KhanAcademy (Week 3):
My school recently took away 18 laptops of the 30 in the COWs, so now there are 12 laptops to share between 576 K-8th graders. Thankfully, on “Assessment Days” I can still have up to 20 laptops in the room, including my 8 in-house janky laptops.
I’ve experienced a lot of success with the split classroom on Assessment days so I started teaching with the same set-up. Four of the five days in Week 3 were split so that 16 students were on KA and 16 were learning new material from me (please comment if I have not explained the split effectively). This is extremely effective and efficient. 35-40 continuous minutes spans a perfect amount of time for students to be focused on KA. And because I only have 35-40 minutes to teach new material, this forces me to be effective and timely with my lesson, which is great for the kids.
When students finish each goal, I check-in with them and ask “So what did you learn about [adding fractions]?” The answers are amazing. “Well, you can’t add fractions that don’t have the same denominator, so you have to find an equivalent fraction first, then you can add them.” In essence, students are exceptionally better at explaining a concept after learning it and practicing it on their own (via KA!). Once they convinced me that they know the concept, I reward them with my magical red pen to cross off the goal on the bulletin board.
Khan Academy is the holy grail of data-driven instruction. After 3 weeks of students practicing on KA, I am finally able to take advantage of all the data KA provides.
Once I saw this, I asked a student who had mastered “Adding and Subtracting Negative Numbers” to teach those who were struggling (in red). The three were shocked at first, but after 3 minutes of awkward conversation and 15 minutes of learning, practicing, and mastering, the three students were ready to tackle another exercise.
Below is a screenshot of a student’s daily activity (over the weekend!).
After seeing this on Sunday night, I went to school the next morning and immediately complimented her on working on rounding decimals. She and the crowd of students around her were all astonished. Come KA time during math class, the crowd independently asked her to teach them how to round decimals. Victory.
During weeks 1, 2, and 3, I assigned 1 hour of KA practice outside of class as homework for the week. If they were unable to do this at home, I offered students the opportunity to stay after school or come before school to access KA. I now realize that it’s not feasible for me to check whether students did this or not (unless @kamens, @marcia_lee, @jasonrr or other devs add the functionality to view daily activity over the span of multiple days—wink wink, nudge nudge). Thus, I will not be assigning KA as homework any longer. Instead, I’m going to take the challenge of creating an atmosphere where students are internally motivated to work on KA at home. (Hopefully students start nagging their parents to get them a computer and internet access instead of an Xbox and Call of Duty)
Siblings of my students in grades 2, 4, 6, 7, and 8 have gotten jealous that their sibling get to access KA and have asked me to create accounts for them. Next plan of action: build a grassroots campaign with students to convince the powers that be that laptops are needed and will be used effectively.
What do you think? (I’ll keep asking!)