Saturday, October 27, 2012

Tic Tac Toe Game

This is a practice game that works well.  Some colleagues showed me the game about 15 years ago and I've modified it according to my teaching style.  You will need a list of practice problems of varying difficulty.  I divide the class into two groups and have them all sit so they can talk to each other.  They will each need a pencil and paper.  Put a tic tac toe grid on the board.  Each square will be marked with a number in the lower right hand corner, this is how many students on a team can miss the problem and still get the square.

Pick a team to go first and have them pick a square.  Give them a reasonable amount of time to solve it, they can discuss with each other.  Check off who has it right and wrong.  If they meet the standard for the square they picked, mark it with an "X" or "O" (or smiley face or rainbow or whatever else they want).  If they don't make it, the other team can steal.  Then the second team picks a square and the same thing happens again until someone wins.  I need to see work on each person's paper that supports their answer, they can't just copy the answer from each other.  They will usually work hard at making sure everyone on the team understands.  It can get pretty heated by the end, it's usually fun.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

ALEKS Focus Group

I am currently sitting in LAX waiting to board my flight back to VT.  ALEKS flew me and 20-ish other educators out to Irvine, CA to to get our input on a new instructor module they are working on.  It was an awesome session, I was really impressed with the company.  They are energetic and customer focused in a big way.  Their product is unique and they are really trying to figure out how to make it take off.  This focus group was special, they took a TON of input from us (including my concerns I mentioned in my last post) and educated us all on how to use the product more effectively.  Nice work, ALEKS!

Friday, October 12, 2012

ALEKS concerns

We are using ALEKS in a 40 min lab that meets off days of a block scheduled 80 min algebra 1 class.  All was good at the beginning, but I think the lab is starting to get a little behind the class.  It's good for them to practice the basics, but some of the objectives are things like multiplying decimals that I'd like to be able to let go.  I am going to work with ALEKS and see if I can change this.  Does anybody know of a self directed practice site that allows me to align the objectives with the class?  I know about Khan Academy, are there any others to consider?


This game has been going around quite a bit recently, it is awesome.  Here is one link to the rules,  I tried it yesterday.  I used Infinite Algebra to generate a sheet with five similar problems.  I put them on the document camera and each group worked on their number problem.  Each student had a whiteboard and I called one individual student numbers to have one person from each group display their work.  Each group got 5 points for a correct answer and then they got a chance for bonus points by throwing a wadded paper into the recycle bin from a 1, 2 or 3 point line (their choice).  I had four sets of problems ready, it took about 20 minutes.  They were all engaged and it was fun.