In my last post, I gave an overview of the changes my school made during the pandemic. In this post I want to talk about the changes I made at the classroom level.
Before the pandemic, here's a summary of how I ran my classes.
- Monday- teach new skill by working out examples with students on the board that they write down in their interactive notebook, I have them work out some on their own and then give them the answer
- Tuesday- practice new skill (with notebooks open) by playing a game or activity, usually involving dry erase, sometimes involving cards, scavenger hunts, etc
- Wednesday- quick review, take a quiz, start the notes for next new skill
- Thursday- finish notes and start practice
- Friday- finish practice and take quiz
After 4-5 skills we do a study guide and a test. And then repeat. Each week students had a Delta Math assignment of Algebra I or middle school level problems. There were 4 topics with 5 questions each and it was 10 points a week. I gave the same assignment to every class.
My goal was to try to make hybrid learning as similar as I could to our regular routine. I didn't want to do quizzes or tests on days students were at home because I didn't know how to do them well or give feedback or prevent cheating. So I decided that making videos of the instruction I normally give for the notebook could replace my Monday and Wednesday plans from above. Then on the days that students were at school with me, we could do the practice activity and quiz.
I spent the summer making 110 videos that covered every skill of Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II. (Fortunately for me, I didn't have enough students to have a trig class so I only had three preps, otherwise it would be 145 videos) I used the Good Notes app on my ipad with an Apple Pencil. I already had powerpoints made for every skill that match the notes students fill out in their interactive notebook. So I saved all of them as pdfs to use in Good Notes. The app records my writing and I just screen recorded with the microphone on to make a video of me narrating while writing out the notes. I was definitely not making a video where my face or body could be seen. Hearing my own voice is bad enough which is why I never watched any of my videos. Most of them I did in one take and if I messed up then I used the iMovie app to edit out the mistake and then put the pieces together. I would say out of 110, I probably edited less than 30. I saved them to my hard drive, uploaded to Youtube, and uploaded to my Google Drive. There's no way I was losing these!
That was definitely the biggest change I made. Some other changes I made were to give students all of the pages they needed for their notebook and binder at the very beginning. I made sample notebooks for each class and then I took a picture of every single page. I inserted each picture onto a slide in powerpoint and then saved it as a pdf to share in google classroom. On the first day of class I gave students all of the papers for their notebook and they started cutting and taping the paper into the notebook while looking at my pdf for instructions. Then the next day, their assignment at home was to continue the taping so that the entire notebook was ready to go.
In the next week or so I also gave them every handout. These are worksheets that go with practice activities and study guides. In the footer, I label each one as Handout #1, #2, etc. At the top, it says the number of the skill it goes with as well. I even wrote page numbers on the bottom corners as well. Which sometimes made it even more confusing for students lol...too many numbers. My thinking behind this was that if we got shut down at any point, students have all the papers they need as well as the videos. If we go to full remote, everything is ready to go except assessments. And as for that...I will think about that another day. :-)
I also changed my Delta Math assignments a little. Instead of Algebra I/middle school topics, I made the weekly assignments based on the skills we covered that week and the previous. I should have done that from the beginning but I was lazy. I'm doing that this year and now next year I can copy. :)
I like these three changes and I plan on continuing them, pandemic or not. But let me stop here and say...there's no way I could have done all of this without using a pre-made curriculum and using it for years. I could make videos because I taught the same skills over and over using my powerpoints. I couldn't have copied all of the notes and handouts if I hadn't used the same ones for years. I couldn't have done any of this without having a great memory and being a super organized person.
Pre-pandemic, I had 22 desks that I moved around in groups and I had supply carts at each group. But now I had to get rid of my carts and my groups. :( My biggest class was 13 so I moved out the extra desks and carts. I took the supplies from the carts and split it up into 13 little baskets. I had the school pay to buy every student a little calculator from Dollar Tree instead of sharing the TI-84s anymore. At first I planned to use Desmos for a calculator but students were typing in entire equations into google to look for answers so....back up plan. Since students finished their notebooks the first week of school, we didn't constantly need scissors and tape. And since students did their notes at home, we didn't really highlighters either. I think we may have used my little baskets twice this year. The main thing we used was rulers and they didn't even fit in my baskets. lol :)
Another change was my bell ringers. Previously, I did Mental Math Monday, Tough Guess Tuesday, Which One Wednesday, Test Prep Thursday, and Factoring Friday. But now with only seeing them twice a week, I just picked the two most important, mental math and factoring. I love these so much and I think they've made a huge difference by using them year after year. I was really trying to hold on to them but students were taking a quiz every day they came to school. By the time we did a bell ringer and then did some practice, they would have like 5 minutes to take a quiz. We were always running behind and they were always rushed. I slowly let it go.
The last few weeks I had started posting a to-do list for the class period to help students stay organized and try to get everything wrapped up for the end of the semester. That worked really well. Almost too well....the students would come in, look at the list and get right to work. Which was great. But also sucked all conversation and life out of the room.
And that's another topic....this whole year and all these changes were very efficient. But my classes were so boring. There was no talking or joking or laughing. And I missed that even more than being proud of my efficiency. It took several months for it to come back. I don't know what really helped. And these are students who I have had year after year and have been going to school together their entire lives. I can't imagine what it would be like to do only remote teaching with everyone's cameras off...but I imagine that this was the in person version of that.
To Be Continued..
- Hybrid learning with students split into 2 groups; Group A attending on Monday and Wednesday and Group B attending on Tuesday and Thursday
- Groups were split by school secretary, nurse, and guidance counselor, keeping siblings and families together
- Students who decided to be full remote were required to come to school on Fridays to take assessments
- Friday would be remote learning day for Group A and B while also being the day that full remote students take assessments
- Reduced class periods from 8 a day to 7 a day so students were dismissed at 2:20 instead of 3:00, giving teachers the time from 2:20 to 3:00 for extra plan time in addition to their normal 47 minute plan period throughout the day
- Full remote students could also come in and take assessments from 2:20-3:00
- Rerouted the pick up line and bus drop offs to be at different doors where aides were stationed to take temperatures as students entered
- Everyone wears masks always unless eating or drinking
- Since class sizes were cut in half, desks were spread out to keep students 6 feet apart as much as possible
- Desks are wiped by students/teachers after every class period
- Rooms are 'fogged' by janitors every night
- Students are spaced out at cafeteria tables, no going in to the gym after eating
- Students pick up to-go bags of breakfast as they enter the school and take it straight to their first hour classroom to eat; large trash cans stationed in the hallway for food
- Discontinued use of lockers and students carry everything in their backpacks
- Limit movement in classrooms as much as possible, no group or teams, no shared supplies
- Lunch is all in styrofoam containers instead of trays
- Library books can't be checked out
- All students received chrome books, ear buds, and flash drives
- We offered a two-hour google classroom training for a $100 stipend in early August
- Siblings sit together on the bus and every other seat, first people on go all the way to the back so people don't have to walk past other people
- Students don't dress out for gym, team sports are only played outside with masks on
- Students didn't play in band until maybe November after getting special masks to wear while playing instruments
- When the bell rings, class dismissal is staggered so students can social distance in the hallway
- Students can't leave class (for the bathroom or to the office) without first calling the office and asking for an adult escort
- No group recess, teachers worked out their own schedules for their class to have individual recess
Does anyone who has already made their math videos for their curriculum have any tips or tricks or things they wish they had done or done differently?— Elissa Miller 🦄 (@misscalcul8) July 6, 2020
Before I make these 100ish videos 🙃
Make them short 5-7 min each. Include your face when you can. Have a rough idea of what you want, but aim for 1 take each time - mistakes are ok for them to see.— Jim Wysocki (@ilove2teachmath) July 6, 2020
keep them short and to the point— Jonathan (@rawrdimus) July 6, 2020
My students said they perfected videos where they could see me, and not just my hand writing notes or digital notes. So even if you do digital include the box of your face if possible.— Raena Lavelle (@shortlavelle) July 6, 2020
For my best one, I wrote myself a rough script, then filmed myself writing on a whiteboard while muttering it, then did a screen capture with voiceover while playing the muted video at 1.25 speed. It let me concentrate better that way.— Julie Wright (@julierwright) July 6, 2020
I liked using screencastify and talking over google slideshow and with my talking face, little size in the corner— Jennifer Fairbanks (@JenFairbanks8) July 6, 2020
As much as I choose to speed up videos when I watch them these days, I would assume a student could do that; so I would not stress out so much over speed anymore. They should learn both "pause" and how to make a video run faster IMHO.— Lane Walker (@LaneWalker2) July 6, 2020
If you’re showing a procedure with lots of steps, write it all in your handwriting on a single slide or whiteboard before recording. Then copy and eliminate the last step, repeat until each slide reveals only one step. Then record. No time wasted watching you writing!— Audrey McLaren (@a_mcsquared) July 6, 2020
Lower resolution so students with data or internet issues can still watch without it taking forever or buffer ever few seconds.— Rachel Zonshine (@rzonshine) July 6, 2020
I highly recommend this free online course from @modernclassproj . The video module will show you best practices and includes How To instructions for how to create videos, embed engagement, and a process to share with students. Takes about an hour https://t.co/DSmInaphGI— Mr. Grace's 5th Grade (@MrGraceMathShop) July 6, 2020
In addition to short i am a big fan of having kids pause a video and trying a problem youre presenting before they see the explanation. Or giving them a question like "pause the video and see if you can come up with all the factors of -24...then see if any of them add to -2"— Graphite Math (@GraphiteMath) July 6, 2020
I strongly recommend taking a look at this guide from the Vanderbilt Center for Teaching: https://t.co/601NQQHuqu— /home/kirkpams (@kirkpams) July 6, 2020
My kids weren’t so worried about seeing my face but they did want to hear my voice. That seemed very important when I asked for feedback— srosso (@srosso) July 6, 2020
Include guided notes or math journals that accompany the videos. My 8th-grade daughter struggled trying to decipher this on her own. Guidance is a plus.— Christine (@DrCLevinson) July 6, 2020
3-4 minutes tops.— Mr. Brennan (@scnmathdude) July 6, 2020
If you think it needs to be longer than 5 minutes, figure out how to split it into 2 separate videos. pic.twitter.com/NZ8Iw5te1l— Alicia Woody (@SuperEvansMath) July 6, 2020
I tried to do everything under 10 minutes. Not always successful. This fall I'll talk about how to use "pause" as a student and not take their time— Caty Lieseke (@wfw_clieseke) July 6, 2020
Whether I am using Voice over Ppt or sitting in front of a whiteboard, I have everything pre-written. I will just do a couple of annotations during the vid, to shorten the time. Mine are 6 to 8 minutes even if that means I have to make 2. Always show face, make personal comments.— Laurie Brewer, NBCT (@Brewmath) July 6, 2020
Under 10 min. I use @explainevrythng and can upload documents from my google drive.— Sherri Terrell (@TeachwithMsT326) July 6, 2020
I screenshot the problems or notes I want to explain, put them on google jamboard, and video record as I write onto the screen. I use loom to record and then upload to YouTube— Amber Batchelor (@BATchelorTeach) July 6, 2020
I did this in the beginning of remote learning, and it was TEDIOUS. Switched over to using EdPuzzle with embedded questions for formative assessment and stopped requiring students to submit photos of the notes. That worked MUCH better!— Exist Quantifier (@ExistQuantifier) July 6, 2020
Example: pic.twitter.com/DYPhXplBgP— Alicia Woody (@SuperEvansMath) July 6, 2020
Use Edpuzzle with your videos to check their understanding. Don’t make them long.— Will Deyamport, III, Ed.D. (@iamDrWill) July 6, 2020
See if videos are already created for you topic (Khan Academy has a ton). If making for a specific curriculum, keep copyright if the publisher in mind. You may want to make these unpublished on youtube, or upload to Google Drive.— Hart of Learning (@HartofLearning) July 6, 2020
Multiple smaller videos better than one longer one. Don’t talk too fast. Slow down and enunciate.— PeachStateMath (@math_peach) July 6, 2020
Crowdsource the videos. How about each person creates only a few. They are labor-intensive to make. Curation before creation.— John Faig (@johnfaig) July 6, 2020
I want to show the work, but I'm finding if I write it all at once I can explain it verbally better.— Matt Coaty (@Mcoaty) July 6, 2020
Do a 10 second mic test before recording your lessons. You’ll hear whether the background noise is annoying or you are muffled or muted. Gaming headphones with a mic can be pretty good for filtering out ambient noise.— Jessica McConnell (@MmeMcConnell) July 6, 2020
My gamer headset amplifies ambient noise. Research before purchase.— Alicia Woody (@SuperEvansMath) July 6, 2020
I was surprised by how well the earbuds you get with the iPhone work. Not perfect, but way way better than the computer mic.— Marissa G (@viemath) July 6, 2020
Use Jamboard as your whiteboard and create all your drawn content before you start screen recording. Then keep going to the next screen while recording.— Eric Silverman 🧙♂️ (@teachsilverman) July 6, 2020
Here's what I put together:https://t.co/NqBysifW4I— John Stevens (@Jstevens009) July 6, 2020
Make them very short. Instead of just telling students how, give them a challenge. Let students make some of the videos.— Susan Carriker (@gautiersue) July 6, 2020
instead of creating videos use @notability and create animated notes with voice over comments— Maths Teacher w Tech (@M_Teacher_w_T) July 6, 2020
It is such an easy way to create where you can simply record bits and pieces anytime
Definitely try to keep them short (under 10 minutes) It takes a S sometimes 2 or 3 times longer to watch and absorb compared to the run time. Use Edpuzzle to add in Q's. It'll also give you data about the Ss viewing. Screencastomatic is free and easy to use!— Sara Odioso (@Ms_Odioso) July 6, 2020
We started giving students choice of how to learn: like 2 websites and 2 online videos for a topic w/ short descriptions to help them best pick what worked for them. Went well! We only made personal videos that reviewed the calendar & directions for assignments.— White Educator (@whiteeducator) July 6, 2020
Screen record on my ipad.— Gretchen Greer (@treemaiden) July 6, 2020
Explain everything lets you redo one slide at a time.
Don’t forget about recording zoom/meet. My PLC wants to try these together to get maximum perspectives & use with all ss’
Per my son, who is a computer science college junior: Khan Academy's tutorials saved his GPA not only in high school math, but also during his college calculus & linear algebra courses. I think that's a pretty strong endorsement of the videos there & you don't have to create them— “Curious people go further" -Sonia Sotomayor (@ELAdepartmentAR) July 6, 2020
This was my summer last year! 101 videos!— Mary Beth Dittrich (@mbdittrich) July 6, 2020
Keep them short. Less than 10 minutes.
Use an app that allows you to edit the video.
Have all notes prepped - typed if possible.
Speak clearly and use a good microphone.
End the video with a brief review of content.
In Spring, I used QuickTime to record screen & showed completed SmartBoard notes. I then highlighted on screen & talked through steps. In Fall, I plan to work through notes while I talk. I also split sections into 1 or 2 examples per video so they were about 3 to 5 minutes each.— MrsDillMath (@mrsdillmath) July 6, 2020
Simplify. Use multiple videos to explain complex ideas. Not every video has the final answer; sometimes I don’t provide an answer but wait to see where they went when instruction ended.— Mr. DeWees (@STCEPLTW) July 6, 2020
We used https://t.co/swwzS9Q9Kx videos. They correlate perfectly with Eureka Math.— Karen Stachowiak (@KarenStachowia1) July 6, 2020
agreed! We schedule about 4 hours to get a 30 mins out. Most people miscalculate the input time.— Atul Nischal (@AtulNischal) July 7, 2020
Use an external microphone if possible. Audio quality is more important than video quality. Use Screencastify or Camtasia so you can have your camera on the whole time too. People watching connect more when they can see you.— jdwilliams (@jdwilliams) July 6, 2020
My district is trying to keep videos to under 5 for K-2 and under 8 for 3-5.— Amy Severance (@AmySeverance3) July 6, 2020
Definitely keep it 5 min or less.— Leahrca (@Leahrca1) July 6, 2020
I chopped my videos into single concepts. No video was over 4 minutes long.— Laura Dupré (@HeyDupre) July 6, 2020
I created step by step slides for the videos and a script with each slide to make it easier to record. Posted those with the video.
Wished I had done a small box with me in the videos.
Using @PearDeck makes things interactive. Oh and shorter is better.— Mrs. D. Frier 🇨🇦 #BlackLivesMatter (@MrsFrier) July 6, 2020
@paulandersen has a great video describing helpful equipment when making videos— Nature (@lyricsloeffler) July 6, 2020
Don’t forget student created videos for math... pic.twitter.com/9RmQhlscp3— John Kline (@EDUcre8ive) July 6, 2020
Provide your notes as a document linked in the video description. Upload to youtube, they will automatically caption videos for you!— Dawn DuPriest (@DuPriestMath) July 6, 2020
Be yourself! Include your mistakes. Make it like you are right there with them.— Mrs.Murray in the Middle (@murray_middle) July 6, 2020
Use Edpuzzle— Ashley Stovall (@StovallACS) July 6, 2020
Type the lesson in number of your textbook into YouTube. There will be 3 videos with better comprehensive content. Use your video making time to supplement. If you do make videos provide PP notes for them to follow along.— Ryan Christiansen (@rkc1080) July 7, 2020
Open your mind to the things in your home that are illustrative of math concepts and use them!— Jennifer Winkler (@jwinkler724) July 7, 2020
I'm echoing five minutes or less, agreeing with pause and press play when they are ready to move on. Have a script. We made most of ours using PowerPoint and screencastomatic. If using published curriculum, keep them private to your learners only to avoid copyright issues.— Jennifer Hiles (@TechKinderTeach) July 6, 2020
I've used cover pages on Google slides first, then typically model, or introduce vocabulary thru videos. Lots of opportunities to pause and suggestions to more practice resources. Looking back at last years videos, maybe not numbering them...and instead go by topic— Pᴀᴛᴛʏ Kᴏʟᴏᴅɴɪᴄᴋɪ Eᴅ.D. (@DrKnicki) July 7, 2020
12 minutes. Keep them short and to the point.— Daniel Schaben (@searching4math) July 7, 2020
Definitely make your videos 10 minutes or less. Eliminate as much “quiet time” as possible.— Michelle Carpenter (@CoopDi) July 6, 2020
#MTBoS @misscalcul8 Asked what we were using to make videos, and @ablinstein suggested a slide share and @GotMathHelp helped me think it thru. Please duplicate the slide and share what worked for you (and hopefully the kids) https://t.co/J94Tb4tVqI— Amy Ellen Zimmer (@zimmerdiamonds) July 7, 2020
I asked the #mtbos if anyone had resources for solving systems by substitution that is not a worksheet. I have some nicely scaffolded worksheets to introduce substitution and elimination in this unit so I don't want to worksheet them to death for practice. And maybe they won't need any more practice but every year is different.
I had a lot of great responses so I thought it was worth sharing here.
Desmos Line Zapper
-Submitted by @Leeanne Branham and @kathyhen_
Each pair solves and becomes an "expert" on a system that's printed on a slip of paper. Then one half of the class rotates by 1 seat, and the new pairs exchange problems and solve/check each other's work.
-Submitted by @KentHaines
You could do an Add ‘em up where they find the intersection point but only add up one of the values. I found one online, but I’m not sure who it came from
-Submitted by @KellyRLove21 and link from @strom_win
-Submitted by @msalgebrateachr
is a fun website of emoji puzzles, the medium difficulty level is perfect for practicing substitution method. Students get really into it, and you can have them create their own, and try and solve them.
-Submitted by @TollesSteiner
-Submitted by @adinam225
I make cut out pizzas, topping, and pizza order forms. Students have to work in a group to solve the system and figure how many if each topping goes on the pizza and deliver it. They get fake tip money for their fast and correct service.
-Submitted by @TopperMathClass
Algebra Tiles Visual Practice
-Submitted by @GenevaMath
There’s also a clue game out there that someone made a while back where students had to solve a system in a scenario to find the murderer, the weapon, and where the crime was committed. I’m not sure who created it though, but I used to use it when I taught algebra 1.
-Submitted by @KellyRLove21
The Great Collide (Desmos)
-Submitted by @AsymptoticLiz
-Submitted by Brandy Norwine
-Submitted by @PeterRobynson
Thanks for sharing everyone!