Creating “Algebra 1B Academy”!

For last tech project of the year, my Algebra class is going to create our very own version of Khan Academy!

a.k.a. “Algebra 1B Academy”


Students will create a screencast explaining 4 different examples from Chapter 11(Rational and Irrational Numbers).

• 1 example must be from 11- 5 (Square Roots of Variable Expressions)
• 1 example must be from 11- 7 (Multiplying/ Dividing/ Simplifying Radicals)
• 1 example must be from 11 – 8 (Adding/ Subtracting Radicals)
• 1 example is free choice of anything from chapter 11.

All 4 problems must be worked out, step-by-step, and submitted for approval.  Students will then use the website Screencast-o-matic“, along with Microsoft Paint, to record their writing.  Next, students will save and convert these screencasts and import them to Windows MovieMaker.  In MovieMaker, students will add a title slide and an ending slide and appropriate transitions. Students will then record your voice over the video explaining each of the problems. (I tested a few online movie making websites but they didn’t allow for a narration of an existing clip.) Students will save and export as movie file and upload to our conference.

Here is the rubric.

The students seemed excited when I announced this today! I am looking forward to the final results. This assessment replaces the chapter test.

CAIS Academic Tech Retreat Never Disappoints!

For the past seven years, amidst the craziness and mad dash to the end of the school year, there is a bright light. This light is called the CAIS Academic Tech Retreat and it is the most amazing, relaxing, and rejuvenating 2 days for me, both professionally and personally. It is held at the Trinity Conference Center in West Cornwall, CT. The setting is beautiful, the food is spectacular and the company is second to none. (I wrote about this last year too!)  The retreat is an “un-conference“, which lends itself nicely to attendees getting exactly what they need/want out of the two days.

We always begin with a keynote. This year’s was fabulous thanks to Ann Befroy from Miss Porter’s School!

Keynote: A Communicative Approach to the Flipped Classroom
Ann Befroy, Miss Porter’s School
How do current technologies allow teachers to structure a flipped classroom that promotes effective language learning both in and out of the classroom? Can students really learn grammar on their own outside of class? What critical thinking skills are encouraged by using the flipped classroom? Watch as Ann Befroy teaches us how the flipped classroom can enhance best practices for language instruction, then take some time to figure out how this approach might work best with your faculty.

Here are some of my notes/ tweets from her talk.

Up next was a Web 2.0/ App SMACKDOWN. Here is the list we came up with for recommended, must-have apps and web tools. Some great resources here curated in under an hour. Feel free to add to it if you have any to share!

Then… on to the unconference. Here is our session board. As you can see, there was a wide variety of topics and a lot of learning/ sharing / exploration took place. I love the fact that we could put a topic up on the board, with no “expert” in the room, and have time to dig into it. We did this with QR codes,  Google+, Pinterest among others. One group even had a session to explore Garage Band. They created an original song using a blend of traditional and digital instruments. Check it out!  LMAO BYOD   Hysterical!!!

Other highlights of the retreat include academic technology guitarists having a jam session, learning how to play the ocarina and tech charades/ pictionary. This year, it was a little chilly so, instead of sitting on the porch, we sat by a roaring fire. Here are some photo highlights. (and check out this iCade– use your iPad to create an arcade!) COOL!


Here is an archive of some of my other tweets throughout the retreat. Here is an archive of #caisct tweets since the retreat.

Thanks to everyone who attended, shared and learned with me.  It’s just what I needed to get to the finish line!