Saturday, March 30, 2013

Using Khan Academy to Frontload Math Instruction

Ok, I'll say it..."I'm overwhelmed!"  Always.  Constantly.  And looking at all the technology fun piling up on my laptop and iPad isn't helping right now.  I just want time.  TIME.  Time I tell ya!

One big area that I'm feeling the stress is in teaching math to a group of 4th grade students who have more holes in their understanding of math than a Dutch dike.  Seriously.  So I'm busily plugging the holes while trying to move all of my kiddos ahead in their understanding of math.  And I love teaching math...just not like this...

Never superhero, Sal Khan, is here!  Now I know that most of you are probably pretty darn familiar with Sal Khan and his "favorite uncle" casual style of sharing math concepts using an IWB format.

If you've never visited Sal's website, check it out by clicking on the graphic below:

All of the resources on this site are FREE FREE FREE and are of really great quality. With tutorials on everything from basic addition to calculus, Khan Academy has so many features, far too many to really have to dive in to this site and check out everything there is!  It's that good!

As a teacher, I do preview the segments I plan on using in advance...sometimes Sal's casual approach includes some differences in wording/math vocabulary that I point out to my students to avoid confusion.  In fact, I love it when my students "catch" Sal doing something that may not be mathematically correct!  For instance, when viewing the segment on adding larger numbers, my students caught Sal saying a large number with an "and" in it...something that I teach as being where the decimal is inserted.  Kinda cool...

I use Khan Academy throughout my math curriculum:  for reteaching concepts to struggling students, as an independent center for students who are ready to move ahead and learn something new, and as a self-serve kiosk for students who were absent the day I taught a concept.

I also use Khan Academy as a resource to "frontload" math instruction for my struggling mathematicians who need a confidence boost prior to learning a new concept.  For instance, I am about to teach adding fractions to my fourth graders.  I pulled a group of 5 students who have been struggling with fractions throughout the unit and provided a frontload activity that included Khan Academy's video segment on adding fractions.  These students were allowed to explore the concept at their own speed prior to whole class instruction.  The kiddos with the frontload were more relaxed and were able to take on leadership responsibilities in their groups as hands on activities were introduced.  This is a far cry better than where they would usually be during the introduction of new concepts:  slumped in their seats, hoping that their teacher will never call on them.  With a hefty boost of Khan, these students are eager to share what they've learned.  Again, very cool!

Are you using Khan Academy with your students?  If so, I'd love to hear about how you use it!

Have a wonderful Easter everyone!


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  1. Thanks for making me look at this again! When I looked before I thought it was just for older students. I dove in a little further and found some great stuff for my lil ones!!! Thanks!

  2. I really have to look for the basics in Khan Academy, but they are there! Glad I could direct you back to this is pretty great! Have a wonderful week teaching your "fun sizers!"