From time to time, I learn about an educational resource that I decide to share with my students. The reasons are varied, but always have at least one thing in common: they give them an additional tool to use at school and at home to increase mastery of skills and content knowledge. When I find a resource that my class seems to really like using, I make a point of writing about it here, not because I get paid by the creators (ha!), but because I want parents and other educators to know about the things that really work.
One such resource I have recently discovered is called XtraMath. I learned about this internet-based tool several weeks ago but didn’t get around to introducing it to my class until just today. Before introducing it, I had to set up a classroom account and generated individualised PINs for each student. This took between five and ten minutes. Once it was all set up, my students simply had to go onto XtraMath (found on our school’s Destiny Catalog under “General Resources”) and enter our classroom code. Next they selected their name from a list, entered their PIN, and were ready to get started with placement tests! (In order to access our classroom account at home, students will need the classroom code; I will be including it in my letter to parents going home tomorrow afternoon. Parents may also email me for the code.) Students can also access XtraMath on our classroom iPads!
XtraMath is very easy to set up and is designed for students of all ages to build their math fluency. I was worried that it would take us a long time to get the classroom code entered but, with the help of several students who were already familiar with the site, it only took a few moments before everyone was logged on. I did not have to explain anything directly to the students to show them how to use it, either. Many figured it out on their own, although some chose to watch the introductory video. Another great feature is that I can log into my account as the teacher and monitor students’ progress. I can see which math facts they have mastered, which they are working on, and the progress of their growth. It is a wonderful tool and one that I hope my students will use at home and at school regularly!
Oh, and for those who may be wondering: XtraMath was created with the combined efforts of a computer programmer, two National Board Certified teachers, and a math professor, all from the Seattle, Washington, area.