Monday, December 10, 2012

Math 7 iPad Project

It is Monday, and my Math 7 students began a project today on the iPads. This is my first venture in using the iPads in the classroom. Using Explain Everything, I have asked them to create a teaching video (in groups of 2) about solving equations containing integers. Not daunting at all because I have been using the app to create my own videos for the few times I have flipped the classroom. So, I got a chance to learn it through using it before asking my students to dive in. Their audience is another 7th grade student who knows how to work with integers, but not how to solve equations with integers. I have given them some structure, but the rest is up to them. For example: 1) they need to teach all four equation types, 2) they need to narrate each slide, 3) they need to create a rough draft of each slide before getting on the iPads, 4) and I have encouraged them to include an original song/rap about solving equations. In my head, I think we can be done with the project in 4 days. After today, I am not so sure. It took some groups 30 minutes just to get the intro slide the way they liked it. :) Nonetheless, once they become more familiar with the app, I think they will fly through the set up. I can't wait to see how they narrate their slides! It is fun to watch them switch into teacher mode, something I think they are all capable of doing. I think this is a project that is accessible to all students. I am choosing to do this project for two reasons. It is different that our normal routine, and I think adding a little spice to the classroom is a wonderful way to keep students engaged. Secondly, when students are asked to explain something, it further embeds the idea in their brains. Being able to communicate their math ideas, strategies, and reasoning is important to me, and this skill is a cornerstone of my curriculum.

In terms of assessing this project, I did not create a rubric. In our TLC2 meeting last week, Sarah mentioned that she didn't give her students a rubric for a recent iMovie project in her English 7 class. Instead, she put more emphasis on a self-reflection/assessment sheet they did at the end of the project. This got me thinking. I put pressure on myself to have a checklist/rubric for every project I introduce, and that can be hard. I like the idea of giving them an open ended project and letting them end up where they end up. At this point, I am planning on assessing them on their effort, completion of the project, and a reflection sheet at the end. And perhaps there doesn't need to be a grade at all-- who says something has to be entered in my grade book? Interesting how this project has brought up the idea of assessment for me. :)

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