Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Playing Wii with the 6th grade

Nicole and I meet after each class to discuss how things went. We have been excited and impressed with the students work and how smoothly the whole process has been. So, with our discussions, we decided to open the Wii up to the 6th graders as well. Nicole wanted to play Brain Age with these students so we could review negative and positive integers.
Before class started I came in and created an account for the 6th grade. I also went through all the opening screens (there are a few with this game) and went to the correct spot- Practice, Compute, Balloon Pop, and Hard Level (so there would be negative numbers). During the game numbers come up on the screen (between 5 and 6 of them). The balloons are all different shapes, sizes, colors and they move (revolve and shake) around the screen. The task is simple, pop the balloons in order from lowest to highest. In the practice level you get 10 balloons to pop and see how fast you can accomplish the task. It is not all about just speed though, you have to get the correct order also! Nicole had each student do 5 balloons and then pause the game. We would then switch with the next student who would finish up that round. All of the students at their desks had to write down the smallest and the largest numbers only (and even that was difficult if somebody hit the wrong balloon too early). The students at their seats had to concentrate and pay attention to the screens to try and get the numbers. I also wrote down the numbers so Nicole would have something to compare the papers to (and even I have to say that I missed a few numbers). After the 2 students (and 10 chances) went by the game would give a brain score. Once a row was finished, Nicole took all of those scores and got an average for the row. Each row competed against each other for highest average score. Again, the students seemed to enjoy themselves and reviewed negative numbers quickly. I heard comments like "This is fun" and "This is hard" from different students during game play. Also got cheers as the students did well.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Decimal subtraction and yards to feet conversion

So, since our first day of Wii game play on Halloween Nicole has given the students a couple of lessons on subtracting decimals and on converting between yards and feet. Both of these are important to our game play because you can do both of these things while playing Wii Golf. If you have read past blog posts you know that these two issues made it more difficult to play with the 4th grade the first time we tried. So, Nicole gave the students a quick lesson about lining up the decimal points and doing straight subtraction. Then she discussed with them about how many feet were in a yard and how to go about figuring out multiples of that conversion. This made our second attempt at playing Wii Golf much more fluid.

According to Nicole, the class began the same way, with the students all getting out paper and pencils. Nicole again ran the room from the front. However, I wasn't able to be there at the beginning of class (I was working on a computer issue in another room with a guest speaker). Much to my enjoyment (and maybe a little surprise), Nicole had gotten started without me and really was rolling right along! When I got in the classroom (about 10 minutes late), the students were coming up and swinging then doing the math at their seats. When we got to a conversion problem (45 yards till the green became 17.5 feet) Nicole led the class. First, she rounded the 17.5 feet up to 18 feet (a multiple of 3). Then we figured out how many yards was in 18 feet and then did the subtraction. (Yes, you could go the other way and figure out how many feet were in 45 yards and then do the subtraction, teacher choice there). Soon there after we were able to also practice subtraction with decimals. We went from 17.5 feet to the hole to 6.8 feet. The students lined up their decimals and proceeded to subtract. As Nicole asked for the answer it took a couple of times for the students to get the correct vocabulary (10 feet and 7 tenths). I am sure that this will get better with practice.
The students were again excited to play and we still kept them involved in the process for the whole class period. I again heard several "this is cool", and "good hits" during the games. All in all, another successful day of game play in the classroom.