Cars With Wooden Bumpers

Cars with wooden bumpers intrigue me. I am amazed at several things in this regard. The fact that someone would consider such a proposition in the first place is pretty cool to me. And then that someone would give such a thought flesh and bones is another thing entirely. I like the fact that someone brought an idea to life that others might deem impossible, or at best, useless.

I hope to do the same in my craft. I am always seeking to make possible the things that myself or others at first shrug off as a worthless endeavor. I have enjoyed looking at tech resources lately that make me scratch my head as to how to make them useful in the classroom setting. Specifically, I have been trying to look at Web 2.0 resources that logically lend themselves well to ELA instruction, but that could be used in the Math classroom. I am trying to construct a wooden bumper.

Here are some thoughts…

Holt Interactive Graphic Organizers

Now here’s one that we would not normally think of as a math resource. This site offers many fillable, save-able and printable graphic organizers. Perhaps you would have students use a particular organizer to map their thinking about a math operation you’ve recently studied. Or maybe you could present students with word problems, and ask them to use a graphic organizer to analyze the problem. You could even use a sequence chart to have students teach others the order of operations or the correct sequence for solving one problem or another. This is a great way to stretch students’ thinking and integrate math and ELA.

Popplet

This is another site that is usually not the first choice for math teachers. Popplet allows the user to make “popples” which are little boxes that can be filled with text or pictures. Here’s a picture of an example:

This popplet obviously deals with an historical topic, but you could easily use this format to have students outline different math concepts. The students could use Popplet to take notes about geometric shapes (including pictures), a sample problem that was solved in class, or they could even use a different popple to represent a different part of an equation.

One of the neat things about Popplet is that the popples can be shared with others. Users can generate a link to the popple, or an embed code can be retrieved, allowing integration  with a web site. Of course, emailing the popple is also an option.

Today’s Meet

Today’s Meet is another resource that has potential in the math class. This site allows for users to login to a created online room in which thoughts may be shared and questions may be posed. The transcript of conversation can be preserved and revisited for up to a year. Users may also print the record of the forum. There’s no reason why math teachers couldn’t post a problem on Today’s Meet in anticipation of students giving input on how to solve the problem as well as giving the answer itself. This would be another way to encourage dialogue and writing in the math class. Go Soap Box is another site that functions similarly to Today’s Meet, but offers more bells and whistles. I think it’s possible to build bumpers out of plastic wrap there.

So this is part one of a thought I’d like to continue sometime soon. Stay tuned.

 

SMART, Web 2.0, and iPads, Oh My!

Below is the description of my teaching experience today. I taught a lesson with Marguerite Kane at Nimitz Middle School.

We continued today with a lesson about animal adaptations, and our focus was the Tasmanian Devil. We presented some video and pictures of the Tasmanian Devil via SMART Notebook, and we handed each student an iPad, and asked them to visit Today’s Meet at the following address: Today’s Meet

Hint: you’ll have to type tasmaniandevil in the blue box and press enter to see the room we created.

Today’s Meet is a site that allows the user to create a room for discussion and invite others to collaborate with them. You can follow the link above to see what our discussion looked like. The students absolutely loved being able to type in a response, and see it appear on the screen.

Then we had each student bring up the iPad and take a picture of a Tasmanian Devil that was projected on the screen. Once they had the picture, they were asked to open it in a free app called Educreations Interactive Whiteboard, and write about it. If we hadn’t run out of time, we would have asked the students to record their thoughts in Educreations, as it is also a screen and voice recorder. Maybe next time.

Overall, the students were extremely engaged, and the teachers were excited to see their reactions.

Great day!

A Twist on Math Instruction

Math has not always been my favorite. I’m sorry to admit to this, but I am just being honest. Today, my opinion may have changed, though. I attribute the change to the way I taught math today. If I must teach math, then give me an iPad!

I had a lot of fun teaching math today. Did I just write those words? I was charged with the task of reviewing the addition and subtraction of mixed numbers, and I turned to a few pretty cool apps to help me achieve this. Educreations Interactive Whiteboard, Airboard, and Sketchpad 3 – Unlimited Canvas are the apps.

I began the lesson with Educreations Interactive Whiteboard to display a few types of problems that the students would encounter. I prepared the videos on the app prior to the lesson, and then connected my iPad to the video and audio connections of the projector. I played the lesson, and stopped the video at critical points for discussion. I think the video engaged the students more than my regular presentation of the topic would have.

Then I presented some word problems using a Keynote slide show that I had converted to PDF and dropped into Dropbox so I could retrieve it and display it on my iPad (I don’t have Keynote on my iPad, but the PDF worked rather well).

I asked the students to solve the problem using either Sketchpad 3 or Educreations Interactive Whiteboard. I continued this pattern for several problems. The students would solve the problems themselves on their own iPads, and then I or another student would solve the problem in front of the class on my iPad to ensure understanding.

Finally, I introduced the class to Airboard by creating a session, and asking each student to join the session with their iPads. Of course, I let the students play with the app a bit. It’s pretty cool how numerous iPads can join a session and how each person can make their input on the same session. It can also get pretty messy in a hurry without some parameters.

After this, I cleared the session, and set up a new problem on my iPad (still in Airboard), and began to ask questions about how to solve it. As input came from the students, I asked them to write their input for all to see. It seemed like a powerful thing – each student (if they chose) had a voice, and could contribute in turn, to the solution of the problem. I hope to use Airboard much more in this type of instruction!

I’ll say it once more…if I must teach math, then give me an iPad.

 

 

Proportional Fun

This post highlights a lesson I taught using an internet site (Math Snacks), Sketch Pad 3 – Unlimited Canvas (free app), Proportion Solver (free app), and of course, iPads.

I had a great time today working with students at Nimitz Middle School. The teacher I was working with asked me to use the iPads to teach her students about Ratios and Proportions (specifically, given a proportional scenario, predict the proportion as it increases).

For example:

For every 3 apples Samantha eats, she also eats 5 oranges. If she eats 25 apples, how many oranges would she also eat?

I decided to introduce the lesson by showing the students the Atlantean Dodgeball video at http://mathsnacks.com/atlanteanDodgeball.php. The video is engaging, and does a great job of presenting a real world ratio problem. The students loved it!

After the intro, I asked the students to recall our time using the app called Sketch Pad 3 – Unlimited Canvas. I asked them to set up the proportion in the app so I could be walking around to check on their progress. I did a problem with my iPad connected to the projector first, to show them what I was expecting.

After I set up the problem, and estimated what I thought would be the answer to “x,” I showed them the app called Proportion Solver. This app does exactly what its name implies: it solves proportions. You put in the three numbers the problem gives you, and you press the equal sign. The correct answer is produced, provided you set the proportion up correctly.

I had fun, and I think the students did as well. I had a few students connect their iPads and do some teaching as well. I think that was a hit!

To culminate, I asked the students to email their teacher a PDF copy of their work on the last problem of the day. The lesson was totally paperless.