Digital Escape Rooms, formative assessment, Geometry, Google Sheets, Self-Checking

Self-Checking Magic Squares Sheet

This tutorial is combining two ideas together that I have previously shared. This first is a Magic Squares sheet by Jason Pullano, and the other was a recent post about self-checking sheet. This activity is great for a self-checking activity or as a clue in a digital escape room.

Many of the steps are the same, so I am just reposting them below so you don’t have to flip screens.

Create your Questions

I find it’s easier to have my questions and images (if needed) ready to go before I begin building the spreadsheet.

I’m using this for a Geometry review so I’ve created my images in advance in a Google Slide and I changed the page size to the standard 4:3. I can download each card as a PNG or JPG image to use in my self-checking activity.

Create the image

This activity loads an image into squares one at a time as a correct answer is entered. You will need to decide how many squares you want. I went with a 4×4 grid.

I used Google Drawing. In page set-up I set the size to 10 x 10.

Once your image is designed, place a table on top of it and drag it to fill the screen. I learned this trick from Jason Pullano. The table creates a perfect grid and you don’t have to worry about placement of the lines.

Now you crop your image. There is more than one way to do this but I chose to use my snipping tool and just snip each section. I found it helpful to zoom in to get a good snip.

Open Sheets

Now we will put this all together.

I start with my blocks of information. I merged cells to create the sections for instructions, question images, and also to create my grid. By selecting columns G-J and right clicking, I can resize my columns to 99. Do the same for rows 2-3 and resize to 33. This should give us squares.

I just typed in my header this time, but you could always create a colorful header like we did the last time. If you create the header image, insert instructions are below.

Place images and answer in a new tab.

Click the plus button in the bottom left corner of your spreadsheet. This will create a new tab in Sheets. This will be the location for out images and answers.

Place the images (insert image) for the questions and for the square reveal. They can be VERY TINY. It’s ok. It will scale to fit the size we allow it.

We also want to place the answers to our questions here. We are going to hide the tab later so students don’t see it.

Dropdown menu

Start with the dropdown menu where you have the word instructions. Place the same words, Choose a Question, Question 1, etc. in your list. You can view a tutorial here.

Now right below that, you will enter a vlookup code.

=vlookup(A4,Sheet2!A1:B13,2,0)

This is telling sheets to see what word is selected in A4 (Choose a question, Question 1, etc., then go to sheet 2 and select the image that matches my words that are in column A starting at A1 and my images are in column B ending at B13.

Answers

Now let’s set the conditional formatting for our answers. There is a tutorial for conditional formatting in the link above as well.

I’m going to have three rules for each cell. If the cell is empty, I want it to be transparent. If the cell has an entry it will be gold for correct or red for incorrect.

It’s a little tricky to get conditional formatting from another sheet.

Here is what you would type in:

We will do the same thing to get a wrong answer but select text does not contain and type in the same formula and change the color to red.

Repeat for the remaining answers.

*This seems like a lot of work, but this process allows you to use this template again simply by changing the images and answers in Sheet 2.

Load Image

Now we need to load an image square. When an answer is correct, we want a square to load in an image space.

Below the fun stuff in Sheet 1, I have the sheet respond with 1 if an answer is correct and 0 if it’s incorrect using the following formula:

Once you return, there will be a little blue box in bottom right corner. You can drag that box down 10 spaces and it will auto fill the formula for you.

Choose a square you want to load. For this example, if the answer is correct it will go to sheet 2 and load the image in D1. You just need to make sure you load them in random order and that you include each one.

I have 16 boxes and only 12 questions so a few of my questions load to squares.


Clean it up and Assign

I like to hide the parts of the sheet we don’t need.

I’m going to highlight columns K-Z and right click and hide those cells

You can also hide the rows that have your adding trick on them by doing the same thing.

I’m also going to hide the sheet with my answers on it. Now a spreadsheet savvy student will now how to unhide this so you can always password protect the sheet so they can’t access it.

Don’t forget to set it to make a copy for every student in your LMS.

Here is the final result with all of the answers filled in:

These are so much fun. You can even get more advanced and have one image load and it changes to another image as you get the answer correct.

You can always just use the created spreadsheet below as a template if you don’t want to make your own. Just switch out the images and answers on Sheet 2.

If you make one, please let me know. I love to make these and my students love to complete these.

animated gif, Keynote, Stop Motion

Transparent Stop Motion

A few years ago, I posted about how to make Stop Motion animated GIFs using Google Slides and Tall Tweets. You can see that tutorial HERE.

Tall Tweets Update (not transparent)

Since that time, Tall Tweets has made some updates. So before I launch into how to make TRANSPARENT stop motion animations, let me show you the Tall Tweets update. Google Slides and Tall Tweets, as of this post, will not allow for transparent gifs. Maybe that is an update they can make soon (I did reach out on Twitter, so we’ll see if they can make it happen!). Tall Tweets did update with an add-on so you no longer have to go to the TallTweets site once you install.

Go to TallTweets and click Creator Studio (see image below). It will ask you to install.

Once installed, open a previous Stop Motion Google Slide or create a new one. When you are ready to create your animated GIF, go to add-ons and click Creator Studio. It will ask you to authorize the first time. Once you authorize, you will have to go to add-ons and click it again to make it run.

A panel will open on the right. Set your slide time. In Tall Tweets I started with .2 so that’s what I will try here.

Scroll to the bottom and click GO. You will have the option to download or view. You can view it to see if you need to adjust the time. When you are ready, click the download button and use the image like before. Notice that in Creator Studio you also have the option to make a video instead of a gif if you want to.

It’s a nice little update and added a few features. But sometimes you just need a transparent gif. I wanted to create a bubbling cauldron that I could use in an escape room but also in a presentation. I also wanted to create some googley eyes to use in a presentation. I created both in Keynote.

Keynote for Transparent GIFs

Open a new Keynote document and set the size you want. I like to make mine square but it can be any size. Go to document in the top right corner and change widescreen to custom size and change it to 500 pts by 500 pts.

Now create your animation, just like we did in Google Slides. Duplicate, change a little, duplicate, change a little,… Once your creation is ready, now we want to change the background to transparent. We don’t want to do this until the end because it turns black which is difficult to work on.

Under format (top right corner) switch background to no fill.

Your image will go from the first to the second.

If you have a lot of slides, you might want to make this change is slide layout, it will change all of the slides at once. If not, you can just change slide by slide.

Now we are ready to export our animation. Go to file, export to, animated GIF.

I choose these settings, but you can adjust the slider to make your gif work the way you want. I ended up sliding the slider to 3 for my cauldron. Also make sure you you start at slide one and include all of your slides. It will default to the one slide you are on.

Now you have a transparent image to use anywhere an animated gif can be used.

PowerPoint

PowerPoint will also export to an animated gif. I used to change my speed below one frame per second, but recently I haven’t been able to do this. This makes your animation SOOOO SLOOOOOW. For this reason I will no longer be able to recommend PowerPoint to make animated GIFS. If you know a work around for this, please let me know!!!!

I hope this helps you up your animated gif game! Please tag me on Twitter or Instagram if you make something! I LOVE LOVE LOVE to see them!

differentiation, Geometry, Google Sheets

Self-Checking Google Sheets

This is not the first self-checking Google Sheet tutorial I’ve shared. This is just ANOTHER example of what you can do with Google Sheets. You can see the Pixel Art tutorial here. I’ve learned a few new tricks since then and have improved the process making it harder for students to find the answers in the code. It’s still possible, just more difficult.

Create your Questions

I find it’s easier to have my questions and images (if needed) ready to go before I begin building the spreadsheet.

I’m using this for Angle Addition Postulate so I’ve created my images in advance in a Google Slide and I changed the page size to the standard 4:3. I can download each card as a PNG or JPG image to use in my self-checking activity.

Progress Bar

For this type of self-checking activity you can have a progress bar or progress circle to tell students how many they have correct. Or you can just have the number of correct answers in the corner. For this tutorial, I’m going to use the progress bar

I drew my own, just for fun, but you could create these in Google Drawing or Google Slides. You will need one image for each increase in the bar or circle.

Open Sheets

Now we will put this all together.

I start with my blocks of information.

I created my header in Google Drawing. I will insert the image in the cell.

Place images and answer in a new tab.

Click the plus button in the bottom left corner of your spreadsheet. This will create a new tab in Sheets. This will be the location for out images and answers.

Place the images (insert image) for the questions and for the progress bar. They can be VERY TINY. It’s ok. It will scale to fit the size we allow it.

We also want to place the answers to our questions here. We are going to hide the tab later so students don’t see it.

Dropdown menu

Start with the dropdown menu where you have the word instructions. Place the same words, Choose a Question, Question 1, etc. in your list. You can view a tutorial here.

Now right below that, you will enter a vlookup code.

=vlookup(A3,Sheet2!D1:E12,2,0)

This is telling sheets to see what word is selected in A2 (Choose a question, Question 1, etc., then go to sheet 2 and select the image that matches my words that are in column D starting at D1 and my images are in column E ending at E12.

Answers

Now let’s set the conditional formatting for our answers. There is a tutorial for conditional formatting in the link above as well.

I’m going to have three rules for each cell. If the cell is empty, I want it to be transparent. If the cell has an entry it will be green for correct or yellow for incorrect.

It’s a little tricky to get conditional formatting from another sheet.

Here is what you would type in:

We will do the same thing to get a wrong answer but select text does not contain and type in the same formula and change the color to yellow.

Repeat for the remaining answers.

*This seems like a lot of work, but this process allows you to use this template again simply by changing the images and answers in Sheet 2.

Progress Bar

Now we need to add the progress bar. When an answer turns green, we want the progress bar to advance. Basically, you are adding the amount of correct answers together and telling the progress bar to load an image based on the number of correct answers.

I have the number of correct answers add somewhere hidden on sheet 1 (below or to the right of the current content) using the following formula:

Once you return, there will be a little blue box in bottom right corner. You can drag that box down 10 spaces and it will auto fill the formula for you.

Now we will add the columns. We will use this sum to load the correct images. I will hide these rows (or columns) later so students don’t see it.

Usually the =sum feature will work but for some reason it didn’t, so I just added each cell.

In the cell where the progress bar goes, we are going to use that same vlookup that we used earlier to load the correct image:


Clean it up and Assign

I like to hide the parts of the sheet we don’t need.

I’m going to highlight D=Z and right click and hide those cells

You can also hide the rows that have your adding trick on them by doing the same thing.

I’m also going to hide the sheet with my answers on it. Now a spreadsheet savvy student will now how to unhide this so you can always password protect the sheet so they can’t access it.

Don’t forget to set it to make a copy for every student in your LMS.

Whew! That was a lot of work! Here is your final product. You also now have a template to use if you want to create future projects. You can change out the progress bar, the questions, and the answers in Sheet 2. Yay!

I hope you find use for this tutorial. I know you can buy other templates like this on TPT, so if that’s how you roll, head on over to TPT. I personally like to create my own. It did take quite a bit of time, but now that the template is created, I can change it up with minimal effort.

And, because I’m nice, here is my completed activity if you want to use it as a template.

Spreadsheet

Slides with questions

Classroom Decor

Classroom Decor

I went to my classroom this week to put my desks in #thinkingclassroom pods and to organize a bit. I still don’t have much up on my walls from the great black mold purge of 2020 so I decided to make a few things. Since I made them, I’m free to share them.

I made 3 BIG quotes to put on my walls near the ceiling. One is a quote you’ve seen often if you visit my Make Math Not Suck site. It’s sums up my belief in learning well.

“Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.” – Albert Einstein

The next quote is to replace a quote that was on my wall for years. I had a giant Albus Dumbledore poster with this quote next to it. My son had the poster remade for me as a Christmas gift (the original not survive the great black mold purge of 2020) and I’m just getting around to making the quote again.

“It is not our abilities that show what we truly are, it is our choices.” – Albus Dumbledore

And the last one I put on the wall is from Eleanor Roosevelt, but I may change it to Maya Angelou. Still not sure about this last one.

“Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“Do the best you can until you know better. When you know better, do better.” – Maya Angelou

This last one hasn’t been created yet, but I love the quote and hope to find a place for it in my room if I don’t replace the Eleanor Roosevelt one.

Here is a link to PDFs of each of these quotes. I created them in PowerPoint because I had a specific font I wanted to use and I wanted a pattern fill. You could easily make these in Google Slides if you want solid colors or gradients. I printed, laminated, and cut them out. I do own a cutting machine, but sometimes its faster to cut by hand.

To Create Custom Letters in PowerPoint

  1. Open PowerPoint and go to the Design Tab. In Slide Size, set your page to 11×8.5

2. I used word art, but you can also just use a text box. Type in the letter you want. I set my size to 600 px. Pick the size that fits your space. I used 3 fonts from dafont.com. The KG font series is one of my favorites but I recently found the KB series too.

3. I open the format pane so I can get all the options in one place.

I upload my pattern and select tile picture as textue.
I add the border using a solid line. I set my border to 10 pt but select what looks best.

Here are some patterns I created that you can use for free. This link takes you to a folder with all of them.

I also made some cute little labels for my whiteboard. I laminated them at school and put magnets on the back.

I made these in Google Slides. You can update the words to fit your needs. Click here for template.

Digital Escape Rooms, Distance Learning, formative assessment, Geometry, Google Sheets

Fun with Google Sheets – Part 3

It’s been a minute since we had a fun with Google Sheets so I decided to bring you another installment as school is starting or getting ready start for most of us.

Separate Names

I like to copy the names of my students from my gradebook screen or download an Excel file of students from our grade management system (we use PowerSchool). This copies first and last names but sometimes I just need first names. I DON’T want to go through a delete all of the names, especially since I usually have around 150 students.

Never fear, Google Sheets are here! You can EASILY separate the names into two columns.

Begin by typing the names into two columns, just as you want them to appear. It may take a few names, but once Google Sheets understands what you are doing, Smart Fill will pop up a suggestion. Click the checkmark and Sheets will do the rest.

You will do the same for the last name column. Then you have the entire sheet broken into first and last names. YAY! Such a time saver.

The process also works in reverse. So if you have first and last names in two columns, you can type both in the third column and smart fill will recognize the pattern and fill for you.

Google Translate

You can translate a list of words in Google Sheets. Type the list of words in one column. In the next column, type =googletranslate and and prompt will appear.

Next you want to click on the cell for the word you want to translate. Don’t worry, we don’t have to do this for every word, it will fill all of them in the end. It will place this cell into the formula, then put a comma and “auto” then a comma.

Now you need to find your two letter language code. These are called ISO codes and you can do a google search for them. Here is a link to the site I use. I’m translating to Dutch which is the code nl. So I will add the code in quotations and then close the parentheses.

One word is translated.

Now grab the blue box in the bottom right corner of that cell and drag down. You have translated all of the words.

Hiding Answers

I love to create interactive Google Slides for review games and escape room tasks. Most of the time the game works as it should. But every now and then a student figures out that you can click on the input box to see the answer. And, OF COURSE, they tell the rest of the class and now they are just entering the answer and not working out the problems.

Here is an example of a pixel art activity where this could be used. Many of mine have not been updated to this cell reference method but I will be updating them as I use them this year.

In this example, the student can see that typing 18.1 into D3 will give them the correct answer.

You can make this process more difficult for them. Using sheet 2 (click the + sign next to sheet 1 in the bottom row), you can type the answers into cells and then reference these cells on sheet 1.

I started in T33 to type my answers so it wasn’t on the screen if students click Sheet 2. You can also hide this sheet or password protect it so students can’t see it. If you do that, then just begin in A1 with your answers.

Replace 18.1 with Sheet2! followed by the cell where the answer is located, T33 for this example.

Now when a student clicks on the answers, they would have to unhide (if it’s not password protected) Sheet 2 then find T33 for the answer. I don’t usually password protect and it still deters most students.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this episode of Fun with Google Sheets and I hope you have a great start to your year!

ramblings, SBL, thinking

Focus on Thinking

It’s been a while since I grabbed my soapbox and megaphone and shared some thoughts. I’ve had some time to think and reflect over this past year, and really all my years of teaching, and I have realized that we have created point-gobbling monsters instead of individuals wanting to gain knowledge to solve problems and be better humans. I also feel like these point-gobbling monsters get more hungry each passing year and their appetite for thinking and learning is decreasing at an even faster rate.

For those of you who have been around for a bit, you know I love standards-based learning. I have written about it on this blog here, here, and here, presented on it, and will talk to anyone about how much it changed my classroom and the willingness of students to learn.

I still LOVE the idea of standards based learning. But I realized a few years ago that it focuses on content, content that is readily available on the internet. See, I don’t just want students who memorize a process and try to meet a check box in a category or standard. I want students who can find information and use it to solve a problem. The problem with our current grade-gobbling situation is that students will memorize the process to regurgitate it on a test and then move on to the next topic. No thought process, just memorization.

This niggling thought in the back of my head smacked me square in the face this past year. Two different situations collided allowing me to see a clear picture of these point-gobbling monsters we had created. One, because of a shift of teachers at winter break, I took on a class from another teacher. I teach very conceptually, without formulas when possible. I allow students to use formulas, but I don’t when demonstrating and encourage them to think about what is happening and solve things using concepts they know. My new class DID NOT LIKE THIS! They wanted formulas. To be fair, my original class wanted formulas too, they just knew they weren’t going to get them from me. They at least played along with my explorations and conceptual understanding and then looked up the formulas to use later. The second was a students so obsessed with grades it frightened me. She would try to calculate her score on every assessment and freaked out if she score below an 94% (A in our book). She wasn’t as interested in learning, she just wanted an A. I get this sentiment from parents too. The last week of school, this particular student frantically asked to see another teacher because he had entered an assignment as a zero. I taught her early in the day and asked if she had already attended class with this teacher. No, she would see him in two class periods. I encouraged her to visit with him during her class time. She nearly broke down because she “couldn’t have a zero in the gradebook for that long.” Another student in the back of the room asked her if it lowered her grade and she said “yes, from a 98% to a 97%.” Her class let her have it. She still had an A but was so obsessed with grades that a zero in the gradebook was going to ruin the next two class periods until is was removed.

WE DID THIS! And be we, I mean the education system. WE created the point-gobbling monsters. We said GPA is more important than learning by creating scholarships based on this point system. We said GPA is more important than learning when we recognize the top 10 and valedictorian and realize those who challenged themselves with harder classes aren’t always represented. We said scoring well on a standardized test is more important than learning when we create awards for those who are proficient and advanced and give scholarships based on these tests. We have said point-gathering over thinking and learning is what school is about.

So… how do we change this?

I can list many, many things that need to happen to make our system better, but most of them are not in my control. I can’t get rid of standardized tests, as much as I want to. I can continue to ask boards of education to stop awarding based on grades but I can’t make that decision alone. I can ask universities to stop awarding scholarships based on a test score or GPA, but I can’t change their policies.

What I can do is shift the focus in my classroom. I attended #VirtualMath21 organized by Howie Hua and watched a session my Nolan Fossum (@NolanFossum). When I heard him speak about this same issue and his drive to change it I knew instantly, in the depths of my soul, this was the direction I needed to take also. Nolan uses a method he is developing called Pillars and Practices. The practices is part are the Standards for Mathematical Practice that I already use in my classroom. The Pillars part (see the image from Nolan below) is what I plan to add in my classroom. He was kind enough to Zoom with me and brainstorm ways to use this in my classroom.

copyright Nolan Fossum

This coming school year, I plan to implement Nolan’s Pillars along with self-reflection and conversation to assess students. There will be no points to chase but thinking and evidence of learning to show. I’m finishing up the book UnGrading by Susan D. Blum and also have Hacking Assessment by Star Sackstein to read. When I have a solid plan (right now I have small pieces of the puzzle put together), I will share how I implement it in hopes of helping others break the chains of the point-gobbling monsters.

I want a classroom, school, and nation of thinkers and problem solvers. I we don’t shift our focus, we, as an education system, will be harming our future. If we have a nation of people who can only follow a recipe, how will we ever have new and creative ideas to push us forward and make life better?

Stepping off my soap box and putting away the megaphone. Thanks for sticking with me!

Freebies, Google Slides, Sorting Cards

Collaborative Group Sorting Cards

**UPDATED** Now includes sorting into groups of 3 for a Thinking Classroom

Have you ever handed out playing cards at the door to sort your students into groups and then watch as students switch cards to make sure they are in the same group? No? Well maybe it’s just me but it happened often.

To fix this problem, a long time ago (like 10 or 11 years) I created sorting cards using a large index card and glued stickers, playing cards, words, equations, graphs, etc., randomly in groups of 4. I had a deck of 34 so I needed 9 sets of 4 for everything I used. I had 4 sets of 9 equations, 4 sets of 9 graphs, 4 sets of 9 coordinating stickers, and so on.

Once they were laminated, I would stand at the door and had each student an index card. They had NO IDEA what I would choose so there was no point in switching cards with someone. I usually randomly pick a person in the class to pick the sorting theme and then they group up by that theme. If I know I need to put certain students together or keep certain student apart, I will pick the theme beforehand and make sure to give those certain students the card I want them to have.

Yes, I know there are ways to sort digitally, but this is fun, and I can stand at the door and do hall duty while preparing to sort into groups.

Now, here is the sad news. My building had a severe black mold issue at the beginning of the year. Everything I had accumulated in my 20 years of teaching was thrown away. This included my prized sorting cards. Cards that had a lot of time and some money (for stickers and such) invested. We were remote and hybrid for much of the year so I didn’t recreate them.

A few days ago a colleague sent me a tweet from a person asking about these cards. I really thought I had shared this idea via blog post but couldn’t find it anywhere. I also have ZERO pictures of these cards. SAD SAD SAD!!! So I reached out and told the person I would make a digital version that could be personalized, printed, and laminated.

So here you go. OPEN SLIDEDECK TEMPLATE

Thinking Classroom groups of 3 cards OPEN SLIDEDECK TEMPLATE

Print on a color printer (on lightweight cardstock if you can), fold in half and secure with stick glue, laminate, and sort your students. You can change out any of the images, especially the Bitmoji. Mine have a lot of math in them because I’m a math teacher. You may want to change that too. Be caution when adding food if you teach middle and high school. Google the meaning of the food before you use it. Eggplant parm might be a favorite but it will also get you some chuckles at the high school level. And beware when you google pineapple. Geesh!

image of one sorting card

If you use these cards, I would love to hear how it goes!

ramblings, Reflection, Relationships

End of Year Reflection

This was my 20th year of teaching. It was the most challenging year of teaching. I was not my best! I tried to be my best but I wasn’t. I ended the year with all my students by giving them a positive message, telling them how much they had grown, because they had, and how much they had overcome, because they had, and how I hoped they were able to have me as a teacher again so they could truly see how I am. I hate that I wasn’t my best, but there are no do-overs! There is only reflection and growth. I want my students to see that, I want all of you to see that, and I want to remember that myself.

We can’t go back and erase past mistakes. Sometimes we want to and we try to, but even if you try to erase the mistake (apology, restoration,…), the indention of the pencil is still left after you wipe away the eraser bits. Is the paper still usable? Yes! Can we begin again and do better? Yes!

To model this process for students, I give them a reflection at the end of the year. Part of it is for them to reflect over their own learning and part of it is for me to reflect over my teaching. This requires you to be vulnerable. It requires you to put aside your pride. It requires you to be willing to grow. IT’S NOT EASY! Not every student likes you and not every student will say nice things about you.

Read them.

Learn from them.

Be better!

Page one is the student reflection and page two is their opportunity to give me feedback. Why do I ask kids about learning vs. grades? This is a huge focus of mine throughout the year. I want students to learn how to learn and focus less on what grade they have. This is hard for students, especially the top students who are grade driven! I had a Freshman this year that FREAKED OUT because a teacher entered an assignment as missing and it dropped her from a 96% to a 95% (Ok, this was not her only freak-out about grades, SHE HAD MANY!!!). Now, she was going to be in this teacher’s class later in the day and could address the missing assignment but she was having trouble concentrating on my class because her grade dropped a percent. It was still an A, and it would be remedied in an hours time! UGH! Needless to say her reflection this year said she focused on grades and she said there was nothing I could do to make her focus on learning because she wanted to be Valedictorian and her grades were more important. Our system has failed her and so many others with the same focus. I will keep doing what I do, and try to make students see the value in knowledge. It’s an uphill battle!

Now to my reflection.

Students liked: how quickly I entered grades, that I gave chances to improve, that they could choose during the unit when to complete tasks because it allowed them to work around their schedule, class time to work on skills so they could get help, whiteboard reviews, exit tickets, and a few students LOVED the Choose Your Own Adventure (maybe because it was fresh in their mind.) Some told me I was funny and some told me they knew I cared. Some liked that I would dance or sing with them and told them about my life and asked about theirs.

Areas to improve: I was grouchy sometimes and could have angry eyes, it wasn’t fair that students could retake tests because “I worked hard and got it the first time” (Umm… focus on grade student perhaps?). One student told me I played favorites but gave no examples of me doing this so I will need to reflect over that one to see I was unaware of an action. One student was angry that they didn’t pass and blamed me and another was upset with me because I told them to get off their phone every day and they didn’t want to get off their phone. A few students asked that I stop emailing their parents about missing work and redo opportunities.

Things I know I want to do better next year is parent contact, positive and negative. I’m thinking of some kind of newsletter and more positive calls home. We started in remote, then 2 weeks in person, then hybrid, and my usual positive calls home didn’t happen because my calls were more about getting technology situated and seeing why students weren’t joining Zoom.

There are many things I want to continue: flexibility with completion dates, ability to correct or retake, and focus on learning not grades.

I wish I could undo some of the grouchy days (students weren’t wrong about that) but those pencil marks are forever on the paper. I will try to do better next year, which is all I ever ask of my students. Learn from the mistake and do better!

Here is the reflection sheet that I created. Feel free to use (change to your name on the second page) or modify as needed.

No matter what, I loved my students and tried my best to be what they needed. This year was hard and I’m hoping next year will be better!

BreakoutEDU, Digital Escape Rooms, Geometry

Get A Clue Digital Escape Room

** This is a repost from Make Math Not Suck**

We are not giving finals this year. An idea I think I support (it has been hard keeping motivation without a final). I wanted a way to review everything we have learned this year but in a fun way.

I originally planned to do a murder-mystery activity like I saw on Twitter shared by @MrsHiltnerReads.

After altering the idea so we weren’t murdering people, it turned more into a Who Dun It? which morphed into a Clue like escape room.

This idea could be used with any content for any review I would think. I just posted the links to the Slide, Sheet, and Form in Canvas but by embedding it in a Site, it would make might make it easier for students. about:blank

I also made a version using Alice Keeler dice roll page and markers where students could share the page with 3 other students and find the clues independently as they moved through the Get A Clue board. I would want to make one questions clues, however, to make the game go faster. Maybe I will try it the next time.

I hope you can use this or the idea of it to make the end of the year review more fun. Enjoy.