For the past few weeks, my 7th grade Algebra students have been learning how to factor polynomials. Every day we list the methods we have previously learned before going on to the next method. I gave nicknames to each of the factoring methods to help students remember the methods:
- Difference of 2 Squares
- PST – Perfect Square Trinomial
- Trinomial to 2 Binomials
- c is (+)
- c is (-)
- a > 1
After learning every method, I wanted to see how well the students understood the factoring process. Students had to choose one of the methods and make up one problem and explain how to factor it. They used Google presentation to show each step of the process. Then, they uploaded their slides to Movenote.com and recorded themselves explaining their slides.
Before we began working on the project, we talked a lot about what makes a good slide: the entire script is not written on the slides, each slide should contain only one step of the factoring process, and the graphics should enhance, not detract, from the presentation. Then we talked about the what makes a good video presentation: look into the camera, speak slowly, and explain the method one step at a time.
I gave them this movenote-video-rubric.
Students shared the first draft their Movenote video with me. We watched each video as a class and talked first about the strengths and then how the video could be improved. Students took notes when their video was being critiqued. Then students were given a chance to edit their video with the suggestions made by the class before handing in the final draft.
I have to admit I was very pleased with my students’ creativity and level of understanding. It was a great way to allow students to have choices in a topic that is fairly abstract. However, I would greatly appreciate any suggestions on how to improve this project.