Friday, January 10, 2014

Math Fact Friday: Khan Academy

 If you would like to know more about why I do Math Fact Friday, please see my first post on it here.

Another great resource for Math Fact Friday is Khan Academy.  When I was in the classroom, I had a class set of netbooks and headphones (very important!) I could use and had students practice their Khan Academy for 5-10 minutes for Math Fact Friday.  It was great because students could practice lessons at THEIR LEVEL.  It was the definition of differentiation in the math class.  Khan Academy has practice lessons from basic adding all the way through calculus.  It also has videos and hints to help struggling students.  As a teacher it was great because from my teacher account I could see what the students were working on and how many problems they got right or wrong.  When I used Khan Academy for Math Fact Friday, I would let students choose any lesson they wanted to work on or math video they wanted to watch.  This fosters a curiosity about math for students instead of a fear of hard math.  You’ll notice the less confident students working on extremely easy problems, which in turn helps build their confidence.  You’ll also see confident students attempting calculus problems when they are in Algebra 1! 

As a Tutor, I now use Khan Academy to assign practice between sessions.  I try to choose easy practice lessons to assign.  I don’t want it to feel like homework to the student.  The first assignment I give them is always to do any lesson they feel like and watch any video they want.  This is to get them comfortable with the website and learn some of its features.  If the student doesn’t complete the assignment or isn’t able to, we just go over similar problems in the first 5 minutes of tutoring as a “warm-up.”  This way they realize they have to do it either way and they aren’t getting out of it.  I usually keep very open communication with Mom and or Dad about EVERYTHING that has to do with their kiddo.  This usually ends up with Mom or Dad telling the student that they need to do the Khan Academy before I get there to maximize time with me.  Since it is only 5 problems, usually students are willing to at least try.

As a student Khan Academy can help you pass your math class!  It is a great resource if you can’t afford a tutor or if you don’t really need one consistently but you get stuck sometimes.  Khan Academy has videos explaining almost every topic from elementary school math all the way through some college courses.  There are also practice exercises to master and badges to earn.  It’s a great resource for over summer when you forget everything you learned the previous year. 

Tutors and Teachers: Do you use Khan Academy?  How do you use it?

Students: Have you used Khan Academy before?  What are some pros and cons?

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