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Grade Cam

Posted: March 29, 2013 in Uncategorized
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One of my new favorite teaching tools is GradeCam. Through the use of their webpage, teachers can create multiple choice question tests and then with the use of a document camera, students can scan their forms and instantly know how their score and what questions they missed. I’ve been using it for the past week, and I’ve found that it’s something that I can incorporate into my classroom everyday.

Getting started is easy, as signing up only requires a valid email address.Once an account has been set up, the next thing that you should do is create a class roster. The way that I did this, was by going to the “Setup” tab, and then selecting “Add Class”. After you have named the class, it next has you add students to your class roster. While you could do it manually for each student (which might take a while), you can also import a class roster from a CSV file. I found the latter to be very easy, especially since the walk through they provide, makes the process so easy. A couple important notes when importing students using this method: make sure each student has a unique student number (Mine are given numbers 1-32, with either a 1, 2, 3, or 4 in front of this previous number…ie 229 is assigned to a student in second block with their last name being toward the end of the alphabet), make sure that students first name and last name are in their own individual column, and give titles to each of the columns (as this allows the site to identify what each column represents).

So far this service is free, with options to buy plans that get you more features. I am currently using the free plan and I love it. It has everything that I can use, although, if my district had the money, I would highly recommend a paid version as there are some key features that could be useful for lesson planning and grading.

At the start of the week I have students pick up a sheet that includes 5 multiple choice answer forms of 10 questions each. Then using my projector, I display 3-5 warm-up questions for them to answer. Some days I do more and some days I do less, it really depends on how tough the content is in which we are learning. I like for the answer forms to have 10 questions just to be safe. The cool part about this site is that even though your answer form might have 10 questions and the actual test/worksheet/problems that you assign are less than this number, it will still score the test accurately without marking blank answers as wrong.

Epic Math Button

Posted: August 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

Epic Math Button

I saw this button the other day on one of my student’s key lanyards. I called her over and told her how much I loved her button…she promised to pick on up for me.

Today was the first day back to school after holiday break. Tomorrow, my Algebra 1 class has their end of year exam to determine whether or not they are proficient enough to move on to Intermediate Algebra.

Why does our school have such a test? As math teachers, we’ve found that different teachers grade different ways, and as a result, some students aren’t as proficient as they should be as they enter the next level of mathematics.  To overcome this, the math department created a test, over a decade ago, in which all Algebra students need to pass in order to advance to higher math courses. By doing so, the math department can be sure that students in upper level math courses are proficient in their algebraic fundamentals. On the downside, students hate it because if they don’t pass, then it’s another year of Algebra for them, no matter what their grade is in Algebra. Counselors and the Vice Principal in charge of scheduling hate it because it puts a huge number of students back into Algebra, instead of having them go on to their pre-scheduled class.

Why was the test scheduled on the second day after returning back from holiday break? I have no clue, but I think it has something to do with scheduling.

After meeting with my Algebra class today, one thing is certain; a majority of my class either didn’t study, or they studied a minimal amount; which is a bit disappointing, since I spent so much time creating a YouTube playlist that includes videos for each of the skills on the test.

For the last couple semesters I have incorporated a standards based grade book. For my Algebra class, I have aligned the grade book with the skills that are seen on this end-of-year test. One thing that I am going to try, that I have never attempted, is to use the degree of error to determine how accurate my grade book is compared to this test. I intend to only use the assessments portion of my grade book. I think it will be interesting to see individual student’s degree of error and also the class results.

Stay tuned for the results…

After reading the Official Google Blog today and noticing this link, I’ve decided that this would be an awesome way to really have students practice for the end of year “Exit” exam, which they need to pass in order to move on to the next level of Algebra. By combining YouTube and Google+, I would really be able to provide additional assistance to students that are struggling with concepts.

When I’m at home, one thing I really enjoy is lounging out and watching TV. While my favorite shows include Breaking Bad, Eureka, Scare Tactics, and other amazing shows; the one type of show that I can’t stand is reality TV. While I do try and avoid these types of shows, it’s important to remember that since I’m married, I don’t always get to dictate what will be recorded and watched on the DVR, and occasionally I may be in the room as my wife is watching one of her shows. This was the case a few weeks back as I caught an episode of the Kardashians.

The episode was the one where Kim loses her diamond earring in the ocean. If you haven’t seen it, then you can check it out here. My favorite part of this scenario was when Kris Humphries made the comment that he would never own something so expensive, because then if it’s lost, he won’t be upset about losing something so valuable in terms of price.

Even though I can be a bit materialistic at times, I am trying not to be, especially since we just had our first child and I know things will get broken from time to time. So if when things get broken, my goal is not to dwell on them and remember that things can be replace. And for those items that can’t be replaced, well, I guess extra care should be taken so that they don’t get lost or broken by keeping them out of sight or in a secured area.

(more…)

Yesterday, as I was looking for a “battleship game” template to get my class started with the coordinate grid, I came across an awesome resource to use at the “I Want to Teach Forever Blog.” After a few quick edits (changing Captain D to Captain W), I thought it might be beneficial for me to give this to the students so that there are two games on one sheet of paper, so if we want to play twice, it is a possibility without wasting too much paper.

At our school, the easiest way to print class copies that are less than 30, is by sending it directly to the printer from our class computers. This is not only convenient, but it saves a couple sheets of paper that you would otherwise have to print to the copier and then take to the printer to make copies. Therefore, my goal was to take this one sheet, and send it to the printer so that I would have a front and a back of the same sheet. This proved to be quite difficult, as I first tried copying and pasting, but then the format of the second page wasn’t quite right. So then I got to thinking, “would it be possible to simply type in the page number twice into the printing options?” I tried it, and it worked! Now I am able to print two of the same sheet, using the front and back option (found in Properties), without having to actually make two copies.

While it would have been nice to know about this technique years ago, I’m just glad that I was able to figure it out while it is still useful to me.

This week’s video clip was brought to my attention by a senior from the class of 2011. He told me to check it out because it contains real life math that affects almost everyone in the United States.

I love this clip because it takes a number that sounds incredibly large, and changes it into a number that isn’t that spectacular. The United State of America, as well as countries around the world, use units of measurement that are common to everyday life, but if a person were to tell you the actual size of these units in relation to everyday objects, many could not. How big is an acre? How large is a ton? How big is a 5.8 earthquake? How big is a gigabyte? How much is a gallon?

My goal of YouTube Tuesdays in my classroom is a warm up and not a lesson that will devour the whole hour. Therefore, even though I would love to deal with all of the different mysterious units of measure, my time frame won’t allow for it. Instead, I am taking three units: an acre, a ton, and a mile; and then with these I have planned a short lesson. Hopefully, this will take no longer than 15 minutes of class time, and the students will have a better understanding of measurement when they are done.

To conclude the lesson, I have found another clip that uses the terms “acre” and “tons”, as it compares the amount of trash in the Great Pacific Garbage dump to things we Americans can relate to. Check it out below:

And here is the accompanying worksheet: