kitchen table math, the sequel: 12/4/11 - 12/11/11

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Schools find Khan Academy works better than group learning

More schools are trying Khan Academy videos in their classrooms, and initial results look promising.  But when you start with an instructional method that includes lots of time-consuming group work, maybe almost anything else will work better.  Here's how it's going at one school.
In the past, math class at the Summit schools was always hands-on: the class worked on a problem, usually in small groups, sometimes for days at a time. But getting an entire class of ninth graders to master the fundamentals of math was never easy. Without those, the higher-level conceptual exercises were impossible.
They found that Khan Academy did a better job.  Not too surprising to me.

You can read more at Cost of College.

Monday, December 5, 2011

SAFMEDS instructions

SAFMEDS = Say All Fast a Minute Each Day

SAFMEDS on the web

The best set of directions I've seen so far: SAFMEDS cards: Instructions - begins with the words: "I’m going to show you a method that will make it easier to learn the NEW terms (i.e., facts or rules) contained in the CLM Course of Study."

Is Fluency Free-Operant Response-Response Chaining? by Ogden R. Lindsley - inventor of SAFMEDS; explains the rationale

Ogden R Lindsley and the History of Precision Teaching

update: Youtube video explaining SAFMEDS -- and, about 6 minutes in, celeration charts

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Help Desk - Best online flash cards

Any suggestions on the best websites for using and/or creating online flashcards for a Spanish language course?  There seem to be so many.

from the archives: grading student writing

from 2009:
Students have long believed (on good evidence) that if the same paper is submitted to two teachers in two different sections of the same course, the paper is likely to receive two very different grades. In 1961, Paul Diederich and his colleagues proved that this student belief is no myth. When 30 student papers were graded by fifty-three graders (a total of 15,900 readings), more than one third of the papers received every possible grade. That is, 101 of the 300 papers received all nine grades: A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, and D. Diederich also reported that

94 percent [of the papers] received either seven, eight or nine different grades; and no essay received less than five different grades from fifty-three readers. Even when the raters were experienced teachers, the grades given to the papers by the different raters never attained a correlation greater than .40. Diederich, P.B., French, J.W., and Carlton, S.T. "Factors in judgments of writing ability." Research Bulletin RB-61-15. Princeton, N.J.: Educational Testing Service, 60 pp.
The Schools We Need and Why We Don’t Have Them
E. D. Hirsch

palisadesk on inclusion issues

Part 1
Part 2


in the Times today:
Great things were expected of him. His math teacher at Greenwich High School in Connecticut, Stephen Willoughby, now a retiree in Tucson, Ariz., says he was a math prodigy. “I always expected Chris would win a Nobel. I just wasn’t sure what field it would be.”

Mr. Sims’s classmates voted him most likely to succeed. “In a class of intelligent people, he was exceptional,” says Joyce Tracksler, a high school friend who is now a mystery writer in Kittery Point, Me.

His parents were exceptional, too. His father, Albert, was a diplomat, and young Chris lived in Germany a few years as a child. The family later moved to the Washington suburbs before settling in Greenwich. His father became an executive at the Institute of International Education and at the College Entrance Examination Board in New York. During the Kennedy administration, he helped start the Peace Corps.

Because of his father’s College Board connections, Mr. Sims got hold of an old SAT exam, which he and Mr. Willoughby used to conduct a statistical analysis. They found that on multiple-choice questions in English and social studies, the “longer answers tended to be correct.” In math, they determined that the number that was “closest to all of the other numerical choices” was probably the right one. Mr. Willoughby says Mr. Sims got perfect scores on SATs, and his teacher assumed that the young man would later “do something involving math, statistics and probability.”
Good Morning. You're Nobel Laureates by Jeff Sommer | December 3, 2011