for the summer and drill the kids. Keep it fun.

Baking: Measuring ingredients will make fractions relevant. It’s the only way I know to show a child that 1/4 is smaller than 1/2 even though 4 is bigger than 2. There’s a lot of reading too, but when chocolate cake converges with math life is good.