Teachers can use Sumdog to reinforce skills and concepts in four subject areas: math, reading, writing, and spelling. Teachers can have students play independently during academic choice time, allowing Sumdog to choose the questions that students get. Teachers can also assign specific Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and questions to students, making it handy for assessing kids after teaching the class a particular skill. Sumdog has introduced a button that reads the problem aloud, which will help remove barriers for some students. Be sure students have paper and a pencil nearby so that they can figure out some of the more complicated math problems.
Students will be more excited to practice this way than with a worksheet, but at its core, Sumdog is essentially a skill-and-drill exercise. The writing games are an exception, where activities involve writing sentences using certain words, practicing touch-typing, or writing a word that ends or begins with a particular letter or letters.Continue reading Show less
Sumdog is an online adaptive response program for K-8 math, K-6 spelling, and K-5 grammar (available on the web, iOS, and Android). When students log in, they can view assignments that the teacher has given them and can access games. When kids first play, Sumdog figures out what level of questions are appropriate for each student. If students feel the problems are too easy at first, tell them to stick with it; as kids answer questions correctly, the difficulty increases until students reach their "just right" level.
Students will enjoy the games, which have good, though not great, graphics and sound. When kids log in, their dashboard shows any assessments or challenges that the teacher has for them. They can also choose different subjects and topics for their games if the teacher has allowed it. The 25 games all follow the same format: students answer some questions, play the game for a short amount of time, answer some more questions, play the game again, etc. Some students will enjoy competing with their classmates in games, while others may find this intimidating. Students don't need to be working on the same skill to compete, just playing the same game. One kid might be multiplying fractions and playing against a friend who is multiplying integers. Through it all, students earn coins that they can spend on items for their avatar's room.
Sumdog is a good option for skill practice for math, where the multiple-choice format works the best. The other subject areas offer less valuable practice, and thus, more limited information on what a student knows. Reading questions have students choose the correct word for a sentence, while writing is limited to single sentences and words. Spelling assessments state the word to be spelled, use it in a sentence, then state the word again. Students type the word and receive feedback on their spelling accuracy. The usefulness of this mode is hindered by the fact that teachers can only use words that are already in Sumdog. While there are lots of words, there's no guarantee that the words teachers need will be available. Likewise, having students in "writing" mode where they only write words and sentences won't provide much useful information for teachers and isn't the best use of student time.
Sumdog has made steps in trying to become more than "skill and drill," most notably by including integration with Khan Academy. When students get math problems wrong, at the end of the game Sumdog shows students these questions and provides a Khan Academy video to help students gain this skill. On paper, this sounds great, but Khan Academy tends to teach procedures more than concepts. Most students would be unlikely to watch a ten-minute whiteboard video on multiplying fractions and would instead get back to the games. Frankly, the teacher could more effectively address student misconceptions, and probably in less time.
Key Standards Supported
Expressions And Equations
Apply the properties of operations to generate equivalent expressions.
Measurement And Data
Solve word problems involving dollar bills, quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies, using $ and ¢ symbols appropriately. Example: If you have 2 dimes and 3 pennies, how many cents do you have?
Number And Operations In Base Ten
Fluently multiply multi-digit whole numbers using the standard algorithm.
Number And Operations—Fractions
Add and subtract mixed numbers with like denominators, e.g., by replacing each mixed number with an equivalent fraction, and/or by using properties of operations and the relationship between addition and subtraction.
Apply and extend previous understandings of multiplication to multiply a fraction by a whole number.
Compare two fractions with different numerators and different denominators, e.g., by creating common denominators or numerators, or by comparing to a benchmark fraction such as 1/2. Recognize that comparisons are valid only when the two fractions refer to the same whole. Record the results of comparisons with symbols >, =, or <, and justify the conclusions, e.g., by using a visual fraction model.
Apply and extend previous understandings of multiplication to multiply a fraction or whole number by a fraction.
Operations And Algebraic Thinking
Relate counting to addition and subtraction (e.g., by counting on 2 to add 2).
Add and subtract within 20, demonstrating fluency for addition and subtraction within 10. Use strategies such as counting on; making ten (e.g., 8 + 6 = 8 + 2 + 4 = 10 + 4 = 14); decomposing a number leading to a ten (e.g., 13 – 4 = 13 – 3 – 1 = 10 – 1 = 9); using the relationship between addition and subtraction (e.g., knowing that 8 + 4 = 12, one knows 12 – 8 = 4); and creating equivalent but easier or known sums (e.g., adding 6 + 7 by creating the known equivalent 6 + 6 + 1 = 12 + 1 = 13).
Apply properties of operations as strategies to add and subtract.3 Examples: If 8 + 3 = 11 is known, then 3 + 8 = 11 is also known. (Commutative property of addition.) To add 2 + 6 + 4, the second two numbers can be added to make a ten, so 2 + 6 + 4 = 2 + 10 = 12. (Associative property of addition.)
Understand subtraction as an unknown-addend problem. For example, subtract 10 – 8 by finding the number that makes 10 when added to 8.
Fluently add and subtract within 20 using mental strategies.2 By end of Grade 2, know from memory all sums of two one-digit numbers.
Fluently multiply and divide within 100, using strategies such as the relationship between multiplication and division (e.g., knowing that 8 × 5 = 40, one knows 40 ÷ 5 = 8) or properties of operations. By the end of Grade 3, know from memory all products of two one-digit numbers.
Ratios And Proportional Relationships
Find a percent of a quantity as a rate per 100 (e.g., 30% of a quantity means 30/100 times the quantity); solve problems involving finding the whole, given a part and the percent.