Posts Tagged ‘math’

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.


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.

One of my fondest memories as a kid was watching David Copperfield with my family as he performed amazing magic tricks. One of the tricks, the Orient Express, amazed my little mind as I wondered how the heck he can know what I’m thinking when I’m at home and he’s in half way around the world.

The video that I found isn’t David Copperfield working his magic, but someone else performing the same trick. By using a clip of Copperfield I would have to sacrafice quality and also time, as the clip appears halfway through a longer video. If you want to see the original trick, then go here, and scroll to the 5:00 mark.

I also remember another clip of David Copperfield performing a similar trick. This one wasn’t as complex as the Orient Express, but it was still fun to participate in. Last semester, I showed this clip to my class and they were astounded by the results. “How could he know?”, many of them pondered. Even after showing it to them again, only a few students began to notice, but a few students were still left in amazement.

Since today is the first day of school, and also a Tuesday; what better way to get students involved and participating then to amaze them with interactive math? By opening class with the Orient Express Trick, I hope to capture students’ attentions. After they see the video, perhaps more than once, I will present them with a worksheet to do with their groups.

I remember using a worksheet that accompanies this clip when I was student teaching, but over the years I’d lost it and couldn’t find another copy on the internet. This morning I did a search and found a copy here, which was posted about a week ago, so it was perfect timing.

After we get done with the worksheet and discuss it as a class, I plan on showing them the second David Copperfield clip, with the goal that they will be able to quickly figure out why this one always works too.

Finish Up Friday

Posted: July 22, 2011 in Classes, End of Semester, Math, Real Life Math
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I usually reserve Friday’s for assessments using the Standard’s Based Grading (SBG) Technique. So whatever we have covered the previous week and that week, will be covered on Friday’s assessment. Since many of my students are eager to take the test and get it out of the way, I don’t want to over emphasize the warm-up problems for this day; but at the same time, I don’t want to eliminate them from their daily routine. Therefore, Friday’s will be a wrap up of yesterday’s warm-up problems.

My goal is to take the equations that each student submitted and put them on a word document so that each student can be expose to the different equations, with some being more abstract than others, and not have to worry about taking the time out of class to copy them all down. With these sheets organized into their notebooks, the students can then “reverse engineer” the concepts that others students have used and use them to better enhance their own problems in the future. Also, by numbering each problem, students can vote for their favorite problems, so that the person with the most votes either gets a prize or their name on some sort of trophy. The voting, although I haven’t figured it out completely, may either take place online using their Edmodo account, or it may be done by turning in paper copies with their votes. Most likely, I will use Edmodo, since this will allow me to quickly accumulate the votes.

While you probably have already seen my YouTube Tuesdays, my goal is now to create YouTube clips that have accompanying math problems. While I know students like to watch video clips and not have to do anything with it, my job as their teacher is to help them retain the knowledge learned in these math videos so that they may use it in later math courses or in their lives outside of school.

Stay tuned for upcoming YouTube Tuesday math videos on this site. While some are already typed out, I plan on starting to reveal them once school starts up again. That way, my classes will be watching the same videos that I post to this site.

Theme Days in the Classroom

Posted: July 17, 2011 in Classes
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I hate warm-up problems out of the book. I never know how to grade them and I always seem to become lackadaisical about putting them on the board as the semester winds down. Plus, most importantly, my students hate doing them.

My solution: Create warm-ups that are fun for me and my students. I am able to do this by basing warm up problems on theme based days, rather than units out of the textbook. For example, last semester I started doing YouTube Tuesday and my students loved it. They were always on time and quick to remind me at the start of class that today was YouTube Tuesday. They loved this idea so much (even though we were always watching math related videos) that they pushed for YouTube Monday’s, Wednesday’s, Thursday’s, or Friday’s.

In order to create a class atmosphere that is conducive to learning and allow students the opportunity to look forward to my class, I am going to try and make it so that every day is a theme day. This week I will present the days of the week and the themes that accompany these days.