Flashcard Flipbook #MTBoS2020

Jennifer @jenfairbanks8 has set up a monthly blogging challenge described herehttps://docs.google.com/document/d/1bD-zYHpkP0RR7shkovBtOEB4c_rlSuiUKtJCQtid9QY/edit You should join!

I came across this idea from the amazing Pam about a teacher hack on retrieval practice – the Flashcard Flipbook. Here is her post that includes it: https://pamjwilson.wordpress.com/2017/08/01/bonus-session-teacher-hacks-tmc17/

I started this second semester and had grand plans for using it for finals, but then COVID-19 happened and we never went back to school after 3rd quarter ended. But it is an idea I will 100% be using again.

I already have my learners keep a Portfolio in class. It’s really just where they keep all of their assessments (that I’m not allowed to have them keep, but I have to hold onto them for an undetermined amount of years) and also anything else they feel like keeping in there. Some keep their notes packets in there because they know they’d lose them otherwise. Most are just filled with tests and quizzes and their grade tracker. They are just plain old file folders that I can get for free from my school and every learner puts their name on one at some point before I hand back their first assessment. You can see them in the picture below on top of my Chromebook cart and next to the calculators.img_3892

So what I did starting 2nd semester was on the day before each assessment, I had learners spend 5 minutes writing on their notecard anything that they knew about the topics for that assessment. Some learners took it less seriously than others, but most were really into it and made pretty great notecards. I always phrased it as something like “Write what you want your future self to know before they go into final exams.” I have some examples below – one from Algebra 1 and one from Honors Geometry. My units are almost all structured as one quiz in the middle, one test at the end. So, most use one side for what’s on the first quiz and then flip it for the rest of the unit.


These aren’t used during the assessment. They are merely to help solidify the knowledge that they have at the time. Then, my plan was that they would take some time before the final exam to consolidate all of that into one notecard that they are allowed to use for their final.

Next year I definitely want to do even more with this. I want to make it more like Pam’s, where it is a little more organized and I want to do it more than just right before the assessment. I don’t know if I will be able to pull off 5 minutes every day like it’s suggested, but I’m thinking maybe once a week. I’d also like to do more peer review of them, or maybe just adding to their tablemates’ cards or finding something from another’s card to add to their own.

I got lots of comments from learners about how they thought it really helped to write it out. Like they figured out that just writing it all out helped them remember. The ones that took it seriously were also really excited to be able to use it later to help them study for their final. Now the question is how to make it so more learners take it seriously? I know it’s tough for high schoolers (and adults and everyone) to see how their effort can make a difference for them down the line. I wish I had been able to get to the end game with this one so I could have shared feedback with future learners. Oh well. I know it would have been great.

Une bonne idée qui ne voit pas sa fin.

How I Use Quizizz #MTBoS30

Yeah, maybe I could have included this in my last post, but I’m a little behind in #MTBoS30 and that post was long enough.

At first I used Quizizz individually because each student had a Chromebook. I soon thought about using Quizizz in groups.

It’s amazing! Here’s how it works:

What I do (on the teacher end):

  • Make questions or pull them from other people’s quizzes
  • Choose these settings when we’re ready to play
  • Start the game when all groups are in and all names are appropriate (Quizizz monitors this, too)
  • Watch in amazement as students talk to each other about the math and actually want to get the questions correct (and answer questions if groups have them)
  • Look at results after the game is done and talk about questions that were most commonly missed

What students do:

  • Students are in a group and only one Chromebook is out.
  • They come up with a team name
  • They work on the problems together and answer them together
  • They review their answers and work out the questions they got incorrect as a group

Screen Shot 2016-05-20 at 2.49.25 PM

  • They all get a prize if they win

This creates great mathematical talk and I rarely have a student that’s not invested. I use it in all of my classes.

Quand les étudiants demandent le Quizizz, vous savez que c’est très bon.

Why I Love Quizizz #MTBoS30

I love Quizizz! It’s like Kahoot, but better.

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 10.45.14 AM

Quizizz (quizizz.com) is an online quiz platform where the teacher has multiple choice questions with a quiz code. When the students enter the code, they can make a name and get an avatar. Once the teacher starts the quiz, the students see the questions on their screen and get points based on how many they get correct and (optional) how long it takes them to answer. If you set a timer, it can go up to 15 minutes for a question.

The features for Quizizz, in my opinion, are far better than Kahoot. My principle introduced Kahoot to our school in October and every single teacher started using it (except me because I was in protest). Seriously, I’d hear that Kahoot music every day from somewhere in the school. I had used it in class before that and hated the dynamic it created. I had put actual math problems up, but since there was the 2 minute timer max, and students caught on quickly that they got more points for answering quickly, students were just guessing every time. I think Kahoot would be fine for something like vocab, and I know that Ghost Mode is a cool thing, but overall I didn’t like it. Luckily, I had seen the My Favorites Global Math Department webinar where Jessica (@algebrainiac1) showed Quizizz. It answered most of my gripes about Kahoot:

  • At the time, you couldn’t turn the timer off. However, you could set the timer to 15 minutes, so it barely moved while students were working on a problem and didn’t seem like questions had to be answered really quickly. Now you can turn off the timer completely.
  • The questions are on each students’ screen, so it’s much easier to do the math problems.
  • There were funny memes after answering each question (ok, not necessary, but still fun)
  • You could pull individual questions from already-made Quizizzes, instead of having to duplicate an entire quiz like in Kahoot.
  • The data was much easier to see.
  • Students can review their answers at the end. It shows the answer they picked and the correct answer.

I’ll admit, I haven’t used Kahoot in a while, so maybe there have been updates. Let me know if there is. I’ve also used Socrative and Plickers, and will be looking into Quizlet, too. I think they all have their place in the classroom. I’ll post next about how I actually use Quizizz in my classroom.

Quelquefois, un outil est meilleur pour un autre situation.

Final Exams and Review #MTBoS30

My students have officially started final exams. My Algebra I students took theirs Friday, then Algebra II, College Algebra, and Calculus are today and tomorrow.We reviewed for the past week or so in each class. All of my classes were allowed to use Desmos on their Chromebooks, a calculator, and one full sheet of paper that they could write anything they wanted on. The finals were all multiple choice with Scantron and were comprehensive for the semester.

This is how all my classes were structured for review:

  1. Go through every section on the study guide to write notes about how to go about solving each type of question. Answer any questions students have about specific sections, go through final exam logistics.
  2. Play Chutes and Ladders. Use the study guide I gave them or another version of the study guide and have students in groups of 3-4. For every 3-5 questions they get correct, they get to roll a dice (or two) to see how far their marker will move on the game board. Students call me over when they are ready with their problems to check and I will only tell them whether they got all five correct or if something is incorrect. I will help them if they ask a specific question, though. If they got all of them correct for that turn, I have them roll and I usually move the piece. I’ve had issues with cheating or people just plain old moving the wrong direction or wrong piece. This gets very competitive very quickly. Winning team is the one that gets farthest or one that gets to 100 first.  IMG_5605
  3. Play Quizizz in teams. I’ll post about Quizizz soon.
  4. Allow them to work on their own to study in whatever way they want. This is usually when most students fill out their notes sheet.

This semester, I started to spiral my homework. I got comments from students (the ones that consistently did their homework) about how they didn’t feel like they had to relearn stuff because they were still doing the problems recently in their homework. I’m really glad it helped!

La fin est proche.

Day 28: Final Review (2)

Today is the last day before the second semester final exam. I have a bunch of activities planned for final review days and then I also usually let the students have at least an hour of free review where they can work on their semester review packet as well as ask me any questions. All the activities I list are attached at the bottom of the page.

Activity 1 was Tic-Tac-Toe with similarity problems. I displayed a 3×3 board and split the class into 2 teams. Usually I can say girls against boys but I have only 3 girls and 14 boys this year…even so, the girls wanted to show the boys they could beat them. I then had a student from each team play rock paper scissors to decide who goes first and that group picked a box to start in. The goal was to win Tic-Tac-Toe, but you could only get the square if you answered the question correctly, and the other team could steal it if you got it incorrect. It’s always surprising to me how competitive a simple game like Tic-Tac-Toe can be (especially without it being Ultimate Tic Tac Toe). It ended up being 1 to 1 after two games, but still fun.

 Then, I had another trail (can you tell I like those?) for trig that was really just basic solving triangle stuff. There are two “tracks” in this one so I had to make sure the students were just staying on their track the whole time.

I also did another round of Last Man Standing for surface area, volume, and area review, but this time I added a box where they could see how much of each item there was. That way they couldn’t be surprised if something not-so-great was the last thing they revealed.

I then had another Roundtable review for circles, angles, and arcs.

I was planning on having some time for Mathketball or Grudgeball but we didn’t have time…I had promised an hour at the end to do their own review and ask me any questions and many used that time wisely. We’ll see how their final exams go tomorrow.


Il y a trop de choses de faire avant le début de l’école!

Day 26-27: Circles

Yesterday and today we looked at angle and arc measures in circles. I give a whole bunch of practice on these types of problems – central angles, inscribed angles, angles formed by secants and tangents and chords…It’s a lot for them to distinguish in two days but with all the practice most of them get it.

Yesterday didn’t really have too much excitement…today was the opposite because we played another awesome review game. It basically is Grudgeball but I do have a few adjustments. I introduce it with talking about Mario Kart’s battle mode – I talk about how I love Mario Kart but I hate playing the battle because my strategy is always to hide out because I hate getting my balloons popped. We talk about strategies of the game for a minute or so (further confirming to some students how nerdy I can be) and then I tell them they’ll be playing a version of this today. When I had an interactive white board, I would actually project balloons for each team and then students would slash or un-slash a balloon. This time, I just drew X’s and let groups erase or redraw an X. I gave everyone a pretty extensive review packet and said that for every two that the entire group shows me is correct, they could pop a balloon from another team, and for every three they show me correct they could blow up one of their own balloons. The students asked to do this for every review, but then thought of Mathketball and said we should split between the two. It really was engaging to all of them and I believe it helped them review as well. Some other notes:

  • I don’t let groups get multiple pops or blow-ups at a time – they either show me two or three and then I say “correct” and give the marker or eraser or “at least one part is incorrect” and then go away from the group. This keeps groups from just saving all of their problems for the end.
  • I had each group start with three balloons (X’s) and they could never have more than three. I wasn’t sure how the game would go over with high school students but next time I would give more balloons.
  • In the final five minutes, I tell groups that I will walk around to the groups one final time at the end to see if they can earn their last pops/blow ups. I take note of what they’ve earned then but don’t let the students go up to the board for this. When I’m done going to the groups, I then go randomly through the groups and tell the class how they want to use what they’ve earned. So it could be that there looks like a clear winner at the end, but in the final minute all groups wanted to pop that one groups remaining balloons and the game totally changes. I like this because it doesn’t allow groups to just slack off when they see they are winning or losing.
    All groups started with 3 “balloons”.

    Groups 3 and 4 were winners! It doesn’t look like much changed but there was so much change during the game…should have taken more pics.

I also had been given this clever cheat sheet for finding angles in a circle called “Dude Where’s My Vertex?” and I’m attaching that below.

La vengeance est amusante en classe!

Day 25: Finishing Trig

Today was the end of our tiny trig unit. Students worked on using trig to find areas of regular polygons that they hadn’t been able to find before (nonagons, pentagons, etc.) and did a group activity that I call a Roundtable. There are up to four members of each group and all start with a very similar problem. The first step is very simple and after everyone is done, they all pass their papers clockwise in the group. The next step will have something to do with what the person did before them, so they have to not only check the work from before, which could lead to great discussions, but they also have to continue with the problem. You will find two versions in the file below – one for a pentagon and one for an octagon. To challenge some groups that finished quickly, I asked them to check their answer using the similarity ratio before I check their final answers. They seemed to like being able to check themselves and I heard awesome discussions.

I am also attaching a picture of some students’ work on angle of elevation/depression problems that they did on the board. I introduce these with statements like “Guys, these are all gonna be word problems *listen to groans* but word problems are the best ones to show your creativity! We’re leaning a ladder against a house here – look at how nice my dream house is! *takes a little too much time to draw a nice house with a ladder leaning on it in front of class*” Now most of my students actually draw out what they’re seeing. It might waste some time but I feel it gets a little more investment out of the ones who would normally shut down to a word problem.

They also did a row game last class that I forgot to include. Basic trig stuff, but once again I think the students like being able to check their own answers and that’s what the row game gives you. Download below.


Les réponses données encouragent les étudiants à essayer plus.

Day 23-24: Similarity Day 2 + Trig

Busy day yesterday and wasn’t able to post – I’ll combine yesterday with today:

We finished the similarity unit by talking about perimeter, area, and volume ratios. I started class with an investigation on area and perimeter of similar rectangles. The sheet is downloadable below. I first started with some students giving guesses for how the ratio of perimeters and areas changed with the similarity ratio and If students finished early, I asked extension questions like, “Will this work for all rectangles? Will this work for all shapes? How is the volume ratio affected?”  I liked that students were able to confirm or disprove their guess by this investigation.


Then, after looking at similar solids we reviewed the similarity unit. I used another trail activity for this. I actually made this when I student taught for an honors geometry class. I still use it because, even though the questions might be more challenging than what’s going to be on the test, the students don’t know that and they still try their best to get through the trail. They all were able to complete it (some with some guidance) in about 45 minutes to an hour instead of the 30 minutes that I had given in student teaching. I still think it’s a great way to review, practice, and challenge the students. It is downloadable below.


The class ended with a test.

Today, we started with an introduction to trigonometry. I feel like it’s really hard to just give an introduction, though. I got into the ratios and how these are really functions instead of multiplying by a “sin” or something like that. It’s hard to understand the inverse trig functions without having a firm grasp on the fact that these are functions, but then some of my students have never heard of a function before. I don’t remember running into this issue before but it definitely took a little longer to introduce it than normal. I had groups in the class trying to answer some questions about trig properties – Can sine ever be greater than 1? Can cosine ever be greater than 1? Can tangent ever be greater than 1? Can any of the trig functions be less than 0? What about the inverse trig functions? Some students just started by trying to plug in a ton of numbers in their calculator. Eventually, groups realized that they really had to look at the ratios.

When we got into angle of elevation I was so excited to try Kate Nowak’s “Measuring a Really Tall Thing” activity. I had the meter/yard sticks and the students had a member of each group with a clinometer app (the iPhone actually has it automatically in it within the compass app so most of my students were able to get it). I then took them outside and they got to measuring. I only had six meter/yard sticks so I had groups of 2 and 3 and about half the groups were able to do it correctly within half an hour. They then had to help the other groups figure out what was going on. I blame this on not giving enough time for the kids to really figure out what they were doing and also test how the clinometer works.  I was so excited that I just kind of said “go”. Next time, I actually should have them mess around with the clinometer maybe even before we leave the classroom. Overall, I think they saw how this could be applied to find the height of something very tall and were excited to be applying what they learned to something outside (even in the 90 degrees). It was fun and the students were excited, and next time it will be much better because I’ll know how to introduce it better. I really wish I had taken pictures…

Je suis trop occupée maintenant. C’est difficile quelquefois d’écrire le blog.

Day 20: Volume and Surface Area (and Tin Men)

Today was mostly review on Surface Area and Volume. We did Deal or No Deal review again and I got much better investment from the students than last time. I was just going to do it for an hour but it ended up going another half an hour because the kids just wanted to continue.

After their test, we got started on the Tin Man Project. So far they’re really into it. I was so surprised by how many cardboard objects we got! I meant to take a picture of them all before the students got to them. I was worried since I was really the only one that had brought anything in until today. I didn’t think to send out an all-staff email to see if other teachers could bring in stuff but it turned out fine! Here’s some of their work so far and they will hopefully finish tomorrow:

Il y a encore beaucoup de travail à faire pour ce projet.

Day 13: Final Exam Review

Tomorrow is the Semester 1 Final Exam. We spent all of today reviewing. I had some games and then the last hour was given to them to review on their own using their assessments, supplemental review worksheets I made, and their review packet that I gave and I was there to answer questions.

All files are attached at the bottom of the post. Most winnings were candy (thank you amazon for this and this) and math pride.

I started with Jeopardy to review parallel lines and angle-sum theorems. This is something I made while student teaching and I do it with teams. I printed the slides so that if a group got it incorrect, another group could steal the points. I also added a “daily double” worth 1000 points (because I said it makes sense) to one of the 100 point questions to really throw them for a loop.

Next, I had Last Man Standing to review triangle congruence. This game is class vs. teacher. The class receives the prize of the last man that is left in the grid. I pair students up and then call on the pairs one at a time to pick which man to take out. The class is then responsible for asking the question that is behind that guy. There are some bad prizes (high five, fist bump, homework pass in my class since I don’t grade homework) and some better ones (extra credit, candy, extra break time). The class gets really into it at the end when you only have a few left.

Next, we played Dan Meyer’s Mathketball to review special segments in triangles. I play class vs. teacher. This one has kids asking why we don’t do this every day. I always hype it up by saying I was a starter on the basketball team when I was in high school (which was the same high school as about half of them – and their girl basketball team recently won sectionals). Then when I take my first shot granny-style I point out that I started sophomore year on my 7-girl team. Today, I actually was ahead for a good amount because the kids all insisted on taking the far shot and they could not make it. I have never seen so many scrap paper balls hit the rim of a recycling bin before. But they did end up winning.

Finally, we did a Trail activity to review quadrilaterals. In this version, the answers are somewhere else around the room that the students have to find. Students all write the letter that is next to the answer once they find it, and the teacher can check by seeing if the order is correct regardless of where they started. The teacher really doesn’t need to check if the student got through all 10 questions without repeating. I like this activity because it gets students moving and talking to different students depending on where they end up in the trail.

Trail Activity

Je m’amuse bien en classe quand les étudiants s’amusent!