My colleague and friend Bob Rodinsky and I delivered an amazing presentation today at CMC South Palm Springs. It was Bob’s first presentation, in his 6th year of teaching on his 3rd career after being a successful IBM manager and a real estate agent.
I presented last year at CMC South virtually. It was asynchronous. It went OK. I got some positive feedback. It was a lot of teacher talk. Like distance learning, it was challenging in that there was minimal interaction despite our best efforts as teachers.
My presentation last year was about HyperDocs and how I use that format to teach students complicated tasks. This presentation took some elements from that but focused and expanded on a few of them.
We were the first time slot and rehearsed and refined our presentation up until 1:30. I went around the Hilton and promoted it to others. I was delighted I got the support from Ethan Weker as well as Desmos employee and CL wizard Kurt Salisbury who attended.
Similar to Open Up lessons and presentations, we did a warm-up, two activities, an Are you ready for more, a lesson synthesis, a simple true / false cool-down, and a call to action to get participants thinking about what ideas they would implement.
Bob started us off thanking the participants for choosing to come to our session and we were honored. We talked a little about ourselves and then introduced our learning goal that “participants will learn about digital tools to enhance student learning and focus on choosing when to use digital tools.” Then we introduced our agenda and our warm-up was “What were you unable to do on Zoom that you previously did in person? Did you adapt any of your in person activities for distance learning?”
One interesting idea was a participant said they missed students walking around the room with their phones to use QR codes to do a problem solving scavenger hunt. Many people mentioned the inability to read non-verbal body language. Teachers missed seeing students facial expressions with their cameras off and knowing their emotional state and whether they were having an “a ha” moment or not.
Then we moved to our main topic. Flipgrid implementation. We checked everyone’s understanding by saying give a thumbs up if you’ve used Flipgrid with your students, sideways if you’ve heard of it, and thumbs down if you hadn’t heard of it. Most did thumbs up and some sideways.
Then I lead with this tweet that was well received:
I then talked about I show students how an assessment was graded based on point values and my expectations on what they should explain for each problem that they may have skipped or gotten wrong.
I then checked for understanding to see everyone’s experience with Loom. Many hadn’t heard of it. I called on someone who gave a thumbs up and they explained that Loom is a free easy to use screen recording website. I then showed a screen shot from a students Flipgrid submission where they sketched how they proved two figures were similar or scaled copies using a series of translations and dilations:
We then moved on to another way to use Flipgrid: number talks. I used the border problem made famous by Jo Boaler. To prime everyone for my video explaining how to do it digitally, we did it the old fashioned way by showing everyone the prompt and then annotating on paper their ideas under a document camera.
Then I moved to showing how to use Flipgrid to record a Desmos activity. I threw in a check for understanding and was shocked that some people had never used Desmos yet. I realized I needed to dig deeper into this later in the session.
Intrigued by this animated GIF, I asked if they wanted to see student sample work. They said yes! Check it out here.
Then we moved to Activity 2: The Spiral of Pythagoras. Bob took the lead with this because he is super passionate about it. I showed my hype video that is a 40 second time lapse of the project being completed. It gets slowed down in the next activity.
After Bob talked, I compared how we would model how to complete the project under a document camera in person, but for distance learning I figured out how to record myself doing the project, upload it to Edpuzzle, record a voice over, and insert multiple choice questions along the way to check for understanding. So instead of doing it the analog way of under the document camera, I played the Edpuzzle as everyone in the room followed along and shouted out the answers to the questions. It was pretty successful.
The are you ready for more slide came up with 30 minutes to go. I wondered if we should skip it or go to the lesson synthesis and cool-down. I decided that instead of going straight to the Flipgrid, let’s show the Desmos newbies how to get to the website, create a class code, and then had them join that new code. They did this from their devices or phones and experienced Coin Capture. I assumed everyone knew to click Next on the slides. I realized by circulating this was not the case. I talked about that and then hyped up the amazing Class Gallery screen so that students could create a challenge that needed at least 3 lines: 1 horizontal, vertical, and diagonal line.
With 15 minutes left I launched the synthesis. I said that this would be one of the few times I would read off my slides since it was so important. Here are the 2 major points:
- When students use Flipgrid or Loom to record themselves completing test corrections and assignments, it creates permanent and authentic evidence of student learning that can be shared with peers and family.
- When teachers use the free tool Edpuzzle, it allows students to perform a complex task anywhere so absent students don’t miss out.
We then did a cool-down which you can see in the following Google slides link. We got great feedback. People said we set a high bar. They said we made the trip to Palm Springs already worth it. Andy requested a picture with Bob and I. It was an awesome feeling.
I am so glad my first time getting on a plane in 2 years and first time back to a math conference resulted in this first day experience. We still have a full day of sessions to attend tomorrow. I am delighted I get to see two amazing speakers tomorrow: Peter Liljedahl whose Thinking Classrooms book I am currently reading, and Geoff Krall whose Necessary Conditions book I have already read. Stay tuned for another blog post where I recap those sessions.