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Maths Week Scotland is back for 2018!

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We are really excited to be supporting Maths Week Scotland 2018! Maths Week Scotland is a government initiative to promote and celebrate maths and its importance in our daily lives, and runs from 10th to 16th September.

At Sumdog we are on a mission to help all children feel confident at maths, so we are delighted to support this great week of family fun!

Whether you’re a teacher, pupil or parent, there are lots of different ways you can get involved in Maths Week Scotland, from finding maths in the world around you, to joining in special events. Find out more on the official website.

Last year more than 55,000 pupils took part in our Maths Week Scotland contest, so we are running it again for 2018.

The contest is completely free, and teachers can enter their classes quickly and easily online.

Last year’s winning class was from Woodmuir Primary, and were presented their trophy at the Scottish Parliament by Education Secretary John Swinney!

Can your class beat thousands of classes across the country to be crowned Scotland Maths Champions?

 

Back to School Part 2 – get going with Sumdog

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The new year has begun, and you should now have your Sumdog account ready to go.

Once you’re set up, it’s time for your students to start their practice on Sumdog, and for you to track their progress.

1.  Get warmed up

We’ve introduced a new Warm Up game! At the start of a session each student will answer a series of quick fire revision questions. This will happen automatically when the student logs in, and is a great way to get them warmed up and focused while boosting their fluency.

 

2.  Check diagnostic test results

If your students are using Sumdog for the first time, the first few games will make up a diagnostic test to place them at the right level against the curriculum/standards, and give them a skill to focus on. This can last up to 200 questions but is usually shorter.

To see each student’s diagnostic test result and focus skill, just click their name on your dashboard, or see the whole class be going to ‘Reports’ and ‘Diagnostic tests’.

If your students have used Sumdog before, you may wish to reset their diagnostic test to reassess their level for the start of the year. This will give you a baseline for each student to see how they progress over the course of the year.

Find out more about this here.

 

3. Track live activity

You can track your students’ effort and progress from your dashboard. Just log in and your main screen will show you how many questions your students have answered today.

Click ‘customise’ to change this to accuracy, number of correct answers or time spent.

Click ‘full screen’ and project it onto your white board to help keep your students motivated during the session!

 

4. Play along

Don’t forget you can always join in the fun and play along with your students. Just click the ‘play’ button on your dashboard.

Your students will love trying to beat you, and because every child works at their own level, they just might!

 

5. Enter our free contests!

Sumdog’s free mathematics contests are a great way to motivate your class as they compete against other classes either locally or nationwide. Every student works at their own level, and class scores are based on accuracy, so every class has a fair chance of winning.

We run a number of contests through the school year. To find and enter your contests, just go to ‘Set work’ and choose ‘Contests’.

 

Want a printable version of these tips? Download our handy tip sheet.

US version

UK Version

Head to our back to school page for more useful tips and features to make this a great school year!

Back to School Part 1 – get your Sumdog account ready for the new school year

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5 steps blog

The start of the new year brings many changes and things to do, including making sure your Sumdog account is ready for the year ahead.

Follow these 5 steps to ensure your account is set up correctly for a smooth start to the year.

1.  Make sure your technology is up to date

Chances are your technology will have some software updates to do after the summer break.

If you are using Sumdog on PCs and laptops, it will work best on Firefox or Chrome. We also recommend that your web browser is as up-to-date as possible.

If your class access Sumdog via tablets or iPads, make sure the devices are up to date and don’t have any software updates pending. If you are still using the old ‘Sumdog 2D’ app on your devices, download the newer ‘Sumdog’ app from the Apple or Play store for the best experience.

2.  Make sure your school settings are correct

Sumdog is aligned to a number of national curricula, as well as many key state standards. To check your school is aligned to the correct curriculum, log in to your account, choose ‘Settings’, then ‘Curriculum or standards’, and then ‘school curriculum’.

Note that changing your standards is immediate and applies to the whole school, and will reset the diagnostic test. Find out more about this here.

3. Remove teachers that have left, add teachers that have joined

Any teachers that have left the school should be removed from the school account, so that they can join their new school. You can also invite new teachers to join your account, and confirm any pending requests from new teachers. Just go to ‘School Settings’ and ‘Manage teachers’.

If you are moving to a teaching in a new school this year, here’s how to transfer your Sumdog account.

4. Set up your classes

To organise your classes, go to ‘Settings’ and then ‘Manage Students’. You can add individual students or upload a spreadsheet.

If your students already have Sumdog accounts, make sure you tick  ‘Rearranging classes and/or changing year groups’, so that all their previous progress is preserved.

We can also integrate directly with your school’s information system to automate your classes and keep them up to date! We have partnered with Clever in the US, and Wonde in England and Wales.

If you’re using a different tool in your school, we may still be able to integrate. Get in touch to discuss the options.

5. Get parents involved

Once your classes are all set up, you can print parent letters for your students to take home, to help get parents involved in their learning with their own free Sumdog parent accounts. Each letter is personalised to include the student’s login details so you don’t have to spend time writing them out!

To print letters for your class, go to ‘Settings’, click ‘Manage students’ and then click ‘View details’ next to your class. Choose ‘print parent letters’ at the bottom.

Want a printable version of these tips? Download our handy tip sheet.

US Version

UK Version

Once your account is set up, it’s time to get going!

Introducing the Sumdog Warm Up Race!

We’ve made a bit of a change to they way students will use Sumdog, and we think teachers and students are going to love it!

Get warmed up!

Now, when a students logs into Sumdog, they will start their session with the Sumdog Warm Up –  a series of quick fire questions as they race Sumdog to the city. Answer questions correctly to go faster, get them wrong and Sumdog will get ahead.

warm up screen

These will be short revision questions, aimed just below the skill level that the students would see in the regular Sumdog games, enabling them to be answered quickly and fluently.  This will focus the students’ concentration, and help to get them into the right frame-of-mind for the rest of the session.

This is a great way to get your students warmed up and excited to work on their mathematics, spelling or reading. They’ll have fun trying to beat Sumdog to the finish, and of course will be rewarded for accuracy with coins, motivating them to get the answers right.

More engagement = more learning!

The Warm Up also gives students more practice time. During the warm up, we will load all the technical bits in the background, so when students then choose the games they want to play they will open quickly instead of taking time to load.

This means that students can fit in more practice in a session. They will be focused from the start, no waiting around getting bored!

Warm up

 

Teachers and parents can try it out by logging in to your dashboard and clicking the Play button.

The warm up is part of our ongoing work to improve the Sumdog experience. We are also making other changes to make our games easier to play and to reduce classroom disruption caused by technical issues, including the option to hide 2D games.  You can find out more about this here.

Introducing Sumdog Learners!

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We get asked a lot how much time children should spend on Sumdog. We always recommend at least 30 minutes per week.

And to reflect this, we’ve introduced Learners!

Now, whenever a child spends 30 minutes practising on Sumdog over the course of a week, they will receive a bonus of 100 coins. To keep them motivated, they can track their progress at the top of their screen. When they hit their 30 minute target, they unlock their treasure chest of extra coins!

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Even better, teachers can track all their hard work on the teacher dashboard!

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Once a child has completed 30 minutes in the week, you will see a green tick.

Don’t forget you can project your teacher dashboard onto your class Smart board, to give your class a little extra motivation, or download and print our free classroom poster to track your learners each week!

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US/Canada print version

UK/European print version

 

 

Logging in taking up a lot of class time? If you’re in the US you can save that time with our Clever integration, and teachers in England and Wales can integrate their registers with Wonde.

Closing the gap in Glasgow

Since August of last year, we’ve been working with Glasgow City Council to provide all school pupils from P2 to S3 full access to Sumdog’s digital learning system. We’ve done some analysis on the impact Sumdog has made towards our core mission to close the gap, and we are delighted with the results!

Our researchers studied the progress of pupils using Sumdog Maths for at least 30 minutes per week between August 2017 and April 2018, comparing the performance of pupils from the most deprived Glasgow schools with those from the city’s least deprived schools (defined by the proportion of pupils in each school eligible for free school meals). The aim of the study was to measure the impact of regular use of Sumdog Maths on closing the poverty-related attainment gap for numeracy.

The progress of pupils who use Sumdog Maths regularly was measured over the course of the academic year, with pupils using Sumdog for an average of 47 minutes a week. At the beginning of the school year in August 2017, the attainment gap between the least and most deprived schools was the equivalent of 1.1 academic years. However, for those pupils regularly using Sumdog, this gap had shrunk by 20% to the equivalent of just 0.8 of an academic year by April 2018.

Figure 1[36618]

For the purposes of the study, out of a total of 70 schools in the Glasgow City Council area, our researchers identified a subset of 35 schools, including 737 pupils from the least deprived schools and a further 684 pupils from the most deprived schools. Each pupil undertook our adaptive diagnostic test to determine their individual abilities, which resulted in every pupil being allocated a ‘Sumdog level’. The Sumdog level was compared at the start and end of the study.

Our mission remains to close the poverty related gap and help all children reach their full potential. You can read more about this report here.

New school year, new school? How to move your Sumdog account.

Moving school with Sumdog

Moving to a new school and want to keep using Sumdog?

It’s important to make sure you follow the correct procedure, to keep your data and your students’ data safe.

manage students

Do:

check Leave your old school! To do this, log in to your Sumdog account, click settings at the top and then school settings. Click ‘Manage teachers’, and then click ‘leave school’ next to your name.

Tip: if you can’t log in, a teacher from your old school can also remove you, but following the steps above and clicking ‘remove’ next to your name.

check  Join your new school! Once you have confirmed you want to leave your old school, you’ll be directed to join your new school. Search for your school by zip or postal code.

Don’t:

cross Add your new students to your old school. If you start adding students to your existing account, teachers in your old school will be able to see them and their data.

cross Create a new account for your new school if it already exists. Teachers in your new school can accept your request to join their account. Please only create a new school if you are absolutely sure that it doesn’t already have an account.

If no teacher accepts you, they may not have seen the request, or the account may be inactive. In this case do contact us at support@sumdog.com and we can help.

If you have any questions, just get in touch!

Good luck in your new school!

Spelling assessment word search is here!

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We introduced spelling assessments back in January, and although teachers loved them, there was one thing you still needed to make them perfect – creating your own spelling word lists.

So we added it!

Now, when setting a spelling assessment for your class, you have the option to create your own word list, so you can match it exactly to what you have been teaching.

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You can then search from our database of words to find the ones you wanted to test your class on.

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You can either search for a specific word, or search for words that fit a rule such as ‘ie’ words.

rule-search

You can reorder your word list to get it just right.

Reorder

Click the speaker button next to the word to hear what will be read aloud to your students.

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There are already around 2500 words for you to choose from, with more on the way.

If you’ve got Sumdog Spelling, just log in now and try it out!

If you don’t have Sumdog Spelling and want to try spelling assessments with your class, just request a trial.

6 ways to beat the summer slide

6 ways to be the summer slide

beat the summer slide

The summer slide may sound like fun, but in fact research has shown that children can lose a lot of their mathematics and literacy proficiency in the long summer break, meaning the first few weeks of the new school year are often spent catching up on everything that’s been lost.

But the effects of the summer slide can be slowed or halted if children are involved in a range of learning activities over the break. And there are lots of ways to make this feel like fun!

Here are some of our top tips that you can send home with them:

1. Get a library card

Public libraries offer all the books a kid could possibly want – for free! Send home a reading list they can choose from, or let them choose themselves. Encourage parents to read with the child and to discuss the books they’ve read. Libraries also provide free internet and access to computers, and often run their own reading programs.

2. Go grocery shopping

They can practice their reading while finding the right ingredients, and use mathematical skills in working out quantities and money.

3. Get outdoors

Get out and about in parks, gardens or anywhere you can, and collect outdoor items such as stones, leaves, sticks and flowers. Use them to create patterns and shapes, or for simple arithmetic for younger children.

4. Get cooking

Involving kids in cooking can be great (if messy) fun. They can read the recipe lists, working out quantities and timings, and feel proud of the tasty treat they have produced. Plan what you’ll need before your trip to the grocery store for extra engagement and project learning.

5. Get on Sumdog

We’re here to help you beat the summer slide! Sumdog can be used at home or in libraries, so kids can keep up a bit of practice over the summer. Every week where a child completes 30 minutes of practice we’ll reward them with 100 bonus coins! Find out more about beating the summer slide with Sumdog.

6. Play family games

As well as providing important family time, board games that involve any kind of math or counting, or word games like Scrabble or Bananagrams, can help keep skills fresh while having fun.

Got any of your own ways to keep learning up over the summer? We’d love to hear them! Just comment below.

5 fun ways to take the stress out of tests

 

5 fun ways to take the stress out of tests

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However you feel about it, standardized testing is a part of many education systems around the world. Testing obviously comes with extra pressure for teachers and learners alike, but there are many ways to ease the pressure and reduce the stress of testing.

Having some fun in the classroom is one way of making this difficult time of year a little easier. It can release positive endorphins, momentarily distract from pressures, and bring a sense of togetherness.

Here are some of fun activities to try in the classroom, that can also help with test practice and performance:

1. Just dance

Exercise is shown to help clear the mind and reduce stress, and makes a nice break from studying. Dancing is easy to do in the classroom, and will probably cause a lot of laughter too. You can find lots of videos on YouTube to dance along to. As a bonus, dance to some motivational tracks that will get the children feeling ready to take on the world.

2. Gameshow

Turn test practice into a gameshow by adapting a popular format, such as Jeopardy! or Wheel of Fortune or Who Wants to be a Millionaire. For older students, get them to create the questions, reinforcing their own learning. Have children compete in teams to reduce individual pressure.

3. Snowball fight – no snow needed!

Write quiz questions on bits of paper, scrunch them up, and use them for a snowball fight in the classroom! After a minute or two, call time and get each student to pick up a snowball and answer the question. Keep going until you run out of snowballs!

4. Sing along

Work together as a class to write songs – or even raps! – around key facts, coming up with funny rhymes or associations. Turning facts into songs will then help their recall when they sit the tests.

5. Pass the parcel

Wrap a bag of candy inside multiple layers of paper. Hide quiz questions between layers of paper, as well as some little treats along the way, and have kids pass the parcel around as you play music. When the music stops, whoever is holding the parcel rips off a layer and reads out and answers the question.

Bonus: Practice on Sumdog!

Sumdog is directly aligned to key standards and curricula, so can be used to practice for tests in an engaging environment that provides instant rewards for hard work. Students can work on key skills while still having fun.

Do you have other fun ways of reducing stress in your classroom? We’d love to hear them!