As I mentioned here, I was feeling that I could be doing a better job of offering extra help. I try to stress that practice on their own isn't all that valuable without checking their answers. Then one day as I was teaching I overheard a girl say to her friends that she wished that she could record my teaching so that when they got confused later at home they could watch me explain how to do an example.
Uh, yes..I absolutely should be doing that. So that comment inspired me to go home and find as much good supplemental materials as I could.
Originally I posted the links right on the class website page, but soon realized that things were going to get messy soon. Also I didn't want to delete the links because I didn't want to have to remake the page again next year.
Livebinder, however, was exactly what I was looking for. I wanted a way to compile a whole bunch of links in an organized fashion.
|I went with the layout that has the tabs on the side. I think it's more organized and less cluttered looking.|
I set up one tab per unit and then labeled each subtab to match the skill that it addresses. I also post the SBG skill list for each unit. For each skill, I have mostly similar stuff:
- A kuta worksheet with the answers. This is not fancy, it's just a ton of good practice with the answers included. The problems also get more difficult as the worksheet goes on (which my kids know) so I tell them to choose problems accordingly. If they are having tons of trouble they focus on the easier ones until they are getting them correct. If they are finding them simple, they can skip further ahead. Some kids that know they're pretty good with a skill will skip right to the end of the worksheet and work on the most difficult ones.
- A Khan academy video of the skill. Now I know that most people hate on Khan academy, but I don't think it's all bad. I do not think that it can ever replace my class, but I think that in an extra help capacity, reiterating what I already taught, it's good. Most of the videos are short and I can find ones that focus on exactly the skill I've taught.
- Khan academy practice. Now this, I really love. In my opinion, it is wonderful guided practice. It gives kids a problem and they type in their answer and check it. The part that I'm loving is the I'd like a hint button. It gives kids small hints to guide them in the right direction without actually giving them the answer until the very end. Depending on how much help a kid needs, they can keep pressing the hint button until they know what to do. Take a look at this one and look how the first couple hints are just nudges in the right direction.
I like using the Livebinder format because it can be an extra help work in progress. In a year from now I will have posted all the chapters and can just continue to tweak things from there, instead of recreating it all every year.
One thing worth mentioning is that posting all this stuff is useless if the kids aren't going to use it. You need to get them to want the help and see it as valuable. I think that the standards based grading helped with that immensely. They are motivated to get help because they know that it will help their grade. They want the 5's. After the first unit, they are starting to realize that they aren't improving by just retaking quizzes.
Also just saying, "I put some stuff online, go look at it" isn't enough if you want them to use it. Because they just won't. I took the time during class to put it up on the projector and walk them through each link and what to do. One girl that is strong in all the skills said that even though she doesn't need help, she wanted to go on to play with the Khan practice because it looks fun. So yeah, that's awesome.
A couple days ago a student that has been struggling and reluctant to ask for help came to me with about 4 pages of practice she had done. She said she watched the videos from the livebinder and that they really helped her to understand what was going on. Then on the next test she did better on substitution than she ever had before. So it really is working. Even if she's the only one, it's worth it.
This is a copy of the binder I'm using with my kids. I'd share the actual one, but I like using the view counter to get an idea of how many kids are actually using it. So this one will not update, but you can check it out to get an idea.