How I Use It
XtraMath is a very simple math drill practice tool. I have used it in my classroom as a daily center or warm-up activity. The site does not align with any specific standards nor does it allow for higher order thinking. It does not teach or assist students in the concepts taught and it does not expand deeper into the concepts. This site's main purpose is to reinforce the addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts previously taught. It is a supplemental piece to aid instruction.
The site is very easy to access and set up. The teacher can input student names or upload them from an excel sheet. The site then assigns each student a pin number for logging on. Students can log on and get to what they need to do quickly with out many distractions on the site itself to deter them away from the assignment. The teacher is able to assign all four drill practices- addition, subtraction, multiplication and division or select which specific programs they want the student/s working on. A student may be ready for addition only so that may be their only assignment until they pass. The website uses a very simple set up as the students answer the drill questions. There are not a lot of bells and whistles. A man or women on the screen encourages the students and speaks to them as they play each level. The website provides the teacher with free data on each student's progress and it emails the teacher a certificate once the student passes a program.
Overall, I love to use the program for simple practices whether in their center work or as warm-up. The site is very specific on what it wants the students to do which helps the stay focused on the drills and less on advertisements, other games or links etc. The site is a bit dull and because of that students may be disengaged. To help curb this, the practices for each day are short and direct. The teacher may want to spice it up by adding an incentive or by celebrating a student each time they pass a program. Adding an incentive may help students show more excitement about doing the activity. I think that it is very important for students to know their basic facts before moving to the upper grades. I do not think the site should be solely used to drill the students but as an extra support to help them become more successful mathematicians in the future.