Xtra Math: Why It's a Powerful Tool for Self-Tracking

Self-assessment has been a hot topic recently in classrooms.  I'm not even talking exclusively about general education classroom, special education classrooms as well!  Frankly, our kids should be aware of how they're doing and given the opportunity to think about how they want to improve.  There are quite a few skills that can go in to self-tracking and reflecting: problem solving, planning, and flexibility are just a few!

Unless you have been living under a rock, you have probably heard of the website Xtra Math.  You may have heard it is a great tool to teach fluency of math facts on a way that is more fun that a regular old worksheet.  You may have been witness to that great bald guy in the red shirt directing your kids through math drills.

Xtra math is all of this things that you have seen and heard.  It’s really just a no-frills, yet motivating way to teach fact fluency.  One of the best features of the website is that it tracks your students’ progress in a simple, easy to read little graph on the website.  It also displays a little weekly calendar with color-coded boxes to indicate how accurately the student answered.  It does much of the data tracking work for you, and let’s be real, I am all for anything that takes data for me.

However, this year one of my main goals for my class is to get my students to track their own data and reflect on their work.  This can be tricky when you have a couple of students that are quite aversive to the idea that they ever do anything wrong!  Despite this, the fact that Xtra Math is so motivating paired with the more aversive self-reflection has lead to more self-directed goal monitoring.

For my classroom, I set up an Xtra Math Data Tracking Binder.  After my students finish Xtra Math for the day, they independently (after some modeling and prompt fading) track their scores.  When they have extra time, they graph their data.  The data is kept on their individual work bulletin boards: blaring evidence of self-tracking, and a graph for their portfolios.  I am seriously getting a lot out of this whole routine!

If you would like to use my self-tracking sheet so that your students can monitor their data, download the freebie here!  In you're on Instagram, I would love to see the ways you use this sheet to self-track.  Or, if you have another idea for self-tracking, tag me in your picture @theautismvault.  I always love seeing how other special education teachers have their students self-tracking!

Do you use Xtra Math in your classroom?  How do you use it to your benefit?

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