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.


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!

Start Flipping Those Pages

Page Flip Flap is a neat site that I just discovered. This site offers a free service in which the user may upload a doc and have it converted to an online book. Here is the description given on the site:

Transform your doc, pdf, word, movie into an interactive flipbook. It’s very easy: upload your file and you will receive an email with the url to your creation. You can share this with your friend, family… by email, on your blog, on facebook or twitter.

Here is a link you can follow to see the results of a PDF I uploaded today:

The process is painless and quick (I uploaded and received an email with the link and embedding code within 3 minutes).

I can see this as a great way to organize instruction. Here are some of my thoughts about bringing this tool into the classroom:

  1. The teacher compiles information he/she wishes to share with the class into a Word or PDF file, and then converts it to a flip book for use in a lesson.
  2. Students collaborate on a research project, and store their findings in a document. The doc is converted to a flip book, and then all the data becomes searchable, so students can use the book to make another doc for presentation that will then be converted into a book to share with the class.
  3. Elementary students create their own flippable story book using pictures they illustrate and words they author. This could be done first in PPT, and then converted to a flipbook. The students would be able to access the link from home to share with family.

Here are a few of the capabilities this program offers the user:

  1. Search for a keyword in the document
  2. Print any page in the document
  3. Zoom
  4. Flip pages (sounds like pages turning)
  5. Full screen
  6. View thumbnails of your document’s pages

I think this is a useful site for teachers and students. Let me know what you think.