Saturday, November 10, 2012

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Using Xtra Math to build Fact Fluency



Last year I discovered an awesome and FREE fact practice website called XtraMath.  XtraMath is a nonprofit organization dedicated to math achievement for all.  Their goal is to develop effective, efficient, adaptive, and intrinsically rewarding supplemental math activities and make them available for free.  The website has lots of information about the program and how to get started using it. I want to share how I am using it in my math classroom

I teach third grade. Theoretically, the students should know their addition and subtraction facts when they come to third grade.  Since they have been taught operations concretely, pictorially and abstractly, it is time to move towards mastery.  Therefore, I have required my students to complete XtraMath as homework five out of seven days a week.  XtraMath sends me a weekly report that tells me who completed their assignment.  Parents are also able to track their child's progress.  

Another feature I love is that, if the child's second grade teacher was using XtraMath, their account will link up to me when I add them to my class in third grade.  

In order for a child to get a mastery score of 100, students need to answer every question two out of the last three attempts cumulatively over several recent sessions.  After completing the session, the students are shown a colored dot which represents their progress.  Here is an example of the calendar snapshot that I am able to review for each child:



What do the dots mean?  Green means the student got less than 10% wrong.  Yellow means between 10% and 25% wrong.  Red means over 25% wrong. Blue dots indicate an incomplete XtraMath session.  


Above is a more detailed report that shows me how a student is progressing.  Our classroom goal is for everyone to master addition and subtraction by our holiday break.  




This is part of the weekly report I receive.  We all know that students perform at different levels and XtraMath has helped me to differentiate with each student. There are a couple of things I had to address based on this information.  First, Aidan only practiced 2 of the 5 required days.  I recorded this on the student's Weekly Conduct Report that goes home to each of my student's parents (love the accountability!).  Second, Ashley had moved on to multiplication after she mastered subtraction.  She's not ready to do this yet as we will not start our Multiplication Unit until January.  I asked her to stop for now. Avery moved to our school this year and is a very motivated, above-average student.  She had already learned her multiplication facts and her performance has proved it.  She is almost at mastery.  Note that Alison is not participating in XtraMath.   It was not the right solution for her.  Instead, her parents and I decided on an effective alternative.  

I am so pleased with my student's progress with this program.  The children like it and it only takes them about five minutes to complete.  For those who do not have internet access, they are required to complete XtraMath on our classroom computers when they first enter my class.  I have also placed a bright note on their desk to remind them.  We will begin using the multiplication portion once we complete our multiplication unit.  

I'd love to hear your experiences with XtraMath!  It's really working well for my kiddos!

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11 comments:

  1. What a great post! I am excited to learn something new today! Thank you! XTRA MATH is first on my to-do list Monday at School!
    Julie

    Ms. Marciniak's First Grade Critter Cafe

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  2. Thank you very much for such a great review!

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  3. Great information! I'm featuring this post on Bagels and Blogs tomorrow.

    Donna
    Math Coach’s Corner

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  4. I found that it was so easy to set up, and I love how easy it is to print parent letters so kids can do it at home. For my kids, doing it each day is optional, but they do it at least once a week and can do more.

    I love that it's one more resource I can pass on to my parents who are always asking what more their kids can do, but I also like that it's not a super long, intensive program so the kids still enjoy it.

    Jenny
    Luckeyfrog's Lilypad

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  5. This is my 2nd year using xtramath in the classroom and my students love it. I love how we receive weekly emails with how our students have done. It definitely makes the teachers job a lot easier.

    Liliris
    Fourth Grade Garden

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  6. Thanks for sharing such a great resource. I can't wait to give it a try. It's always great to find new resources that can help our students in a fun way.
    Angie

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  7. Wow. Thank you so much for sharing this. I will pass this onto my team. :)

    Tammi
    The Balanced Classroom

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  8. Thanks for sharing. I'm going to check it out. Math fact fluency is always a biggie.
    Sent From My iPad

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  9. Thank you for all of your comments! Another thing I didn't mention is that the child's account stays with them from year to year so they don't lose any progress. I was pleased to discover that many of my students were already familiar with the program.

    Diane

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  10. Woah! I'm really digging the template/theme of this website. It's simple, yet effective.
    A lot of times it's very hard to get that "perfect balance" between superb usability and visual appearance. I must say you have done a superb job with this. In addition, the blog loads extremely quick for me on Opera. Outstanding Blog!

    How to teach multiplication facts

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  11. Hi Diane!

    Thanks for leading me to your blog post about XtraMath! I'm glad to hear it has been successful for your students! I've only done it one day and I already love it!

    I am now following your blog!

    Lori
    The Reinspired Teacher

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