Thursday, 6 June 2013

Johnny Learns How to Use a Rubric

Just had an exchange like this today which inspired this "xtranormal" animation.

Johnny Learns How To Use a Rubric
by: gjohnston1976

Does anyone else have moments like this, or is it just me?

Related Posts
Suzy Gets Organized


Edcanvas is a nice content amalgamation tool that takes a number of links and puts them together in a nice format which can be embedded onto a blog or website via URL or embed code. Once you sign in, the task bar gives you multiple options from where to select content and put a canvas together. Our 8th grade humanities teacher first turned me onto the tool for a grade 8 poetry competition wherein she asked staff members and parents to access the link and vote for their favorite piece.

Coincidentally, my seventh graders were finishing a statistics projects and I wanted a nice way to meld them all together so I could put them on my classroom blog to send to parents. Here are some from my C block class. Enjoy!


Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Turn Homework into Presentations With Google Apps

I realize the title of this post may not sound interesting. Throw "homework" into the title and I'm sure to half what was left of my interested readers and send them to other writers with post titles including the phrase "21st century" embedded into it.

Homework is one of the most contentious issues in education. How much, how often, open ended answers or one only, to grade or not, how do I find the time and should I have penalties all make it a hot potato. I think all teachers use assignments to support learning but how they follow up with this varies considerably. I tend to prefer a flipped classroom model with assignments outside of class to front load learning activities in class. Here is a sample:

Homework for 9.4-Variability
  1. Watch videos #1, #2, and #3 of pages 476-478 of your online textbook.
  2. Write definitions for the following terms: variability, quartile, box-and-whisker plot.
  3. Explain how to the find the first and third quartiles of a data set. Notes example #1
  4. Draw a "box and whisker plot" and label which parts of it correspond to measurements. For example, where is the median, smallest and largest values, first and third quartiles.
  5. Make an argument. Who is a better quarterback: Brett Favre or Dan Marino? Look at the data chart on page 478 and try to persuade others based on the data. 
Snipping key problems from the assignments provides for cooperative learning opportunities.
I've started using Google Drawings for group investigations in the math class and as my class has gotten more adept at managing these tools, I've found that they can easily be used for homework debriefs.

Students present on a homework problem in pairs. Groups rotate through every third lesson.

A google drawing is a great debriefing tool for such tasks. Giving all students viewing but not editing rights, small groups were able to make a copy, share it with me and present one part of the assignment to the class. In the case above, problem #2 is easier and #5 is higher application. Instructions were left as a comment.

I use a tracking sheet and note which students have presented a problem to the class and ensure that every student has presented at least once per unit. Presentations are no more than 1 or 2 minutes and are peppered around a lesson and varying levels of difficulty allows students to choose a problem that is geared for their understanding and thus differentiated by readiness.

Time Management
All in, the whole process takes 10 minutes. 5 minutes to prepare a presentation and 1-2 minutes for presenting from each group. (2-3 groups is ideal, but 1-2 maybe more appropriate if you're under strict time constraints)  Information that may have been omitted I usually add on during the students presentation so we have easy references and resources which we can refer to throughout a lesson and make available for review later.

Related Posts
Using Homework Effectively
Google Drawings for Collaborative Problem Solving