Quizlet Live – The star of the week!

The star of this week lesson is Quizlet live. Quizlet allows students to work and learn together so that they are able to answer the questions correctly [Link] Basically, Quizlet Live make use of gamification mechanics (e.g., instant feedback and competition) to arouse interest and encourage learner engagement.    Learner engagement might also be enhanced as students can now facilitate their demonstration of learning with the use of technology openly and publicly to their classmates.

This game is particular suitable if you want  your students to remember facts. Essentially, I am trying to introduce the ‘fun’ element in factual fluency.  For P5 Science, I use Quizlet Live to recall scientific facts that they are learning now (e.g, water cycle & human reproductive system). As for my 5-Fifteen rascals,  they use Quizlet to practice their conversion between decimals and fractions.

The kids are truly engaged as they try to recall the facts and help their team mats. My 5-1 kids even make use of their science word cards as they try to figure out the science facts At the end of the game, the fact that is always ‘missed’ (e.g., most students are getting that fact wrong) would be shown. I will use that to clarify students’ alternative conception.

What about the challenge? Just like Kahoot, kids just want to win and they would be ‘blindly’ clicking away.  Moreover, some kids really cannot afford to lose and tend to be over-dramatic when they lose.

So, moving forward, I need to think of ways to address these two issues.

The Phantom Tollbooth

Thanks to the recommendation from my frenemy, read the book The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster  . 

Despite being a children’s fantasy adventure story book, I enjoy reading the book.  Milo, the protagonist , of the book , visited different places like Dictionopolis, Silent Valley, Expectations and Mountain of Ignorance with Tock and Humbug. During the journey , they met with interesting characters such as Dr Dischord, Ryhmn and Reason and Wordsnatcher.   By just looking at the names, one can draw parallel between the place & characters  in the story and reality.  This is a  fantasy-reality story book and suitable for readers of all ages!

Lots of insights can be gleaned from the book. These serve as  constant remainder to myself that I shall not forget these common sense insights in our daily lives. I will just highlight the two insights that particularly strikes me:

  • Jumping to Conclusion

Milo and company jumped to the Island of Conclusion  and the island was petty crowded. This is a very apt analogy as we have a tendency to  jump to conclusion. I confess  I  jump to conclusion as I have some assumption which might blind my judgement. I guess this is something I need to constantly remind myself not to let my prior experience or assumption  cloud my judgement

  • It is a matter of how you look at things

In the book, Milo met a same man who called himself the Giant, the Midget, the Fat Man and the Thin Man. Why is that possible? It is all matter of perspective. A man much smaller than the Giant will see him as giant. But, if a man is much larger than the Midget, he will see him as Midget.

This is a very simple yet profound logic. There are always two or more sides of a story.  So, one should not jump to conclusion by just hearing one side of the story. Sometimes, the one-side is just your side of story. Have we tried listening to to other sides of story? In a leadership position, I need to have a complete view of the picture before coming to any conclusion.

But easier to be said, as sometimes, I know that I  blinded by my own emotions/feelings. Now, the challenge to myself : How can I make myself free from biases?

I guess why these two insights particularly stuck a chord with me as currently, I am dealing with certain sticky issue.  I need to constantly interrogate myself: Am I jumping to conclusion? Am I being fair by not considering the other perspective? I do admit initially, I tend to jump to conclusion and am blinded by my prior biases/assumption. But, I still stand by what I say. Whatever I choose to say are defensible claims  based on observable evidence.

Playtime with Friction Simulation

I have started on the topic Force this week. One of the alternative concepts that students have is that there is only frictional force between objects only the object when the object is moving.  So, I decide to spend sometime addressing this. This is how the lesson enactment using iPadslooks like:

(1) Activating Prior Knowledge

This question is posted to the kids : I am applying a force to a box. Is there any frictional force between the box and the floor?

Mentimeter is used to collect their responses. Surprisingly, most of them are aware that the frictional force exists

(2) Encouraging Learners Engagement

Get them to go to play with Friction Simulation  in pairs.  There is a need to spend some time explaining terms like “Sum of forces”. They are able to see for themselves that Frictional Force does exist even if the object is not moving

As the students play with the simulation, they post some interesting questions based on their observation.

(1) Why is the object still moving even if the sum of forces is zero?

(2) Why is the object not moving even if I have applied the maximum force?

By using their questions, I use that to reinforce the concept of forces.

(3) Concluding Lesson

I conclude the lessons by letting them do some PSLE Science MCQ related to friction. Again, I use Metimeter to poll their response. Most are able to get it right.

Personally, I feel quite happy with myself over this lesson.  The kids explore and ‘experience’ force.   This is definitely a technology-enabled lesson as without technology, all these won’t be possible.


My Maths class this week

This week. it is like a roller coaster ride with my maths class. The week started off badly as they were unfocused for the first 2 days.  Particularly on Monday, I  really feel lousy after coming out of the class. They do not seem to be listening at all and are all restless.  After all these years, I feel that one of my weakness is in maintaining discipline in class. I have a tendency to be very “lenient” with them. Guess this is something that I need to work on.

But, things turns out for slightly better for the last 3 days.  Why? I set expectations and routines for them and become more firm with them. I talk to the few disruptive ones and tell them to be mindful of their behaviour.  They are still not perfect in class but they are slowly improving. I think I will drop a call to their parents and praise them for the improvement.

What really marks a good end to the week is seeing that making efforts to do their mini-tests! I can see their intense look and determined to do it.  One of my boy (he happens to be one of the disruptive ones) who scored zero in the first test  manage to get close to 10 marks for the same test. That really makes my day.

To others, the mini-test is easy. But for my class,  I need to celebrate small success.  Yes, there are lots of gaps to covered but I will shoulder on as I continue to creatively balance between the dept’s demands and the students’ needs.

I am determined that there should not by any more “U” grades coming from my class! Last year , I was petty upset with myself as I do not manage to get all my students to go beyond U grade. I will not let history repeats itself.