How I Use It
IXL is directly aligned with common core standards. I use it for individualized practice of Common Core math curriculum. I have 4 computers in my classroom and the only problem I encountered was creating a schedule so that all children got equal time. There was a great desire among the children to use the program. The parents loved it because it was available for use at home.
IXL is very user friendly for both students and teachers. For students, it does not use cute names for games. Each game tells the specific skill covered. There is a great browsing option which enables students to mouse over a game title to see sample questions. This site is also very teacher friendly. It only takes about 10 minutes to set up. Once it is set up, you do not have to choose specific activities to differentiate for students at different levels. The program does this for you!
The practice is spectacular for students at all levels. For low level students who need additional practice at one specific skill, IXL generates new questions each time that skill is practiced. For higher level students, they can move quickly through levels. If they advance so quickly that they have mastered the first grade skills, they have the option to choose a higher grade level. The program is very rewards based. It is intended to foster a sense of pride for success. It is a very visual way for children to chart their progress. All children are highly engaged and are excited to get certificates and stickers to add to add to their profile each time they master a skill. The downside of this is that as they progress closer to mastery, more points are deducted for wrong answers. Although this encourages children to be more accurate, it could cause some to be frustrated.
I simply love the reports! You can verbally assign a class a focus section. For example, I assigned children the area of subtraction. They were told they could only move on to another section if they mastered this area. The one con I found regarding assignments is that at this time you can only verbally assign activities to students. IXL says they are working on adding an assignment component. The reports that IXL gives are phenomenal. They give individual progress as well as strengths and weaknesses for the entire class. These reports are very helpful for planning extended instruction for both AIS students and those who can go above and beyond! It also lets you know very quickly who has mastered a skill after instruction.
Overall, I highly recommend IXL Math for elementary school students. It is visually attractive and appealing to students. It can generate multiple questions for practice on a specific skill and it is user friendly for both students and teachers. I loved it so much that I appealed to our district to purchase it for all elementary teachers. Since the district did not have the funds this year, I spent my own money to purchase it for my classroom. I felt the $200 investment was well worth it! If you are interested, they offer a free trial for one month. The free trial gives you everything that the full version would. Students will have access to all of the games and rewards and will be able to log on anywhere. Teachers will have access to all of the games as well as the reports. Even just the free trial is a great tool to help children to get ready for state testing as the questions generated are very similar to those on state tests. I highly recommend this product!