This is a terrific blog on teaching math to kids. The writer is about to publish a book on this topic; her blog is well worth reading, so I imagine the book will be wonderful.
I am new to KizMath but wanted to try it out since I have enjoyed a sister site, KizPhonics. The KizMath site is also quite extensive, providing math materials for pre-kindergarten through 8th grade. For each grade level, there are placement tests; worksheets; printable board games, card games, and puzzles; online quizzes; online games; 25 videos; and links to “supplemental” online math games (not KizMath created). A single user fee for a year is reasonable, depending upon teacher usage.
The following graphic is representative of each grade level. Each of the bulleted items is an active link to the same long page for that grade level. There are also separate links to games, videos, and printables under the “Supplements” tab.
Videos: The 25 videos are categorized as “basic, medium, and high.” As soon as you open the page with videos, a voice calls out, “Today we are going to learn about graphs” (see Cons # 9). That same video plays automatically EVERY time you open the page. There’s a “slide show” of 6 videos available If you want to play any of those in full screen, you must click on the gray tool bar above the video. For all the other videos, I finally learned to double click on the video itself to view it in full-screen mode. A typical video is shared below.
What kids get: Older elementary and middle school students could access quizzes and games by topic under their grade level (See Con #1 before releasing them on this site). They could also view any videos appropriate for that topic. Younger students would need to be placed in an activity or game. The online quizzes are all about 6 to 8 problems long and provide immediate feedback. The final screen indicates whether a student passed (above 80%), otherwise the screen indicates “You did not pass.”
What teachers get: As noted above, you have access to worksheets for multiple grade levels, along with placement tests and many printable and online practice quizzes. These quizzes are basically a partial-audio version of a worksheet (as you select an answer, there are keyboard sounds, along with sounds for correct and incorrect responses). For some kids, online worksheets are better than paper, but this site is all about drill. Under the “Supplements” section, there are “extra” math printables, including puzzles (such as magic squares and crossword puzzles), card games, drills, and “secret” trails (maze-like activities for practicing basic facts). Two board games are provided in Word format to allow teachers to individualize the games.
- The wide range of grade level materials means that teachers can provide practice on skills at grades below (or above) their student’s actual grade level.
- Each grade level covers a typical range of math skills.
- Most of the online KizMath games are very engaging (but see # 1 below).
- The videos have good graphics and natural sound (but see # 8 below).
- The print-your-own feature for two board games is useful (but see # 6 below).
- Each grade level page is organized identically, which makes access simple. There are 2 columns of links: quizzes on the left and games on the top right (with other quizzes continuing underneath), followed by printables at the bottom of the page. All resources are identified by topic.
- There are some really inappropriate games linked to KizMath under the Supplements section. These include two games which allow students to create teachers (adding hair, glasses, etc.) and then either catapult them or make then walk the plank. A dueling game is also violent. Most of the other games are sports-related, requiring longer time to “score” than to solve a math problem. FIX: Don’t let anyone use the supplemental games without direct supervision.
- Special needs kids may be derailed by the feedback for failing a quiz. FIX: Depends upon the student. Some may see it as a challenge while others may be in despair. The somewhat good news is that the program has no “memory.”
- If you want to provide below grade level practice, students will see what grade you are accessing. FIX: Turn the computer to one side while you access the game, then minimize the home screen and maximize the pop-up window.
- There is a systematic sequence of practice for basic operations at all grade levels, but other skills lack sufficient practice. FIX: You’ll have to go to another site for practice or create your own.
- The board games are visually cluttered and include “back to start” icons, which can be a nightmare for some kids. Fix: Ignore the “back to start” icons.
- Of the five board games which can be individualized, one has a zombie theme. Yuck. FIX: Stick to the pirates or crocs.
- All the quizzes and games open in a small pop-up window on the left side of the screen. Fix: Just expand the window.
- There are not many videos compared to the number of skills addressed and they are merely a brief overview of a topic. It is an exaggeration for the presenter to say students will “learn about” a skill; I think it would be fair to state that they will practice. That might be my special education bias.
My rating: 2 1/2 out of 5 stars. If I change my mind in the next few weeks, I’ll let you know.
If only I could do this! Here’s a great way to make algebra fascinating and SO brain-friendly!
See? This is what you do when someone else is GREAT and you need help. Borrow! Beg! (Steal?)