Providing opportunities for kids to practice concepts at their level is critical to help them build deep understanding. Fortunately there are many options for students to develop their skills and study other interests outside the normal school day.
At both elementary schools students have iXL accounts which they can use both inside and outside of school to deepen their understanding of math concepts. IXL's tagline is "practice that feels like play." From my experience so far with the platform, I definitely see truth in that statement. After introducing it, I have students ask me many times a day when we'll be using iXL. As we set up our class routines and culture, I see iXL being a great way for students to practice math independently almost anytime they have downtime (maybe even inside recess!). It is easy to get logged into, it's chunked into small enough pieces that you can feel accomplished even in a short amount of time, and it keeps track of student progress. Most of importantly, like I mentioned earlier, the kids love it!
Something else Harvey Swanson is using, as well as other teachers selectively throughout the district is RazKids. RazKids is a very similar platform to iXL, but instead of math the focus is reading. It has hundreds of books that students can read or have read to them, with comprehension quizzes at the ends of each book. Each book read and each quiz taken gives students stars. As students accumulate stars they can customize a robot with unique features. This "gamification of learning" is very popular and seems to motivate students as they seek badges or rewards for practicing.
A slightly different approach to online learning is Khan Academy. At Khan Academy someone can, as they say, learn anything. They have everything from basic math learning to complex calculus to art history to organic chemistry and so on. It's a pretty amazing site, with lessons, quizzes, and progress tracking. The best part... it's totally free. The lessons are pretty good, and I use many of the math lessons in my own classroom when students are struggling with a concept.
If you'd like any more information about these platforms or any other suggestions, check out the links in the links for families section of the website. For even more information please contact your child's teacher or me.
Instructional Technology Coach