My 8th graders are reviewing the basics… which happen to serve as a very important foundation for the rest of the year. I sense some of them think they’ve got it all together. Operations with integers? Been there, done that. I warn students that many common mistakes throughout the year date back to simple sign mistakes, so we want to get this thing right and save the bravado for another time.

Today, I whipped up a quiz using ThatQuiz.org and used it as a warm-up right before administering a “graded quiz” on adding integers. Upon entering class, students zapped a QR-code which took them to our class ThatQuiz URL. (Note – ThatQuiz is FREE, awesome, and allows teachers to easily set up password-protected classes, generates quick quizzes on all sorts of skills and concepts, AND allows teachers to design their own assessments. Much love to ThatQuiz here.) Students were prompted to log in to their individual accounts and take the (formative) quiz on their iPads while I spied on their real-time results on my own iPad.

I was able to intercept misconceptions before giving “THE Quiz” today – the “graded” one. Without singling anyone out, I viewed incorrect responses, and addressed issues. Several students were doing the negative-plus-negative-equals-positive gig, and doing a brief re-teach referencing yellow and red integer chips had several wide-eyed students going, “OH!” Those same students aced “THE Quiz” today – the graded one.

It felt good to use data to intervene today. Not every math concept is so cut-and-dry, but I hope to use ThatQuiz when I can, simply to throw one final safety-net to my students before an assessment that “counts”.

Here’s a ThingLink that organizes my class logins this year – a simple one-stop shop for students to access ThatQuiz by class period as I add more quizzes throughout the year. How do you use ThatQuiz.org?

As usual, you have great ideas. I have used ThatQuiz and set up classes but was having trouble managing login addresses for the class. I set up some bit.ly shortcuts, but realized later that I can’t edit them – but your idea of a ThingLink main page is great! I will have to try that. So thanks again!

I’ve haven’t actually used ThatQuiz recently – I have been experimenting writing more javascript apps for basic skills practice and have been happy with those results so so far. And then graded material I give on paper.

In case you find it useful, I have an app that allows students to practice a range of basic skills that we call “number skills”, such add operations with negative numbers, short division, order of operations. For us, it covers all basic skills short of exponents and square roots (I have other apps for those now) since we don’t teach long division in Sweden.

It has the option for two users side by side (in case two students have to share an iPad). In case you think it might be useful:

http://bit.ly/numberskills2

If you want to take a peek at some of the other basic skills practice apps I’ve made, you can find most of them here:

http://davidtaub.wordpress.com/2013/09/01/basic-skills-practice/

Thanks so much for sharing the list of skills apps you’ve created – it’s impressive! When you create a ThingLink to organize your links on a “main page” I’d love to see it! (While I’m tempted to make this myself 😉 I will resist the urge and encourage you to design a main page for your own content).

I do have a question – other than practice, do your web-apps collect data, or do they just serve primarily as virtual flashcards? Thanks again for stopping by, and for sharing your resources too!

They don’t collect any information – and they aren’t very “robust” – hitting refresh screen or the wrong button loses what you were doing.

They are intended as light weight simple practice for basic skills. A lot of my students would ask a lot of more practice problems on things like short division or solving equations or whatever, and it was always a pain to find enough problems. I started to write some generators for worksheets, but realized everyone has net access these days and we have iPads in the classroom, so it would save paper and effort to make an HTML5 app.

I started with google apps but ran into the classic “how do you display math symbols like fractions and square roots” problem (which is also why I stopped writing native iPad apps – this problem alone is a huge pain when writing a native iPad app). The breakthrough was finding MathJax and hosting the javascirpt on my personal website (and so skipping annoying google limitations).

I’ve gotten quick enough at writing and modifying these that if you have a particular idea that would fit this theme you could let me know and I could give it try.

I even figured out how to make one for testing area of triangles and parallelograms! This stumped me for a long time. You can’t hold a ruler up to your computer screen, and if you just give the right measurements you aren’t really having them practice any real understanding (it is a problem I see with a lot of problems in books as well). Then I hit on the idea of allowing the students to draw two dots on the screen and the computer will tell them the “distance” between those two dots. So the students can effectively choose what to measure on the screen. Then I just need to draw a triangle or parallelogram and let them do the rest. In this case the answer doesn’t have to be exact, since measuring a right angle by hand (for the height) is really hard, so the computer lets you get close.

I hadn’t thought of putting the apps on a ThingLink – that was an interesting idea. I had thought more of doing what you did and have ThatQuiz org class homepages on a ThingLink (a really great idea). All our iPads have bookmarks to all the apps I wrote, so that isn’t an issue in class.

Anyway, I hope you find some of them helpful with basic skills practice (just realized this was a lot longer post than I had intended …. )

Amazing information! I am building my classes as we speak! How did I not know about this site?

I took your implied advice and started to make a ThingLink with my apps to collect them in one place easier. In case you are curious:

https://www.thinglink.com/scene/434984930364096513#tlsite

Awesome!

I always end up saying thesame thing many times, so I made some movies… when I have time I’m going to include a “number line” version to explain integers, but they’re here: http://parkland.libguides.com/mat094cas

How did I not know about this site?! Sadly, this is the first time since school began that I’ve had time to peruse my Feedly list…I’ve got a lot of catching up to do! I linked to this post from your Socrative post (which I use extensively and love just as much as you do!) and have just been blown away. Class is set up and quiz is ready for tomorrow. Thanks!

Awesome! ThatQuiz has been amazing for formative feedback. Just today, after my students finished a unit test, they logged in to ThatQuiz and took two very quick pre-assessments on perfect squares and square roots. I know exactly where to begin my new unit tomorrow, and some issues/misconceptions to address based on this quick feedback! Would love to hear about all the ways you use ThatQuiz with students (it’s great for assessment creation as well, in any subject area!)