Overview of my KA classroom: Tal Sztainer, 12th grade math

About me

  • I’m a Teach for America alum who taught 9th & 12th grade Math in Philadelphia, PA at Olney Charter High School, a Title 1 Public school (>80% free/ reduced lunch).

How I used Khan Academy

  • I acquired 10 donated used computers in my classroom. Khan Academy was used in some capacity at least 4 days a week 
  • Initially KA was aimed to fill in gaps for struggling students and help advanced students work on more challenging topics
  • Eventually, all the students were using KA to enhance classroom content understanding
  • Students had checklists of topics to complete allowing them to work at their own pace and be more in charge of their own learning

How my classroom changed

  • Differentiation - KA addressed the varying academic levels and the different styles of learning among students
  • Confidence - Students felt comfortable working at their own levels. Specifically, struggling students felt secure practicing the topics they needed to work on
  • Attention from teacher - I could work with smaller, more focused groups while students on KA continued learning and practicing their skills
  • Excitement - The level of excitement toward learning increased noticeably. My students became more engaged and invested in their own learning
  • Behavioral Issues - Behavioral management issues reduced dramatically. My students stayed on task for longer periods of time

Biggest challenge

  • Feeling comfortable trying out completely new methods in my classroom

Words of wisdom

  • Anyone can get computers in their classroom! Mine were $100 each and raising enough money for 10 took two days
  • Try new things even if you’re not sure they are going to work
  • Students love learning. Students love seeing their progress. KA allows for both of these. Spend time exploring the website yourself and find ways of using KA right away!
Learn more about Tal's class here!