Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The projects are finally done (after a one day extension and some issues with videos). Today in class we had our "gallery walk" where the kids had the chance to see and make comments on the other projects. Then they voted on their favorite project (the winners will get some extra credit).

These were the two winners:

I'm pretty sure they voted for the second glog because of the kid in the video at the bottom. He's a former class member who was the charismatic sort that all of the kids liked.

I haven't had much of a chance to look through them all, but I was really impressed with the kids who used Prezi. It's definitely harder to figure out than Glogster is! But it's so cool when it's done.

This is one that the kids enjoyed. Here's another. I wish they'd figured out how to get their videos on them (I know it's possible) but they didn't. One group did a Harry Patter video that took them three hours (with an admitted "wii" break in the middle).

We've had some issues at school lately with a conversion of our computers to a new system. They did the teachers' several weeks ago and are slowly getting to all of the labs and carts. Yesterday (of course) they decided to do the cart that the kids were using. One girl lost her whole project (she did a powerpoint and hadn't uploaded it to empressr yet even though it was due today) but everything else turned out ok. Hopefully the lost files can be recovered. Our fingers are crossed.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I assigned my precalc kids a Conics project today. After wrestling with what to have them do (in the past couple of years I've assigned a wiki -here's 2008 and 2007) I decided to try something new. I prepared a powerpoint (via Google Docs) yesterday with some directions and links and requirements, etc. My plan was to assign the students groups and a conic, then they were to make a glog (a digital poster) on glogster.

This morning after I arrived at school, I changed my mind. Instead of requiring them all to do a glog, I gave them 3 choices - a glog, a presentation via prezi, or a presentation via empressr. I was hoping that one of these tools would make each of the groups excited about working on the project! Most of the kids hadn't heard of any of the options.

I hurriedly changed my powerpoint to include those options, made sure I had accounts set up on prezi and empressr for the kids to use, and off we went. (Oh, include in there a worksheet with links, directions, criteria, and recommendations, and that adds up to a very busy morning!)

My first class seemed pretty excited about the project - I think they were happy that it wasn't like the last project they did (a combinations of functions thing that a lot of them struggled with), that they'd have 3 days in class to work on it, and that they got to work with their friends on computers (I relented and let them pick their groups after they told me it would make their projects better - we'll see about that!). I assigned their conics and they started exploring the tools I'd shown them.

It looks like most of the groups will end up using Glogster while some ambitious groups are going for Prezi (it just looks so cool!). There are some groups talking about making a video (which I soooo hope they do! I reserved the school's flip cameras for them to use in class tomorrow/Friday). I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the end products are good!

Friday, December 4, 2009

I just checked out the website for the International Slide Rule Museum (from which my class set was borrowed). My kids are famous! The girls would die if I told them their pictures made the front page, so I'll just keep that piece of information to myself.

Here's our blurb:
I think the reference to the color of the ribbon is because I changed the maroon and white ribbon (our rival high school's colors) to orange (ours).
My fellow precalc teacher told me after school today that she had her kids working on the tablets (a cart somehow lives in her room unless someone else signs it out) on graphing exponential and log functions. Then I guess she was projecting some of their answers so the class could check. Nice idea when you have a class set! Anyway, she projected one kid's graph just to see this written at the top of his screen:
"Holy shift! Look at the asymptotes on that mother function!"

She said she couldn't help but laugh, but chastised him for the "mother function" bit. I can't imagine what I would've done besides pee my pants giggling.