Friday, April 15, 2016

Kahoot! Have you tried it?
My department was lucky enough to spend part of our last professional development day at Lehighton Area High School having a meet and greet with their math teachers.  It was amazing!  Math teachers from two different schools getting together to talk about their subject.  Professional development does not get better than that!

We talked about Common Core and Keystone exams; we talked about curriculum for various courses and we talked about formative assessment.    The last was the most interesting to me.   I am big on using whiteboard in my class but I am always looking for something to change it up.  And since our school has gone 1-1 with Apple Air Macs, the push to use more computer-based assessments has increased.

My friend Terri is a teacher in the LASD and while we were talking she showed me the online website Kahoot.  It is an online formative assessment tool for students.  It is multiple choice based so a great help in preparing students for those standardized tests!  It reminds me of an online-based clicker tool.  I immediately liked it and couldn't wait to use it in my class. 

To begin you need to go to and sign up for a free account.  Using it is easy after that.  They have over 7million public kahoots that you can play with your class or even copy and edit to personalize for your own class.  Or you can just create your own from scratch.  You can even insert images if you'd like.  I have created my own and I have borrowed some.   I duplicated one just for keystone exam review and it has the questions from the SAS portal.  Why recreate my own?  :)

I have used it several times in my class and I like the ease of use.  What I like about it.....
My students LOVE IT.  They love competing with each other and yet they are quick to praise each other.    They laugh at their wrong answers and groan at difficult ones.  

What don't I love?  With clickers you can see how each student did and get a report on them.  With kahoot, you don't get individual reports.  Just a bar graph at the end of each question on how many got them right/wrong.  And this disappears VERY quickly.   You also can't stop the quiz to discuss a question if you don't have it on the manual option.   So I often screen capture the questions with my MAC so I can review the ones they get wrong afterwards. 

All that said, I do like it as a quick, different type of formative assessment.  I can't use it everyday as it takes a bit of time, but I am working on once or twice a week to help review materials.

Try it!  You won't be sorry!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Field Trips

I teach math but sometimes it is nice to just do something out of the ordinary.  I was lucky enough last week to be a chaperone on a trip to NYC with my school's Spanish Club.  Now I don't speak Spanish (I only remember how to count in Spanish.  Sorry, Senor!)  But I did have a great time!  The food, the city, the culture, and the kids were just amazing! 

My group had 7 students, 4 of whom I was fortunate enough to have taught at some point.  And I was lucky enough that they wanted to explore.  As this was my first trip to the city, I was excited to see everything we could squeeze in!  The highlight of our trip though was visiting GMA.  We got up and went to stand out front at 5:30am.  Thank heavens for Starbucks!  We were invited backstage to listen to the band the Lumineers and even made it on screen, although you really have to squint to see us in the corner of the TV.  :)   After the band played, Ginger Zee came over and took pictures with us.  She is absolutely the sweetest person! 

Other highlights:  touring Times Square, Central Park, and a ballet.  We ate amazing food, and had many laughs.  What a great perk to my job!