Sunday, January 17, 2016

#EXPLOREMTBOS2016 My Favorite

This year I have several favorite tools that I use in every unit.


It's a free practice website.
It has math through pre-calculus.
Topics are broken down into skills that match our curriculum nicely.
To "pass" a skill, a student has to get four problems correct.
There is an instructional video explaining each skill.
The data tells me what problems students missed, how long they spent on the work, as well as the ones they got correct.
I use BrainGenie as extra practice on skill-based work.  I assign 1 - 6 skills per unit.  Students complete the work independently outside of class.  The work is typically due on test day.
BrainGenie provides immediate feedback and tutorials for students ... and easy grading for me.

Teacher Desmos Activities  

Our curriculum is set up to explore a function graphically, then to explore applications.  We work through about 8 functions during the year.  Polygraph, and now Marble Slides are go-to activities as we tackle one function after another!  In addition I use the opportunity to create my own activities.   Being able to set up lessons in Desmos is helpful.  I can monitor student responses, provide help to students who are stuck, while other students are able to work through the tasks on their own.  We pause on certain slides for class discussion.  Desmos activities capture students' interest.  They like the use of sliders to examine how parameters affect functions.  They l-o-v-e the game aspect of Polygraph.  And next week when they get to play with MarbleSlides they are going to have fun!


My favorite web-based game tool is Quizizz!  Students told me about this one first because their chemistry teacher was using it.  Then I had the opportunity to talk with the chemistry teacher in a PD session - to learn more about the tool.  Students like it better than Kahoot because the questions are on their screen.  They get to move at their own pace.  And there is a leaderboard where they track their progress.  I like it because students can move at their own pace.  The questions are scrambled - students are all working on different questions.  I also like that I can use questions from public Quizzes ... just by selecting the individual questions that work for our content.  I can also use Quizizz as homework - although I have not tried that feature yet.  Students keep track of their progress but I get detailed reports about their work.  I rarely use Quizizz data for grades - instead I use it as informal data to help me plan the next lessons.  I can see what questions are giving kids fits!

One other favorite is ClassKick, my favorite iPad app.  I wrote about it here! 

I use these four tools as bones on which I build lessons!


  1. Thank you for sharing this! My students love to use Kahoot but I just checked out Quizizz and am going to give it a try next time we need a review game. I think I too will appreciate the fact that the students won't all have the same problems AND they can go at their own pace.

    1. Let me know how it goes. I use Quizizz almost exclusively now. I especially like what they call teleporting questions ... using specific questions from various public quizzes.

  2. Hi Beth,
    I'm excited to look into Quizizz. It looks like a great tool. Like Teri said previously, my students have been doing Kahoots, but Quizizz seems to have better features. I have a couple questions about it, since I haven't been able to work with it on a large scale with my students yet:
    1. Can the students see everyone's data? I find that some of my struggling students get really intimidated by that, and I don't want to scare them off.
    2. With Kahoot, I found that some students were just in it for the race. Do you find that because the questions are jumbled, the students don't have quite that competition of needing to finish first?
    My biggest struggle with these quiz games is that my "smart" kids feel great about themselves and my "strugglers" feel defeated. I'm just wondering if some of the tools of Quizizz help with that at all. Thanks so much for your expertise!
    Brooke Verhoeven

    1. I believe there is less of a race in Quizizz because everyone is working on different questions. The data is hidden if you don't project it ... and you can turn off the leaderboard if you want to. Since I don't use these games for grades, I allow students to create fun names ... most of the time I don't know who they are. Instead I stress that the games are to help them know what they know well and what they need to study.