How I Sold #Plickers To My Admin

I realized recently that I didn’t have a post dedicated to how I use Plickers in my class. I had how I make sure each student has a card. I also have how they are used in my warm ups. Then, I mentioned that I plan out my Plickers questions when I’m unit planning. But I recently had a conversation with my admin about it and they were completely sold. This was basically what I talked about in the conversation:

So I have about a little over 100 students this semester, last semester I had 120. I know that to some of you that’s not a lot, but to me that was a lot a lot. I had been used to no more than 70 students because I had been teaching in a small school and/or on block scheduling. So I had been trying exit slips at the beginning of the year, like I had done in my previous schools, but it just wasn’t working. They became a chore, and plus with only 50 minutes I kept not being able to fit them in. So now I use Plickers as an exit slip. I also use it before practicing, and in the middle of practicing. So there are many days where I’ll use Plickers 3 or 4 times in a period.

The great thing about Plickers (besides that it’s 100% free), is that it’s immediate feedback, for me and the students. So when I put up a problem, sometimes I’m feeling pretty confident about how it was learned and I expect something like this:

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And instead I get this:

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Whoa…

What happened?

So now I can know that everything I thought was wrong, and I can go over it with the class! Or, I can now group up students and talk to them about what they did and how we could get the right answer. I actually do the second option a lot. I make sure I meet up with every single student, so sometimes I’m talking to a few of them at a time about how they worked out a problem and what they could do differently. I’ll also meet with the ones who got it correct and see if I can extend their knowledge in some way. It’s really cool that I get little meetings with every single student because of their Plickers response and it’s a regular part of the routine now.

Another thing I’ve started to do this quarter is add the “I don’t know” option to all my questions. I never use Plickers for a grade, so the “I don’t know” keeps some the students from lucky guessing. I really stress that I’d rather them be honest about not knowing than guessing for the problems I put up. I still have a couple that insist on guessing, anyway.

Also sometimes it’s important (to me) to have questions like this to gauge how the class is feeling.

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Sometimes my district’s pacing calendar doesn’t let me, but I try to do what my students need/want in terms of practice vs moving on.

And there you have it! #Plickersforever

Je peux parler de Plickers pour toujours.

Google Certified Educator Level 1

I passed the Google Certified Educator Level 1 exam yesterday!

The test took me a little over 2 hours. I had looked over the lesson material very very briefly and took all of the unit reviews before taking the exam. Most of the content I knew, but there were definitely some things that I had to read up on. I think I only got 2 of the unit reviews 100% correct the first time. While I was taking the exam, I had my school computer that was taking the test, because it’s the only one I have with a working webcam, and then my old old personal computer that I got in college and is only used a few times a year was next to it with my Chrome open and all the different lessons bookmarked. I did have to look up a handful of things, so I’m glad I had it there. If you’re going to take it, I suggest you have some other way to access Google to answer some questions during the test.

If you’re wondering about whether it’s worth it, I’m not sure. I have a badge now, and I guess I can put this on my resume. But I more have a sense of accomplishment because I was pretty nervous. I also honestly got some ideas from the scenario questions that I’m excited to use as soon as (or if) my district lets students all have access to email through their accounts. Next step is Level 2, some day.

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Les insignes numériques: insignifiants mais aussi demandés.

Weekly Summaries and Class Twitter

I’ve written about my Weekly Summaries before. I still do them but I’ve updated them a little. Now, the questions are:

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  1. What did you learn in class this week?
  2. What activities did you do in class this week?
  3. How are you feeling about math class?
  4. Type your tweet (I am following after Annie Forest with her class tweets)
  5. Other comments

 

 

 

 

 

 

When they click submit, their parents (if they have given the school or me an email address) and I get an email that looks like this:

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So the grade automatically gets put in and the parents see their responses to 1, 2, 3, and 5 (that’s this student’s joke about the mathematician).

I love love love these Weekly Summaries. The hardest part is getting students to do them. Usually it’s me who forgets to have them get the Chromebooks. It’s not something they like doing on their phones because they have to log in to their account and that takes longer than a microsecond so they’re just not into it.

But I get a lot of good feedback (like this student who was failing but was feeling great about the current topic and ended up raising her grade to a D in the next week!). And parents (except two that asked me to stop emailing them unless it was an emergency) have told me that they really like getting these. It’s a good conversation starter at home and it makes them feel like they are more in the loop about their child. I loved getting these comments at conferences and frequently get responses back from parents over the weekend with questions or comments so it definitely has helped my communication.

You may have noticed that the tweets aren’t seen by the parents. That’s because I curate the tweets to put on our class Twitter. I usually use one tweet per period. I have the Twitter feed on my class website and currently have 5 followers…but some students have said that they just look on my website. I also post pictures from class on the class Twitter. I haven’t gotten any parent comments about it yet. Honestly I don’t know if any look at it. I just keep putting reminders that it’s there when I send my unit emails and, if nothing else, it’s nice for me to chronicle the year.

J’espère que les parents apprécient les mises à jour.

Desmos Card Sort Is More Than Just Technology for Technology’s Sake

I just had my first formal observation and it was scheduled for last period on day 2/2 of factoring by grouping (polynomials with four terms). I was a little stressed when I found out about the observation.

Luckily the #MTBoS is the best and Meg @mathymeg07 and Sarah @mathequalslove gave me great ideas that helped me de-stress. I ended up settling on a Desmos card sort for practice, mainly because my evaluator has already said how impressed she is with my technology use. I would just make a sort where the students would match a polynomials with its factors (3 cards for each set). That led me to tweet about how it was a perfect example of technology for technology’s sake, which made me feel bad but my plans were due the day before already (even though I had just been assigned the observation).

But then I was thinking about it…and it really isn’t just technology for technology’s sake. Using the Desmos card sort gave me and the students way more information than a regular old worksheet. Ok well for the students they got confirmation that their answers could be correct if they were on the screen (which is not much more than me just giving a scrambled answer key or something). But also they gained engagement. There’s something about being on the Chromebooks that is just 10x more engaging than a worksheet. Like, seriously, in all of my classes there wasn’t one time where I caught a group on something they weren’t supposed to be on. Maybe I’m just bad at catching it, but I’m gonna go with they were engaged. And no, my classes are not perfect little angels who just do whatever I ask them. But the pairs that were just sitting there doing nothing were quickly caught and re-engaged (read on for how).

Also, I gained so much more with the card sort than I would have with just a worksheet. Students were in pairs and I had them make their names both of their first names together so I could manage better. I walked around with my iPad showing the dashboard, and I was able to see their work in real time! No more making rounds around the room and not finding out until 2 minutes before ending that a group did everything wrong. No more letting a group wait there for 10 minutes because they finished early (or just weren’t working) and just didn’t say anything!

I wish I had taken a screenshot in the middle of the class (this is just the first four groups from a class that had already finished) but, for instance, I could see right away that the Stefan Banach pair had a mismatch and could go over to them as soon as I was available before they made more mistakes like that. I could also see, for instance, that Diego and Kurt were ready for some extension questions and challenges since they were done earlier. Or I could use this to see that Mary’s pair needed someone from Diego’s pair to help them out since they were stuck on that screen for a while.

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Also, it was pretty easy to make. I made an 8 question Kuta worksheet, made sure none of the factors were the same but that there were some similar ones, and then typed them in. I think it took me half an hour while I watched TV to make.

So yeah, I wanted to use Desmos to impress my assistant principal. But really, in the end, I did what I think helped my students and me have the best practice for this topic.

Here’s the links to the card sorts that I’ve done like this:

Factor by Grouping: https://teacher.desmos.com/activitybuilder/custom/581e0a5a39d984e1059501f3

Factor quadratic trinomials: https://teacher.desmos.com/activitybuilder/custom/5812d0b1b9d4312e2ae3f184

J’adore Desmos et je vais trouver n’importe quelle raison de l’utiliser.

My New #Plickers Solution

I love Plickers. I’ve presented the use of Plickers to my staff and at conferences in Illinois. Recently, I applied to be a Plickers Ambassador and now I am one!

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This fall break, I had an idea about storing Plickers in the classroom. This was always the only bad part about Plickers – they take time for students to pick them up if you store them in your room or if you give them to students some inevitably will lose them. But in my class, the students are all assigned a calculator that I store on the wall. They are very used to grabbing this on their way into class because it’s in a hanging shoe organizer right next to the door. Their calculator number is the same as their Plicker number, so I realized that I could just put both together!

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I printed the Plickers so there were two pages on one and that shrunk them so that they fit right onto the battery cover of a TI-84. I taped them on with packing tape to create a pseudo-lamination.

My students even said this was a great idea! I will admit, these don’t work quite as well as the regular-sized Plickers. I have to usually go across the room one extra time – so I spend an extra 30 seconds to scan but gain so much time figuring out who has and doesn’t have their Plicker!

As a side note, I’m glad to be blogging (and will continue blogging). I have missed sharing things. It’s not really something I get to do at my school anymore. Funny how I move from being a single math teacher in the school to one of 10 and I feel like I’m sharing less. I’m really glad Zach @z_crass posted this to the #MTBoS the other day:

Also his message at the top of his sheet is spot on for me:

If you like to blog and see the value in it but seem to always put it off (like me) join the group and we’ll keep each other accountable!

We all know I only blog when there’s a challenge, so I’m taking this as a challenge. I will post more because it helps me (and maybe some other people, too).

Mes étudiants aiment qu’il n’est plus nécessaire de trouver leurs Plickers!

Quizizz Homework #MTBoS30

Yes, another post about Quizizz. I forgot about the homework feature for Quizizz! It’s just another reason why it’s awesome.

So we all know that sub plans are the worst. Like why is it harder to be sick at home as a teacher than it is to be sick at school? But one great sub plan option is Quizizz homework!

This is one of the things I left for my Algebra II class when I was gone at an AP Workshop:

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You can set it to be open for however long you want and see the results in the same way as a regular Quizizz. It’s a great way for the students to be engaged and actually doing something useful when you have a sub.

I’ve also just had one posted in Google Classroom as extra review if we didn’t get time to do it in class! Students still did it because it shows you the answers and they could come into class the next day and ask about any that stumped them. I haven’t assigned it for actual homework yet because I know that I had some students in each class that didn’t have access to the internet at home, but it’s always a possibility.

Peut-être je suis trop obsédée par Quizizz…

Remind #MTBoS30

I’m still curious on the best way to use Remind for class. I was only able to get one class to fully sign up – my Calculus class that had only 8 students. The problem is that anyone that has AT&T (myself included) doesn’t get any service in the school, so I couldn’t get students to all sign up at school. Not that all of them would, anyway. But some did choose to get email notifications or get the app on their phone for notifications.

I used Remind primarily to tell students to not forget to study for tomorrow’s quiz/test or that a big project was due tomorrow. Sometimes I’d send out something about a homework problem. I also used it for National Honor Society to remind them to do something or ask them to check something.

At the beginning of the year I had the chat feature turned off because I thought it was a little creepy and thought the kids would abuse it. Later I turned it on because our school started doing Academic Detentions. So another teacher said she did this and it helped me – If I had a big assignment and Johnny hadn’t turned it in and it was already a few days late, I would sent a chat message to Johnny saying something like “If I don’t get assignment X from you by Friday, you will be receiving an Academic Detention”. I only had to give two Academic Detentions all year! It was also great to be able to communicate with my National Honor Society officers quickly when I needed to know something. Now I think about the chat feature like this – I am totally fine with students sending me emails and I’ll respond to them at all hours of the day, so what’s different about this chat feature on Remind? Students check their phone much more than their email, and no students ever complained.

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What do you use Remind for?

Je ne sais pas la meilleure raison pour utiliser Remind.