Fact #1: My children need to drill math facts.
Fact #2: My children are in four different grades, and hence...
Fact #3: My children are at four different places in their maths skills and WHAT they need to drill
Fact #4: I haven't - after 5 years of trying - been able to find a system for drilling on math facts that I liked and that worked for me/us.
Fact #5: I am a lazy bum and wanted a system that was as hands-off for me as possible, but...
Fact #6: I never dreamed such an animal really existed...one that took care of all my needs/wants
But it does!
And it's FREE!
Back in September, my friend Teresa off-handedly mentioned something that changed my life.
Nay, revolutionized my life. Dramatic much? I feel that strongly, though.
I've tried online drill systems before. Math-U-See has a good one. It will automatically generate drill work that the student can either do online, or you can print worksheets. I'm not going to print that many pages, so we used the online system. But it's not automated in terms of remembering your student and where they are, skillswise. (You don't have to be a Math-U-See user to use their drill system, btw)
We purchased Math-Slam several years ago. Good. Again, not automated in terms of knowing where the student needs to be drilling. But it was fun, and that's a bonus from the children's standpoint. But they would need to bring it to me to get it setup every time they used it, so that I knew they were really drilling where they needed to be drilling. (And I needed to remember exactly where each of my four students needed to be drilling.) And, of course, whenever they would need to bring it to me it would interrupt me working with another student. Tragedy? No, but the less interruptions the better...especially given the fact that we have to really optimize our school time while G is sleeping.
And I've tried a handful of other methods over the years, most of which cost money, btw.
...on that fateful September day Teresa mentioned XtraMath.
I went to the site, walked through the simple (and did I mention FREE?) registration process. I'm the teacher, with four students under me. This online system covers addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. The children each took a placement test to evaluate where they are.
And then...I don't do anything else!
But - most importantly - the children are getting drilled exactly where they need to be.
AND - I don't have to be hands-on with it every day. Did I mention that already?
The system is going for mastery on the math facts, which means answering the question in less than three seconds. Once the child has mastered all the facts for an operation, they receive a Certificate of Achievement and move on to the next operation.
And I can log in at any point and see a calendar that shows exactly when my students have used the system and how they did during that session. I can also see a grid that shows exactly which facts for an operation have been mastered (green), which are getting closer to being mastered (yellow) and which need more work (grey).
BUT, I don't have to log-in and check this, because.....the site automatically sends me a progress report on all my students every week. Very Cool.
So, my kiddos log in every day, their sessions take about 5-10 minutes...and they are consistently and wonderfully getting work exactly where they need work. It's a beautiful thing.
I'm pretty sure Teresa didn't realize what valuable information she was sharing with me that day, but really....I could kiss you Teresa!