Monday, April 22, 2013

IXL - I Feel Like I Just Won the Lottery!

Have you heard of the website  
IXL is a site with math exercises.  

I have seen this site many times over the past year, and I have used a few of the activities with my students on a few occasions, but I have never really looked into what IXL has to offer.

Then, one day, my 6th grade son, Robert, shared at the dinner table that his favorite class was math because he had finally mastered an activity on IXL that he had been working on for a few days.  I asked him more questions about the IXL site and he told me that his math teacher assigns different math activities for the students to work on and that it was fun and really challenging.

Seeing how enthralled my son was with this site, I knew that I had to look further into IXL.

So, I signed up for the free one month trial membership and made a class roster which created logins for my students.  IXL costs $199 per year for a classroom account.

Then I realized that the unit we were about to start in math was on the topics of ratios, proportions and percents and I thought to myself, "There probably aren't any exercises for these topics on the IXL site since math practice sites usually focus on basic skills."

Boy, was I wrong!! I went to the 5th grade tab, (IXL has math exercises for grades Pre K - 8th), and was shocked by the huge amount of topics and exercises.  I scrolled down and lo and behold, there was an entire section on Ratios, Proportions and Percents!

I was pleasantly surprised to see that when I hovered over a skill, a pop-out box showed me exactly what the exercise would look like.

As I always do, I went in as a student and tried to do the exercises myself.  WOW!!!!!  I was instantly hooked!  As I progressed through the first ratio exercise, I found that the problems were varied to keep my interest and the further I went, the more challenging the problems were.  I also was instantly challenged by the time tracker and the score keeper.  It was like I got sucked into passing the exercise to reach a score of 100.

 Needless to say, when I introduced the site to my students, they had the same experience that I had.  They were engaged, challenged and totally hooked!

We have only been using IXL for one week and my students are really loving it!  

One additional feature that my students are motivated by is the awards tab.  Students earn awards for mastering a skill or for practicing for a certain number of minutes.  

The skills on IXL are linked to the State Standards so that you can search by the standards and see the activities offered for each standard.

Finally, the IXL site offers a full array of reports available to the teacher that will show how your class and students are doing.  I love that the reports show me if my students have mastered a skill or are in need of improvement.  I can also see how much time they are spending on a skill and which skills they have been practicing.  The reports are very easy to read with great charts and graphs.

After giving IXL a closer look and implementing it into our math class, I feel like I have just won the lottery.  IXL gives my students practice at math skills in a way that is engaging, rewarding, challenging and is truly building their skills in a rigorous way.  

This is a site well worth looking into! 

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