Saturday, March 24, 2012

IXL Math: A Teacher's Review + State Test Prep

Hi all! I'm just winding down from my spring break, so I thought I'd take this time to tell you about how awesome IXL Math is.

I'm obsessed.

My school has been buying an annual license for three years now, and next year, our principal is recommending the use of IXL instead of book assignments (we have LOTS of computers).

I went through my testing data last week and found corresponding IXL skills for all of the questions that my students struggled with. There were about 12 skills that over 40% of my class was baffled by. SO I started the IXL challenge. Students have until the state math test to master as many skills on IXL as possible. Each skill on the list corresponds exactly to the types of questions on the test. Most of the 12 skills are really easy to self-teach (see highlighted skills.) The students who master at least 9 out of the twelve skills will be invited to come to a "Minute to Win It" Party (created by Regan Tunstall @ Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits.)

At the bottom of the page are the skills my class struggled with and their corresponding IXL skills.

Now here's a list of the top ten reasons <3 I LOVE IXL. <3

10. IXL AUTOMATICALLY tells students whether they're getting a concept or not. If a student gets a problem right, their score goes up and the problems get harder (Automatic Differentiation!!) Plus, only PERFECT practice makes perfect- students won't be repeating bad habits because they know whether they're getting the problems right or not.

9. If a student gets a problem wrong, the website explains how to correctly work it out and their overall score goes down. Students are being guided throughout their practice rather than just writing down answers to get the work done.

8. I can use the reporting feature to sort my students by proficiency on each skill. This helps me QUICKLY do dynamic grouping in math.

7. The format is fun and engaging for students- they can earn awards and they get SO excited when they master skills. AND- the skills stick with them!

6. IXL makes it SO easy for the teachers who lead tutoring. My students write the skill we worked on in class in their planners- WHAMO! Instant practice at tutoring! AND there's a skill for every standard- from Pre-K to High School!!

**The top five reasons are why I'm obessed with IXL as an alternative to book assignments**

5. Virually NO LATE WORK!!!!!!! Students work quickly in class because they want to get a high score.

4. I can assign a score rather than a number of problems. That means students have to get a certain number RIGHT- not just a certain number DONE.

3. Students CAN'T COPY other students!! IXL has an infinite number of problems for each skill- they don't just go in order- students have to keep their eyes on their own work to achieve a target score.

2. IXL reporting is awesome for conferences- you can show parents the students' graphs and lists of skills and scores- they're color coded by proficiency so parents can quickly understand how their kid is doing. PLUS- parents can check progress at home and have their student practice their lacking skills there.

1. NO GRADING!!!! I can instantly check my students' progress- any time, anywhere. AND I don't have to sort assignments alphabetically to put them in the gradebook- they're in order and always reflect the students' most current proficiency level.

Expanded Notation
3rd Grade B.7

Pictures and Decimals

Equivalent Fractions

Fractions on Number Lines
3rd grade S.3

Repeated Addition/Subtraction for Mult/Div.
3rd grade J.7, J.8

Coordinate Graphs

Elapsed Time

Appropriate measurement units
3rd Grade: Q.3

Properties of Multiplication

Interpret Graphs

Subtraction Word Problems

Word Problems


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  2. IXL is horrible,bad,nasty,frustrating and the most emotional wreck web site ever. I do not recommend assigning another skilll

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  4. Glad to see your post here. I am also a math teacher so I'd like to share my experience with you.
    I let my students try IXL last year but most of them didn't like it. Its point system is really frustrating that kids would lose interest very soon.
    Then this year, I recommended my students to use Beestar instead. Beestar is another web-based learning website, offering many subject programs such as math, language arts, science. Its math program is free to use but the quality of exercises is suprisingly good. Based on Common Core State Standards, the questions are perfectly designed to be interesting and typical. Thus students don't need to spend too much time working on repetitive work. Many of the questions are from real life and many have vivid pictures.
    I have seen many of my students become more confident in math learning. Beestar's exercises lead them to solve the questions step by step, which helps students to think in a logic way. With solid foundation, they can get the right answer quickly.
    Besides, Beestar's reward system is motivative. Students like to win weekly ribbons and some of them have got on the honor roll. Some parents told me their kids have produced strong interest for math.
    As I heard, other programs on Beestar are good as well. I think it's a better alternative than IXL.