Observations from Khan Academy coaches and classrooms

Posts tagged teacher

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Thanksgiving: Giving thanks in the classroom

Post from Suney Park, Teacher in Residence at Khan Academy and 6th Grade Teacher at Eastside College Prep, CA

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I wanted to share how I like to give my students regular opportunities to publicly thank classmates who have helped them. This has two great effects: the person thanking acknowledges that they need others, and the person being thanked feels significant and valuable to the classroom community.

How do I do it? Two simple initiatives:

1. At the end of every math session I dedicate about five minutes to Thank Yous, and students rush to put their hands up to give props to their helpful classmates.

2. Once a month my students are randomly paired with one another for a weekend letter-writing homework assignment. In the letters, they thank, appreciate, and compliment one another; sometimes the letters include creative touches such as drawings, stickers, and little snacks!

Once I started doing this, giving thanks and verbally expressing appreciation became a regular part of my classroom culture. Now, my students feel safe enough to ask for help and confident enough to offer it. I was only able to implement my Khan Academy “Need Help/Can Help” board during math class because of this foundation of classroom culture.

Plus, it warms a teacher’s heart to hear students thank and encourage each other so effortlessly and sincerely. Just last week I heard a student say, “I want to thank Nayely for helping me because without her I would still be stuck on finding the least common multiple the long way instead of using prime factorization.”

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Khan Academy: Congratulations Suney!


One of Khan Academy’s early pilot teachers, Suney Park, has been featured in the new book American Teacher. The book details the stories of 50 inspiring teachers from across the US. Congratulations Suney! Thank you for all that you do for your students!

Read about her inspiring story and learn more about how she uses Khan Academy here

If you live in the California Bay Area, you can also hear her speak this Saturday, October 12 at the Barnes & Nobles in San Jose from 11:30-12:30 (more info here)


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My top 3 classroom hacks

Hello Khan Academy Teachers!

I’m Suney Park, Khan Academy’s Teacher-in-Residence and 6th grade teacher at Eastside College Prep.

As summer ends every year, I always think about one change or ‘hack’ I can make to my classroom. This summer I compiled a list of the great hacks I heard from Khan Academy educators - can you add your favorites to this too?

My top three hacks:

1. Classroom Scavenger Hunt. Host a hunt at the beginning of the year to help students become familiar with the classroom and where all the supplies are. You could also try a virtual scavenger hunt on Khan Academy’s site to help students discover all of its cool features. I did this last year and my kids discovered new things on the site that I didn’t even know existed! To see my Scavenger Hunt, visit this page and scroll to the bottom on “Introducing KA to your students”.

2. Need help/can help board. A place where students can write their name and the concept they would like help with. Other students can write their name next to someone they are capable of helping. Perfect for Khan Academy, but useful for any activity, the board builds a strong community environment in the classroom. See a picture of this board on Facebook.

3. 30min peer tutoring role play. Ask students to role-play a good example and a bad example of peer tutoring. Then as a class, write down all the qualities of a good peer tutor, e.g. they ask me questions instead of telling me the answer, they are patient, etc. This worked great when using a Need Help/Can Help Board.

What’s the one thing you’re changing in your classroom this coming year? Share it on our Facebook wall and see what other Khan Academy teachers are sharing!

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Teacher workshops: Our summer start

We just kicked off the first of a summer of workshops that focus on how educators can leverage Khan Academy’s tools for personalized, mastery-based, and interactive learning in their classrooms. 

The most popular parts of the day included diving into the tools Khan Academy offers, as well as hearing from teachers who have been using KA - their biggest challenges and triumphs. One attendee commented, “It was great to hear that there is no one right way to implement, that it was an iterative process, and to see that each teacher had their own style and way to use Khan Academy in the classroom.” For more details, check out these case studies

We were infused with the enthusiasm of so many educators looking to use Khan Academy, but wanted to share a note that one participant sent to our team:

Dear Khan [Academy] Team,
Although I stopped to thank Maureen on Tuesday, I wanted to take a minute to thank you all for offering such a productive seminar this week.  I thoroughly enjoyed the workshop for educators, and I came away feeling better equipped to expand my use of Khan Academy with my students, as well as answer concerns I’ve heard from colleagues.  I am looking forward to the fall with excitement, ready to experiment a bit as I work to strengthen the math foundation of each of my students.  I’m so glad I happened to be in the Bay area at such an opportune time, and I want you all to know how much I appreciated the opportunity to take part in the workshop.
Carolyn S.
Interested in learning more about Khan Academy in the classroom? Check out

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