Friday, October 3, 2014


Since we had a test yesterday in AP Calc, and today was the Homecoming Rally (making our class periods only 39 minutes long), I decided it would be a great day to practice some multiple choice style questions.  I always feel like the students don't get enough MC practice (well, at least AP level of MC).  By the end of the year they are pretty good at writing out answers to the FRQ's, but they struggle immensely with MC.

Enter....PLICKERS!!  Each student is assigned a scan code (that I printed out ahead of time).  On each side of this (square shape) are the choices A, B, C, and D.  Students work a multiple choice problem and hold the card up so that their answer is at the top of the card.  All I have to do (minus all the work I did the night before) is walk around with my IPhone or IPad and scan all their codes.  Because they are 5.5 by 5.5 in size (a half of a sheet of paper), they will scan from across the room.  I can keep track of who has answered and who hasn't.  I can see the bar graph showing the results of the class (how many got it right/wrong). When everyone is done, I can show the results from my desktop computer to the class (via projector onto a screen).  It is AWESOME!!

Now, I will not lie.  Last evening, I was having a "meltdown" after I had painstakingly put in all my questions, and students names (by period) only to not be able to get it to function, despite the somewhat unclear directions.  I had tried again this morning, but still "no magic".  I was processing how I was going to show the questions, and could only come up with: "I have to put the questions on a word doc to match the ones inside the Plicker library".  So I got to school early to do that piece.  Then I handed out the plickers to the kids and explained what we doing.  Then I pressed the button....and THE MAGIC HAPPENED!!  I just needed to "add kids" to the mix.

I will be using these A LOT more.  All I still need to do is laminate them.  They work for every class, you just reassign them to go with the new set of students. The "magic" is internal, so it links the card to the next student in the next period.

Well, of course all I have to do is offer "extra credit" to get the students to OVERparticipate!!  In Stats today, we went over a review sheet that I created to help them study.  If I don't mind my own saying so, I think it was really good!  While I had hoped to use the Plickers with the Stats kids too, they spent so much time responding to the "bonus" answers that they didn't care what else was planned.  I have NEVER seen so many hands up and students participating EVER in this class!  It was glorious!! I wrote their "bonus" stuff on 5 or 6 boards!

 Now I just have to hope it sticks in their heads for the test on Monday!!

One last thing. The best quote today came from a colleague, not a student. I have been trying to get this colleague to become a twitter user since the end of last school year.  At the start of this year, she said she would try.  I visited her classroom today to watch her using the chromebooks with her students and see what they were doing.  They were using function carnival on Desmos.  I stated that I had some paper versions of graphs with descriptors that she might like to use as a follow up activity.  She stated, "We've already done that.  Let me show you" and proceeded to produce some really nice posters her students had made matching graphs with tables and paragraph descriptions (way better than what I had to offer).  I was so impressed because they were REALLY NICE! So I said, "WOW! Those are nice, where did you get that?".  She smiled gleefully and said "twitter!"  YES!!  My constant talk about what an amazing resource twitter is has finally convinced another!! Best Friday ever!!

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