Goodbye Pizza Pies (Hello Number Lines)


Students in the U.S. have an enormous deficit in their understanding of fractions. For instance, half of the eighth graders in this country are not able to correctly order 3 fractions, even though this is a 4th grade standard. Let that sink in for a moment. This is content they should have learned four years earlier. Even worse, only 24% of eighth graders were able to figure out that the sum of  ⅞ and 12/13 is close to 2. What’s the take home lesson from all of this? The strategies we have traditionally used to teach fractions do not work. We need to take a different approach.

How have fractions been taught?

Just think back to your childhood. You’re in your 3rd grade classroom and you are starting a new unit called fractions. What are the images that come to mind? Pieces of a pie? Pizza?

But guess what? Leading researchers and mathematics experts, including Dr. Nancy Jordan from the University of Delaware and Dr. Hung-Hsi Wu from Berkeley strongly recommend against the pie model. They have recommended using the number line as a better way to teach fractions because it offers a more extendible understanding of fractions. The length model also lends itself to more real world applications (construction, architecture, sewing, manufacturing).

The pie model tends to reinforce the common misconception that a fraction is usually less than one. In reality, a fraction can be almost any point on a number line: 6/1, 24 ½ , 0/2, -¾ etc. Another enduring problem with the pie metaphor is that it makes fractions seem fundamentally different from other numbers. If students’ mental images of a fraction are wedge-shaped, what does it then mean to add, subtract, multiply and divide that wedge by other wedges? What is ½ of a pie divided by ¼? There are very few practical applications of fractions operations that involve circular shapes.

It’s much more useful to think about fractions on a number line. Take the tricky concept of dividing by a fraction. Using the measurement model of division with whole numbers, you can think about 16  ÷  4 as how many 4s you can fit in the length 16. Using that same model of division with fractions, ½ ÷ ¼ , you can think of how many ¼-length pieces fit inside ½. You can probably even think of a circumstance in real life when you’d need to divide by a fraction. If you have a ½ foot wood board and you need to divide it evenly into ¼ foot pieces, how many pieces could you make?

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To address the deficit in fractions knowledge, we applied for and received grants from the National Science Foundation to develop a suite of fractions apps that focus on the number line model. We recently released our first fractions app, Fractions Boost EDU. To pilot it for free,  click here.   


Read our blog post about Teachley: Fractions Boost EDU here. )

Introducing Fractions Boost!

Are your students confused by fractions?

If so, you are not alone. Fractions is one of the most difficult math topics for elementary students, yet couldn’t be more important. Research shows that developing a strong understanding of fractions is the foundation for future math success. For this reason, the National Science Foundation recently awarded Teachley a grant to develop a series of fractions games. We are extremely excited to announce the beta launch of our first game, Teachley: Fractions Boost EDU, now available for Teachley premium subscribers. Not a premium user? Sign up to pilot here.


To download for FREE on your iPad, go to

Or, if using Apple’s VPP,




Teachley: Fractions Boost EDU is the school version of an exciting 3D racing game that helps 3rd-5th grade students gain conceptual understanding of fractions and represent them on a number line. Students race through a futuristic game world, driving through number line checkpoints and fraction tunnels.

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Students drive through racing checkpoints, estimating where fractions fall on a 0 to 1 number line. If they need help, their dashboard provides a series of supportive hints and scaffolds that help students develop an understanding of the meaning of the numerator and denominator. For example, for the fraction ⅔, students are prompted to “tap 3 times” to split the number bar into 3 equal segments and then “move 2 segments” to find the solution. This engaging game covers all 3rd grade fractions standards, and students learn to compare fractions with the same denominator or the same numerator and determine equivalence.


Fractions Boost also motivates students through social engagement. Students design and build tracks to challenge their classmates. In order to a share a track with the class, you must first pass that level yourself.

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Beta launch:
We decided to launch a Beta version of the app for our premium school customers as soon as possible so we could gather more feedback on the game before launching a full commercial version (expected later this spring). We’d love to hear how your students learn from the game, how we can enhance their understanding, and any other suggestions for improvement before we finalize the game design and professional audio recording. Not a premium customer but want to try it out? Sign up here to pilot Fractions Boost and our other math games for free.






FETC 2017 Teachley Giveaway

FETC 2017 giveaway


Hello teachers and tech coordinators!!!


In honor of this year’s FETC, we’re giving away a month access to Teachley’s EDU apps for FREE!

To get started:

  • Create a Teachley account at: using promo code: fetc17
  • Download our EDU apps and the Teachley Connect app at
  • Login to your account in the Teachley Connect app with your email and password.*
  • Have students start playing any of our EDU apps.
  • Check your teacher dashboard at or within the Teachley Connect app to see student progress, print their certificates, and access lesson plans and more activities.

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*Please note: It may take up to a day for your account to unlock the apps.


Questions? Reach out to us at


Tips for Evaluating Apps

If you have iPads in your classroom, one of your on-going tasks may be to look for great educational apps. This can be a lot of fun, but it can also be quite daunting. With over 80,000 education apps in the App Store, how can you (quickly) find the best of the best?!


Here are some helpful tips and questions to ask yourself before getting started.

  1. Have a plan. Before you start looking for apps, think about what you want and why.

What types of apps are you looking for?  

  • First grade math apps?
  • Open-ended or creative apps?
  • Teacher resource apps?
  • Parent communication apps?

How do you plan to use the app in your classroom?

  • Help you teach specific skills (e.g., demonstrate the distributive property or decoding words with long vowels)? Check out our blog post, “Teaching with Apps” for some great instructional tips.
  • Document student work or create digital portfolio pieces? (See our blog post on how to App Smash by using a combination of content apps and open-ended apps here).
  • Provide extra, targeted practice that keeps students engaged? (e.g., independent math fact practice, e-books)
  • More easily communicate with parents?


  1. Don’t do it alone. There are many websites dedicated to reviewing apps designed for kids and so these can be a great starting point. Here are just 5 sites we love and why.
  • Balefire Labs: We love Balefire Labs’ use of research to inform its evaluation process. The review criteria used comes directly from research on how kids learn.
  • Common Sense Education (formerly Graphite): In addition to reviewing apps in-house, teachers can also provide their own reviews. The site also offers a variety of educator resources such as teacher-created lesson plans, webinars, and videos.
  • Children’s Technology Review (CTR): Also research-based, CTR’s rating scale takes into account the intent of the app (e.g., designed to teach vs. video game; classroom or home use, etc).
  • ClassTechTips: This is a great resource to find apps and tips for integrating tech in the classroom from former teacher turned Curriculum and EdTech Consultant and Apple Distinguished Educator, Monica Burns.
  • Edsurge: Find a variety of apps and other edtech tools catalogued on this site, learn about upcoming conferences and summits where you can meet with developers, and read important edtech news and tips for integrating tech in your classroom.


  1. Use an evaluation rubric. What features are most important to you? (Keep in mind, this may change depending on what you’re looking for.) Take a look at the rating scales used by the app review sites above, or feel free to use this evaluation resource created as part of Teachley Co-Founder, Rachael Labrecque’s dissertation research. Click here to access it.


  1. Test the apps. Play through the apps yourself to get a good sense of the experience the app provides. Learn what the app does, doesn’t do, and better understand how you could use the app to supplement your instruction, not just provide extra practice. Importantly, have your students test the apps! You’ll quickly find out whether the apps you’ve selected will maintain your students’ interest. If the app offers progress monitoring, take a look. See what kind of information you can get from your students’ gameplay and consider how that information can inform your classroom instruction.


  1.  Evaluate and reflect.
  • How well did the app do what you wanted it do?
  • How well did your students respond to the app? Keep in mind, engagement is just one aspect. How well did the app teach or reinforce concepts? How easy was the app for students to navigate on their own?
  • How well did the app fit with your instruction and intervention needs?
  • What features do you wish the app had but didn’t? Don’t be afraid to reach out to the app developer. We LOVE to hear from teachers using our apps. Your feedback is what helps us to continually improve.


What criteria do you use when evaluating apps? Share what’s important to you! Tweet @teachley #evaluatingapps

Teaching With Apps

There are many different ways to integrate apps in the classroom. Here are some suggestions for maximizing the effects of apps on your students’ learning.


Instructional strategies.

mauri's kids on ipads

Math centers: A great option for encouraging independent or partner practice.

Small groups: Using a Teacher profile, demonstrate a particular skill or concept as part of your targeted small group instruction.

Whole group: Introduce an app, features of an app, or demonstrate a particular concept or skill with your whole class by using an Interactive Whiteboard, Apple TV, etc.

Intervention: Target intervention efforts for students by setting aside additional time to practice independently, with a math coach, special education, or intervention teacher.



Teaching with apps. Use an app to help teach particular concepts or skills, such as modeling addition strategies to your class, in small and/or whole group lessons. For an example on how to do this, here’s a short video on how to use Addimal Adventure to teach Counting On.

For more instructional videos like this, log into your Teachley dashboard at and go to PD Resources.

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Documenting for student portfolios. Encourage students to add to their digital portfolio by documenting their learning. One technique for doing this is called App Smashing. When playing an app, have students take screenshots of particular learning moments (i.e., a strategy they used) then upload that screenshot (or a series of screenshots) into another app, such as Explain Everything, Educreations, or even the Notes app to explain their thinking, teach another student how to solve the problem, etc. Click here to learn more about App Smashing.


Assessing with apps. Apps have much potential for replacing many tests given to students. By reviewing students’ gameplay data, you can track what students understand and where they’re struggling. Then, use this information to target your instruction. For example, five students struggle with 7 and 8 multiplication factors while three other students are still working on 4-factor problems. Use this information to then tailor your small group lesson for these two groups of students. To learn more about the types of data reporting and intervention features Teachley offers, click here or send us a quick email at


What are some other ways you integrate apps in your classroom? Tweet your instructional tips: #teachingwithapps @teachley.

App Smashing: What is it?

You’ve probably heard the term “App Smashing” in passing, or seen us present about it at NCTM or ISTE but maybe you are still a bit unsure about what exactly it means or how you would try it in your classroom. Summer is the perfect time to learn.


So, what is App Smashing? According to Greg Kulowiec, an award-winning teacher who coined the term, it is “the process of using multiple apps in conjunction with one another to complete a final task or project.”


One of the best ways to app smash in the classroom is by combining content apps with creativity apps (iBook creator, Educreations, Explain Everything). Students can learn and practice skills, building understandings through rich content apps and then integrate what they learned by sharing their thinking with creativity apps. Here’s an example of you could use it in a K-2 classroom:

App-Smashing Addition

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Addimal Adventure is an award-winning addition app for K-2nd grade students that focuses on teaching effective strategies to solve addition problems (count all, count on, doubles, make 10).

  1. Have students play Addimal Adventure and take 2-3 screenshots while they are playing. (To take a screenshot, hold the home button at the bottom of the screen and the power button on the top right of device at the same time on your iPad. The screenshot will be saved in the camera roll.) Encourage students to take screenshots of how they solved a problem, a strategy they used or an “aha” moment they might have had.
  2. Have students use a creativity app to share how they solved a problem or what they learned. There are lots of ways you could structure this part of the activity, for instance, students could create an Addition iBook or create a screencast with audio that shows their thinking through a strategy. Educreations and Explain Everything are great examples of screencasting apps. NOTE:  If you haven’t used an app like Educreations, make sure you create a teacher account and get a class code to give to students before they play. Play around with the app this summer to understand how it works. Students may need to be logged into your class for their work to be saved and easily visible to you. Some parts of these apps are paid, so be sure you fully explore your options and understand what you are using.
  3. Here are some steps students could use to App Smash using Educreations:Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 12.19.09 PM

Here’s an example from a K-1 classroom in Maine. From the student’s screencast, you can clearly see that she understands the Count All strategy.


In the next example, the student uses the Count On tool to solve a problem. However, when she explains her work, she does not use the visual model correctly to count on 4,5,6,7. Rather, she regresses to counting all the blocks (a less efficient strategy). After seeing this app smash, you could intervene with this student by reteaching the Count On strategy.


Still need help? Watch this short video on how to introduce App Smashing in your classroom: 


Finally, share how you are app smashing our apps with your students by emailing us at


Have a smashing good time! 


Don’t forget to try all 4 of our award-winning math apps:


Teachley FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions


What is Teachley?

Teachley is an award-winning educational technology company founded by expert teachers with PhDs in cognitive science and funded by the U.S. Department of Education and National Science Foundation. Teachley’s mission is to transform teaching and learning by using app data to help teachers differentiate instruction and target interventions. Based on cognitive science research, Teachley’s apps focus on teaching important strategies shown to improve learning within fun and engaging games.


How does it work?

Powered by Teachley Connect, we bring together a variety of award-winning K-5 math apps into a single, game-based formative assessment platform. Students get a seamless, personalized gameplay experience across an array of apps while teachers get in-depth data reporting, intervention support, and instructional resources. Watch this short video to see Teachley in action.




What Teachley apps are available?

Teachley Operations includes a suite of four K-5 operations apps covering Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, and Division.


While most fluency apps use drill-based approaches (e.g., digital worksheets and flashcards), Teachley’s research-based apps focus on teaching effective math strategies while scaffolding learning to promote conceptual understanding and fact fluency.



Our second product line, Teachley Fractions is in development. Stay tuned!

Sign up for our mailing list to be amongst the first to know when our fractions apps are available. 


What are Teachley-connected Apps?

We partner with other app developers to provide schools with a carefully-selected collection of Common Core-aligned apps. These apps sync with Teachley, providing schools a seamless login experience and rich formative assessment data on students’ progress.


I see two versions of the same app in the App Store. One is free but the other is not. What’s the difference?

EDU apps. Our EDU apps are designed for schools and work with a premium Teachley subscription. They sync with Teachley Connect to provide a seamless login and app management experience. Teachers can easily monitor student progress and access intervention support and instructional resources (e.g., lesson plans, instructional videos, etc.). Contact us to pilot Teachley’s premium services at your school.

Non-EDU apps. Teachers who do not have a premium subscription can access our award-winning content by downloading the non-EDU versions of our apps. These are also a great option for home use or extra math practice. Teachers and parents can create a basic account to personalize the learning experience for multiple children. Please note, a basic account does not work in the EDU apps and data reporting and intervention support are available for premium account holders.

Pilot Teachley for free. Sign up here.


How do I monitor my students’ performance?

Teachers with a premium Teachley account can log into their dashboard at and click on Reporting to monitor their students’ progress and access their intervention support.  


Don’t have a premium account? Schools and districts can subscribe to Teachley to provide teachers with access to in-depth data reporting, progress monitoring, and intervention support. Teachers can track students’ fact fluency, proficiency on Common Core standards, and a variety of math skills (e.g., mastery of the zero rule principle, specific multiplication facts students are struggling with, etc.). Intervention support allows teachers to quickly plan instructional groups and target lessons as needed.  Click here to try Teachley for free.


What’s the best way to use Teachley in my classroom?

There are many ways to incorporate Teachley in your classroom. Click here to read about helpful instructional strategies for effectively integrating apps into the classroom.  


Does my school need an iPad for every student?

No! Teachley works with ALL iPad programs, including 1:1 classrooms, center models, and shared iPad carts. Children can continue playing right where they left off on any device logged into your account.  


How do you protect my students’ data?

At Teachley, we take the protection of student data very seriously and have signed the Student Privacy Pledge.  

We do NOT:


knowingly collect personal data from children under the age of 13,



sell or share students’ personal data with any third party or use it for marketing purposes.


We DO:


protect all data using secure encryption for data in transit and at rest,


lightbulb use student data to support personalized learning and effective teaching.

Read our full Privacy Policy here.


Still have questions?

Contact us anytime at and we’ll get back to you right away!

Introducing Teachley: Fact Flyer!


Our fourth operations app, Fact Flyer starts with Linka and Pike’s take off from Mt. Multiplis. Kids help Linka continue her journey back to El Sumado, tracking her progress along the navigation map. Designed with a greater focus on building fluency, Fact Flyer allows 3rd – 5th graders the chance to practice both multiplication and division facts in a fun, flying game.

As with Teachley’s other apps, powerful, research-based strategies are provided to scaffold learning and support conceptual understanding of each fact, as needed. For example, to solve 8 x 4, students are reminded of the Double It strategy learned in Mt. Multiplis. They are prompted to “Take 8. Double it. Double it again.” To build flexible thinking, students are able to see the inverse relationship of multiplication and division when solving division problems. For example, the hint for 20 ÷ 10 appears as 10 x _ = 20.

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Fact Flyer automatically adapts to support the needs of each child, with problem difficulty progression based on proficiency and more time allotted to solve problems, as needed. Teachers can log into their Teachley account in the parent/teacher section of the app to personalize the gameplay for their students, allowing kids to continue playing where they left of any classroom iPad. Don’t have an account? No problem! Create your free account at

Students review their fact fluency at the end of each round. Teachers with premium Teachley subscriptions will be able to track their students’ progress in their dashboard. To sign up for a free trial of Teachley’s premium data reporting, click here. Fact Flyer is aligned with several Common Core State Standards and is designed to support Response to Intervention programs. This app is a great addition to your classroom’s operations fluency toolbox.


Fact Flyer is available for iPad on the App Store for $2.99 in the U.S. and is priced accordingly worldwide. Click here to download. Download before our ISTE 2016 promotion ends on June 30th for FREE!


*This app was made possible by the Federal Department of Education, with funding provided by an Institute of Education Sciences’ Small Business Innovation Research grant.





Teachley Connect: Connecting Apps and Formative Assessment

What’s the problem? We all know U.S. students spend far too much time taking standardized assessments (often between 10-20 tests) every year, not to mention the countless hours spent preparing for these tests. Research by the Council of the Great City Schools in 2015 found that spending more time on standardized tests does not improve student performance and that schools often have to wait 2-4 months to get the data from those tests. Data that is often too little too late…

Enough testing already!

Assessments can offer essential information for teachers about what students understand and where they’re struggling. But, they need the right kind of data, and it shouldn’t come from endless hours of testing. For instance, assigning student performance to a percentile doesn’t help anyone. What does a 75% or 1,267 points earned tell you about what a child understands or how you should be help that student? Instead, data must provide teachers information about where, specifically, students are excelling and struggling. For example, a first grade teacher can know that 5 students are all struggling with adding near doubles facts (e.g., 3 + 4 and 7 + 6) or a third grade teacher may see that half of her class consistently adds instead of multiplies when given Yx1 problems. Teachers can then use this formative data to intervene and re-address those concepts. Conversely, it also allows teachers to know when students are excelling and are ready for harder content.


To truly impact teaching and learning, teachers need better sources of formative assessment data that they easily interpret and use when planning each day’s lessons.

So what is Teachley doing to help?

At Teachley, we believe learning should be fun! Imagine if instead of taking dreaded tests, kids are playing games. And these games adapt in real-time based on student performance and report meaningful data back to teachers. If you’ve been using Teachley in your classroom, you may already know how this can work. But, what you may not know is that we’ve recently received a new $900K Small Business Innovation Research grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences to expand our platform to include third-party math apps (see official announcement here). This grant will greatly bolster our efforts to bring rich formative assessment data across a variety of math content areas to teachers. So, students can spend more time playing games and less time worrying about filling in the correct bubble with a number 2 pencil. And teachers have the necessary information they need to easily differentiate instruction to meet the needs of all their students.

How will it work?

This summer, we will be working hard to prepare Teachley Connect for our first app partners. We’ll also develop new free EDU versions of our Teachley apps to work with the new system. During the course of the 2016-17 school year, we will expand our data reporting and intervention support to include students’ gameplay from our partners as well as several exciting new features. This new grant will allow Teachley to provide schools with a greater selection of apps that cover a wide array of K-5 math content. Stay tuned as we announce our first partners and beta launch later this summer.


Create your free Teachley account on our website, to stay up-to-date on our latest progress. Have questions or want to be one of our first beta testers? Email us at and we’ll get back to you right away.

Happy Summer!

Teachley’s Photo Contest- Win an iPad

Congratulations to @ParoneK for winning our iPad mini filled with math apps! We loved your picture of how you use Teachley in the classroom!

Congratulations to our Finalists: @Chestnutbestnut @scottalan27 @cb6022 @MrsMarkersK

iPad Contest

How to win?

Tweet a photo of an extension activity (i.e. lesson plan, teacher-created game, whiteboard lesson, center activity, etc.) you have used to extend learning from any of Teachley’s apps. Share the photo by tagging @teachley and the hashtags #WeLoveTeachley #elemmath.  The person with the best activity will win an iPad mini filled with great math apps! Four finalists will each receive free promo codes for our apps. Tweet your photo by March 17th to be eligible to win. The winner will be announced on Twitter and the contest blog post on Thursday, March 24th.


All participants must be over 18, have a valid school email address and a U.S. shipping address to be eligible to win. Visit our official rules to learn more.