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    Another point of view
    By Kat's Mom

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    Well...I actually like Study Island. My students last year loved it, as well. My district subscribed last year, and I do believe it did help in preparing the students for the end-of-grade tests. I only used Study Island during our scheduled computer time, and the classroom teacher can also create worksheets based on specific standards that your students are having trouble with. I then took those, made them into transparencies and used them as a five min. review before each math class. It saved me precious time and energy creating/finding materials to review concepts. I understand your point of view regarding "teaching to the test", but that's why I like Study Island. I spent very little time during my precious instruction on test prep; the students picked it up on Study Island, which they are also able to access at home, if they have a pc at home. The parents really appreciated having the ability to help their children at home prepare for the test, and the kids were really motivated to do it at home! Because of Study Island, concepts taught in Sept/Oct were still being reviewed. I will admit, that I like the math MUCH BETTER than the reading portion. It was very hard for the children to scroll and read on a screen. The math was invaluable, though. I liked being able to walk the computer room to see who had reached proficiency with their "blue ribbons" in certain standards. I could also informally assess, by the lack of blue ribbons, which math concepts we should delve into more. I much preferred having the students on Study Island during our computer time than on random cutesy websites which sometimes worked, sometimes not. And, Study Island holds them accountable so I knew they were actually working and thinking, not just playing around on some software game. Another benefit was that when my gifted kiddos breezed through the 3rd gr. standards, the web site automatically let them begin 4th gr. math, a great way to individualize instruction for them, and they loved the challenge. I will agree with you that much of it is too difficult to start off the year with; I am probably going to wait until around Thanksgiving to get on S.I., and then, I will instruct the kids to only get on the standards we've gotten to at that point, such as graphing, computation, and place value. I liked having Study Island familiarizing my students with the mult. choice testing situation, rather than me wasting time in class, when I could be doing more valid projects. Hope that provides that other viewpoint for you!

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