Thursday, March 19, 2015

GPA Learn

Math is a subject that is used in everyday life, whether it's for your job, in your home, or at the store. That's why it's so important to have a good grasp of understanding. Since math builds on itself, I want to make sure that my kids have a solid foundation now, so that future learning of more difficult concepts is made easier. I was thrilled we were given the privilege to review a subscription to GPA LEARN

GPALOVEMATH is an online math program for students in kindergarten-5th grade. The lessons are taught by animated characters, or "learning coaches." Each grade has over 150 lessons and more than 10,000 practice problems. By doing 4-5 lessons a week, a student can complete an entire grade in 10 months.

Each grade level has its own learning coach. We're currently using kindergarten, 2nd grade, and 4th grade. The kindergarten level is led by Detective Digits. Every time Zac logs in, his coach says, "Hello, problem solver pal," which makes him feel important. Second grade is coached by an island girl named Adirehs. Fourth graders follow a wise owl name Pemdas on his question for knowledge. My kids were immediately pulled in by the cute videos that introduce the coaches. They were disappointed though once the regular lesson videos started and they were narrated by a robotic voice, instead of the voice from the introduction.       

Each grade has 3 different paths of learning to follow: green, purple, and blue. Each path focuses on a specific math concept. You can set up the program to follow the recommended order of learning in which the student needs to complete the next lesson on the path before another will open or you can open up the entire grade level in which the student can complete any lesson from the topics.

The lessons include instruction, practice questions, and a quiz. The instruction portion is narrated by the learning coach, while the practice and quiz sections are to be read by the student. A child can click on the text though, and the coach will read the directions to him. My kindergartener took advantage of that feature a lot.  

Completing lessons also earns the student points and rewards. You can custom create the list of rewards or use the ones provided, like choosing what is for dinner, your parent completing a chore, and staying up 30 minutes later.

An email is sent to the parent after each lesson is completed. The email lets you know absolutely everything you might want to know: the title, the time the lesson was started, the time it ended, the total time it took, the percentage of the instruction completed, the percentage of the practice questions completed, and the number of questions answered correctly on the quiz. It also lets you know if a lesson needs to be completed again because the student got too many problems wrong. I, personally, found these emails a bit too much. With 3 kids working through this and completing multiple lessons a day, I get many emails about it. I would like there to be an option to turn it off. However, I do appreciate the weekly digest email. While it doesn't give as much detail, I find that it lists the aspects that are important to me: the number of lessons completed that week, the titles, the duration of the lesson, the outcome (closed before finishing, excellent, try again, etc.), the percentage completed of both the instruction and practice, and how well they did on the quiz. I can quickly look at that list and see exactly where my children are excelling or struggling. 

Each school day, the kids have to do at least 1 lesson. Oftentimes, they will more because they enjoy it. I allow them to decide if they want to listen to the instructional video or skip right to the quiz. If they head right to the quiz, I require them to complete 2 lessons. For instance, Zac is 5 and working through the kindergarten level. The beginning lessons focus on number recognition, shapes, and beginning addition. He has known these things for years. Instead of opening all the topics and picking up where it would be challenging for him, I decided to let him speed through the easier portions. If he, or one of the other kids, decides to listen to the instructional video before completing the practice and quiz questions, then he is required to complete only 1 lesson.

This is what my kids had to say about the program:

Jake (9): "I like that you can win things and that there's different people. I like that there's different paths." 

Alyssa (6): "I like that there's different characters to teach the lessons. I like some of the lessons. And I really like the videos."

Zac (5): "I like that it's short (lesson). I like that it's like a super agent! I like that I can skip to the quiz. Sometimes I don't like skipping to the quiz, because then I have to do two (lessons)."

This program is working very well in our house. The kids complete their lessons without complaint (most of the time!). I like that they can choose whether or not to listen to the instructional video. It's there if they need it, but doesn't make them crabby if they don't. The weekly email lets me see exactly how they're doing and what they're doing. We will continue to use this program. 

You can connect with GPA LEARN on the following social media sites:

You can read more reviews of this program on the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.

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