Saturday, June 23, 2012

Going Paperless: WPP's have a new name!

I think I just had a brilliant idea. Don't you love moments like that?

Throughout the year, I have my students complete "WPP's" (yes, another acronym!).  That stands for "Word Problem Poster".

See my instructional samples here and here, grading rubric here

Basically, for every type of word problem we learn about throughout the year, students have to:
1. Write their own story problem, create their own numbers, etc
2. Solve the problem, showing all steps and explaining clearly.
3. Put it together neatly on a poster with images to go along with the story.
4. Trade it with a partner to solve and score (must show own work on back of rubric)

Students are encouraged to "keep the storyline" throughout the year (they do 13-14 of them total) and have fun with it.  I love seeing the creativity come out.

I think it's a great activity because:
1. Students are required to actually write their own problem, forcing them to think critically about the important information needed in the problem as well as how to state it clearly and correctly.
2. Students are able to be creative and have some fun in math!
3. Students get double the practice because they write and solve their own, then read and solve a classmate's.

Okay, so what is my new brilliant idea??
Word Problem POSTERS no more... 
Word Problem PLAYLISTS are here!

Using MentorMob as the host, students will each create a "WPP Playlist" that they will add to throughout the year.  Each WPP will have 3 parts:
1. Image/Introductory step (they can find an image online, draw a picture, or record a quick clip of something that corresponds to the story problem)
2. Explanation of the problem step (they will type up the details of the problem on a word document...thinking about if I want this just typed or if I want them to have to read it out loud as well?  Don't know of an audio-only recording site since I don't do that...Could the audio and the text be embedded on the same step? hmmm ideas...)
3. Video explanation of the solution step (they will explain the solution to the problem either by using an iPad screen recording app, their digital or cell phone camera, or another device... maybe teaching them to use Jing or Screen-casto-matic?? We'll see...)

It would be a little something like this (but much more creative, this is my quick-put together of instructions)

Create your own Playlist on MentorMob!

Then, students can go online and pick a classmate's (or even more than one!) WPP to solve... I guess this would be on "paper" - I'll have to think about it a little more.  They can add comments to the steps on the playlists if something is unclear or if something is incorrect.

Benefits I can see:
1. Much more paperless than before!  Students have a digital record of their work and it is much easier to modify because they just have to re-upload.
2. Sometimes when students would "trade and grade", one poster was never turned in because the partner would lose it or forget about it... now they are all online!
3. I can actually read through all of the problems on my own time (normally it was solely a peer-graded activity and I would glance through some of them) without having to lug home the posters.
4. I (or students) can comment on each individual step of the playlist to say what we like, what needs clarification, etc.
5. I can hear my students explain their work, which not only helps THEM to have to talk through it, but helps me see where they are making misconceptions.

I thought about this idea about 10 minutes ago, so it's still a work in progress.  
What do you think? 
Things I haven't considered?
Things that aren't clear?


  1. I love the idea. I am looking at doing some type of E-portfolio as well next year. What a great thing to have when showing the growth of your students, to share with parents, to share with anyone for that matter. Plus, it gives the students some ownership of the product they are working on as this is viewable by all on the internet.

    What would be awesome is if the student could continue to add to the "playlist" throughout their entire career at the hs. Almost creating a glimpse into them as a student . . . could be used across subject areas - admission to college (what a cool spin on things).

    I like the overall idea completely! Can't wait to hear how things develop. Keep me posted.

    1. Thanks for your encouragement! I'm really hoping it goes well. I am hoping to have the students have blogs as well, and this playlist just be one page on their blog.
      I have heard that when students have to post things publicly, the quality level tends to go up naturally. I'm hoping that is the case for these as well as some other ideas I have for them to post.
      I'll keep the blog updated with how it goes! Maybe I'll even post the link to some student playlists and ask my readers to comment ... that might be a shock to my students!

  2. I love this idea. I was also planning E-portfolios with my team across content areas. This would be one place for students to create different playlists for their work. I was thinking of giving students choices between different technology platforms to present. Do you think this would be confusing? I teach 6th grade and I think reluctant students may be pulled in by the creativity of something like I am considering MI and thinking different platforms will engage different types of learners.

    1. My only concern with different platforms is me feeling like I want to be an expert at what they are using so I can troubleshoot if they need it. I think initially, I am going to just tell them that "this is the site you are going to use" and then maybe as the year goes on, give them some choice (don't know if that means I would give them options or if I would just say "go find something"). I think it is important to expose them to a variety of options out there on the web, but I think to start off with consistency is a good thing. Let me know what other sites you try :)


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