Friday, July 7, 2017

Absolutely Valuable is DIGITAL!!!!

I am proud to announce that my game, Absolutely Valuable, is digital.  You and your students can play it on a computer.

Click here to play.

I created a video run-through on how to play.  CLICK HERE TO WATCH THAT.

Every year I work with the computer programing and art students at a nearby community college to take one of my classroom games and make it digital.  This is the second game to actually get finished, but the first that is sharable!!!  

For those who are not familiar with my game Absolutely Valuable, it is a game that helps students practice solving absolute value equations.  BUT, it's not quiz-like in nature.  

The college students have one semester to create the game.  As you can image, there is a lot that needs to happen in order for a computer game to finish in one semester.  First, the students have to work together (which this team obviously did).  The students also need to learn the necessary programming and how to play the game.  They create all of the art, play-test, and periodically check in with me as well.  The students did an amazing job.  But there are a few things I would tweak, one I want to point out to you.  Do you see the mistake?  I didn't notice it right away.  Yeah, the second absolute value bar.  It's position is wrong.  So, if you play this with your students, please make them aware of that.  

I hope you all enjoy this game.  Please let me know what you think.  ENJOY!!!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Jokers are Wild

So, I did this crazy thing....I opened a game cafe.  My husband and I, along with another couple decided to go into business together.  And Jokers are Wild Game Cafe was born!

The first question we usually get is, "What is a game cafe?"  Here is my answer:  It's a place to eat and/or play board games, participate in our escape room, use our video game library, live an alternative life in Dungeons & Dragons, play Magic the Gathering, or take part in one of our tournaments.  But mostly is a place to gather and become a community.

The second question is, "Are you going to quit teaching?"  Here is my answer:  As of now, no.

The third question is, "Are you mad?!?!?!"  Here is my answer: Yes!

When the cafe was in it's planning stages, I would daydream about not teaching anymore.  It was all too easy to focus on all the negatives associated with teaching and we all know there are a lot of negatives.  I figured that once the cafe opened I would become even more pessimistic about teaching.  We've been open a little over two weeks now and this strange thing happened....I'm happy.  I'm happy everywhere.  I'm happy at the cafe, I'm happy at home, and I happy at school.

All the things I ever wanted as a teacher are starting to happen at the cafe.

  • My students visit and I feel that I've earned a great deal of respect for this undertaking.  I'm getting to know the students better and have time to have real conversations with them without being rushed by a bell or a curriculum that needs to be covered.  
  • My creative side was being suffocated at school.  I felt pressure from multiple sources to teach to the state test, and that my games and activities were nonsense and a waste of the student's time.  But at the cafe I have the freedom to create the escape room, which board and card games to include in my library, to design and test my own games, and to work with the other owners on whatever we want.    
  • We are all aware that SOME students see us as the enemy because we are the teacher.  I knew that, but I wasn't as aware of it until the cafe opened.  A few students came in that I have in class and really don't have a relationship with, because they don't open up to me (am I the enemy to them?).  Since visiting the cafe and seeing me as a person rather than their teacher, I have a new relationship with them and I physically felt the 'enemy' title lift off me when I saw them at school.  
  • We tell our students all the time to follow their dreams, chase after their passions, and there I sat not following my own advice.  Now I can speak from experience when I give this advice.  Hopefully I cut a new path for another person to follow.  
I don't have any plans to leave the teaching profession anytime soon.  I'll see where the wind blows me, for now I'm happy where I am.  

Here's what I love about the cafe.  I'm doing what I love, I'm surrounded by people who want to be there, we're building a community in our small town, I get to be as creative as I want, my ideas are heard, the customers are awesome, the food is delicious (I eat there almost every day, even on my days off), I'm working with my family, I'm getting to know my step-daughter better, my teaching skills are still being used to match customers with games and teach them, and I accomplished something amazing (okay crazy).  

Check us out:

Facebook: Jokers Game Cafe

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Histograms on Desmos

There is this one lesson in Algebra I where students are required to take a histogram and convert it to a list of number.  Then take that list of numbers and determine the mean, median, mode, range, Q1, Q3, Min, Max, and interquartile range.  The problem was that I couldn't find nice looking histograms anywhere online.  So, I made my own on desmos:

To change the bars all I have to do is click and drag the points where ever I want.  For today's lesson I called students to the computer to create a histogram for us, then we found the information.  Want to use the desmos graph?  Here's a link.  

Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Line Game 2.0

I love playing The Line Game with my students, but there is one problem: not all students can easily see the graphs that are projected.  Then after face-palming myself, I created a Desmos activity.  Why did it take me so long to figure this out?

Click here to read the post about the game.

Now, instead of the students squinting to see the graph on my TV, they can see the graph on their computer screens.

Here is a link to the activity.

You will want to click the option with "Teacher Pacing" to make sure they are looking at the correct graph and not cheating by looking ahead.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Teaching With Desmos Activities

I've never really considered writing a blog post about because I figured people would just go to their site to learn.  But it might be beneficial to see how other teachers are using it.

Yesterday I gave my Algebra 1 students a test on graphing with slope-intercept.  The averages of the classes were 75% for the one class and 65% for the other class.  Clearly, they weren't ready for the test.  I decided that this topic is too important to ignore so we are re-learning and re-assessing on the topic.

This is a link to the desmos activity.  

**Note**  Be prepared for inappropriate drawings on the activity.  Period 3 thought it would be funny to draw a penis for all to see. ((sigh))