The information processing theory supports the view that automaticity in math facts is fundamental to success in several areas of higher mathematics. Without the ability to retrieve facts directly or automatically, students are more likely to experience a high cognitive load as they perform a range of complex tasks.
Two summers ago, as I was prepping for a new school year (okay I was pinning on Pinterest), I came across a website called XtraMath. It is easily one of the best websites I have found for our 3rd grade class and the results speak for themselves. If you want to raise your student’s math fluency, then search no further!
What Is XtraMath?
XtraMath is a free web program that teaches addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts which are critical to success in mathematics. Speed and accuracy are both important to fluency, and XtraMath will help kids build up both. Math fluency is essential for success with fractions, decimals, multi-digit algorithms and any higher level math. It is based on the assumption that students who regularly practice will quickly and easily recall answers when needed, freeing up mental resources for more complex problem solving (also known as fluency). Read more about Math Fluency here.
After a simple placement exam, fluency goals are achieved through timed practices. Students are given 3 seconds to correctly answer each individual math fact. If they answer the fact in under 3 seconds (the deemed rate for fluency) they earn a smiley face. An answered keyed in under 10 seconds earns a green check mark. Finally, if a student takes 10 seconds or more, the answer will display in grey beneath the math fact and the student still must key it in. Any incorrect answers show a red “x” and still require the correct answer to be keyed in. This is great, because it forces the student to focus on the right answer before moving on. These problems will also show up again soon, so that the student reviews them quickly, before they have lost the fact from their memory (a research based strategy for learning new facts).
Why Use XtraMath?
- It runs itself (all you need to do is setup your class roster)
- Parents can monitor student progress
- Weekly Progress Reports: beautiful and informative graphs
- It shows exactly what facts a student has mastered
- It takes only 5-10 minutes a day
- Works on tablets too!
- No more grading mad minutes or fluency worksheets! (save the trees
Check out this video that explains XtraMath in the classroom.
Now get onto www.xtramath.org and get your kiddies started! You’re Welcome 🙂
Have you used this website in your classroom? Leave a comment below and tell us why you love it.