Tag Archives: Student Blogging

Student Blogs: Update

I don’t have much time tonight, but I wanted to give a quick update as for how the student blogs are going.

Edit: Oh yeah, mad props to Jim Pai for suggesting Kid Blog.  Already it’s come in handy because 2 students have forgotten passwords and it’s so easy to reset their passwords for them in that program.

Some of the students are really taking these and running with them!  Others (as expected) find the activity dull and pointless.  I’m requiring that they blog for 1 week to try it out.  After that, they may continue to do so for Participation Points, and I think many will continue to do that.

Also, I wanted to mention at how fast I’m able to “grade” these!  I just type the points awarded in the comments, so they can see, and then I also type it into a Google Spreadsheet that I’ve shared with the students so they can see their running totals.  I can skim a blog pretty quickly now and decide if it’s worth 5, 10, or 20 points (the 20 points are saved for students who really blow me away with their insight and reflection).

Some of the students are really doing a great job reflecting, but I thought I’d let the blogs speak for themselves, so here are just a few of the better daily posts from my students.  Enjoy!

It today’s class we started of with a race that I did horrible in. The questions were about probability and for some reason I messed up on a lot of them. One question that I did get right(thanks to Benita and Chad) was – In poker, you dealt a 5 cards out of 52. How many different ways can 5 cards be dealt out of the 52.( I hope I worded that right.) We solved This question by realizing it is a combination because order didn’t matter. So in our calculator we typed in 52C5. The answer was 2598960. After the race we took a class quiz, which really helped because Mr. Newman explained how to do each problem. I wish Newman would do this more often!!

After the class quiz we took 9.6 Properties of Probability notes. We learned intersection of events- If A and B are events, then the intersection of A and B, is the set of all outcomes in event A AND B. Newman also explained union events- if A and B are two events then th union of A and B is the set of all outcomes in event A OR event B… At first I had no idea what Newman was talking about, but then he used a ven-diagram to help us. For intersection of events everything in the middle of the diagram would be an example. Union of events is everything inside and outside of the diagram.

Think of it like this…

Intersection of Events- Suppose you draw 2 cards for a 52 card deck without replacing. What is the probability that both cards will be black?(looking for the intersection of the 1st card black AND the 2nd card black.)

P(black AND black)= 26(black)/52(total cards) * 25(26-1)/51(52-1)= 25/102

Union of Evnts- Suppose a bag contains 7 chocolate chip cookies, 11 macadamia nut cookies, 12 oatmeal cookies, 4 gingersnap cookies, and 9 oatmeal-chocolate cookies. if you select 1 cookie at random, what is the probability it will contain oatmeal OR chocolate?

Oatmeal-12

Chocolate-7

Oatmeal and Chocolate-9   <= 28

28/43(total cookies)= 65%

What about ginger or macadamia?

Gingersnaps-4

Macadamia-11  <= 15

15/43(total)= 34.8%

These were the examples that helped me the most through this class!

Yes, that was all one post.  Some students decided to go a more humorous route:

Today in Pre-Calculus we first set up these oh-so-beautiful blogs and learned how touse them, though I had to figure out how to insert pictures on my own. (How? I’ll never tell!) After that we ventured to a wild and educational acivity in which we created propability related problems for each other and answer them, therefore cleverly shortening the workload of a certain professor that shall be called Mr. Jim to protect the lives of the innocent. I found heiroglyphics as the best method of conveying my questions, but it seems that my colleagues, especially Mr. Haha, have a difficult time appreciating the sentiment. In any curcumstance, good examples for questions that we made are, “Is this specific orientation of cars a permutation or a combination?” And “What is the propability of choosing any specific 4-card hand out of a normal deck of 52 cards?” The former is a permutation and the latter is 52 nCr 4. I greatly hope that I will be able to grasp the concepts that have grown fuzzy from distance as clearly as I had weeks ago, but for now I must say farewell. Untill next time.
The Cryptographer

Some students decided it was best to simply take a photo of their notes (love the calculator in the image!).  I’m cool with that!

Screenshot from 2013-04-11 22:38:38

Others decided to be a little more creative and less practical:

APRIL 8, 2013

Location: Disclosed

Time: Forgot

Today we reflected back on the the different properties of mass and types of equations we can use to figure out a problem. An example of a equation was PV=nRT. How we reflected, We first got iPad’s and went to a app labeled “Student”. In here we typed the class code and waited. Newman would then put a question on the board for us to respond with the iPad  our answers would then at the same time go into an infinite matrix were data is stored. In this matrix we could see what all others responded with and can “Vote” which one is better, funny, or even CORRECT! And because I forgot my glasses at home, limited me from see and knowing which one was actually correct. The questions Mr. Newman posted was something like “Name the properties of mass”, Something like that. And it would be Volume, Pressure, Number and something else that I can not remeber right now. also a word problem that made us use a equation (PV=nRT) to  find out. Yup! That was mainly it for today, Not much happened except Shannon wasn’t here and has my headphones… :( But today was a good Day! (Minus the wind….and the suffering that came with it. Also track practice…..and Advance PE. But the wind… oh the wind. *Slowly Dramatic Music* Lunch was Fun! :D

Or other creativity:

If there was a theme to today, it would be reviewing. Almost like preparing for a battle. But although not everyone studied for the test, I did. Some of this stuff was a little bit of a blur, and some of it was a breeze. If there was one thing that I could not fully grasp, it would be Intermolecular Forces. That may have been the only thing I did not fully understand. But after a lot of reading (and re-reading) I sorta got the basics of it. Like Dipole Forces is when a partial positive and partial negative charge attract between molecules. And a London Dispersion when a electron group closes together and causes a partial charge. It took awhile to understand this but I got it now. Along with reviewing for the test, I was asked by my fellow peers for assistance. Ms. [Edited out] and Ms. [Edited out] both asked me to assist them with correcting their old Gas Laws Quiz. It was more of a review and correction session. Now that I look at it, I regret not signing up for tutor. But in the end, they learned a thing or two and so did I. I think I am ready for the test tomorrow, but who knows.

Until Next Time, Martza Out!

So I think that, for at least some students, it’s a really good experience.  I let the creative ones know that I enjoy their creativity, but that they still need more substance.  Also, I’m still giving them plenty of time in class to do this, so I hope that as I decrease that time in class, many of them continue to do this at home.

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Daily Student Blog Reflections: I’m Learning, Can They?

My Observation

I have learned SO much this year from blogging and (especially) from reading blogs.  Well, if I’ve learned so much through this specific kind of reflection, shouldn’t my students be able to learn from it?  I’ve seen websites that mention blogging for students, but I never really considered what the students should blog about that would be worthwhile, especially in math.

My Problem

One thing I’m really bad about are “summary activities”.  My previous AP explained to me that if students’ minds are like boxes, then ticket-outs (or some other summary activity) at the end of the period are the keys which “lock the box and keep the information inside”.  I’m not so sure about the metaphor, but I do know that if I could encourage students to reflect and/or think about the lesson in its entirety at the end of each period, their recall ability the next day would most likely increase.

A Solution

So why not kill 2 birds with one stone?  Have students reflect AND think about the entire lesson through blogging?  Right now my tentative plan, when we return from spring break, is to have students get the iPads the last 5 minutes of class (we’ll begin with the last 10 minutes until they get the hang of blogging–oh, and I’ll have to give them class time Monday to set up their blogs).

Initially, I put this idea into the filing cabinet of “going to try next year”, but that’s getting over-stuffed, and I think students this year could benefit right away.  One comment I received back was “create more opportunities for Participation Points“.  I guarantee that students will complain “it’s not worth it!” for the amount of points I’ll give them, but they just want my class to be easier and I’m not going to give in to that silly nonsense.

My Example

I quickly created an example blog using blogger and my Google account (to make sure this is something that can be done quickly), and I created a series of posts where I gave examples of differing quality posts.  Because posting simply accumulates PPs for the students, they have the freedom to choose the frequency and the quality of their posts.  I’ll require them blog for one week so they can see how fast and easy it will be to accumulate PPs this way, however, students will still have the chance to decide what they want to do long-term.  Here’s the blog that took me 5 minutes to create (but then about an hour to come up with the examples)

Which Blogging Software?

Blogger was fast and easy to setup on the iPad.  Edublog looks nice, but when I tried creating a blog on the iPad, it wouldn’t pass the “prove you’re not a robot test” because the Edublog app and Safari weren’t communicating well.  Wordpress.com also has a nice app, but it looks more built for professional bloggers, and I really just want my students to get their feet wet.  One last option is for students to use the blogging software that is built into their Weebly websites, which they are using for their Senior Portfolios at our school; however, I don’t want them to confuse their Senior Portfolio with their math class blog, but I think I will offer that as an option for some of the students.  I won’t really care to monitor these blogs in the sense that I need to have editing authority over them–I simply need a fast way of checking for recent posts, which I can do using e-mail subscription and my “throw-away” e-mail account.

Are there any other suggestions for blogging software out there?

Other Positives

One other thing I thought of as I was doing this, was I should get fewer “what did we do the day I was absent?” since students will be able to access each other’s blogs through my website.

If students want to study for tests, they can always go back to the blogs, which in many cases might (fingers crossed) be better than their notes.

If you’ve had students keep a blog in your math or science class, please let me know about it so that I can check them out and get more ideas (or be aware of possible pitfalls!).

Here’s my teacher website’s introduction of the blogging idea to my students.  We’ll see how many bite!

Oh, and I think I’m going to require that they use the word “Adventure” or some synonym in the title of their blog.  Perhaps this will help them realize that this is what they should be on in math class: an Adventure!

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