Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Using Nearpod for Daily Homework Checks

Today I posted this to Twitter and got some interest about how I use Nearpod to check homework.

I also posted this picture on my last blog post.

I can not take credit for the idea.  It was shared with me by a coworker.  I just added the Nearpod component.

I have been using the free version of Nearpod for a while and Cathy Yenca shared how you could make the most of the limited space in the free version by using generic templates rather than full lesson.

Here is how it works in my room:

At the start of class, students write down the number of a homework problem that they wanted to have explained.  Other students in the class sign-up to explain problems when they can.  If no one signs-up for a given problem, I will explain it if it is different from the other requested/explained problems.

To add Nearpod to the mix, I use this template daily.  On the first "Draw it" screen, students take a picture of the entire homework assignment.  On the second screen, students take a picture of either the question that they signed up to explain or one that I have all non-volunteers select.

Then, I push out the images of the problems to all student devices as students explain.  Unclaimed problems usually still have a correct solution when I flip through the other pictures.  Therefore, I usually just push out one of those while I explain the unclaimed problems.

That's it!  I have been doing this for about 3 weeks and like it so far.  It can get a bit long on time if lots of problems are requested, so I need to find a fair way to select who will explain which problems when several of the same type are requested.  Other than that, I think it's been successful.

Monday, October 16, 2017

#SundayFunday Classroom Tour

I'm slowly catching-up in my #SundayFunday prompts!  This is the prompt from week nine of the Sunday Funday blogging initiative.  It's never too late to join in!  You can read more about the challenge here if you like.  This week's challenge is to write about our classroom set-up.

I posted a few pictures from my classroom on Twitter prior to the start of the year.

At the time, I was looking forward to incorporating more group based whiteboard practice (Vertical Non-Permanent Surfaces #VNPS) and continuing with the rotational station based model of blended learning.  Although I had successfully implemented this model involving small group instruction, group work, and individual work for the 4 previous years, this years' students struggled more than usual.  It may have been that I had more freshmen than ever before and they had not yet developed the confidence and self-discipline needed to work productively while I was with a different subset of students for small group time.  For whatever reason, the model was rejected by students this year.  It is unfortunate, because while using this model in the past, my students consistently scored the highest in our building on our state end of course exam (Keystone).  Also my previous students frequently come back to thank me because they were more prepared for the level of independence needed to compete in a college class where most of the work is completed outside of class in study groups and individually.  

So, I'm doing the best I can knowing that I am limited to a lecture/worksheet cycle this year.  I know that it is nowhere near best practice, but it is what I am being required to do this year.  In an effort to promote some classroom discourse, rather than full periods of lecture, I have now arranged my room like this:

I also wrote a few weeks ago about some of the "stuff" in my room and how it is used.  You can read about it here if you like.  However, here are two last tricks of the trade for you:

1)  Bank pens!  I bought 3 this year.  The base is stuck to my table with adhesive (no idea how well it will remove later) and the pen is on a retractable string.  So far, so good :)

 2)  A homework routine:  A coworker told me about this.  Kids sign-up for questions that they would like to see worked out and other students sign-up to explain them.  If no one signs-up for a question or two, I will discuss some of them as needed, but overall, the kids pull their own weight and help when they can.

That's it for this weeks #SundayFunday.  Maybe I'll be caught-up in a few more weeks :)

Sunday, October 8, 2017

#SundayFunday Warm-ups and Closures

I've gotten very far behind in my #SundayFunday prompts, but I'm hoping to catch up!  This is the prompt from week eight of the Sunday Funday blogging initiative.  It's never too late to join in!  You can read more about the challenge here if you like.  This week's challenge is to write about our warm-up and closure routines.  To be honest, I've had a very difficult start to the year.  The routines that I've used for the last 4 years including hybrid learning and standards based grading (also see the 7 posts following this one if you like) have suddenly been deemed inappropriate in my current placement.  That, however, is another post for another day :(  Because of these circumstances, I am still looking for a good routine for my current constraints.  I look forward to reading the other posts to see what everyone else has found success with.  In the meantime, here is what I've done in the past.

I created a 2 page handout that my students would use for about 3 weeks.  

This handout includes space for #MTBoS favorite warm-ups including John Stevens'  Would you Rather, Dan Meyer's Graphing Stories, and Andrew Stadel's Estimation 180.  I used the blank boxes for Mary Bourassa's Which one Doesn't Belong and content specific warm-ups.  For the content based warm-ups, I would review student progress towards standards based grading mastery and choose a warm-up based on a common, widely needed area of practice.

For the exit tickets, I used these prompts on most days.  I can not say for sure where I found these questions.  They were collected from various resources.  This year I've switched to using the Socrative exit ticket and using one of the linked prompts as the third "teacher question."  I've also started using the homework reflection questions from Jo Boaler's Mathematical Mindsets book.

Following the 2 page warm-up and exit tickets, you will find a reflection sheet that my students used daily as part of the hybrid classroom.  I have not reworked that form yet, but it might be something that I can use as a journaling or weekly reflection in the future.

I hope that you find something useful here and that you check out some of the other #SundayFunday posts!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

#SundayFunday: My Favorite Lesson so far This Year

This is week seven of the Sunday Funday blogging initiative.  It's never too late to join in!  You can read more about the challenge here if you like.  This week's challenge is to write about our favorite lesson.  I have a hard time picking a favorite lesson, especially one that I have not already blogged about.  I love all of the following:

However, I'd like to write about something new.  So today I'm writing about CPM's "How High Will it Bounce?" lesson.  I added some technology to this lesson to connect estimating a line of best fit and using a graphing calculator to find the linear regression line and correlation coefficient. 

Here are some screenshots pictures and videos from the lesson.

Today in #alg2chat we used @CPMmath's "How high will it bounce?" lab to practice linear regression #teach180https://t.co/A7tiNfH3Zm pic.twitter.com/FQ3tsVE2bK

Finally, here is one sample of the student blogs:  Baybars C – Bouncy Ball Lab Blog

Thanks for stopping by!  Don't forget to check out other Sunday Funday blogger favorite lessons :)

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

#SundayFunday: Emergency sub Plans

This is week six of the Sunday Funday blogging initiative.  It's never too late to join in!  You can read more about the challenge here if you like.  This week's challenge is to write about our plans for substitutes if we must be out unexpectedly.  

First, let me say that I have had a similar version of this plan in a file folder for about 10 years and I've thankfully never had to use it.  Also, since I've switched to a blended model in my classroom, I am completely confident that my students could survive a day or two without me and without any type of sub plan.

Here is my current online organization for students:

I try to keep lessons posted about a week in advance.  This way, if a student is planning on being out, they can work ahead if needed.  I've also built a routine where students log into Schoology first thing each period to see what the daily assignment is.  I include everything in a Google doc.  This includes the warm-up, notes, instructions videos, and practice questions.  Here is a sample daily Google doc.

While students are working through this lesson, I call students to small group time.  I base the groups off of the most recent assessment and we review previous skills that need improvement.

Thus, if I were to have an emergency, the first thing I would expect my students to do is to work through the daily lesson.  Of course they would miss out on small group instruction, but at least they would not have a wasted period.  Where things get sticky is that about 2 days per week, I use a collaborative task rather than the blended/small group instruction model.  So if my emergency happened to be one of those days, students might need a plan B.  For example, tomorrow one of my three preps will need square tile manipulatives and counters for their collaborative assignment.  Those supplies are already sitting on my desk, so I think a sub could pull off the intended lesson.  However, if I had not pulled those supplies, they would be at a loss.  Or, if I would be out the day of a test, that might also be challenging for a sub to locate the exam.

So, here is my plan B emergency plan for when following Schoology proves impossible.

In my current file folder, I have some written directions about attempting the Schoology task first and then to use a photocopied problem solving assignment if needed.  I've been working to put this online as well.  

This is meant to be a week long emergency sub plan that students could complete.  I'm also considering using the plan in the event that our state passes legislation allowing for digital snow days.  Of course, in the event of a digital snow day, this would still be my plan B.  I'd hope to be able to carry on as planned with the regularly planned Schoology lessons.

So there you have it, a pseudo emergency sub plan :)

Please check out the other #SundayFunday bloggers! 

Saturday, September 2, 2017

#SundayFunday: Teacher Hacks

This is week five of the Sunday Funday blogging initiative.  It's never too late to join in!  You can read more about the challenge here if you like.  This week's challenge is to write about teacher hacks.

I had some trouble thinking of hacks that I use, so I went around my room, looking for creative ideas that I have learned over the years.

Hack 1: Never buy a stylus!  Pick them up for free at conferences :)

Hack 2: Buy a $20 electric tea kettle.  It's perfect for Millie's Sipping Broth and tea during study hall or a planning period. 

Hack 3: Tony Riehl  posted this idea to twitter awhile back and then shared it again at #TMC17.  Phones are not the only distraction, so have something large enough to hold, say yearbooks, in May.  I also keep a pad of post-it notes in the box so kids can label their distraction with their name before putting it in the box.

Hack 4:  Label all the things! I have never taught in the same classroom for more than 3 years in a row.  So I'm always packing all of my stuff up to move.  I got smart awhile back and stopped unpacking fully.  I just keep most things in their labeled box.


Hack 5:  Buy more storage to house all the extra classroom supplies you splurge on.  Seriously, this has become a bigger issue since Sarah Carter introduced me to NAEIR.

Hack 6:  Shoe polishing mitts are great for dry erase pocket erasers and calculator tape is great for making manipulative number lines.

Hack 7:  Business cards and half-sized index cards are great for making task cards and cards for review games.

Hack 8:  You can buy giant rolls of graphing paper.  I used this for an Ozobot project.

Hack 9:  I give _____ of the month memberships as gifts sometimes.  The boxes can be spray painted turned used in the classroom.  I've used them for station supplies and general storage.


Hack 10:  I've used my old legos (from Santa if you notice) as game pieces for review games.

Hack 11:  Group work and be turned in and returned in laminated, numbered folders.  They last all year.

Hack 12:  Phone accessories make great prize box items, as does candy.

Hack 13:  You can revive dried out markers (one time only) with pliers, an eye dropper, and rubbing alcohol.


Hack 14:  An iPad stand and an app like Reflector or Stage can turn your iPad into a document camera.  This is great for teaching topics like geometric constructions.

That's all for now.  Be sure to check out the other #SundayFunday posts!