I am blogging my thoughts on teaching math and on promoting social, emotional wellness among my students and colleagues. I am a fan of having students create digital portfolios in math, and I am blogging about what I am learning along the way.
My students were asked to take photos of ten different concepts that we have learned this year in geometry, annotate them and add a conditional statement that describes each concept. The easiest way to do this project is with an Iphone or Ipad.
Geometry Photo Safari
Walk around and look at everything with an eye for geometry.
Do you see a staircase or do you see parallel lines? 1.Pick ten theorems or
definitions from anything we have learned this year. 2.Photograph an example of each in the real world a.use your mobile device or check out a camera
from the library b.do not create a concept with objects – see below 3.Enhance each photo with a diagram to clarify the
concept being shown 4.Write an appropriate if-then definition below
each picture 5.Publish it either online (glogster, a blog, etc) or in print (make it a book, a newspaper article, journal, etc). 6.Hand it in (or email me the URL) by____________________.
This free Etext is more of a comprehensive set of guided practice worksheets than a textbook, but I think it is perfect for kids who want extra practice problems. On the other hand, how many 8th graders really read the textbook anyways? Perhaps this is all they need?
My students do this project every year on quadratics. I give them x and y intercepts. They are to find the function and then graph it and solve it using three methods. Usually students glue their project on poster board, but this year I accepted online submissions like this:
Another article about math anxiety.
A growing body of research suggests that parents and teachers might transmit their own math anxiety to children.
I like the point that the article makes about how our culture accepts people who are "bad at math" while there is a clear social stigma associated with a deficiency in reading.
I agree too that we definitely need to better prepare our elementary teachers as they are the first to reach our students. If a kid doesn't like math in 3rd grade, by the time they get to me in middle school, their minds are made up!
The article also gives good advice about trying to calm down. I have taken to leading my students in mindful meditation before exams. I find that it calms them down and lessens their stress (well they tell me that it does).
I have been trying to use the Ipad for a while in my class. I use it as a slate to write on so that I can be mobile while teaching. A few of our students have them too. They use them to take notes and look up terms. Next year our school is implementing a 1:1 program and laptops were selected as the device. Laptops are more powerful than Ipads, but lack the ability to be ready in a moment's notice (static drive) and more importantly for my math class, don't allow students to write on them like I can with my Ipad or with my tablet PC.
This new tablet looks amazing! It is designed for the classroom. It looks like it make managing the classroom pretty seamless as well. While it may have more limits when compared to a laptop as far as creating spreadsheets or editing music or movies, it looks easy to use. If teachers are new to integrating technology, they will be MUCH more likely to use it if all students have the same device and if it is easy to use.
So I found out about quizlet 2 years ago while at a tech conference, but the lack of time and an excess of babies have prevented me from using it in my classes.
Basically, you make digital flashcards and share them with your classes. Better yet, have students make them. Students can use them via the website, on their mobile devices or from a LMS (like HW's HUB). It isn't terribly extraordinary, but could prove useful.
I started using Brain Genie with my algebra kiddos. It is a little like Aleks, if you are familiar with that program. Basically, it is a free source of practice problems for math and science.
Today I quickly chose a goal (practicing quadratics) and invited my students to join. Once they sign up, they can complete practice problems, watch videos, etc and the website will keep track of their progress and tell me how each kid is doing.