Friday, July 18, 2014

Preparing for the Math Year with Khan Academy

Last night I began my effort to prepare for the math year. I used Khan Academy as the starting point.

Over the last few years, I've employed Khan Academy more and more into my school program. I started with using the videos to inform my lessons and refresh my understanding of specific math concepts. After that I used the videos with students. Then last year, I used Khan a lot for enrichment to begin with, and then for whole class review. Most students embraced the activites with interest and success. I noted, however, that to use the program with greatest effect I had to try it out myself and think of the best ways to teach the platform's use for greatest gain. I've also read that Khan Academy is helping out with some of the PARCC questioning so this should help my students do well on standardized tests too.

Therefore, now I'm using Khan to review the fifth grade standards. Last night I signed on to Khan using my Google address. Then I chose the fifth grade standards list and began practicing the algebra activities. I liked the way that the activities really made me think about the meaning of the standards and gave me plenty of practice so that I could solidify understanding as well as practice systematic ways to apply the skill. In addition, the activities use the standards-base math vocabulary with precision which will help me to use the correct vocabulary while teaching too.

I look forward to employing Khan with my students in the fall, and I'll do a better job this year because I'll know first-hand what it's like to learn with Khan's activities and videos.

Let me know if you're using Khan Academy to learn and review for the school year ahead. How will you introduce Khan to students, colleagues, and family members in the fall?  How will you weave Khan's activities into your overall program--what role will it play?  Another advantage to Khan Academy is that students can use it anytime, anywhere, and you can see what those students are doing. I know that several of my students have been practicing their math with Khan Academy this summer, and Khan's charts show me what they've been doing and how many minutes they've practiced.

While there's debate about the use of Khan Academy, I can't figure out why anyone would ignore this free, standards-based, practice platform that is well supported, eager to serve, and multidimensional with respect to how it is able to serve students' learning.

Several of my students learned to code using Khan last year. Also, one of my colleagues, used the coding as a privilege after the practice was done. Her students delighted in that choice.