Assessments Using Desmos Webinar, March 25th at 12:30PM PST

Please join me on Zoom tomorrow, March 25th at 12:30 PM PST for my Assessments Using Desmos webinar!

I will talk about test integrity, grading, giving feedback, and how to create self-checking slides with computation layer. How to give feedback inside Desmos (NEW FEATURE!!) will be covered as well.

The session document is located here and webinar will be recorded if you aren’t able to attend. Note: It usually takes about a week to process and publish the recording.

I looking forward to seeing you there!¬† ūüôā

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Link: https://zoom.us/j/159450515

How to Easily Make Instructional Videos on iPad or Mac

Last month, I started making short videos for my students after one of my precalculus students told me that she would LOVE it if I would make math help videos. I have made short videos for our test review, new topics we have gone over, and answered homework questions. I am still very new, and still learning. But my students have really appreciated it. They tell me that they like to hear me explain it again, instead of searching for and then watching other math videos when they need help (or missed a day of school).

Then, at our last faculty meeting, our head of school told us that if we were not comfortable getting in front of a screen for students, either recording ourselves or going online for instruction, then we needed to get comfortable, just in case. Immediately, my teacher bff texted me…IMG_735B135651F7-1.jpeg

So, I made a video to teach her how to make instructional videos. Again, I am still very new! I know there are much better videos and methods out there. But the good news is that I have been able to make many videos, very easily, and in short time. What I do is not difficult, or complicated. And that is important to me as I do not have much time to spare (#TeacherTired). So, I thought other tired, overworked teachers may appreciate knowing how I make videos quickly and easily.

Mac: I use QuickTime to screen record on a Mac. QuickTime is already on all Macs so this is very easy to do right away! I only use this method when I want to screen share and record my voice. There is no writing. This would be great if you wanted to give a lecture using your Mac and a PowerPoint.  (Example below).

iPad: I use my iPad and the app ExplainEdu for almost all videos that I make. I love this app because I can add pictures, videos, pdfs, included clipart, and even a browser¬† to screen share. I can write, hi-light, use a laser pointer, and draw shapes that the app will recognize! The app is $13.99, but was worth it as there are no other hidden charges. The Explain Everything website has video tutorials that are probably much better than mine! ūüôā¬†¬†

My school does not use Google Classroom, so I save the videos onto my iPad, because then I can upload them to Google Drive or YouTube. If you want to upload to YouTube you just need to create a free account.

My iPad Video Recording Method:

  • I do much of the work in advance of recording, to cut down on recording time.
  • I take screen shots of each example problem I want to explain to my students.
  • I put each problem on it’s own page.
  • I annotate by adding formulas we will need or things I want to hi-light.
  • When I am all finished, I record. This is where I work out the problems for my students.
  • I upload my videos to YouTube
  • I add the videos to playlists I have created.
  • Sometimes I will embed the videos into PowerSchool on the “Math Help” page.

How I Make Instructional Videos

Using QuickTime to Screen Record on a Mac

Example of a screen cast I made for my students, How Desmos Can Play the Sound of Your Graph!

Again, as I am new, I would LOVE tips from anyone who is much better at this than me!  If you have an app you love, please include it as well! 

Learn to Code Desmos Activity Builders!

Yes, you can code Desmos Activity Builder’s to personalize them and make them do more! If you have been creating Activity Builders but want them to do more, coding is the answer! The coding in Desmos is called Computation Layer (CL).¬†I highly recommend trying it out, as it’s great fun to program a small bit of code and then see it work in Desmos!

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Jay Chow

By far the best resource I have seen out there to learn CL is Jay Chow’s blog post, A Fool’s Guide to Learning CL. ¬†Jay is a Desmos Fellow and CL extraordinaire, plus I think he’s probably the nicest person I have every met. His blog post includes step by step instructions, hints, fun scavenger hunts, and even webinars to help you learn CL. ¬†Bonus – he’s holding 4 more Webinars starting in February!

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MrChowMath.com

Jay also has many other gems on his blog (I’m so thrilled he’s blogging), like several¬†Breakout! Desmos¬†activities! Thanks for all of your great work Jay! ¬†ūüôā

Add Events from Google Sheets to Google Calendar Automatically from Thom Gibson

If you have a spreadsheet of your assignments for your students, then have all of the assignments automatically added to a Google Calendar, this post is for you!  This post will also help those who have MANY dates they need to enter onto a calendar at one time.

As a mom of three teenaged boys, I have many, many sporting events to attend this fall, 49 in all. ¬†The though of adding ALL of these events to our family calendar was daunting, so I decided that I wanted to try to automate it all. ¬†Yes, this took much longer the first time as I had to figure it all out. ¬†But it was worth it as I’ve since used this method to add other events, en masse, to my google calendar. ¬†So, it has saved me tons of time! ¬†I’m blogging about it so I won’t forget how to do it the NEXT time (lol) and so you can try it too if you want! ¬†I’m a newbie, so I probably won’t be able to answer technical questions if you decide to try it out.

I first tried a Google add on, but the creator was in Paris, so it took me hours to figure it out. ¬†Then Thom Gibson tweeted me, so I used his script and it was much easier! ¬†This is the one I will use from now on. Thank you Thom! ¬†ūüôā

To learn how to add Google Calendar events from a Google Sheet, watch Thom’s video.

Notes:

  1. Spreadsheet: You will need to copy his Google spreadsheet to get the FormMULE script.
  2. Permissions: ¬†You will need to permit Google to let you use this. ¬†It will say it’s unsafe bc it isn’t a Google Add on.
  3. Date Time:
    1. Be sure your cell is formatted in the Date Time format if it is not an all day event so you can add the start time.  Screen Shot 2018-09-01 at 2.27.04 PM
    2. I used the same end time as the start time.
  4. Updates:  There is a way to update it the calendar, but there is a different Update video.

Have fun!

Quadratic Fireworks! (Projectile Motion)

Today I taught my students about projectile motion. ¬†Well, I say that, but I hate to actually TELL them anything. ¬†I like for them to discover things! ¬†They often make “much ado about nothing” when it comes to the projectile motion equation in Algebra 2, even though it should make sense to them. ¬†They get all caught up in the particulars of the formula and stop thinking about what is actually happening. ¬†So today, before I taught them about the equation, I gave them a picture of a quadratic graph. ¬†screen-shot-2017-01-23-at-6-46-33-pmI had planned on making up my own scenario, until I saw this terrific¬†post by Sara Vanderwerf¬†that involved a creative fireworks graph. ¬†I loved how Sara described clicking on one aspect at a time. ¬†As soon as I saw this graph, I knew I had to use it!

I did not follow her fireworks task exactly.  Instead,  I just gave them this.  I told my students to create a story with their team from this graph, using as much information as they could from the picture (below). I told them they could write it, or draw a picture, or both.

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After they created their stories I had them share with the rest of the class. ¬†As I walked around I heard one students say things like, “No, the rocket doesn’t start at the ground because you can’t start at negative time.” ¬†I loved this part because of the conversations but especially because of the laughter. ¬†Kids were coming up with some hilarious scenarios, and enjoying a math problem. ¬†Here is what they came up with.

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Hidden Figures!


After they shared their stories, I clicked on each piece of the graph as Sara had.  And then I told them to write the equation that modeled the rockets path from the information I gave them.  This is what I left displayed on the board.  screen-shot-2017-01-23-at-6-54-12-pm

I also wrote two different forms of the quadratic equations on the board and told them they could use either form.   Some groups still forgot to include the a, so I had to walk around and remind them.  I loved seeing students pick different coordinates to plug in for x and y.

 

After everyone came up with a = -16, I gave them another problem.  This time I only gave them the roots and the the y-intercept, so they HAD to use factored form.  I am doing the Candy Catapult tomorrow, so they needed practice with this.

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After writing the equation, they solved for a and came up with a = -16 again.  As the groups came up with this, I asked each of them to think about what was going on.  Was this a coincidence?  What could be happening?  I had someone in every class realize it was gravity!  In Physics last year (our students take physics at 9th graders), they all used -9.8 m/sec².  I put that into a meter to feet converter so they would realize it was the same thing.

I also had the students convert the equations to standard form so they could see the y-intercept appear in the equation.

 

Assessment Using Desmos

I use Desmos in class on an almost daily basis.  For our midterm, I decided to let my students use Desmos.  As new Algebra learners, many of my students often make small mathematical errors, especially on exams.  My hope was that using Desmos to verify their answers would help them see graphically when they had made an error, and be able to correct it.

How I created it:

I made a traditional exam on paper and then a Desmos Activity builder to go along with it. ¬†I created a “Welcome to the exam” slide with instructions. ¬†I created two slides for each question, one introduction slide and one working slide (usually a graph slide). ¬†I also added¬†“STOP” slides in-between each question to help the students. ¬†Most of the questions were on paper, ¬†then students¬†verified their answers with Desmos. ¬†However, I did have two slides where the graphs¬†were on Desmos, and they had to write the equations of the graphs. ¬†Here is a sample¬†of the slides.

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How I implemented it:

If you have iPads, Desmos has a test mode app you can use. ¬†We are 1-1 so my students did the Desmos part on their computers. ¬†I did not want students having the exam on their computers, or accidentally sharing the exam, so I made sure that they were not signed in¬†to Desmos. ¬†Since we use Desmos frequently, I had to instruct my students to sign out of Desmos after they went student.desmos.com. ¬†I¬†sat behind the students, so I could see all of their screens at the same time to ensure they only were on this screen. ¬†I had them close the window when they were finished. ¬†When they put in the code without signing in, they have to hit, “Join without signing in.”

  1.  Go to student.desmos.com
  2. Sign out of Desmos  screen-shot-2016-12-23-at-7-33-59-pm
  3. Instruct your students to enter the code, and to click on “Continue without signing in.” I had them enter their first and last names.¬†screen-shot-2016-12-23-at-7-38-32-pm
  4. I went around to each computer once they started to verify they were not signed in. ¬†**To do this, at the top right hand side of the page, you should see their name, and then an option to sign in or create an account. ¬†Then you know they aren’t signed in.screen-shot-2016-12-23-at-7-34-59-pm
  5. You can “pause” the activity at the end of the exam so students could not go back to individual screens after the exam. I did not do this, but will in the future. (Thanks John Rowe!)

How I graded it:

I had them put all of their final answers on the test paper.  This way I could grade it like a traditional exam.  I went to Desmos if I had a question about their answers.  For a few students, I was able to give some points back if their Desmos was correct, but they messed up on their test paper. I loved being able to verify their test paper answers on Desmos.  It helped me see what they were thinking and award partial credit where appropriate.

I loved it!

During the exam I kept an eye on the teacher dashboard to see how kids were doing. ¬†I loved seeing kids quietly go, “YES!” and celebrate at their desks when entered their answers in Desmos and it worked. ¬†I also liked using the teacher dashboard to watch the kids work during the exam. ¬†I saw one student enter the incorrect graph, and then see that it was wrong. ¬†They went back to their paper to think and work more, and was able to enter the correct graph the second time. ¬†It was amazing. ¬†The tough part was when students didn’t know how to do the problem, and then their wrong answer was verified on Desmos. ¬†For the future, I really want to try to incorporate Desmos into more assessments, not just midterm exams.

 

What they said:

Most of my students really loved being able to use Desmos. ¬†It was a great reassurance for the majority of the kids. ¬†The last question (if they had time) asked students how they felt about the exam and if they felt Desmos helped. ¬†I loved reading their replies! ¬†My favorite was, “DESMOS WAS A LIFE SAVER”

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Here is the Desmos code if you want to check out the sample Desmos midterm in more detail.

Updated – Great tips from commenters!

For future, just ‚Äúpause‚ÄĚ from the teacher dashboard and that prevents them from accessing it outside of class time. – John Rowe

John Rowe had an excellent suggestion that I had not thought of before! ¬†At the end of the exam, you can hit the PAUSE button so kids will not be able to access the exam later. ¬†Brilliant idea and I can’t believe this didn’t occur to me!

I made shortlinks and printed them on the assessment paper which had the actual questions so being logged in wasn’t as much of an issue.  РJohn Golden

John Golden had a great idea about using just a Desmos calculator link instead of an activity builder and then giving the students short links on their tests.  I love this idea, especially for shorter assessments.  It is what I was looking for to be able to incorporate Desmos into smaller assessments.

Exploring Convergent and Divergent Geometric Series with Desmos

I could not find a Desmos teacher activity exploration for series, so I made my own.  Everything is better with Desmos!

This activity works best if students are already familiar with geometric sequences and series.  They are really just exploring convergent and divergent.  I instruct them to look up the words convergent and divergent in the dictionary.  I thought knowing these definitions would help it make sense.  I also included a geometric sequence and series link from Math Is Fun at the end.

Desmos Convergent and Divergent Geometric Series Activity.

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Enjoy!

My Favorite: Delta Math

Edited: ¬†I finally updated my Delta Math post. ¬†I love having a website that helps my students AND is so good that THEY ask me for it. ¬†It’s the best! ¬†Enjoy!¬†

We are now into Week 2 of the Blogging Initiative, “My Favorite”! ¬†You should definitely check it out if you would like some blogging inspiration! ¬†It is only four posts and it’s not to late to join in.

Screen Shot 2017-05-21 at 6.50.12 PMMy favorite for the week is Delta Math, a free online math practice program with problems ranging from middle school to pre-calculus. The amazing Mattie Baker presented Delta Math as one of his favorites at TMC15 last summer.  You can watch his presentation at the bottom of this post.

I rarely use Delta Math for daily homework assignments. ¬†Instead, I use it to review those basic Algebra 1 skills that many students have either forgotten or did not master during their Algebra 1 year. ¬†I give these basic practice sets well in advance of the corresponding Algebra 2 topic that I will be covering in order to get them prepared. ¬†I assign one “Problem Set” of about 5 – 10 problems a week. ¬†I also give a variety of problem types in the problem sets. ¬†Students are able to rework each problem until they get it correct, meaning that they are able to receive full credit on their problem set each week with just effort.

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The students can see fully worked out examples of each problem and even watch videos for some problem sets.

Screen Shot 2017-05-21 at 6.46.14 PMI love the explanations on Delta Math, as they usually use methods that I teach in class, like the “box method” for multiplying polynomials. ¬†They even color coded the diagonals!

Occasionally I will assign a Delta Math set for homework.  For instance, they have some fantastic practice sets for graphs, such as the one for finding domain and range visually.

Delta Math gives you amazing student data.  You can see which problems students missed and even their incorrect answers.  If I see many students struggling on a set, then I will usually reassign that set in the coming weeks.  You can even see how long students took on EACH problem!

 

 

How I Use Delta Math:

  1. I assign about 10 review problems per week, due every Tuesday at 8:00 AM.*
  2. I usually¬†require 1-2 of each kind of problem, with a “1 off” designation. ¬†This means¬†that they can miss one problem without penalty, but if they miss more than one in a row, they go back to zero.
  3. I assign Algebra 1 problems well in advance of the corresponding Algebra 2 topic.
  4. I assign problems on a spiraling basis where problems increase in difficulty each week. ¬†I am staring rational functions in about a month, so next week I will start assigning them basic fraction problems. ¬†Next, I will assign them fraction problems with x in them,…
  5. I hold help sessions the day before their problem sets are due for my students that struggle recalling their Algebra 1 skills.

*This biggest drawback is that students forget to do their Delta Math since it is an online program and only assigned and checked once a week.  Moving the due date from Monday to Tuesday helped tremendously with this.  I also love the Tuesday due date as opposed to Friday as some students wait until the last day to complete it and they are usually pretty wiped out by Thursday night.  I use Remind to remind them and mention it in class.

Bonus!  Delta Math now has a Delta Math Plus, where students can watch videos for each topic. There is a fee for Delta Math Plus.

Optional Summer Assignment:

Another way I use Delta Math is that I give all rising Algebra 2 students at our school an optional summer assignment on Algebra 1 topics in order to help them refresh their basic skills.  I assign just one question per topic, but students can do as many questions as they like.

Zach Korzyk (@MrDeltaMath), the creator of Delta Math, is a great person to follow on Twitter because he loves to help teachers! ¬†Follow him and say “Hi!”.

Mattie (@stoodle) РThank you for introducing me to Delta Math!  (Delta Math portion begins at about 3:00)

Click here for video.

My students really love Delta Math!  Here is some of what they said in my last course survey. 

  • Having Delta Math for homework helped me a lot because it showed me how to do the problems so that when I did a problem similar to the previous, I would know how to do it with a lot more confidence.
  • Start doing more Delta Math.
  • Do More Delta Maths.
  • Do Delta Math – It helps a lot!
  • Do the Delta Math (this will definitely help)!!
  • Delta Math was very helpful.
  • Please give more Delta Math assignments.
  • I think continuing to assign Delta Math would be wise.
  • Delta Math really helped when it gave examples.
  • Please start doing Delta Math more.¬†
  • Delta Math assignments, they helped me a lot!
  • DO THE DELTA MATH ASSIGNMENT BEFORE SCHOOL STARTS

TinyScan – PDF Scanner App for Smartphones and iPad

IMG_6195I have been using an amazing¬†app that I really don’t know how¬†I lived without called TinyScan. ¬†Holy mac, this app is a teachers dream! ¬†There is a free version which I tried first. ¬†But, I quickly upgraded to the premium version for $4.99.

With TinyScan you take a picture of something with your phone (for me, it is usually the worked out solutions to homework), take a picture of the page, then TinyScan beautifully turns it into a crisp and clear pdf file. ¬†You can edit, crop, and rotate the file. ¬†You can make it black and white or color and darken or lighten the ink. ¬†You can take pictures of several pages in one file (you may have to have the premium version for batch scanning documents into one file). ¬†Once you have edited your pdf,¬†you can email, AirPrint or fax the pdf’s with one click. ¬†The very best part is that you can instantly upload the pdf to your Google Drive from within the app! ¬†You can also set the app to instantly upload to Google Drive (or other services). ¬†To do this, go to settings and choose Auto Upload, and you can choose from Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote, Box or OneDrive. ¬†It’s so easy!

The best way that I use it is by uploading the files to my Google Drive.  I created a shared student folder on Google Drive, so as soon as I finish the key I can take a picture of it and upload it to the student file so that my students have immediate access.  I also take a quick picture of all of my test keys and keep them in the same folder as the original in case I lose the key.  I love this app.

Glenn showed me a couple of different scanning apps at TMC15.  His apps were able to rotate a picture automatically if you took it crooked.  However, he could not automatically upload to Google Drive.  So if you look at a different scan app, make sure you can seamlessly upload to Google Drive if that is important to you.

Fill Out This Form to Connect With Other Math Teachers On Kahoot!

There are thousands of public Kahoots! made by teachers to chose from.  Kahoot! has a search feature that allows you to search by title, subject, tag, or username.  You can also share a Kahoot! that you have made with another teacher if you know their username.

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Since my Kahoot! post, I have found that many math teachers that I know also use Kahoot! and are using it in ways that I have not even thought of.  For instance, Laura Wheeler uses Kahoot! a few times a week as a warm up for a fun way to do spiraling reviews.  I would love to easily find and see her reviews, since we both teach high school math.

Then, as is often the case, an amazing¬†idea was born¬†on Twitter. ¬†Wouldn’t it be GREAT if we knew our math teacher friends Kahoot! user names? ¬†Then, we could search and share with teachers that we know. ¬†Additionally, if teachers would tag the Kahoots! they use with MTBoS, we could also search that way.

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Sharing your Kahoot!

So, please fill out this form if you are interested in easily sharing the Kahoots! that you create and use with other math teachers. ¬†I asked for the subjects you teach so that other teachers can more easily find teachers that have similar needs. ¬†And don’t worry if you don’t make your own Kahoots! ¬†I rarely make Kahoots!¬†from scratch. ¬†But, I do go through each Kahoot! I use carefully, and often edit them, so other teachers would probably benefit from the Kahoots! that I use. ¬†If you are not already using Kahoot!, you need to sign up for a free Kahoot! account¬†here to get your username.

Here are the results: Google Form of MTBoS Kahoot! user names.

Once you finish the form, you will be directed to a Google Form of MTBoS Kahoot! user names.

How to Search and Add Tags in Kahoot!

Also, to search by tag, you can’t just enter mtbos. ¬†You have to type in doc.tags:mtbos.

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Don’t forget to¬†tag your Kahoot! with MTBoS after you finish making it.

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Fill out this form to connect with other math teachers on Kahoot!

Fill out this form to connect with other math teachers on Kahoot!