Card Sorts in Microsoft Whiteboard

So in this time of remote learning, I like to do activities in small groups that are self-checking so that I don’t have to rely on automation. We did a Clue (or Cluedo if you’re British) for our last unit review and this time for our Quadratic Formula mini-unit I thought I’d do a card sort.

Now, I admit… I put more work in this than necessary. I could have just made rectangular cards and had the students lay them in a circle. But I go down rabbit holes, so here is the drawn out process…

Step 1: I used Publisher to make my cards. Again, it would have been easier to rectangles but I used a trapezoid to make things fit together nicely. This let me do 20 questions that would work around an icosagon (for math geeks, I used Geogebra to make sure I got the angle right; while the drawing tools in Publisher are many & diverse, it doesn’t really have any angle measuring tools so I screen-shotted a 81° angle from GeoGebra and pasted it in front of my trapezoid on the Master Design Page, made it transparent and then lined everything up. Like I said, rabbit-hole.)

Step 2: I printed the Publisher file into OneNote before I re-arranged the answers. This made my Answer Sheet.

Step 3: I went back into Publisher and shifted the answers one card down (and the last one went to the first card, obv.)

Step 4: I printed the Publisher file into OneNote again. Now, I used Windows-Shift-S to screen clip the cards into their own image file. I put them all into a folder. If you haven’t used Windows-Shift-S to screen clip, give it a try! It’s awesome! So quick & easy! (Link to my use of it.)

Step 5 : I opened up SnagIt Editor and choose EXPORT and pointed to the folder of images — SnagIt re-saved them as transparent gifs (so that the pieces would fit together without overlapping — I should have been lazy and just left them as rectangles, but I got hung up on the icosagon.) Again — this step is completely unnecessary if I had used rectangles, or if I hadn’t been so finicky. Or I could have used any number of other desktop or online tools to make transparent gifs — there are lots! But often I find that people forget that there are ways to do repetitive tasks in a batch format with some software — never hesitate to google “batch <whatever I want to do>” and make your life easier! 20 transparent images in 5 clicks. Thank you Techsmith Snagit (currently free in Covid19 times).

Step 6a: I dropped them all on a Microsoft Whiteboard. — OR —

Step 6b: I dropped them all on a OneNote Page — my colleague hasn’t used Microsoft Whiteboard yet with her students so they are just going to line them up (in a really long line) on a OneNote page.

Voila! Card Sort!

If you’re doing this with Microsoft Whiteboard, keep one as your Source. Then, copy all the images in the pile and paste them into a new Whiteboard and share it with a group of students and let them play. Whiteboard works very slickly synchronously and you can use your fingers to rotate and swing the cards around on the page.

If you’re doing it with OneNote, a similar process. Keep one OneNote page as the Source. Then, create a Section in your CollabSpace for your students and paste a copy of the Source OneNote page as the top page in the Section. Create a Page below that with the name of each of your kids. You want each kid to do their own math work on a separate page (it avoids syncing errors). They can move the cards around on the top page. They have to line them up horizontally or vertically because there’s no free rotate in OneNote. Add another Section for another group (you can password protect Sections so that groups can’t see each other’s work).

Cal Armstrong
Cal Armstrong
Articles: 223

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