I love Khan Academy!

This is my first year teaching high school math, and I knew I wanted to start using Khan Academy in the classroom. After using it in the classroom a few different ways, I finally decided Khan Academy is best used as an additional resource for students when they are at home. Even though I think the videos are great, I found watching Khan Academy videos in class was not the best use of class time, especially since I was right there in the classroom to teach them! So I was determined to find a way to motivate my students to spend time on Khan Academy when they are at home and I'm not there to help, give more examples, or more practice problems.

That's when I started to play around with the idea of using Khan Academy as an extra credit opportunity. And the verdict is... I LOVE it!!

Here's how I set it up in my classroom:

1) At the beginning of the year, I have all of the students create a Khan Academy account and add me as a coach. You need to do a little prep for this. Just create a class in your Khan Academy account and give your students the class code.

2) I already use google classroom to post announcements, assignments, and extra resources. If there is a great Khan Academy practice or video for our current topic, I add a link on google classroom. This is not a required assignment, it is just an extra resource for any student who needs it.

3) Then, students who want to spend time at home (going above and beyond our usual assignment) can click on the link for an extra credit opportunity. Any student who is struggling with the assignment can also click the link to try to get more explanation to help guide them through the assignment.  Stronger students will use Khan Academy to challenge themselves, and lower students will use it when they need extra help.  Khan Academy is great for both high and low students!

4) Khan Academy will notify me each week of student progress. Over the weekend, I get an email from Khan Academy letting me know who has spent time on the site. If I would like more information, I can easily click the link to go to the webpage and see exactly what my students were practicing. Usually, they spend time on the links I provided on Google Classroom!

5) I hang a picture frame in my room for the Khan Academy "Winner of the Week" (you can find the graphic created by my husband here: KHAN ACADEMY WINNER OF THE WEEK POSTER). Each week I write the name of the student who earned the most points on Khan Academy, and I add a point of extra credit onto their last assessment. I don't make a big announcement about it each week, but the students definitely notice! It's like a secret, at-home competition and usually a few kids get super competitive with it. It's great for the high students interested in a challenge, it's great for the low students when they are struggling with a topic.  If you are a high school math teacher, you have probably been asked "What can I do to get extra credit?" Well, here you go! You will always have an answer for that question now!

I have 4 different classes throughout the day, but I only give out ONE weekly winner.  So, this competition is between classes as well.  I find I always have at least one student who spends extra time on Khan Academy.

Well, that's all folks! I hope you try using Khan Academy in the classroom!  Do you have any other tips about using Khan Academy with your students?

WOW! I cannot believe I hit my first milestone at TeachersPayTeachers! A huge THANK YOU to each and every one of my followers on TpT!   TpT has truly changed my life.  

To celebrate, all of these awesome MATH sellers have graciously offered to give away some free products!  Enter to win each of the prize packs below, and you could win a free product (up to $5 value) from each seller listed below.  We will be giving away up to $150 worth of math resources!  Check out their stores, because these are some of my favorite authors on TpT, and they all have amazing resources for you and your students!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

In addition, you can download a FLASH FREEBIE from my store during this week only!  Visit 123teach to check it out.

A monthly REAL WORLD math blog link-up hosted by
Of course, someone asked me again today, "But seriously, Mrs. Kiser.  When will I ever need to know how to do this in real life?"  I think this question comes up every few days in my Algebra classes.  So when I saw this linkup, I knew I needed to share a few reasons why you will use math in real life!  

My husband and I are both in our 20s, and right now, student loans are REAL LIFE!  I am pretty sure we have lots of company at this stage in our life, because many of our friends are in the same situation.  Although we are both pretty frugal, the fact that I am a teacher and he works at a church means it is going to take a long time to pay off those student loans.  BUT, I'm not disheartened easily, and I enjoy a challenge, so I thought to myself, "How awesome would it be to pay off all of our student loans before I am 30?"

Challenge accepted.

This got my "math brain" thinking about all of the ways to get those loans paid off faster.  Here's how we are paying off our loans early:

1) I immediately found a way to get all of our loans in one place so I could analyze the information.  I found an awesome app called "Ready for Zero."  The app is good, but the web version is amazing!! If you have debt, I strongly recommend this site. (and no, they are not paying me to say this!)

2) We took some time to analyze the interest rates and prioritize which loans to pay off first.

3) We took a look at our budget by linking our bank accounts to "Mint," another amazing app for budgeting that will categorize all of your expenses for you.  You can set your budgets, have mint alert you when you are over-budget, and you can monitor your monthly cash flow and find your net income. 

No this is not my bank account... 

4) We find some easy ways to save money, such as sharing a car.  It's a little humorous when my high school students go outside and head for their cars as I sit and wait for my husband to come and pick me up, but I know I will be so thankful in a few years when these student loans are gone!  

5) We opted for a low-cost, high-deductible health insurance to give us more money for loans.

6) We both hate paying full price, so we try to shop only during sale times after holidays, back to school sales, etc.  

7) Basically, we try to save money and any extra at the end of the month goes straight towards our highest interest loan!  If you are a recent college graduate and had to take out some private loans, you probably have a few loans close to 10% interest rate like we do, so it's very important to knock those loans out as fast as possible.  It's hard to make those HUGE payments, but I know we are so much closer to our goals! 

Spoiler Alert: MONEY will be a huge part of your life no matter who you are!  So you NEED MATH!

Do you have any other tips for managing student loans and paying them off as fast as possible?  Do you have any other money tips?  If so, leave your tips in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!

Week 2: Dare to Dream

This week, we were challenged to write about our goals and dreams for TpT.  When you first start selling on TeachersPayTeachers, you have to pay a $60 yearly fee to become a premium seller.  At the beginning, I didn't even think I would make back that money in a year.  To my surprise, I made over $60 my first month selling!  At that point, I knew I wanted to get serious about creating products to share with other teachers on TpT.  So here are my top three goals for the next few years:

Since I started selling in October 2013, we have used almost all of the TpT earnings to pay off student loans.  We are starting to make a dent in our loans, but for the next few years we will continue to pay off student loans as much as possible.  For our future plans, once we pay off a majority of our student loans, we can't wait to start a family.  Lastly, Destry (my husband) and I would always talk about how much we would LOVE to be able to go to Europe, although I'm sure it will be a little while before we reach that goal.  However, we never thought that would be possible before TpT! We thought we would be drowning in student debt for a long time, but after TpT we can now see a light at the end of the tunnel.  We are so thankful God provided this opportunity! 

Four awesome bloggers got together to create a TpT Seller Challenge to kick off the summer! You can click here to visit each of their blogs: Third in Hollywood, Sparkling in Second, Teach Create Motivate, and Peppy Zesty Teacherista.

To begin, I recorded my stats to track growth over the next four weeks.  Stay tuned for the end result!

For this fun kick-off, there will be a different challenge every week.  For the first week, we were challenged to completely make over a product or a product cover!  I looked through my products and found the oldest, ugliest looking product I could find! Here it is folks:

For Surface Area & Nets Practice, I have used the LearnZillion videos with my students for the past two years, and it works best when I create fill-in-the blank notes for my students to use with the video.  After I created the notes, I created worksheets to follow along with the lesson and the common core standards.  I completely made-over this product!  I added two more pages of notes to go along with a second video lesson.  I created two additional worksheet options for differentiation and included a new page of teacher directions.  And of course, I gave the product a whole new look with a brand new preview file!  Check out the product on TeachersPayTeachers by clicking on the image below.  I hope you like it!

Here's a final comparison of the Before and After.  I think the new cover makes a HUGE difference and I'm really happy with the results! I might even get motivated to make over a few other products :)

Here is a little preview of the product if you are thinking about purchasing.  Check it out!

I'll be posting another blog post for next week's challenge! Thanks for stopping by to check it out.