Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Station Rotation

Our school has implemented a fusion schedule last year where we have 45 minute classes 3 days of the week and 90 minute classes the other two days of the week.  If I don't plan well for these classes, it can be boring and tedious.  So, I wanted to share the station rotation that my students and I did this week.

We just tested on graphing with tables and intercepts and this was our first day with slope.  The student have studied slope in their pre-algebra class, but you know we need to visit it again in Algebra 1.

The set up.  I created 4 stations around my room with acrylic frames that gave the student instructions on what to do.

At the beginning of class we had a short lesson on how to find the slope if you are given a table.  Then I randomly divided the class into four groups and sent each group to a station. 

The student had 15 minutes at each station and I displayed the following timer on my screen:

Station 1 (Digital Station):
Desmos Activity

At this station, the students used their laptops (and ear buds) to go through a desmos activity on finding slope from a graph. 

Slope from a graph Desmos activity  <-- link to activity

Station 2 (Small Group Instruction):  
Finding slope from an equation with yours truly

At this station, I worked with a small group of students and taught them (or reminded them) how to determine the slope if you are given an equation.  I really liked this station, because I had the opportunity to work with every single student.  

Here is a copy of that worksheet --> LINK TO WORKSHEET

Station 3 (Interactive Station):  
Slope from Tables: Problem Trains.

At this station, the students worked together to solve the problem train on finding slope if you are given a table.  You can find that activity HERE.  

Station 4 (Review Station):
Two-Step Equation Pyramid

My Algebra 1 students are making a lot of careless mistakes with solving equations.  So, I figured this would be a perfect topic to cover during this station rotation.  I received this activity when I signed up for All Things Algebra's free newsletter.   I do have a para during these classes and they would manage this station.  

What Went Well:

  • The students were on task the whole time.  I made sure to have enough work at each station so that there is little to no down time.  
  • The 90 minutes flew by.  
  • All students received individual attention and a many misconceptions were corrected.  

What Needs Work:
  • I don't know how this escaped me, but I didn't plan for closure.  Next time I will have a wrap-up and exit ticket to round out the class.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Pull Up Project: 1 Month Update

Here is my one month update for my pull up project.

Answers to FAQs

  • Yes, the students do ask me daily how my pull ups are coming along.  
  • Yes, the students have invited me to go to the weight room with them.
  • Yes, my family is very supportive of this project.  
  • No, I don't receive any negative comments.  I think those comments are out there but those people are too polite to actually say or write them to me.  I kind of wish they would so I could share them with my students.  It's okay...teachers have thick skin.  :)
I can do 1 pull up!!

I love this photo because at the time I didn't see my son's face as I was doing this pull up.  I started this project to inspire my students.  I have to remember there is someone else watching and learning from this project as well. 

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Teaching Game Design - Writing your First Rule Document

One of the most challenging things my Game Design students run into is writing rule documents.  So, I decided to start the semester with an activity to help them develop this skill.  

I split the class into groups of 3-4 students each and gave each group the following game pieces:

  • 1 Pencil Case
  • 10 index cards (do not write on, bend, tear, or modify these in any way)
  • 40 bingo chips (10 blue, 10 red, 10 green, 10 yellow)
  • 8 pawns (2 blue, 2 red, 2 green, 2 yellow)
  • 6 dice (1 D4, 1 D6, 1 D8, 1 D10, 1 D12, 1 D20)

The first day of this activity, the students were instructed to create a simple game.  I emphasize simple because the simpler the game, the easier it is to write the rule document.  I had to remind a few groups to scale it down, they were getting waaaay too complicated.  At this point, I told the students that we weren't concerned if the game was broken, unbalanced, without choices, or even boring....just that they had a game.

On the second day, we started writing the rule documents.  Each group had to have the following sections in their document: 

  • Title
  • Group members names
  • Back story/Introduction (optional)
  • Components
  • Set Up (photos strongly encouraged)
  • Game Play
  • Game End
  • Win Condition
  • FAQs (optional)

I went around from group to group and tried to assist the best I could, but as you know, you can't catch everything.  The students wrote their rule documents on a shared google doc and shared with all their group members and me.  

On the third day each group shared their rule document with another group with comments-only ability.  Each group attempted to play the other's game only by reading the rule document.  If they were stuck, they could ask the designers questions but needed to write a comment about what could be corrected.  
At the end of class that day, the groups were given time to revise their rule document based on the comments they received.  

On the fourth day, we repeated the same process as day 3 with a different group.  

There was a huge difference in their first draft and their final submission.  Having the opportunity to read other's rule documents showed them how important it is to be clear and concise.  

Twitch Dice

Recently in my Game Design class I gave an assignment called "Twitch Dice".  The students were asked to create a twitch game that ...