Friday, October 10, 2014

Math: Week 6

SOLs Covered:  SOL 7.13 Evaluating Algebraic Expressions
Math Packet:  #5 Algebraic Expressions: Substitution
Upcoming Assessments:  Substitution Quiz (Mon. 10/13); Test MP 1-5 (Tues. 10/14 & Wed. 10/15)

SOLs Covered:  SOL 8.1b Comparing & Ordering Rational Numbers & Scientific Notation
Math Packet:  #5 Comparing & Ordering Numbers
Upcoming Assessments:  Comp. & Ordering Quiz (Thurs. 10/16); CCPS Wk 1-4 Quiz (Fri. 10/17)

This week started off with wrapping up the previous week's work.  The MSM2 classes (Blocks 1/2 & 7/8) finished work on their PEMDAS packets on Monday and took the quiz on Tuesday while the 7H class (Block 5/6) took their quiz on Algebraic Substitution on Monday.  The MSM2 classes then moved onto the algebraic substitution unit and the 7H class started working on comparing and ordering rational numbers and numbers written in scientific notation.  While all the classes are still receiving paper packets for each unit, for which the CCPS Assessment pages will likely always be required, we've started doing a lot more work on the computer.  This week's major technology focus was Khan Academy.  Students were given "coach recommendations" set by myself for the topics we covered this week.  I've also encouraged students to review earlier math (both our past topics as well as some of their elementary and 6th grade math topics) on their own to both strengthen their understanding of the basic math skills and to "stay fresh" on everything we cover for the year.

I'm a big fan of Khan Academy!  Here's an explanation of some of what the site provides in their words:

Practice math at your own pace with our adaptive assessment environment. You can start at 1 + 1 and work your way into calculus or jump right into whatever topic needs some brushing up... Each problem is randomly generated, so you never run out of practice material. If you need a hint, every single problem can be broken down, step-by-step, with one click. If you need more help, you can always watch a related video... Every time you learn on Khan Academy, we'll remember what you've learned and where you're spending your time. We keep all of this data private but expose powerful statistics to each user and their coaches. You get at-a-glance information about everything you've been learning and whether or not you've been hitting your goals... You can drill all the way down from a bird's-eye view of your profile into each and every skill practice problem that you've ever worked on. You'll see real, hard data about your increasing mastery of math.

The kids also got time to play on Sumdog, which they absolutely loved once they realized they could not only compete against each other for top scores but also play against each other within the games and see when their friends are online even when outside of school.  I can't tell you how happy (and proud!) it made me to hear students planning with classmates on when to go online after school in order continue playing as well as prompting each other on Edmodo to hop onto the game as well.  Let's keep up that momentum!

After playing around with the available technology that has already been set up, I've decided to use the Google Calendars that are set up for each class and connected to the students Calendars automatically through our county Hapara accounts.  All of the math packet assignments have been posted to the calendar for each class with the time span for each packet (start date to due date) and a digital copy of the packets attached.  Assessments have also been posted; tests are shown over two days' time since we always start with a review and tests normally end up requiring time the next day to finish.

With some of these features not quite working correctly on Synergy (StudentVUE and ParentVUE), I'd be more than happy to add parents/guardians to the calendars as well.  To do so, I simply need parents/guardians to email their request to be added; if you want me to add more than one email address or have a specific email (for instance, one you already have set up with a Google account of your own), just let me know and I'd be more than happy to do so.  I've shown students how to further their use of Google Calendar to help them better keep track of things and stay organized by adding events to their own calendars, which they can then add their parents/guardians to as well.  I've told the kids that if they need help using their calendars as well as setting them up on their personal devices (though only before or after school for non-Chromebook help).  If I can help anyone else with this also, I'd be more than happy, so please don't hesitate to ask!

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