Sunday, May 20, 2012

Now That's a Fact! CapJax Math Facts

CapJax Math Fax is a math drill program that can be used effectively with any math curriculum. Since "instant recall" of basic math facts is so essential to later math success, it is imperative that we take the time to make sure our students "have all the facts" before advancing them beyond the basics. 

It is also important to be consistent in practicing the facts, since "practice makes better." You can never be too accomplished at knowing your math facts...CapJax will help your students get faster and more accurate, which will help them in all other areas of math. Now that's a fact!

  • CapJax Math Facts drills all four operations: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. You can choose to practice only one operation in each set, or mix it up a bit for more of a challenge.
  • While there are recommendations of varying numbers of problems for each level of set, you can choose any number of problems for your individual student to complete in a set. If they are only able to do a few, set it at ten. If they need a challenge, give them more! This is especially good for students who have limited attention spans, are just starting practicing math facts, or who need to work up to larger problem sets gradually.
  • Your students can also pause between problems since they have to press the button asking for another problem. This allows for emergency breaks and less stress.
  • You can choose at which level to practice, starting with simple addition and going up to multiplication and division, even adding in negative numbers in all functions.
  • Your basic math facts are for numbers 1-10, but you can change the settings to allow up to 12s.
  • While they recommend a time allowed setting of 3 seconds, you can choose to allow up to ten seconds for your students to respond to each problem. Responding within this amount of time earns your student a "SUPER" which is very motivating (at least it was for my Crew). This is good for children who are just starting keyboarding, as well as those who are nervous, or who might have special needs because they can take a little bit of extra time without forfeiting the exercise of needing to answer within a time frame which helps with that skill of "instant recall."
  • Your students are given three tries to get the answer correctly. When the answer incorrectly on the third time, the answer is shown (in small numbers) below the response area. Once your child has entered that answer, they are still shown the word "RIGHT," so the experience remains positive.
  • Your students are shown the time it takes them to answer each problem on the screen when they answer each one correctly. Answering within the time limit you set earns a "SUPER" on the screen. Answering after the time limit earns a "RIGHT." At the end of the session, their total number of "SUPER" answers is displayed, along with statistics on the pattern of their responses (ie. how many tries for each correct response, how many seconds each took, and which problems were undertaken...all of this can be printed for your records, too).
  • Your students may practice keyboarding first, with no marks against their scores.
  • You CAN turn off the "display seconds" feature (ie. not showing the time taken after each problem), if that stresses your student out).
  • They may also practice their facts first, with no marks against their scores, before choosing to "Play for Rating." This means that they will see a record of their previous scores, and any other students "competing" at the same "school."
  • When you play for a rating, you see your old rating and your new rating displayed. You are allowed to print up a simple page showing your new rating. This provides tangible accountability for busy  moms who might want each child to complete a certain amount of fact work each day and to bring to her evidence of that practice...
  • After the problems are completed, a graph is shown that charts the student's progress. You can go to a different screen and show a chart of the progress of each student in any (or all) of the four drill areas and print it for your records. You can also print the screen at any time, if you have a super proud student who wants a print up of their first "SUPER" (or anything else).
  • If you have a child who is motivated by badges or similar rewards, you can order actual merit badges from the company for just $4. You can add them to a hat or something (I plan to order them for my crew to use over the summer...they can put them on their book bags...I know they will be excited).
  • The problems are shown in a variety of formats during the drills (numbers horizontally, numbers vertically, various multiplication and division symbols, & words--only when you choose the "word thinkers" option).
  • The fact that you can drill with negative numbers (and "word thinkers") makes this program usable by even my older student. Who can't benefit from a bit of brain exercise and fact brush up?
  • The simple format will keep easily distractable children from getting, well, distracted by many choices or flashy features. 
  • This program allows for the practice of math facts without the tedium of flash cards. All of this excellent practicing can be done without the teacher's involvement, freeing her up for things such as reading instruction or assistance with higher math problems (or a few moments of quiet time!).
  • This program does a nice job of helping a teacher keep track of her student's progress. The way it is designed allows for independent students to sign on and do a daily drill, bringing their teacher a print up or number to record on a daily or weekly basis. Students will improve their math facts skills using this program, and since the ability to retrieve math facts quickly and correctly is the backbone of all math success, that is a valuable asset.
  • My Ladybug LOVES this program and prefers it to other flashier programs. I was surprised by this, but the truth is, she likes the little sayings that pop up, she appreciates the   printable certificates, and she likes seeing her progress. It offers everything she thinks is valuable without lots of bells and whistles, and hey, what's wrong with that?
Potential Negatives: 
  • I will admit that at first I was turned off by the simplicity of the program. It honestly seemed a little bit, well, boring compared to other math fact drill programs we have tried and enjoyed. BUT once I delved into all of its abilities, such as the screen printing, the charts, and the ease with which it functions, I began to understand its appeal. I like it...a lot.
  • In spite of my appreciation for the program's versatility and ease of use, I realize that not every student, especially those impressed by bells and whistles, will find this program engaging enough to want to keep at it. Now, my students are easy. They are pretty compliant when it comes to school work, and they did not balk at doing five to fifteen minutes of math drills with CapJax regularly. And, like I said, Ladybug PREFERS this program to others we have tried. I think that is great. Every child is different, so you just need to try different things (if you can...there is a free trial for this one...see below) and find out what suits your varied learners.
  •  I think the price is reasonable if the program works for you and your learners. However, if you have limited funds, and you and your children expect more than simple drills (which this product does a great job of providing in a simple way that is easy for mom to manage), then you may need to look elsewhere. If simplicity works for you, then this is your program.

You can purchase a download of CapJax Math Facts for just $29.95. This will enable you to download it to one computer and use it with as many students as you like. 

You may want to evaluate it first for free by downloading a trial version,  to see if it suits your family. This is a fantastic offer and will let you evaluate its suitability for your family.

You might want more information about the specific features of CapJax Math Facts...if so, check out this page. Check out the page that tells you the story behind CapJax Math Facts. It's pretty interesting. Don't miss CapJax at a Glance for more facts.

If you are interested in seeing what other Crew members have to say about CapJax, sail on over to the TOS Review Crew blog.


Disclaimer: I received a free download of CapJax Math Facts for the purposes of evaluating the product and providing an honest review about my experiences. All opinions and experiences you see written here are my own, or my family's. If you have questions regarding our experiences with this product, please feel free to comment or contact me.

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