Ending Another Year {With Desmos}

School’s Out For Summer!

Leaving my classroom after the halls have cleared is a bittersweet moment. I always take a photo of it – and looking at social media the past few days, I can see I’m not the only teacher out there that snaps an empty classroom picture before leaving school. It’s symbolic for me, closing the door on another teaching chapter, and another year of memories with learners who have grown to become a community. Bittersweet.

Year’s end for many of us included state testing. As with the past few years, our Algebra 1 and Math 8 students used the Desmos Test Mode app as well as TI graphing calculators on their STAAR tests… and as in previous school years, I asked students about their calculator preferences after a year of learning with both tools. The kiddos change, but the survey results barely vary. Math 8 students tend to like pressing buttons more for arithmetic calculations… yet ironically do NOT prefer to use their TI graphing calculator for graphing, ha! Desmos always reigns on the graphing front! Algebra is the course where students seem to fall in love with Desmos, appreciating the ease-of-use, dynamic nature, and ease of viewing multiple representations of functions all together on one screen. To read up on our Desmos Test Mode history, check out this post and other posts linked within it.

Here’s progress toward more Texas math students having access to Desmos Test Mode with confidence during STAAR testing in 2019-2020!

Year’s end for many of us also included a final Desmos graphing project! The #MTBoS has been creating and revamping graphing projects for the past few years, and student work floating around out there is so impressive! Check out my Math 8 students’ work from last year, and a new gallery of projects from this year’s Math 8 and Algebra 1 students!

Year’s end for me also included a unique use of Desmos’ beloved “Polygraph” feature. If you remember playing “GUESS WHO?” as a kid, think of that game… but with a mathy and digital twist. Students ADORE Polygraph, and genuinely don’t often realize how Polygraph promotes the need for rich academic vocabulary to ask proper YES and NO questions. They don’t know they’re learning, but they sure do have fun!

While we’ve certainly had our share of math-content Polygraphs this year, I decided to surprise one of my classes with a one-of-a-kind Desmos Polygraph. Rather than using 16 images related to a MATH concept, the images related to classroom memories, laughs, and inside jokes as we learned math together as a community. While our Polygraph would make literally NO SENSE to anyone on the outside, it made PERFECT sense to my students, whose reaction to the gesture is one I will never forget. 🙂

AHHH, I LOVE TWITTER! Jenee Wilcox is another teacher who has already used this Polygraph idea with her own students!

We’ve had quite the Desmos-y end-of-the-year!

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