One of my primary goals this year has been to develop easily accessible resources for students to get additional help outside of the classroom. Students, parents, and tutors ask me for extra material for the students to work on. Additionally, sometimes students are at home and stuck on a problem, need help with an entire concept or lesson, or miss a few days of school and need to catch up. I wanted to be able to point students (and parents and tutors) to an interactive “re-teaching” resource that they could benefit from. As a bonus, it would be nice if these “re-teaching” resources varied from my original instruction, were interesting, or even fun!
I started this project solo. But, there are many, many concepts in the two classes that I teach. Also, I did not feel that I was finding enough of a variety of resources. So, I decided to enlist student help.
I created a project for my 7th grade pre-algebra students called “Concept Help Pages”. I assigned each student three
concepts. I picked the three concepts for each student from their lowest personal concept scores. For each concept, students had to create a wiki page on our class wiki and fill it up with four different types of resources.
- Online video explaining their concept
- Online worked out practice problems that illustrated each step and had the answers.
- Online “interactive” problems for students to work and get immediate feedback
- Online game
Part of the requirements were that the videos and games had to be interesting and fun. They needed to view the videos and play the games. I wanted the pages to be visually appealing as well so I offered a small amount of bonus points for including a picture or illustration that directly related to their concept. I also had the students do “Peer Reviews” of each other’s pages to check the links, play the games, and give suggestions on how to make each others pages better.
This is a work in progress. I plan on having other classes add to the help pages in the future. As a project for 6th grade, I am going to assign them each one of the wiki help pages for them to explore. I will then see if they feel that they can find additional (and maybe even better) resources to include on each page. In this way, I hope to make the pages very rich in helpful resources.
Going forward, I would like to use these pages during after school help sessions, especially when I have multiple students that need help on several different concepts. When this happens after school I am usually scrambling to help everyone. I make up several problems for several students and then try to work with them all individually (at the same time). The students are rarely at the same level. Usually, everyone ends up waiting on me while I work with one student. If all students could pull up the online interactive problems on the concept that they need to work on, they wouldn’t have to wait for me to make up a problem for them OR check to see if their answer is correct. I would have more time to walk them through the problems and help them when they got “stuck”. This would enable me spend after school help time circulating between students, helping each student with exactly what they needed help on, instead of spending time making up problems and giving out answers.
Great idea! The more I read your blog, the more I want internet access for my students.
Oh wow – I didn’t realize that your students didn’t have internet access! Can you get it? I don’t know what I’d do without it. It’s easily half of my lessons!
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I love this idea!! I have a few questions. Do you have a rubric that you gave the students which describes the project and expectations? Do you wait until late in the year when you have seen all their skills and can identify their weakness, or do do you use this whenever? How long do you give the students for this project (how many days in school computer lab)?
@Shellee – I did have a rubric, but I didn’t like it and need to redo it. If you make one, I would love to see it! I did this project at the end of the year as their culminating project. I assigned the students the topics that they were not proficient in, hoping that looking up and finding this information would help them in their needed areas. This year, I am considering assigning this to students who have shown proficiency on topics in a pre-assessment as an alternative to participating in classroom lessons. I have some very advanced student and I hate for them to have to work on material they already know. I plan to blog about this if I get the time.
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Love this idea! I would like to have my students to create concept help pages in preparation for final exams. Students will then have the option to facilitate their own review both at home and in-class. Devoting class time to particular review is beneficial to some, but a waste for others. This is a great way to maximize time and effectiveness.