First-Two-Weeks Hodge Podge

Today may be the last day of summer vacation for some.  Others of us have already been rocking and rolling for two weeks with a new crew of students.  So many ideas and resources have crossed my path that I’m not sure where to start.

So… in no particular order:

  • There’s a Desmos Activity Builder.  I know… my jaw dropped too when I first heard this news.  Did you know there’s already a Desmos Activity Bank with over 1,000 teacher-created activities…?!?  I can’t wait to use this!
  • is an option for K-8 “Exit Tickets” that I hope to use with my RTI math students first, so I can learn the platform before using it with a large group.  I used Zeal last year to track student progress and give them a novel way to “compete”, but the platform has been updated quite a bit in the past few months and I hardly recognize it!  It’s completely free.  Anyone using this?  How do you use it?  I’d love some classroom feedback!  I’ve also seen Kyle Pearce share about using KnowledgeHook’s Gameshow platform, and I’d like to compare it to Zeal.
  • I keep hearing that folks are enjoying ClassKick.  I haven’t used it yet, but the idea of seeing student work in real-time sounds like a plus to me… though seeing 30 students’ real time work simultaneously sounds a bit overwhelming!  Nevertheless, I can’t knock it until I try it.  When I do, I’ll share back.  Anyone using ClassKick in math class?
  • I recently gave Atlas Learning’s Apollo a try, and I feel like I have a lot to learn.  In Apollo, there’s a random student picker that my students enjoyed.  Student faces quickly scroll horizontally across the screen, and as the “picker” slows down to choose the “winning” student, kids go crazy (in a good way)!  The chosen one’s prize is control of a virtual pen, and in our case, the privilege of writing the next line of work in an Order of Operations problem.  As a student digitally writes, the rest of the students can see the work on their own screens too.  I understand they also have the option to go back and watch the problem being worked again in a digital-movie sort of way.  Novel indeed, but I couldn’t see how this was any more beneficial than handing a dry erase marker to one student and sending them to the board as everyone else watched.  Anyone else using Apollo for math?  Maybe I am missing something, so I’d love to learn from your experiences!

In other news, Texas Education Agency updated their calculator policy for state testing this week… now students across the state are permitted to use tablet graphing calculator applications during STAAR testing like Eanes ISD students did in our pilot last year!

And, in my spare time, I’ve been preparing for this.

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