My Favorite FREE Classroom Website: Xtra Math

Hey All!

It's Halle from Across the Hall in 2nd Grade. I'm here today to share one of my absolute favorite websites to use in your classroom or at home with your own kids...

I love Xtra Math for quite a few reasons:

1) It's FREE
2) It's effective
3) It's easy to use
4) It sends you reports to keep track of student progress
5) It's quick and simple (read, great to use everyday)
6) Kids love it!

We use Xtra Math in my classroom on a daily basis.

Here's how it works in my classroom.

In the back of my classroom I have 2 computers for student use.  My kiddos know how to log on and access the Xtra Math website.

Also in the back of the room is a clipboard with student names and pins.  Students know where to locate their pin and how to use that pin to log-on.

Do you see a pattern here? I haven't had to do a thing to help them at all!

Depending on where they are mastery-wise, students complete their session in about 5 minutes.

They especially like when they get to "beat the teacher".

After each student is done, a different classmate's name pops up.  They can go tap that friend on the shoulder if time permits, otherwise I have them exit the program.  If the student is absent or otherwise engaged, they can click "absent" or "busy".

Xtra Math is a great way to me to get in daily fact practice.  Students move on to different concepts (subtraction, multiplication, division) after they've mastered the previous concept, so I know every student is working on his/her level.

About once a week Xtra Math sends me a report that lets me know how each of my students are doing.  I "cross check" this with other fact fluency programs and activities I do in my classroom to monitor student progress.

(Don't worry...Xtra Math explains how to read these reports!)

Students can also access Xtra Math on their home computer as well.  It is an optional homework assignment in our classroom on a weekly basis.

You can get started on Xtra Math by clicking here.  There are video tutorials on how to set-up and get the most use out of the program. There is also a short video you can play for your class to explain how Xtra Math works. I show it to my class and just go over some of the more important points of the video.  It really is a one and done sort of thing. Once students have logged on for the first time they no longer need my assistance.

Hopefully I was able to introduce you to Xtra Math or at least give you the push to set up an account.  If you already use Xtra Math, I hope you love it as much as I do!

Don't forget to come visit me across the hall!


Across the Hall in 2nd

A little fun with The Ugly Pumpkin

Happy Fall!
It's Gina from Beach Sand and Lesson Plans here

I wanted to share a fun artsy project my class did based on the book The Ugly Pumpkin by David Horowitz. (Look at that face!)

I love this story and the it's surprise ending! The kids enjoyed it, too. They felt so sad for the pumpkin. This book is perfect for Pumpkin Day on October 26th, Halloween, or even right into the month of November for Thanksgiving.

I decided we would just have a little fun with it in October.  First, I read it aloud (No front loading involved). After, I asked if the story reminded them of any other books they had read. A few students came up with The Ugly Duckling and only ONE student could give a summary of that story. I decided I had to read it to them right then and there! (Shouldn't ever child know the story?) I read this version:

After it was revealed that the Ugly Pumpkin was really a squash, I shared different types of the vegetable with them. I was very surprised to see that so many kids were not familiar with this vege.

The students were excited to take a break from our regular reading time to create their own Happy Squash. They had SO much fun cutting, creating, and using their imagination. I did not give them a pattern and I offered very little directions.

We did a little research (which inspired their squash shape and color), looked at other varieties, and learned some squash facts which they wrote on the back of their creations. The kids came up with the idea of making signs with a fact that the Happy Squash could hold. They did a great job and had FUN!

If you want a more academic lesson to do with these two books try text comparison. I created these graphic organizers for another pair of books (read about those HERE), but they would work perfectly for the above or any other text you might want to use. Click HERE to download this freebie.

Enjoy some pumpkin stories with your class and don't forget the FUN!


Pumpkin Fever!

Hey everyone!

My most favorite part about fall is that there is so much pumpkin stuff! Today I'm going to share a mix of my pumpkin favorites.

Favorite Pumpkin Craft:

My favorite pumpkin craft is from a fabulous and talented friend of mine, Kelley Dolling. I mean, hello, a craft and learning? Yes please!

Click here for a link.

Favorite Pumpkin Decorating for in school

I'm all for easy pumpkin decorating. Like hand the kids a sharpie and call it good. Or even puffy paint. But looking through Pinterest, I saw even easier! Stickers! And foam stickers too.

For an educational spin:

Favorite Pumpkin Book

Favorite Pumpkin Treat

My absolute favorite pumpkin treat is what I call pumpkin fluff.

Pumpkin Fluff Dip
15 ounces pumpkin
1 (3 1/2 ounce) package vanilla instant pudding mix, fat free, sugar-free
1/2 cup skim milk
8 ounces Cool Whip Free, thawed
2 teaspoons pumpkin spice
1.Using mixer, blend pumpkin and spice with the milk and mix.
2.Fold in Cool Whip. Chill.
3.Serve with ginger snaps or vanilla wafers.

Or just eat it plain like I do!

I leave you with my pumpkin poem that I wrote, from my Fall Poems Pack.

Get the freebie here.

Hope you enjoyed the Pumpkin Party!

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