I had heard about this site a while back. I checked it out and knew that it looked pretty cool and that the kids would probably enjoy it. Then I got busy. I didn’t have time to register all of my students and get their logins and passwords created. I just didn’t have time – period.
Well, turns out I should have found the time. Sumdog is an amazing math site (designed for ages 6-14) and I’ve only just scratched the surface. (I know that this is old news to some of you out there – so I’m talking to those of you who are like me and love to get new ideas and websites, but just don’t always have the time to actually do anything with the lovely new resources.)
So, what makes Sumdog so great?
1) It’s FREE! There is a priced option that gets the kids more games and you more statistics on each student’s progress – but the basic package is free. I know you love that, right?
2) Students can play not only against the computer, but against other kids in their class or kids around the world who are online at the same time. They’re more engaged since they’re trying to beat their friends or “that kid from The States”. (I actually have kids playing this on the weekend – I can see when they last logged in!)
3) There are little extras to hook our middle-schoolers, especially. They can change their avatars to look more like themselves. As they advance through the levels (correctly answering questions and/or winning games) they collect coins to buy new clothes, accessories and other “cool stuff” like instruments and bicycles from the Sumdog Shop for their online persona. They can also use those coins to access special games. My students are surprisingly motivated by this “Shop”. We haven’t gone “shopping” yet, but they want to get in there!
4) Teachers can choose the skills to target, or you can let the computer generate the problems as the student is playing. Sumdog is set up so that the computer generates questions that are at the appropriate level for each of your students. When the questions get too hard, the computer will automatically drop the skill level down, so that the student doesn’t become frustrated. It’s built-in differentiation!
5) You can easily find out how your students are doing because Sumdog has a “Reports” section that allows you to monitor the level that students are working at and where they should be working next. (Again, you can pay for more detailed stats – but the basics are free.)
Here’s a look at the page where students will start off when they play. This is my avatar:)
Here’s a look at the “Shop”.
There’s tons more that I could tell you, but you should check out the site yourself. You can set up challenges, lessons and activities. There are contests and competition options.
I know that my neighbors to the South will be happy to know that you do have the option of having students answer questions aligned with the Common Core State Standards (grades 1-6)! There’s also the classic version which is what my students are using.
If you teach math, make it your homework to at least have a look at the site by the weekend. Try some of the games. Then next week, make some time to get your class set up, and students’ logins created. That’s the only thing. You have to plan to take your kids to the site. They can play as “guest”, but it makes more sense for them to have their own account to start earning coins!
Sumdog has been motivating to my students and so I hope it’ll be motivating to yours too!