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Using Technology to Practice Math Skills

“Practice isn’t the thing you do when you’re good.
It’s the thing you do that makes you good.” 
Malcolm Gladwell
Outliers: The Story of Success


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During in-class math rotations, fourth grade students practice identifying types of lines using IXL

New Hope students know that the only way to become better at anything is to practice, practice, practice.  As Mr. Gladwell says, practice is “the thing you do that makes you good.”  Athletes must practice their sport in order to play well in the game.  Musicians must practice playing their instrument if they are to master it.  Mr. Gladwell’s research shows that in order to master any subject or discipline, it takes a minimum of 10,000 hours of practice.   It’s true for athletes, musicians, and artists, and it’s true for students, too.  Reading and math mastery requires hours of practice.

While it’s impossible to put in 10,000 hours of practice in any one subject area in a single school year (one reason why we go to school for so many years), it is possible to put in several practice hours a week. One way New Hope students put in these practice hours in math is through New Hope’s subscription to IXL,  a comprehensive, standards-aligned math practice program offering unlimited problems in thousands of mathematical skills. One of the best things about IXL is that students can access it from school and from home through any computer with Internet access.

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Third grade students practice solving problems involving money in the computer lab.

Each New Hope student is assigned a username and password to New Hope’s IXL site. If your student does not know his or her log-in, please contact your child’s teacher.  He or she will be able to assist you in retrieving this information.  The program tracks a student’s practice hours and progress.  Students are able to monitor their own progress through the accumulation of medals and awards as they progress through any skill.  Parents and teachers are able to track a student’s progress and make note of areas where students may need additional help.  Most students who utilize the program  consistently for additional math practice show significant gains in math on yearly standardized tests.  New Hope has purchased a subscription to IXL for our students to utilize at both school and home.  We strongly encourage families to make IXL a part of their New Hope students’ computer time at home to supplement math practice.  The program is available for use throughout the school year, all school breaks and over summer vacation to help students keep math skills sharp.

Students enjoy using the program.  Several fourth grade students from Mrs. Currey’s class recently said that they loved doing math in IXL because it made doing math fun.  Third graders cheered  this last week when offered computer time to practice their math on IXL.  Becoming good at math takes a significant amount of practice.  When practice is fun, students are more likely to spend the time mastering necessary math skills.  Let’s go do some math!