Guess Who & Polygraph Lines

As we come to the end of the semester review days are here. To help grade 9s review properties of linear relations we played Guess Who. Last September I ran Guess Who with my grade 12 Advanced Functions class with great success. I made up a new sheet for grade 9 with a variety of linear relations (graphs, equations, and tables).

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Guess Who game sheet

The students played a few rounds each! The questions coming out were pretty good! I overheard lots of “Does is show direct variation?”, “Does it have an initial value?”, “Is your graph decreasing?”
All great terminology I love hearing from my grade 9 applieds!!

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After a few rounds of “low tech” Guess Who, we broke out and “high tech” Guess Who —– Polygraph – Lines

Students use a class code to access the game. Round 1 is playing the orginal guess who with pictures of people against the computer. 
The system then links you up randomly with another student in your class. You take turns each choosing a graph and asking questions to guess your opponents graph! 

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Again, great questions and discussions here! I could see the deep thinking about what questions to ask to eliminate options. Desmos once again out does it! Linking up digital resources while keeping learning social!

These students have been great to teach this semester! I’ll miss them next year!!

Hidden Beads!

I’ve had an amazing teacher candidate (@misschacon_7) paired with me for the last two weeks. Every day she comes excited to try and learn new things. Today she came in with a great lesson for solving multi-step equations. Here is her activity:

She paired up students by randomly assigning them a playing card……each person was to find their match. Each pair went to one of our vertical writing surfaces (blackboards and whiteboards) where she asked students to solve a series of problems like….

How many marbles in each bag?

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She then gave them all sets of cups and beads.


Player 1 is to create an equation by hiding the same number of beads in the cups. They also have to ensure each side (whiteboards) must balance (have the same number of beads total).

Player 2 is to “figure out” how many beads are in each cup.

After player 2 has determined how many, they switch roles and start again.

Here is a round:

Player 1 sets up this up (she decided to put cups inside cups so we couldn’t see how many beads)


Player 2 starts on it….



and she ended up with….



and the answer??


Lots of great thinking going on here…..especially for the creator of the equation. Here is a group who realized there was a problem…



While player 2 was solving, she realized that she was getting a negative answer for the number of beads. Weird!!! So we asked player 1 if she made sure they boards were balanced to begin with……ooops they weren’t. So they couldn’t have been equal to start with! Let’s re-do.




Miss Chacon worked the room awesomely….visiting each group and asking probing insightful questions! My students were sad to see her go….today was her last day. We’ll miss you Miss Chacon!

We Like Those Stinkin’ Badges!

I was sick one day this week and instead of laying in bed binge watching Netflix I spent a good chunk of the day reading blogs on assessment.

For the last year or so I’ve been trying out different methods for students to keep track of their own learning. I’ve been slowly moving my assessment techniques away from the standard unit test (too bad kid if you failed that test….try harder on the next unit kinda thing) to mastery learning and standards based assessment.

I’ve been using a system like Dan’s and have wanted to jazz it up a bit to incorporate a more game like feel (Especially after seeing his talk on Video Games and Math Class)
I came across Alice Keeler’s blog and wow!!! she is a Jedi on Google! I especially love her google sheets for levelling up and awarding badges and Gamifying Searching Google Drive. I felt that a combination of these two ideas was exactly what I wanted.
So again instead of watching House of Cards on Netflix, I modified Alice’s sheets to create a system that works form me.
Here is what I came up with….
I created a Master List which will keep track of each student and their level/achievement on the expectations/learning goals.
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 I created a Student tab/sheet which will show a student their current mark on each learning goal, the level (stars), and a mastery badge (if awarded). The best part about the student tab is that it is completely automatic. Everything on that tab is populated using formulas. The only thing I need to enter on that page is the individual student numbers.
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This student page is what the student will see. They can look here to check their “score” on each learning goal. See how many badges they’ve earned toward mastering their learning. I just need to publish each of the student sheets and share the public link with each of those students. (Read at the end of the post to see how)

Here is the process…..and this is where I may need some help…

For my senior students:
We will have weekly to semi-weekly “rolling” assessments. On each assessment I’ll assess up to 4 learning goals. For example, the first one it will be learning goals 1 through 4. The second assessment will assess 2 through 5 and so on. The second and third times assessing the same learning goal will include tougher questions.
Every time a student does better on a learning goal they get the better mark. I go to the master sheet take out the old mark and put in the new one!! Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 7.52.50 PM
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It magically shows up on the students score page.
To get a badge the student will have to have demonstrated mastery of the learning goal. For me this is the student has demonstrated that they know the concept repeatedly. To award the student a badge I just have to put an M in the second column of the learning goal…..and voila! a badge shows up on the student score page!
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My students will have a visual record of their achievement. They can also request “upgrades” on any learning goal! They can set a date and time to come in and get another assessment testing that learning goal. Their mark should always reflect the amount of knowledge they know rather than the knowledge they know on test day.
Check out the badges tab, Alice has included a ton of different badges. You could set up the different badges you want displayed. You will need to just edit the formula in the badges column on the student tab. (Do this before you make a copy for each student).
Here are some samples of badges I’m creating to award mastery of learning goals.
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Currently my sheet is set up for 20 learning goals. If you need to add more, do it before you make copies for each student. Fill all the formulas down on the student page.
If you want to try this out:
    1. Definitely go and see Alice’s blog and see what she’s got.
    2. Download a copy of my Spreadsheets and give it a whirl 
    3. Let me know how it’s going by commenting here or sending me a tweet @MrOrr_Geek


After showing Alice the new sheets she pointed me to her Template Tab sheet which will automatically create tabs/sheets for each student!! Awesome.

Here’s how to share the student tabs with kids

Share the first student sheet by choosing publish to the web..

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Choose the first student to publish and hit publish (Do not choose Entire Document). It will give you a link copy that link!

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Create a brand new spreadsheet and paste that link beside a cell with the student’s student number.

Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 8.34.59 PMRepeat this for every student. I know it seems like a lot of work at the start, but that will be it!!

Now you can share that one document with your class and they can always access their score sheet!