Tag Archives: reinforcing

things 1-10 capstone

I decided to create an infographic for my capstone. If you click on the image, you will be taken to the Piktochart site where you can view it with the embedded video too. And if you click on the presentation mode button it looks even better!

Infographics are really useful tools that I can see using frequently in my blended class. They are a great way to present information in an easy to follow, easy to understand format. I foresee using these alongside videos, and perhaps even replacing many of my slideshows with these. They are time consuming to create, but I think they are worth the extra effort. I can also see having my students create infographics for projects to assess their understanding and their ability to make connections between current units of study and previous concepts.

things 1-10 capstone, infographic on unemployment


thing 7 – digital citizenship

Personal Information on the Web

Because I teach high school students, most of whom are seniors, I think one of the most impactful things I could teach them about digital citizenship is the amount of information they share online. I found the following resources to be really great:

Six Degrees of Information   |   You’re Not as Private as You Think   |   Your Digital Dossier

I would likely use these at the beginning of the personal finance unit I do to show students that what they post now can affect their income earning potential in the future. If a future employer sees inappropriate information or photos, that could impact their ability to get a job with a company they want to work for. It could also affect opportunities for scholarships and advancements. Besides education and career opportunities, students can lose personal privacy and even be more prone to identity theft if they over share their lives.

ID Theft Face Off Screenshot

thing 7 - id face off


thing 4 – communication tools

Skype in the Classroom

My Skype username is colleen.davenport81 and here is evidence of me using Skype to chat with my husband and my sweaty baby on a humid summer’s day. 🙂

thing 4 - skype


I’ve been brainstorming for awhile how I would use Skype in my classroom and I’ve come up with these ideas:

  1. Contacting a professor at MSU or another university and having him/her explain a tricky economics topic to my classes.
  2. Each semester I have a banker come speak to my classes about personal, real-life banking, investments, and budgeting. I think using Skype to do this would be great because then they can stay at their offices and get some work done in between classes, plus they don’t have to travel. While they have given out materials to students in the past, I could have them mail materials or drop them off ahead of time (or I could pick them up). I think this saves everyone time and still gives students an interactive opportunity.
  3. Chatting with students who are absent about what we covered in class, even if I chat with them from home. I’ve had some students miss extended amounts of time due to illnesses and this would be so helpful! Even if students missed just a day of class and wanted to catch up and clarify, this would be helpful.
  4. Chatting with students and creating an online office hour session (I could create a group in Skype for this) for students to ask questions. This would be really great with a hybrid class that doesn’t meet everyday. I could set up office hours during the time we would normally meet and/or have times in the evening for them to chat.
  5. Have students work in groups even if someone is absent. They can Skype and discuss what they need to work on.

I’ve also used Google Hangouts (and I’ve even used it as a baby monitor when we forgot our monitor while visiting friends) and I really like how it’s integrated with my Google account so that I don’t have to log in to another tool.

BackChannel Chats

I haven’t really used back channel chats before, but I can see using one while I’m explaining a concept, or even just having one open during most class sessions for students to ask questions of one another. I suppose not every activity we do would require a back channel chat, but it would be nice for students to be able to get ideas from one another.

thing 2 – face of my classroom

How I use my classroom website

thing 2 - class website

I have had a classroom website for several years. It’s an invaluable tool for communicating with students and parents, posting assignments, posting due dates and information about upcoming assessments, and to have a class presence that students can access at any time and any place.

I have recently updated my class website; I originally had it hosted on my own domain, but since I didn’t teach this year and I may not go back next year, I decided not to continue paying for the domain name. So, I migrated everything into WordPress instead (which was easy since I had WordPress installed on my other domain!). When I migrated over, some of the links to the videos I use as well as the links to assignments that I share with students via my dropbox, were disabled. I re-enabled a few of the video links and the first assignment link on this page so you can get an idea of what I share with students.

When students go to my site, they will see the weekly assignments and due dates as well as the learning objectives for each day’s lesson. When they click on a unit page, they will find video resources and links to assignments. If they ever forget what they are supposed to do for the class, it’s all on the website! They can also find links to note-taking tools and reading guides. I rely so heavily on my class website that I can’t imagine teaching without it. It’s where I put ALL of my classroom materials and supporting tools so that students can access the class all of the time.

In addition to the class site, I use Moodle as a place for students to upload assignments and to complete formative and summative assessments. Using Moodle has enabled me to give students almost immediate feedback, and because of that, I have more time to give students to re-take assessments in order to master the material. If you’d like guest access to my Moodle class, let me know and I’d be happy to let you take a look around!

thing 13: interactive tools

Part 1: Google Earth/Google Maps

Here is a screenshot of my house on Google Maps.  We will be removing the bushes this spring, as the previous owners (not the same people who owned this house when the photo was taken) never cut them and they were 6-7 feet high when we moved in. Crazy. We cut them back and they look pretty shabby, so we’re just going to remove them and have a bigger yard.

thing 13 - google map house

Part 2: Quizlet

Here is a screenshot of my first ever Quizlet! I love that the definitions are pre-populated with other user’s input!  It made it a snap to create a set of flashcards for students to access. I will definitely use this in the future and will probably have students create their own sets so they can apply course vocabulary to the content we’re covering and relate it to their daily lives. Click on the image below to see the whole set!

thing 13 - quizlet

Part 3: Interactives for Classroom Content

I checked out NuSkool and PBS Learning Media and found two different lessons I could use parts or all of to teach different concepts in Economics. With the NuSkool site, I searched Pop Culture and Economics and found a lesson that uses Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory as a way to demonstrate the concepts of supply and demand. While I already have a similar lesson, using the video is a great reinforcement tool!

On the PBS site, I found a lesson on where your tax money goes.  I have a unit on taxes and government spending and the lesson I found gives students a very practical and useful look at how much of their paychecks will go to taxes and what that money will be used for.  I wish I would have done a lesson like this before getting my first job!

thing 13 - nuskool thing 13 - pbsmedia

Part 4: Interactives for Classroom Content Reflection 

I found three interactive tools that I haven’t used before (I think I have used PBS before, but it’s been a loooong time) that I can definitely incorporate into my teaching.

Quizlet is a great tool to help students review key vocab terms from each unit, and I plan on adding sets to my class website for students to access during each unit. It is a great study/review tool before quizzes and to use throughout the unit to reinforce the new terms. I will also have students create their own sets, as I mentioned above, where they will use the terms in their own words and create sentences/scenarios that use the terms and show students’ understanding and application.

NuSkool is fun because it adds recent and relevant media to lessons that students can relate to. I can definitely see using this in the future to supplement my lessons and to give students some more real world scenarios.

Like NuSkool, PBS Learning Media has recent news and media that I can use with students.  I’m really excited about the tax lesson I found because I find that unit (Taxes and Government Spending) particularly challenging to make interesting and engaging.  I have picked up some ideas here and there, but video and practical application will make the content so much more interesting!

thing 12 – evaluation and assessment


My scores changed a little between the pre- and post-tests.  There were a few things I didn’t really know about like how long schools had to maintain student records and school nurse records.  Much of the privacy requirements, such as posting of grades and student information, I was already aware of.  At my school, we tend to be very cautious about what we put in writing when discussing student information; for instance, if we have questions about a particular student and want to discuss those with other teachers and/or counselors, we try not to email our questions but go directly to the teachers/counselors.  This is not always possible, but when we can do it, it allows us not to have a “paper trail” that can be FOIA’ed and used later.  Plus it gives the extra security for students that information about them isn’t floating around in teachers’ in-boxes.

Part 2: School Data

My district uses PowerSchool to house our demographics, attendance, and class performance data, so I used it to conduct my queries. The first data set I queried was ethnicity makeup by grade at my school. East Lansing is quite diverse and it’s interesting to see the different people groups in each grade.  This information is also useful when setting up course sections so that students are evenly distributed so that each section has a diverse make up of students to allow for better discussion and learning.

thing 12 - ethnicity data

The next report I ran was an MME Social Studies Snapshot for Economically Disadvantaged Students for 2012-2013.  The snapshot compared disadvantage to not-disadvantaged students, and the results are quite striking.  There are very few to no economically disadvantaged students performing at Level 1 (Advanced); fewer disadvantaged students are Proficient as compared to not disadvantaged students. There are many economically disadvantaged students who are partially proficient, and there are more who are not proficient compared to not disadvantaged students.  Just the information in the snapshot alone is very telling. I would be curious to look at the individual questions to see how students performed and discuss as a department what we can do to get our disadvantaged students on par with our not-disadvantaged students.

thing 12 - mme data

Part 3: Rubrics

I used the rubric below with a project called “Create Your Own Business.”  The project asks students to apply material they have learned from our first unit of study in Economics to a business they create. In the project students answer the three basic economic questions of what to produce, how to produce, and for whom to produce; they determine their factors of production (land, labor, and capital goods); they explain the opportunity costs associated with their business/product; and they examine alternative goods consumers could choose, and explain how they will compete with similar businesses.

The rubric helps me assess students’ work in categories of:

  • thoroughness (did students complete all the requirements)
  • application of economics concepts and use of economics vocabulary
  • business organization (did students show their understanding of the different types of business organizations)
  • economic questions and factors of production (did students answer the economic questions completely and explain all their factors of production in a measurable way)
  • opportunity costs/trade offs (did students demonstrate an understanding of these concepts as applied to their business)
  • creativity (did students think outside the box and come up with a unique idea)
  • organization (did students have a well organized, easy to understand plan)

Because the rubric is based on measurable objectives, I can easily check off students’ work and determine if they completed all the requirements and whether or not they were complete in their explanation and understanding of the material.  I have used a different rubric in the past with this project, but most recently used the one below and found it to be more useful in assessing students’ work because I was looking for measurable details. It also allowed me to provide students with great feedback that explained how they were assessed (and they saw the rubric ahead of time so they knew how they would be assessed).

thing 12 - rubric

Part 4: My Own Perception/Achievement Data  

Because I’m not teaching this year, I am using an old pretest quiz I gave to students in Moodle. The quiz assessed students’ understanding of economics concepts we covered in the class, and I gave it at the beginning of the semester. Below is a screenshot of the first five questions on the quiz; the full pretest is 40 questions.  As far as the uses for Moodle, I used it ALL THE TIME last year when teaching my hybrid class. (I also used it prior to that for quizzes because it makes grading so easy!) I used Moodle specifically for online discussions, journal entries, and quizzes. Students were only “in class” 3 days a week, so all of my assignments were posted on my class website and/or hosted in Moodle.  My students loved that they received immediate feedback on quizzes and short assignments, plus I allowed them to retake the quiz in order to master the material.  When I graded their work, I would download the final scores as an excel file and input them into the grade book.  Then I would look at the responses and statistics section of the quiz in Moodle to see which questions students tended to struggle with so I would know what I needed to review and reteach before moving on.  I loved that all the data was right there in the system so that I didn’t have to aggregate it on my own.  It made it easy to see what lessons went really well and which ones needed some more attention.  When I go back to the classroom I intend to use Moodle again, as it was such a helpful tool!  My students seemed to enjoy using it too!

thing 12 - moodle quizthing 12 - pretest scores

Part 5: Spreadsheet/Graph of My Data 

Above is a spreadsheet of the pretest results, below is one of pretest and final exam results, along with a graph from excel comparing the two. As mentioned above, I typically would use the graphs from Moodle, but I no longer have my student data in Moodle because I unenrolled them, anticipating that I would be teaching again this school year. I did, and plan to, however, frequently use the graphs in Moodle to guide my teaching.

thing 12 - pre and final spreadsheet thing 12 - graph