Plus 7 ALTERNATIVES TO USE IN YOUR CLASSROOM TODAY!
There. I said it. I don’t like Kahoot! and I don’t think Kahoot! has a place in the math classroom to practice math skills. Did you read that last part carefully? I don’t think Kahoot! should be used to practice math skills.
But, why not? I believe this because the majority of Kahoot! games are based on earning points for HOW FAST you answer a question. Even if you get the answer correct, but it takes you 5 seconds to answer instead of 2, you earn less points. This game stinks for teaching good math skills. As math teachers, we don’t teach students to rush through a problem and to skip steps just to get there the fastest. If we’re not modeling this and showing them this in the classroom, then why are we having them practice this way?
SO WHAT ARE SOME FUN ALTERNATIVES to have students practice math skills?
Are you still hybrid or virtual? Check out these options for practice that can be done remotely or are based online. Each of these options are game based, some are competitive and can be played by more than one student at a time, while others are fun online games. All of the below suggestions have options that do not reward speed, but rather, correctness.
1. Digital Games! Create self-checking games in either PowerPoint or Google Slides so that students are able to move through the problems on their own pace, with no time limits on the questions. You can give each student their own copy of the game, and they move through it at their own pace. You can have them show their work on a separate piece of paper, but ultimately, it doesn’t need to be graded because students are getting direct feedback while playing the game! They get a question correct? You can make confetti or a giant CONGRATULATIONS! pop up on their screen. They get a question wrong? you can have an “OOPS! Try again!” pop up on their screen. These games can have fun themes that have to do with the season you’re practicing the skill or cookies or sweets! Don’t have time to make them yourself? Check out my digital games here! Here’s a preview of my sequences and series Valentine’s Party review game:
2. Blooket.com This website is perfect for the game loving generation! You have the option to import an assignment from quizlet, so if you’ve used those before, it’s no work! You also have the option to search for pre-made blookets, similar to on the kahoot! website. There are lots of options for game play on Blooket that allow for students to answer questions and gain points, coins, etc. depending on the type of game you pick. When you set up the game, you can choose to have students play “solo” best for homework assignments, or you can “host” in a variety of game modes. I’ve only played the gold quest version and my kids LOVED it. There was no need to answer quickly and just because you answered right, didn’t mean you won. You can put a time limit on the entire game, have it end after a certain number of minutes or end when a player reaches a specific amount of gold. In this version of playing, students can steal gold from their classmates and this can cause unexpected twists in the game, which is awesome and gets them talking to each other! Warning: it can get rowdy! 🙂 You enter the game similarly to kahoot!, by entering in the game pin and it requires no signing in or making of accounts for students. In the Tower of Doom game, students can pick attributes to “fight” against each other or against the computer as they answer questions correctly:
3. whiteboard.fi This is an awesome resource that allows all students to have their own workspace on a whiteboard. As the teacher, you can create a free account and have your students join your class using the code you’re given, it’s just as simple as joining a Kahoot! game! Once students are logged on, you can see them working in real time. You can also “push” whatever is on your whiteboard to all students’ whiteboards so they can all have the same problem, or a graph or whatever you want them to see/have. At the end you can also save all of the students work as a PDF so there’s no extra step of them having to “turn in” anything, instead you have it right away. Pro tip: the first time or two that you have students working on this tool, let your students play around with the tools, coloring, etc. before making them use it for real. This will allow them to investigate and play around so that when it’s time to work, they will have (hopefully!) gotten that out of their system and will be ready to work. Here’s a screenshot of what it looks like when you “push” a problem out to students: (the teacher whiteboard is the one at the top and the student whiteboards are the ones at the bottom). You can then see their work as they are working. (And yes, both “students” worked out the problem wrong…what is the correct answer? 😉)
4. whiteboard.chat Admittedly, I have not used this one in my own classroom. I heard about this from one of my coworkers and it sounds a lot like whiteboard.fi. I believe one thing that can be done on whiteboard.chat that cannot be done on whiteboard.fi is that you can upload a PDF and assign “booklets” to students of multiple PDF pages that they can work through. This one also allows for polls to be taken from students. This one also requires that the teacher signs up for a free account, however, students do not need to sign in or create accounts, just join using the classroom code you create, similar to whiteboard.fi. There seems to be a few more options for what you can do on whiteboard.chat but no option for adding in math equation (but you can upload a PDF of problems) and it does have a steeper learning curve that whiteboard.fi.
5. Digital Mystery Pictures. Create your own digital mystery pictures on google sheets and do pixel art! Or if you’re not up to coding (thank you college computer sci class for ruining that for me!) try this option instead. Take a picture and snip it into 12 square puzzle pieces. Put the answers to each of the questions on top of the pieces and mix them up. Type the problems into a 3 x 4 table so that when they click and drag the picture with the answer on top of the problem, the picture is “revealed” and the puzzle is put together. Click here for more information about these awesome resources or grab two for free here! Check out a preview of the one-step equations mystery picture in action here:
6. Waterfall Answering. While this is not an actual game or website, this is an awesome way to practice virtual “wait time” and get more students involved in answering questions. Waterfall works by you sharing a problem for all students to answer. Tell them you will give them x amount of time (I usually go with 45 seconds to a minute depending on the problem) and they have that amount of time to solve the problem and then type their answer in the chatbox. BUT they cannot hit “enter” to send their answer until that 45 seconds is up. I will say “Answer this problem and type your answer in the chatbox but do not hit enter until I say go” then when the 30 seconds is up, I will count down from 3 and then say go and watch all the answers flood the chat like a waterfall. Pro tip: practice this with a non-math related question a few times before using it for a math question to make sure students get the hang of typing and then waiting!
*Bonus Suggestion* Dead set on staying with Kahoot? That’s fine! One thing I recommend is to give students the questions ahead of time and have them solve the questions and have their answers ready to go. Then students have the opportunity to work the problems out slowly and deliberately before having to then find their answer quickly on the Kahoot! game.
Do you have any other resources that you’ve been using that are a better alternative to Kahoot!? Drop it in the comments or send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you!
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