How I Use It
I just let students work on the games they choose in order to memorize facts. They love to race each other, which really improves their learning and speed. I did not even teach them to race against each other; they just figured it out on their own. By using this site to practice basic facts, my students do not have to spend a lot of time on drilling/testing in the classroom. This has been a win/win because they like doing it on academic skill builders during a center at their own pace, and I like having time in the classroom for them to work on centers instead of spending a lot of time on drilling. They have learned their facts and now we are able to learn more advanced concepts like fractions, that require students to have knowledge of basic facts in order to be successful. Before I started using this site, my students dreaded timed drills. Now, I quit using timed drills and depend on the races to motivate them to learn their facts. After all, who want to lose the race?!
This may seem like "drill and kill" on technology, but it has a very important place because inability to fluently use facts keeps students from using their working memory on harder math like word problems and tasks that require effort and many steps. Knowing facts quickly allows students to concentrate on other tasks. Sadly, most students associate learning basic facts with timed tests (which tend to cause some students to become stressed and lose the facts they knew). My students associate it with games, racing with each other (which means they WANT to be fast and challenge themselves to become faster!!) and playing games with great graphics. Not only that, but is shows the student which facts they get wrong and then my students often write them down so they can learn them and be better the next time. What's not to like?!!