Try It, You Might Like It!

Cross-posted tohttps://shellyzavon.wordpress.com

How many of you can name the ad where “Try it, you might like it'” was used?  I hope I am not alone here with this catchy phrase.

Once again, I am going to discuss how wonderful Khan Academy is. The saying “Try it…” is so appropriate for this amazing class tool.

This nine weeks, I made Khan Academy a requirement in my math classes. (Both the parents and the students had to sign a contract acknowledging that they understood the tasks.)   Both the fourth and fifth graders must spend at least sixty minutes on KA to earn a “B” and 120 minutes to earn an “A” on their report card this grading period.

At first the students were “freaking out” about the amount of time that was required, but as the days went on, they realized that it wasn’t that much.  As a matter of fact, most of them completed the requirement within two weeks and have continued to do much more than the minimum amount.

This has not only been a great exercise helping the students review for the upcoming ITBS test, but it has helped me enormously because I am able to see EACH student’s strength and weakness.  I receive a detailed report on a weekly basis about every student. (In order to do this, the teacher, or parent must sign up as the child’s coach. You can sign up the entire class too.) The report shows the time spent on activities, skills mastered, skills that are being practice, skills that need more practice, and skills where the student is struggling.  Once I review the report, I can make recommendations for every student based on the information. I can even put a due date for my recommendations.

The reports have proved beneficial to me. I have seen that in both of my classes, there are problems with the skills of subtraction with borrowing and multiplying with two or more digits.  Even my “top” students are having trouble with these skills.  So now I know that reteaching is in order before standardized testing.

One other great aspect of KA is that the students are awarded badges for such things as mastering skills, time spent on the site, etc.  The students love this and, best of all,  it goes along with my use of badges for other learning activities.

Please, please, give this wonderful site a try!  You will not believe how it opens your eyes to the needs of all of your students. Most of all, the students love it to the point that several times I have had to tell them to log off KA because we had to do something else.

PS-the videos on KA are great for those of us who have forgotten certain skills in math. The narrator speaks in everyday language so that ALL can understand.

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Teacher-Twenty-One

March 2014
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