I’m a first year teacher (via Teach For America) teaching two 32-student classes 5th Grade Math and Social Studies and 1 32-student class of 5th Grade Writing at a charter school on the SW side of Chicago (near 47th and Pulaski). I will refer to one Math section as the “Morning Class” and the other as the “Afternoon Class”. The primary focus of this blog is my experience with teaching Math. Each math class is scheduled for 80 min. and I have complete control of how I teach the Illinois 5th Grade Standards.
This freedom was like a nightmare to me at the beginning of the year as I had no clue what to teach and when to teach it. But now, 8 months later, I find it amazing to be able to implement what I want, when I want in order to teach to the best of my ability.
I have 8 laptops housed in my classroom (thanks to my Director for allowing me to fix-up old, damaged computers, a donation from an online forum, and a few old personal computers) that my students use daily. When I need more computers, I check-out the Computers on Wheels (COWs) that my school provides. I never have a full class-set of computers, I only use 16 computers at a time.
Khan Academy (Pre-Week 1):
I began using KhanAcademy (KA) in the classroom with my students on March 28th 2011 (~3 weeks ago). I created two personal domain name through eNom and Google Apps and assigned my students (with parental permission via a signed permission slip) e-mail accounts usable with KA. This is a quick and easy process taking roughly 10 min. I’d be happy to help.
1st Class (Friday)
I split up my 80 min. class time into two parts and two groups of students. I checked-out the COWs for the day to have a total of 16 computers in the classroom. 16 students took an exam while the other 16 set up their KA accounts. After 40 min, the two groups switched.
Setting up KA Accounts
I had a printed spreadsheet of all logins and passwords. Two students helped me distribute the logins and passwords. Once logged in, students added me as a Coach and began Practicing. Throughout the process, students naturally helped their neighbors after they figured it out and within 15 minutes, all 16 students were on their way to earning badges, passing exercises, and bragging to each other about mastering math (a beautiful sight).
After 40 min. passed, students taking the exam switched with those who were setting up KA accounts. I repeated the above process. At the end of class, I challenged students to reach a class-total of 1 million energy points (very ambitious) by the end of the upcoming weekend. I followed the same procedure for my Afternoon Class.