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!