Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Xtra math- a technology reccomendation

It's all about a balance, right?  So, yesterday was about my kids, today we're back talking about school.  Here an awesome new-to-me website that I used at school the last quarter and am now using at home over the summer. 


I'm loving this website that's for parents, teachers, and students.  It's the best way I've used recently to help my students and my own kids really cement those math facts into their brains!  The kids are motivated by it, it teacher friendly, and it's free.  That always helps!

Have you heard of Xtra Math?  It's a free website that runs kids through math facts.  The 'teacher' creates a class list in just a few minutes and sets the kids up to start on addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division facts.  The kids run through the facts at their own pace.  If they speed through addition, they move on to subtraction, etc.  There is a 'race the teacher' game that the kids seems to really like. 


They can work on it at home with a special log-in and then the parents and the teachers get update information as to their progress.  They also get printable certificates sent to them when they've completed a level.  I linked it up to my class website and had the kids work at school and at home for the most practice.  Parents liked it as much as I did. 


The kids can also work on it in the classroom.  There is a classroom log-in tab that the kids work under that tells the student's (when they are done) who to go get for the next turn.  If that student is busy, they can click onto the next person as well. 


I had several devices going on at once in the morning at school and got at least  half the  class through in the morning arrival time and the rest during extra time throughout the day. It's mobile friendly too, so they can work on it at their desk (we have a bring your own device policy) or in the car or wherever. 


This particular day, I took the whole class into the computer lab and had everyone run through a session before moving on to the next task.  They can use the keypad to type in the answers or pull up a on-screen keypad.


The kids first are given a placement test and then the programs gives them facts based on what they need to know.  Then, they are given facts based on how they do on those facts. 


They are timed as well and problems are sorted into one they know in under 3 seconds and those that they needed longer to solve. They kids don't really know about the timing part, so there is no added stress for them there, but it does let the teacher know what problems are immediate and what is taking them longer.

Another thing I like about this program, is if they miss the problem, or can't answer it in a certain amount of time, the answer appears lightly.  They still have to type it in move on.  They are then given that problem again almost immediately to train them to memorize, not try to re-solve in their head each time. 

This program has really helped my students memorize their facts during the last quarter.  I have left my class 'open' until August and many of them have been working this summer.  Bee and Lou are doing the same.  The plan is for them to go into next year, knowing their facts cold- with out any time needed to review to get back to where they were at the end of the year. 

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