Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Glance at MangaHigh: Week 8

Although most of my homework simply requires 6th students to take two-column notes while watching my video, I have begun to infuse another assignment into the week which seems to beat the pants off of the traditional worksheet or textbook problems.  Many of you may already know it.  It's called Manga High and the kids LOVE it! 

This free, on-line, no-fee service is excellent in providing students at all grade levels practice over mathematical concepts that can be selected to align with the Common Core, or a handful of other similar standards.  After entering student names into the Manga High database, you are given login/password information for each kiddo.  When they login, they have access to all the high-interest math games on the site -- all of which do an excellent job of incorporating various math concepts into practice. 

Not only do the students play the games, but teachers can assign "challenges." These challenges cover the gamut of mathematics. This past week woven into the preparation for the Measurement of Student Progress (MSP), our state assessment, I assigned a handful of challenges to my 6th graders. I chose these activities to hammer out what we are currently studying, namely perimeter, area, surface area, and volume and also review some of those skills we learned at the beginning of the school year. I set each challenge to the bronze level, the minimum points I wanted them achieve. Each student then used time in class on MacBooks and at home on their own computers trying to achieve the bronze level in the 10 questions given for each attempt.

The great thing about the challenges is that they are self-differentiating.  Follow up questions are based on  whether a student answers right or wrong to a given question.  Get three answers right in a row and the student moves up a level to more difficult questions.  Get answers wrong twice in a row and you move down a level to simpler questions. Not only does it tell you immediately if you got it right or wrong, it tells you how to get the right answer to the problem for all problems missed within a 10-question run.

Manga High does a great service to the spectrum of my 6th grade learners. Most all my students who struggle with math, do achieve the bronze level but usually after multiple tries. My students who can achieve bronze after only 2-3 tries will push themselves to try to get as high a ranking in the class as possible.  These kiddos love the competition and always want me to show the rankings on my ActivBoard.

Recently we took competition to another level on Manga High through our participation in what is called a "Fai-To" (pronounced fy-toe).  In yet another facet of Manga High we are currently in the midst of a math "fight" with a senior high school in Perth, Australia.  As students achieve at certain levels in either the games or the challenges, these successes translate to points for their school. The first school to win five 24-hour rounds gets a digital trophy that could be lost or added to in future encounters with other schools who want to fai-to.  

Check it out at!

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