Monday, October 31, 2016

Using Trash to teach Proportional Relationships

      What good is a bunch of empty boxes?  Last week, it was great to teach proportional relationships.  I had my students all bring an empty box or bottle that had unit conversion information on them.  The first thing that I asked my students to do was to enter the conversion information onto a table on Desmos table.  As you can see below, the student started by entering the information from the package:  10 oz. and 283 grams.
The next thing that I had the kids do was to enter at least 2 more points that would be true based on the conversion information that we had.  Most of my students cut the amount on the package in half, or divided it by 10.  At this point, we stopped to talk about the fact that the points the students were graphing were forming a straight line.
Next, I had students put (0, 0) on the table, and see if it fell on the line.  Then we talked about why this point would be on everyone's line, even though they had different conversions.
Finally, I had students trace along the line, and find the point where the x-value was 1.  We talked about what this point represented.
This simple activity was a great way to introduce proportional relationships, and some of their important characteristics.

Monday, October 24, 2016

New Things I've Found This Year: EdPuzzle!

So, I am totally excited about EdPuzzle!  It is such a cool tool, and really gives me one more way to make the best use of Chromebooks in the classroom.

EdPuzzle is a free site that lets you take videos (from YouTube, Khan Academy, etc....) and add stuff to them for your class.

 The feature that I use the most is the ability to add questions in to the middle of the video.  So as students watch, you can have them pause the video, and answer multiple choice or open ended questions about the video.  If you give multiple choice questions, students even get feedback right away!  To make that feature even better, you can type in different feedback depending on which answer students chose.

Another helpful feature of EdPuzzle is the ability to crop a video.   So if you find a video that you like, but the intro is too long, or the concept gets too difficult, you can simply crop it out.  The only thing I didn't like about this feature is that you can only crop off the beginning or the end....I don't think you can crop a section out of the middle.

EdPuzzle also has some cool audio features.  You can add your own audio track to an existing video...basically narrating the entire thing!  Or you have the ability to add an audio note, so that you can just add your own audio comment here or there within the video.

EdPuzzle has helped me so much to have better avenues for differentiation.  It really allows me to feel like I can be in a couple of places at once.  If I need to do reteaching over multiple skills, I can assign different EdPuzzles for the skills.  My kids are engaged in something, and it frees me up to work with a small group without constantly being asked questions....AMAZING!!

Also, I signed up with Google, and it was so automatically created my classes for me.  I literally think I just had to hit one button, and I was ready to go.

Next great thing about EdPuzzle....super information about your students.  You have the ability to view the results by student, or by question.
Here is the question view.

Here is the whole class view.

When looking by student, you can see not only what they got right and wrong, but even which sections of the video the student watched multiple times.
Look at all the information you can get about individual students....which questions right, which are wrong, which part they watched over, overall percent correct....great info!

I feel like EdPuzzle is just the tool I've needed to be more effective at differentiating.  Often, I feel like I give my high kids a project and expect them to sort of figure it out on their own, while I work with my struggling students.  I think that EdPuzzle will give me a way to do a better job with the kids that I won't be working with directly when I I really can be in two places at once!!