#2: Join A Community

So the actual goal was to join a Google+ Community. I did in fact join some Google+ communities and it has changed quite a bit since I have been there, but it is still not living up to the hype that Twitter, Pinterest, and other social media platforms have to communicate in a community atmosphere. So instead I just joined a regular community outside of Google+, which is The Teachers Guild.

The Guild is a professional community that activates teachers’ creativity to solve the biggest challenges in education today. While learning and doing design thinking, teachers build their creative muscle and connect to diverse partner organizations who are committed to bringing their solutions to life. So The Teachers guild uses a problem solving approach to tackle some of the biggest problems in education. 

Here is an example of each phase:

In each phase you collaborate with others and refine your product till polished.

Some of the problems that have already been tackled and have great solutions for are:
1. How might we create rituals and routines that establish a culture of innovation in our classrooms and schools?
2. How might we spark curiosity?
3. How might we reimagine professional learning so that we continue to grow, feel inspired, and have the greatest impact on our students?
The one they are currently working on: How might we create programs, processes, and tools to provide ongoing support to all students on their journey to and through college?

They have provided a great community of educators and administrators who see eye to eye on education and the movement education should have moving forward.  Plus, they have a book club!!

#1: BreakOutEDU

My first project of 2016 of things teachers should try in 2016 is BreakOutEDU.  I received a breakout box for Christmas and have been spending my time creating a puzzle for the upcoming unit of Pythagorean Theorem.  It took me a couple of days to put together all the materials and story, but finally Pythagoras Last Theorem was created.  

Students had a blast getting into the box and made them think in different ways. 

Students had a great time, I did it with three periods two groups got out wit 10 minutes and 5 minutes left.  One group didn't get out and it made for a good conversation about working hard and persevering through difficulty. I am looking forward to creating my next project for students.

It was a great experience and would recommend it to anyone.

Check out this link to learn more and get your own box:

Things to Try in 2016

ShakeUp Learning came out with 16 things teachers should try in 2016, my goal throughout the next semester of teaching is to try all 16 things and have a blog about each one. Some I know will be easier than others like Jar of Awesome and Sketchnoting. With the purchase of a Google Cardboard and BreakOutEDU box over the holiday break will make it easier to accomplish my task. Some will take more time to implement well in the classroom, for example blogging since we are currently 1-1 with iPads. 

Wish me luck!

Weird Dice Part 1

I found this lesson: https://artofmathstudio.wordpress.com/2015/10/09/weird-dice/

By Frederico Chiavlo, he created a lesson called Weird Dice. This is a great way to get new and different dice that the students make for our upcoming statistics unit. Our 3D printer is down at our school, but found a great replacement at DoSpace in Omaha. It was a great place and would be great to take students there.

We used Morphi app to make the 3D dice, it took quite a bit of effort for the students to figure out how to make it they way they wanted. Otherwise the app works great on the iPad.

Some student examples are here: 

The next step is to get students to fill out the form on Chiavlo's website.

New FAA Rules for Educators (with Drones)

With heightened security issues around drones with using them around airports, or more recently following the presidents motorcade on a recent trip. The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) came out about two weeks ago with drones on their mind enforcing new rules about drones and registration. 

1. If you only operate your drone indoors, you are perfectly fine, because the airspace in buildings doesn't fall under FAA guidelines. You can skip the rest.

2. If you do take your drone outdoors and use it for educational purposes you are not labeled a hobbyist or recreationalist. You will need to register your drone with the FAA and pay 5$ to register your drone no matter the weight. When the registration comes in, you will need to carry the registration when you fly it.

To find more information about safely flying your drone follow this link: https://www.faa.gov/uas/model_aircraft/

You can register your drone here: FAA.gov

You can find more information here: https://www.faa.gov/uas/registration/faqs/

Finding President Obama

Earlier this week I was trying to find a good transition activity between graphing one linear inequality to solving a system of linear inequalities.  I was searching trying to find one decent activity that led students to solve a system of linear inequalities. Luckily I found an awesome activity.  By Ms. Miller at High Tech High.

Obama Activity

In this activity students need to graph and shade clues on a map to determine the location of a missing hot air balloon.  The lesson plan and materials on her site listed above.  My students had a great time with this activity.


The best part of this activity was the homework:

Some students took this homework to the next level.  Writing a letter in math is a great assignment where they have to explain themselves.  Here is one example:

For next year I want to go above and beyond with this activity.  This year I had students in groups of 4, next year I want to move students into the Annex where there are tables and lay out maps and make it more of an escape room.  Using QR codes for the clues will help bring more engagement and activity. Students will go to the library and I will use the iPad and SMART Board to make it seem more real-life.

Quizalize: The Good and The Bad

My students and I tried Quizalize for the first time this week.  I gave them a 10 question quiz over rational exponents, I replaced a mid-chapter quiz that was about 5 questions longer than last year with this short assessment.

The Good
I felt that Quizalize was different enough from Kahoot! and Quizizz for students.  Students play in teams instead of individually which was a major downfall of Kahoot! where students played individually and scores of kids who did poorly were also shown on others tablets.  All you see now is how much each person got right on one question as they progress through the quiz.

Another great thing about Quizalize from Kahoot is that I gave a reward for being in the Top 5, where as I gave a reward to half my class even if some students did poorly they still part of the winning team.

Another great part of Quizalize is that it gives teachers automatic feedback on the "6 need help part."

It breaks down students into 3 categories, students who got it, who almost have it, and students who need help.  As a teacher this provided me a great formative assessment and I could split students into three different categories and gave them individual attention and personalized instruction.

  1. Students who got it, didn't have homework. (I am a big proponent of not giving homework if students know how to do the problems.)
  2. Students who needed some help had a front and back assignment where they only had to do the problems they didn't know.  If they did need help they had to find one of the students who didn't have work to do and ask them.
  3. Students who needed help had both pages, but had all the questions and we sat in a different corner of the room and got 1-1 instruction.  Students had whiteboards and we went over 1 question in each section and students did the other problems.
The last big thing that Quizalize does different from the other two big formative assessments, is that at the end of the quiz you can see what students missed each question.

I could tell that students had a tough time going from exponential form to radical form, we addressed that the next day with a small mini-lesson, 5 question homework, with an exit ticket before moving on to the real lesson.

The Bad
Another improvement on Quizizz is that all the questions are on the students iPad when playing this game. It doesn't have the cool functionality of Quizizz with the memes, but does have some cool fireworks when a student gets the correct answer.

The only real problems I had was in the question editor mode.  When putting pictures in, it made my pictures smaller and some students had a tough time seeing it on their iPads.  Lastly, the math editor on Quizalize didn't make editing the questions any better.

The only thing in math editor was that it gave me an answer explanation which would be good if students had an un-timed quiz or were doing more of an inquiry quiz.

Great tool though that has a ton of features for using data-driven instruction.  Lots of good things to come from Quizalize.