I am always on the look out for new ways of making learning fun for the kids. Whether it's hands on learning or an application that allows the kids to practice, if it's interactive, it's usually a big hit with them. For the last few weeks, the kids have been reviewing the full annual membership for IXL from IXL Learning.
IXL originally started as a math practice program for Pre-K through High School. From those early beginnings in 2007, IXL has since expanded their offerings to language arts, science, social studies and even Spanish. While both science and social studies are offered only for grades 2nd-8th, the other subjects offer practice activities for Pre-K through 12 grade. Overall, IXL offers more than 7,000 different skills practice. The program is available for both English and Spanish speakers.
Skills are practiced by using a browser based website or an internet connected device using the IXL app. Students log into their account and can select grade level and subject categories that they wish to work on.
Once a grade and subject is selected, the student is given a list of various skills they can work on,
These goals progress by stages. For example, the first stage might ask the student to answer 4 questions in a row correctly while the second stage might ask for them to answer 6 questions correctly.
If the student gets the question correct, they are given positive reinforcement such as "Great Job" or "Excellent".. If they get a question incorrect, they are provided with a fairly in depth explanation of the skill so that they can hopefully learn, retain and get the same style of question correct.
Once the student accomplishes the goals set for the activity, they are then given more positive reinforcement in the form of awards. These awards can either be in the form of a printable certificate or a virtual prize on the web page.
|Positive Reinforcement following the completion of a section|
How We Used It
We were given two student accounts for the IXL website, one for Garrett and one for Ashleigh, in addition to the parent account. Both kids were able to log into their account using their own password and work on whatever skills they wanted to work on.
One thing we've really enjoyed about using IXL is that the kids can log in following their normal school lessons, locate one of the activities that covers the material they have learned and then review that information. They also enjoyed the freedom of being able to work on whatever skills they wanted. For example, one time I caught Ashleigh working on identification of parts of animal cells - something we have not worked on in quite a while. On another occasion, I found Garrett working on a section that was about identifying National Landmarks in the US.
Ashleigh has really enjoyed having the IXL app on her tablet so that she can play on it whenever she wants. She really has enjoyed the program, even more than I thought she would and begged to do it each day until I put it on her tablet for her. Prior to that, I would wake up to find she had drawn her "request" on my white board and there were many times she asked if rather than doing school, if they could just work on IXL instead.
Some of the daily art work that I have woken up to
While this is not an actual curriculum as far as a teaching program (it is strictly review material), this is definitely program that we will be using quite a bit throughout the year as just another tool to gauge how well they are retaining the information they are learning through our school year.