The Sumdog blog

New Sumdog Blog

3 April 2012  •  Posted by Esther
We have moved our blog. Check out our latest post here.

If you have any suggestions on what you'd like to see here next, let us know - we'd love to hear from you!

Avatar day at Huber Ridge Elementary

17 January 2012 • Posted by Dominic
Before Christmas, we received a lovely e-mail from Jennifer Fry, a grade 3 teacher at Huber Ridge Elementary in Westerville, Ohio. They'd just invented the first ever Sumdog Avatar Day, and we were very impressed indeed.

Wow, to try to explain what sumdog has done for my students in an email will be difficult. You have to actually be in the room with them to feel the amazing energy and focus that they have while playing.
 
One of my students came into school one day, and said, "Pull up my avatar." I did, and the child had dressed like his avatar.
 
This gave me the idea to turn our fall party into a Dress Like Your Avatar Day. Almost every single student, as well as the adults dressed like their avatar, and we played sumdog for our party. The kids were amazing with their attention to detail. I even had a parent email me to tell me that her daughter couldn't find the right color hair ties for her pigtails, so she had to log on and change the hair tie color.

We also took in first grade buddies last week, to show them how to play sumdog. The first grade teacher called me first thing this morning to tell me about the buzz in her room regarding their play over the Thanksgiving weekend. We decided to have another "Sumdog Buddy" day today. My kids even want to have another dress up day where we have our buddies dress like their avatar too.

My students have fallen completely in love with sumdog. It is an absolute phenomena in my classroom. Parents are telling me that they have to make their kids get off the computer so they can go places. In the classroom, we get the mobile lab several times a week. I make earning Study Island blue ribbons and YPP exercises first and second on their To Do lists, because otherwise, they would just play sumdog. Additionally, our Principal and Assistant Principal, and guidance counselor have joined our class and will sneak in the room with their laptops to play against the kids. It has been such a positive experience for everyone.
 
We have gotten all grade levels signed up in our school, except K, who wants to start after the winter break. When I checked our school stats on Sunday night, I couldn't believe how many kids had played over the long, holiday weekend. Amazing!

More pictures from Avatar day...

We'd love to hear how Sumdog's going in your school! Please let us know.


 
 

December 5: UK inter-school contests

14 November 2011 • Posted by Dominic
At the start of December, we're running a series of inter-school contests around the UK in partnership with Local Authorities.

The contests run from 8am on December 5 to 4pm on December 9.

To take part, students just need to play Sumdog's free maths games. When playing the games, they answer maths questions; the aim of the contest is to answer as many correctly as possible.

There's a maths software prize worth £1000 for the top school, and prizes for the top school each day and top 10 students. The contest averages scores to take account of school size, so everyone has a fair chance of winning.

For more information, and to register your school, please visit this page:http://www.sumdog.com/uk/

If your local authority doesn't have a contest listed, we are also running general contests for any schools in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland or England.

If you have any questions, or need help getting set up, please contact us.


 
 

Set minimum levels for your students

11 November 2011 • Posted by Dominic
There's a new free teacher tool on Sumdog this week.

In the Activities section of the teacher zone, you can now choose which skills each student's questions cover when they're playing the Training activity.

You can choose to focus on just one or two skills, or set a minimum level for each student. And these settings can be applied to whole classes, or student-by-student.

To set what your students work on, log in as a teacher and go to the Activities page.


 
 

A new game: Junk Pile

18 October 2011 • Posted by Dominic
This week, we've uploaded another new Sumdog game.

In Junk Pile, you're in a junkyard, competing against other players to build the tallest tower.
 

 
Drag the right answer to get a new piece of junk, and then add it to your tower.

Some objects - such as the washing machine and the oven - are easier to stack. Some, though, like the tire, are quite tricky. You'll get more points for them.

Be careful, though - if your tower collapses, you'll lose all of the points for objects that fall over the edge!

The winner is the one who scores the most points. Remember, though, the winner might not have the tallest tower - you get more points for including the tricky objects in your pile.

Good luck!
 
 

Common Core State Standards

14 October 2011 • Posted by Dominic

Sumdog's questions are drawn from 122 different skills. They range from introducing addition and subtraction (for example, "Adding the numbers 0 to 5") to more advanced skills, like fractions, decimals and negative numbers.

By default, we group them into 10 difficulty levels: we call these levels the Sumdog Default standards.

However, you can also choose to use Common Core State Standards for your school. Once you've selected this, you'll see the skills aligned to the Common Core Standards when you're viewing reports and setting activities.

This week, we've added a range of new skills to cover Grade 6 of the Common Core Standards.

Click here to choose to use the Common Core Standards for your school.


 
 

Sumdog's reporting and analysis tools

9 October 2011 • Posted by Dominic

Most of Sumdog is free, for both teachers and students, without any time limit.

However, to help us pay for the running of the site, we also sell reporting tools for schools. These tools let you analyze how your students are doing on Sumdog.

Bar charts show you how your class is doing, plotting effort, accuracy, speed and status, over any period you choose:

You can also analyze their work on each individual skill in a table:

See how your students are doing

To give schools who haven't yet subscribed a flavour of these reports, we let you view a couple of your students' records (you'll need to log in):

http://www.sumdog.com/teacher/reports

If you need to try the reports with all of your students, please contact us. You can also find out about how to buy them for your school, if you wish.


 
 

New clothing in the Sumdog shop!

30 September 2011 • Posted by Dominic
This week, we've got a some new clothing in the Sumdog shop.

There's a range of sports clothing to buy - including soccer, football, baseball and basketball kit, a karate suit, snowboarding and extreme sports outfits, a motor racing suit and some rather loud surf shorts.

To earn the Sumdog coins you need to buy them, all you need to do is keep playing - and keep answering those questions correctly!


 
 

"Who'd have known that they'd get so excited about a math site?"

26 September 2011 • Posted by Dominic

We're currently running a lot of inter-school contests around the USA. Here are some thoughts on Sumdog from Diane Willsey, a 5th grade teacher at Quail Run Elementary, who are taking part in our Apache County contest:

"Sumdog!" That's all I hear in my classroom every morning! My students are so excited they bubble over about it constantly! The practice it gives them is invaluable, and the feedback it gives me (data, data, data) is fantastic. It helps me know their strengths and their weaknesses AT A GLANCE! Still, the BEST part about Sumdog is the enthusiasm it has fostered in my students. They love math now, I mean LOVE it.

What hooked my students at first was the idea of contests. They are quite competitive, and the chance to compete with each other and (especially) students from other schools sparked their interest from the beginning. But that was just that, the beginning. Once they were able to get into the site, they became even more enamored!

They love idea of using points to change their avatars. Okay, I barely knew what an avatar was, but my kids were way beyond me here. They have created their own little community of avatar mathematicians and are proud of it! Who would have known that they could get so excited about a math site?

Don't think this is just excitement on the part of my students. I am beyond thrilled myself. First, I love seeing my class get this involved with academics. I also have to admit, however, that I love the data part of this experience. In this day of data based instruction, the site has made it so easy for me to differentiate my instruction that it has freed up my time to actually TEACH, not just compile data. I love this, and I am constantly telling other teachers about what's available. I know they will love it, too!


 
 

Sumdog's USA contests

16 September 2011 • Posted by Esther

Next week Sumdog will be running a number of local contests for schools in Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, Ohio, Utah, Washington and West Virginia!

Schools take part by playing Sumdog's free games. There's a prize for the school that answers the most questions overall, in addition to daily and student prizes. All prizes are awarded for effort, and take account of school size, so that everyone has a fair chance of winning.

We will be running more contests over the coming months. Find out how your school can get involved here.


 
 

A new game: Jet-ski Rescue

15 September 2011 • Posted by Dominic
This week, we've uploaded another new Sumdog game.

In Jet-ski Rescue, you're guiding boats to safety from a sinking ship.
 

 
Drag the right answer to launch a boat, and then keep dragging to guide it to your cove. It'll follow the path you draw.

Be careful, though - if it hits another boat, it'll sink! If you see a collision coming, you can drag your boat again to redirect it on a new path.

You'll get a point for every person you guide back to your cove. There's one point for a jet-ski, two for a kayak and four for a dinghy.

The winner is the one who guides the most survivors home. Good luck!
 
 

Sumdog's all-England challenge results

9 September 2011 • Posted by Dominic
Today's one-day contest for Sumdog users in England has now finished.
 
In the 12 hours of the contest, students answered well over half a million maths questions. This was particularly challenging, as Sumdog's adapts the difficulty of the questions as they work.

By the end of the day, there was one clear winner: Central Foundation Girls' School, in the Tower Hamlets borough of East London. On average, each of their students answered an astounding 1,345 questions correctly - more than double that of their nearest challenger, St Cuthbert's Primary, in Stockton-upon-Tees.

England's top performer was Zara S, from The Oaks Primary, in Crawley. Zara scored a wonderful 5,826 correct answers throughout the day, and held off strong challenges from James, also from The Oaks, and Reece, from Wickham Common, to take first place.

Click here to view the full results table.

Many thanks to all who took part. And keep checking our blog - there will be more contests coming up!
 
 

9 September: the all-England challenge

5 September 2011 • Posted by Dominic
After a very enjoyable Scottish challenge last week, we're holding a one-day contest for all of our English Sumdog users, this Friday (September 9).
 

 
Once again, the aim is simple: answer as many questions correctly as you can. The contest runs from 7am until 7pm.

To qualify for a school prize, your school needs to have at least 15 students playing.

There's an engraved trophy, as well as a Yenka Mathematics - 3D Shapes site licence (worth £200) for the school that has the highest number of correct answers per student.

To make sure the contest isn't elitist, Sumdog adapts the questions automatically to each student's ability. And to make it fair for smaller schools, we average the scores over all the students who take part.

To take part, you need to enter the challenge. Then, all your students need to do is log in, make sure the all-England Friday Challenge activity is selected, and play any Sumdog game.

Click here to enter your school for the challenge - and good luck!
 
 

A new game: Submarine

3 September 2011 • Posted by Dominic
There's another new Sumdog game this week.

Submarineis a race to find treasure at the bottom of the deep blue sea.

To help your submarine dive, you must catch passing fish. Naturally, each one carries the answer to a math question - but it'll only power your submarine downwards if you catch the right ones..

The winner is the one who catches the fish - and gets to the treasure on the ocean floor - the fastest. Good luck!!

 
 

Sumdog's all-Scotland challenge results

2 September 2011 • Posted by Dominic
Today's one-day contest for all of our Scottish Sumdog users has now finished.
 
In just 12 hours, students answered over a quarter of a million maths questions. It's no easy task, as Sumdog adapted the difficulty of the questions as they worked - so that they were always being challenged.

It was a close-fought contest, but at the end of the day, Symington Primary, in Ayrshire, ran out overall winners. On average, each of their students answered 501 questions correctly. They just pipped Haghill Park Primary, from Glasgow, into second place.

Scotland's top performer was Kai, from Haghill Park. Kai scored a very impressive 3,227 correct answers throughout the day, and held off strong challenges of Andrew, from Kingcase Primary, and Callum, from Haghill Park, to take first place.

Click here to view the full results table.

We'll be running more of these contests in future - so watch this space!
 
 

2 September: the all-Scotland challenge

29 August 2011 • Posted by Dominic
We're running a one-day contest for all of our Scottish Sumdog users, on Friday September 2.
 

 
The aim is simple: answer as many questions correctly as you can. The contest runs from 7am until 7pm.

To qualify for a school prize, your school needs to have at least 15 students playing.

There's an engraved trophy, as well as a Yenka Mathematics - 3D Shapes site licence (worth £200) for the school that has the highest number of correct answers per student.

To make sure the contest isn't elitist, Sumdog adapts the questions automatically to each student's ability. And to make it fair for smaller schools, we average the scores over all the students who take part.

To play, all your students need to do is log in, make sure the all-Scotland Friday Challenge activity is selected, and play any Sumdog game. You'll find more information about the contest here.

Good luck!
 
 

A new multiplayer game: Starship

26 July 2011 • Posted by Dominic

This week, we've uploaded another new Sumdog game.

In Starship, you and your fellow players are defending the earth against invading alien spaceships.

Answer math questions as quickly as you can to shoot down the invaders - but be careful, the longer you take to answer, the more damaged your ship will get.

The winner is the one who shoots down the most aliens. Good luck out there - we're depending on you!

 
 

New topics: decimals & percentages

3 June 2011 • Posted by Dominic

Following on from fractions last week, we've now added questions on decimals and percentages to Sumdog.

The new topics are spread out through Sumdog's 10 levels. You can play them using the "training" activity.

Percentage topics:

Topic Level
Factors of 100 8
Equivalence of fractions and percentages 8
Equivalence of decimals and percentages 8
Common percentages of a number 9
Percentages of a number 10
Increase and decrease by a percentage 10
Equivalence of hard fractions and percentages 10

Decimals topics:

Topic Level
Identify decimals 6
Ordering 1-place decimals 6
Adding 1-place decimals without carry 7
Ordering 2-place decimals 7
Equivalence of fractions and decimals 8
Multiply 1-place decimals by 10 or 100 8
Adding 1-place decimals 9

If you've signed up for a free teacher login, you can also set up a competition or challenge for your students, to focus them on the new topics.

Click here to visit the student homepage, and try the new topics.
 
 

New topics: fractions

24 May 2011 • Posted by Dominic

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This week, we've added some new math topics to Sumdog, covering fractions.
 
The new topics are spread out through Sumdog's 10 levels. You can play them using the "training" activity.
 

Topic Level
Halves & quarters of a number Level 3
Identify thirds & fifths Level 4
Identify tenths Level 4
Thirds & fifths of a number Level 5
Tenths of a number Level 5
Identify Sixths, sevenths, eighths and ninths Level 5
Sixths, sevenths, eighths and ninths of a number Level 8
Simplify fractions Level 9
Fractions of a number Level 10


 
If you've signed up for a free teacher login, you can also set up a competition or challenge for your students, to focus them on the new topics.
 
Click here to visit the student homepage, and try the new topics.
 
 

A new multiplayer game: Pop Tune

19 May 2011 • Posted by Dominic

This week, we've uploaded another new Sumdog game.
 
In Pop Tune, you and your fellow players compose music - by answering math questions!
Drag the correct answer onto the grid, and it'll play a note. You can choose where in the music loop your note goes, and how high or low it'll sound.
 
Each player has a different instrument. As you all add notes to the grid, you'll hear the tune coming together.
 
You've got a minute to compose your hit. Good luck!
 
 

Which animal are you?

11 May 2011 • Posted by Dominic

This week, we've added an animal to your Sumdog profile.
 
Your animal shows how hard you've worked on Sumdog. When you start out, you'll be a brown rat - one of the most common and successful mammals.
 
As you answer more questions, you'll see your animal change. Apart from the brown rat, each animal is an endangered species. The more questions you answer, the rarer your animal will be.
 
There are 31 different animals to discover. You'll learn about elephants, tigers, and pandas - and some animals that are even more unusual.
 

Become a Polar Bear by the end of May - and you could win a WWF Polar Bear adoption
 
At the end of May, we'll choose one student at random from all those in the USA who have reached the rank of Polar Bear.
 
On behalf of this student, we'll adopt a polar bear through the World Wildlife Fund, which helps their efforts to preserve these wonderful animals.
 

You can see your current animal by looking at your Sumdog profile. Good luck!{
 
 

The Sumdog shop is open!

28 April 2011 • Posted by Dominic

Sumdog now has a new shop, where you can buy clothes and accessories for your avatar.
 

 
Every time you answer a question on Sumdog, you'll get a point. You'll also get bonus points for mastering topics in some of the activities - like the Times Tables one.
 
You can spend the points you earn in the shop. There's a huge range to choose from - clothes, shoes, jewellery, sunglasses, and hats. You'll also find some more unusual outfits, like a spacesuit, a ninja and a princess.
 
When you buy an item, it's yours to keep. You'll be able to go back to the shop and change its colour at any time, too.
 

 
Click here to visit Sumdog's shop. Remember, though, you'll need to keep playing if you want enough points to perfect your look!
 
 

A new multiplayer game: Dress Down

7 April 2011 • Posted by Dominic
This week, we've uploaded a great new Sumdog game.
 
Dress Down is a race to find the coolest clothes. You're in a band, and you're getting ready for the biggest gig of your life. The problem: what to wear?
 

 
Every time you answer a question correctly, you'll get some clothing. If it looks good, drag it onto your avatar - but if it doesn't, drag it onto your opponent's.
 
Watch out, though! They'll be dumping their uncool clothes on you, too.
 
You've got a minute to make sure you get the coolest clothes, and then there's a vote on who has the best outfit.
 
Ready? Get dressed!
 
 

New activities: subtraction & division

31 March 2011 • Posted by Dominic

Following on from our new Times Tables and Basic Addition activities, we've now created two more - covering subtraction and division.
 
Just as with the addition and multiplication activities, Sumdog will learn about you as you work, and adapts its questions to suit.
 
If you keep answering correctly, the questions will be made more challenging - but if you have problems with a topic, Sumdog will help you practice.
 

 
Teachers can use these new adaptive activities even if a group of students is working on different topics, and still be sure that each student receives questions tailored to his or her needs.
 
Over time, we hope to add these adaptive questions across all of Sumdog.
 
For now, though, we'd really like to know what you think of the new subtraction and division activities - in particular, did they work well for you?
 
 

Improving Sumdog's performance

20 March 2011 • Posted by Dominic

There are now several hundred thousand Sumdog users around the world - which is fantastic news.
 
Facilitating multiplayer games with this many users is technically very difficult. However, Sumdog's developers are very good at this sort of thing, and the vast majority of games run very smoothly.
 
A handful of users, though, do experience problems, such as lost connections during games. There are many possible causes for this - for example, the speed of the internet connection, or how Sumdog interacts with the school's network setup.
 
We've recently made some changes to how Sumdog interacts with school networks. This should see fewer games terminated by lost connections.
 
Unfortunately, though, a lot of the internet problems are outside our control - for example, if a school has a slow internet connection, or strong network filtering software.
 
If you are one of the unfortunate ones who suffers internet problems with Sumdog, we'd be very interested to hear from you, so that we can find out if there's anything else we can do.
 
The information you send will help us improve Sumdog. Also, if there's something specific we can do to help you out, we'll get in touch with you by e-mail.
 
 

Sumdog learns about you

25 February 2011 • Posted by Dominic

We've made two exciting new Sumdog activities, covering Times Tables and Basic Addition.
 
In these activities, for the first time, Sumdog learns about you as you work and adapts its questions to suit.
 
If you keep getting the questions right, they'll get harder automatically. And if you have problems with a topic, Sumdog will help you pratise by asking more questions.
 

 
This means that teachers can use these two new activities with students of varying abilities, safe in the knowledge that each student is receiving questions suited to his or her needs.
 
There's also a new student homepage, on which you can try these activities out.
 
Tell us what you think
 
Over time, we hope to add these adaptive questions across all of Sumdog. For now, though, we'd really like to know what you think of what we've done.
 
So please let us know any comments - in particular, did these adaptive questions work for you?
 
 

A new Sumdog game: Bunny Hop

7 February 2011 • Posted by Dominic

This week we've got a new game on Sumdog: Bunny Hop.
 
It's a race out of the house to reach a patch of juicy carrots, with up to four hungry rabbits taking part.
 
To make your bunny faster, you need to answer Sumdog's math questions. You'll need to watch out for the hazards along the way, though - barking dogs, electric wires, falling cutlery...
 
Like all of Sumdog's games, it's free to play at home or in school, and you can take on up to 3 other Sumdog users from around the world.
 
Play Bunny Hop now...
 
 

On this page, you can keep up-to-date with all of the latest news from Sumdog.
 
You can also...
Read more about Sumdog
Reserve your free login
Follow Sumdog on Twitter
 


 

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