Tuesday, July 18, 2017

My Favorite Websites for Math Instruction

Hey Y'all, it is the 21st Century. && What does that mean??? That means it is time to be out with the old (textbooks/worksheets) and in with the new (technology, collaborative group work). Here are my Favorite Websites used to increase student achievement during math instruction. By the way, these are not ranked in any order nor have I paid to use any of these websites. A few of them do offer paid versions, however I do not pay to use them in my classroom.

1. ClassKick

Class Kick is a website that allows teachers to assign paperless work and provide feedback in real-time. Classkick can be used on a computer as well as an iPad. In my classroom, I used Classkick as a fun way to quickly assess my students' understanding of concepts in math. I mean...who doesn't enjoy working on a iPad versus a sheet of paper?

 In this picture you see me working with a group of students on Telling Time. As this student writes on the iPad, I can see his/her thinking and provide instant feedback during the process. I established a general code with my students. If I circled a problem it was wrong, if I put a check mark the problem was correct, if I put a question mark I can't read your writing, or if I had a comment or needed an explanation I put a text box to the side for students to explain their thinking. My students thought this was the best thing ever. Classkick allows students to privately ask for help by alerting the teacher with a hand signal. Which worked great for those students who know they need help but are afraid to ask during class. Students can also go in and provide feedback to each other and work together from their own individual screen. Classkick is fun way for everyone to learn together.

2. Prodigy

Prodigy is exactly what the picture says, one of the most engaging math platforms in the world. When I say my kids loved it...THEY LOVED IT. Whenever I allowed time for Prodigy in class you could literally hear a pen drop, and I mean literally. The best way for me to describe Prodigy is that it is a game. Students travel to different worlds battling other players and collecting items along the way. While battling, students are asked to answer math problems in order to cast spells or attack their opponent. When they answer the question correctly, the move is performed. Here you can see the students' view. 

But that is not even the best part. My favorite part about it is the teacher view. Prodigy is aligned to the Common Core Math Standards. Prodigy allows you to assign topics to students (with pre-generated questions) and gives you a detailed report on how your students did. The reports are broken down by Student Usage, Weekly Activity, Student Progress, Curriculum Coverage, and Topic Coverage.

Here you can see a copy of the Weekly Activity Report for a random week at the end of the school year. Here you can see each topic on the right. The red number represents the number of students who scored 60% or below. The yellow number represents the number of students who scored between 60-79%. The green number represents the number of students who scored 80% and above. Even better, when you click on the topic it shows you an example of the questions asked in that section and your students' names are listed under the color where they fall. When you highlight the names it shows you their score.
When students first log into Prodigy they are given a placement test. When students are not assigned a topic by their teacher Prodigy automatically assigns them problems to work on at their level. Prodigy is a free program but you can purchase an account. I have not purchased an account and it has worked out just fine in my class. I am however considering making the purchase this upcoming school year given the response from my previous class.

3. MobyMax

MobyMax is another Common Core aligned resource to use in your classroom. MobyMax does not focus on math, they have several Reading and Language Arts components available. Yes I have used them but that is not the topic of this post. I used MobyMax in my classroom everyday. MobyMax is what I required my students to get on during their computer center as well as for 30 minutes of their time in the Computer Lab. 
When students first sign into MobyMax they are given a placement test. After that, each time students log in they are working on their individual level. MobyMax takes the time to teach students. Each standard has a mini lesson with visual demonstrations explaining how to master that standard. After the lesson students are given practice questions. MobyMax even assesses students before moving them on the next standard. While on MobyMax students can earn time for games. (This feature can be turned by the teacher.) Teachers can also go in "hide" all the content they do not want their students to have access to. 

Here is an example of a student's report with the free version of Moby Max. The report is broken down into Overall Statistics, Grade Level Progress, Sessions,Lesson Topics for Last 30 Days, Upcoming Lessons, Graph of Grade Level Increase Per Month, Graph for Overall Grade Level Progress, Graph for Standards Passed Each Month, and a Graph of the Weekly Average of Skills Done. These reports are an excellent resource for you to take to Data Meetings, SST Meetings, or even IEP Meetings. 
One thing I did in my classroom to increase student motivation was by giving them goals. I told my students that at the end of the school year I would celebrate all of those who increased their grade level by .05 at the end of the year. It's crazy how motivating that was. I had students asking daily if they had shown any growth yet. At the end of the year all of my students but 2 met their goal. This school year I am planning on increasing on that goal. 

MobyMax is free, however, they do offer a paid version for $99 a year. This version gives you more detailed reports as well as a few other things. Once again, my classroom functioned just fine with the free version. (I spent all my money on other things for my classroom, maybe I will share it with you all one day)

4. Xtra Math

XtraMath is an excellent FREE program for learning basic math facts. If you're a math teacher you know how much easier it is when students know their basic math facts. Students take a placement test for each operation (Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, and Division). Each time they log in after that students spend a total of 10 minutes on the computer practicing their facts. They are flashed problems and given 3 seconds to answer them. This is an excellent resource for morning work. Every time a student masters an operation, they are given a certificate. I would print these off and then hand them to my Principal. She would then come to my class and shower that student with love and prizes for mastering their facts. That motivated my students to take XtraMath seriously every morning. I had students asking their parents to make sure they were on time so that they had the opportunity to complete their XtraMath lol.

Here you can see a report from one of my students. He mastered his Addition and Subtraction facts and was working on his Multiplication facts. You can see where he scored a 47 on his placement test and is currently at 90% mastery. The graph at the bottom shows you what facts he has mastered and what facts he still needs a little work on.
Setting this up as a morning routine was simple. One of my classroom jobs was "computer monitor" this person was in charge of setting up my computers on XtraMath first thing in the morning. Once set up, Xtramath displays children's names. The computer monitor would quietly go tap on each person to let them know to get started. Once that person is done, another name would automatically pop up. They would simply go tap the next person and so on. I had 6 computers in my class and 22 students. It took my class a total of 30 minutes to complete this. During this time they were also assigned other tasks to complete as well.  

Those are my favorite websites to use. Here are other websites I would use in classroom periodically. Some of them are math, and some just help with the flow of my classroom.
This summer I have spent A LOT of time researching and creating resources to use in Google Classroom. I am sooooooooo excited to use them next year. I have heard so much about Google Classroom, but I only recently learned that my district has set it up for teachers and students to use. Once I get down and dirty with GC I will be sure to update you all on how I use it in my classroom. I am going 100% paperless this year so this shall be a lot of fun.

Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed this post.

xoxo Ashley 

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