Educanon and Formative Assessments

Educanon and Formative Assessments
Educanon and Formative Assessments

The second grade classrooms at my school reviewed subtraction strategies last week. Students were subtracting numbers on a number line and becoming more confident in using regrouping strategies. Based on pre-assessment results I felt like some of the students would benefit from additional enrichment. While talking with a few colleagues I revisited Educanon. I first heard of Educanon from Mary and I briefly used it last year. So I dusted off my username and password and logged into my account again.

A while back I created a subtraction video using Explain Everything. I turned off the microphone function (my dog was barking when I created this) and just used the pointer and drawing functions. The video was only around two minutes in length, but had 10 questions. I added a variety of questions, including multiple choice, fill in the blank and checklists. The last question asked the students to use a whiteboard to find the difference between two numbers.

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During class students were placed in two different stations. One station was Educanon and the other was working with base-ten blocks to subtract multidigit numbers. The stations rotated after approximately 10-15 minutes. All students logged in and finished the Educanon within the time period.

After class I was able to review the results. I felt like this data could be helpful for the teacher as well as the student.

Student answers

The next day I printed out the student results and compiled a reflection sheet.

Click for file
Click for file

Each student’s answers were stapled to the back of the reflection sheet. As a class we reviewed each question together and students filled out their specific sheet. Out of all the categories on the sheet, I thought the “Key Vocabulary/Concept” section stood out. Students started to develop an understanding of what type of skills were being addressed from each question. This was also an opportunity to emphasize certain math vocabulary words. At the end of this reflection session, students circled their effort level on this formative assessment.


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I thought this was a beneficial activity for a second grade classroom. Students are also starting to think more about their own mathematical thinking and learning. I’ll be using the data and student reflection in preparation for more challenging subtraction concepts later in the year.

Math Mini-Lessons with Educanon

Using Educanon in Math Class
Using Educanon in Math Class

One larger focus this year is to have math mini-lessons before students move into guided math groups. The min-lessons often take place at the beginning of the class.


Many teachers tend to use some type of formative assessment from last class to dictate how in-depth the mini-lesson will go.  Over the past few weeks I’ve modified my mini-lesson time. As with any class, students with a variety of skills and mathematical backgrounds are part of the class community.  I was finding that my math mini-lessons were benefiting some students more than others.  I was also finding that how I began those mini-lessons often set the tone for the rest of the class.

Last week I tried something different and decided to use Educanon for part of my mini-lesson.  Educanon allows a teacher to use any Youtube or Vimeo video and insert questions/explanations at set points in the video.  I’m using the free version of the Educanon, but there’s a paid version that gives more of a detailed report and records students’ answers. 

I’m not a huge fan of math videos, but I do think they have value when used appropriately. Videos, similar to the homework debate, have huge fans and critics.  It’s a bit of a gray area and truly depends on how they’re used.  Regardless, after having a discussion with a colleague, I decided to create a 1:30 Educreation video on three-digit subtraction for my second grade classes. After creating the video I uploaded it to Youtube.  I uploaded two of the same videos to Educanon and renamed them.  Each video 1 and 2 (still a work in progress) has questions geared towards a specific math skill.  One group was working on subtraction estimation, while the other was working on regrouping strategies.

Different min-lesson opportunities for students
Different questions, same video

The videos are meant to be short and recorded without sound.  I find the sound to be a bit of a hassle and the videos are less than two minutes in duration and I don’t want students wasting their time with headphones.  When the time comes, students scan their respective QR code to automatically visit their Educanon video.  The video requires students to use a separate sheet of paper to dictate their answer.

Scanning the code

Students then play the video and are asked questions related to the current topic.  Some of the questions are similar, but most are geared towards estimation or regrouping.

Two Videos

Once students finish their brief video the class comes back together to discuss a few different examples of three-digit subtraction.  I tend to reference the videos throughout the class and even in the small guided math groups.

It takes a bit of time to create the videos, but sharing that responsibility with other teachers can definitely help with the work. I’m looking forward to possibly using more of these brief activities in the future. Currently, I only use one video every couple weeks, so this isn’t a daily activity, but one that seems to be helping my students better understand mathematics. Maybe at some point the students will create their own Educanon presentation.

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