Sunday, November 17, 2013

I have written several posts about in the past.  I still see merit in the program (although it was VERY difficult for students to move into subtraction which caused a certain amount of apathy!) but was recently turned onto and it's AMAZING to watch my students excel through each standard.

For those of you who aren't familiar, is a paid program (although it can be used on a trial basis) that "tests" students on math standards (state-specific).  My students started with the first standard (counting 0-20) and have progressed nicely through a few standards in the month or so that we've been using the program.

Students are allowed to access their "account" at home and can complete any of the standards that they wish.  At school, however, they have to complete the standards in the order presented.  Students can access the site from a laptop, home computer, iPad, iPod, or a smart phone (so that pretty much encompasses everyone!)  One of my students has none of these options at his home so he carves out a special time each day to go to the public library and work on math!  He struggles so this has proven to benefit him in SO many ways!  His confidence alone has sky-rocketed and that's SO worth the effort!

It's interesting to see the order in which they present information.  During the set-up phase, we indicated that Nebraska Standards needed to be used so our students are working toward relevant goals! Right away, with the second or third standard, they are talking about tens and ones (something we don't usually get to until February!)  So, it's been difficult for some of the students to progress.  I do, however, appreciate the fact that the program keeps pushing them until they show understanding.  They may do 1000 problems in one standard, but they have to get so many correct in order to progress.  No freebies!

Many of my students are beginning to understand some of the ins and outs of the program, as well.  For instance, once you receive three ribbons, you are in a more "timed" experience, a challenge per say.   Accuracy and speed are what will progress students to the elusive "100" score.  Knowing some of these things has made it easier for kids to "manage" their time on the computer.  We have only 15-20 minutes (by the time they get logged in) to work during math rotations, so it is vital that the students use their time wisely.  My favorite part?  When I say, "Switch!" and everyone at the ixl rotation moans! :)  They love it!

So, now that we've established that the kids are cuckoo for ixl - what about me?  As a teacher, the program does several things.  Each week, I receive an email that lets me know the class usage, student usage, and skills practiced.  The data is AMAZING!

The information above is an example of what is included in the email.  I have had a couple of kids exploring in areas that aren't assigned (PK or K) and this lets me know know when they accessed it.  My directive at school is to take the standards in sequence and some of my firsties haven't been using their best listening skills.  So that's a talk we'll have this week! :)

I also have an account on where I can go into my roster and see more specific data for each student or the class.  Here is a look at my master page:

Note the green "bar graphs" beside each standard.  Some are darker than others.  These are the standards that students have practiced.  On my teacher page, I can go into each standard and see who has practiced, when they practiced, how long they practiced, and how well they did.  GREAT STUFF!

This report tells me the standards that my students are working on this past week.

This report tells me how much time my students spent on ixl the past week.

This report tells me that, of those students who worked on the subtracting standard, it has been mastered by some.

This report gives me insight into trouble spots.

Progress and improvement are always enlightening.

This report gives me insight into how many of my students have mastered standards.
Remember my little firstie that "strayed" from the assigned tasks?  This is how the weekly reports can help with an "CSI" issues that arise (things that need to be investigated!)   At first, when I saw the skills she had practiced, I thought maybe she was accessing ixl at home and I was thrilled.  However, when I saw her usage data (shown below), I saw that she is only working at school.  Hmmmmmm!

She and I will be talking about following the standards in order later this week!  It's seems to not be that big of a deal but, the nature of the standards are such that there is scaffolding involved, the skills build one on another.  She will understand concepts better if she takes them in order, especially if the wording or process differs a bit from our curriculum.

At the end of a session or when students achieve 100%, they can check on their awards by clicking on the "Awards" tab before they sign out or move onto a new standard.  The little virtual stickers that they earn aren't much but mean the world to a first grader.  Here are a couple of examples of stickers that two of my students have earned.

I can look at these sticker pages from my homepage to see how students are progressing.

If you can't find, don't remember, or, for whatever reason, need your students login and password, please email me at, jot a quick note, or call the school!  I'd be glad to help you out!  

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