Parents always ask how they can help their child memorize the basic math facts (+ / - to 18). Over the years, I have recommended flashcards, dice games, addition and subtraction PowerPoint slideshows (where the answer flashes on the screen after three seconds), drill booklets, and websites such as Arcademic Skill Builders.  There is no one method that appeals to everyone and, in the end, the only thing that matters is that the child reaches the goal of speed and accuracy by the end of grade 2.

Recently, I came across yet another method, which seems to have renewed my students' interest in math.  XtraMath is a website, where the teacher uses her email address to create a free class account, with student log ins. It's premise is simple.  Students in Kindergarten and Grade 1 focus on addition, Grade 2 - subtraction, Grade 3 -multiplication, and Grade 4 - division.  Of course, it's easy to differentiate for individual students, should you have students working below or above grade level.  Students access the class page, click on their name and login with a four digit number code.  When they have completed their task for the day, the program automatically logs the student out.  Students can log in as often as every day, but it's recommended that they don't log in more than once per day.  The best part is, it only takes a few minutes.  Unfortunately, the program is flash-based, so we can't use it on our iPads.  For the past three days, I have been rotating my students through on two classroom computers.  So far, the students seem to like it (and I like that I can log in and check which facts they've mastered).

Please post a comment to share how you are using XtraMath in the classroom.

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