Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Purposeful Padding in the Math Classroom: Appsolutely Changing the Classroom - Post 10

This is now the 4th week of iPads in the classroom.   We are no longer teaching the apps, so it is full steam ahead "appsolutely changing the classroom".  Here are some of our observations at the end of Week 3.

1. Since the iPads have rolled into the classroom, our students have been rolling in earlier and earlier to get the day started. They grab their iPads and are off playing multiplication and fractions apps anywhere from 1-10 minutes BEFORE the tardy bell rings.  How great that we found a way to increase both time on task  and increase our class time!  It is such a wonderful way to start the day when everyone is fully present, ready to learn, and having so much fun with math.  

Below is a video of student working away before class even started!

2.  Google and iPads is a great combination.  Daily bell ringers using a Google Form and Flubaroo is really working out well. Advantages to the Google Form are:  ALL students must complete all of the questions every day, all students get immediate feedback, all grades are returned immediately and electronically, and there is no math downtime. When the bell ringer is complete, students transition to Fast Facts Math app and get in a great practice with the basics facts.

Paper Pencil BellringerGoogle Forms + Flubaroo +  Mail App
Students work on bell ringer at their own pace. Students work on bellringer at their own pace.
When finished, student waits.  After 3-5 minutes, the teacher goes over the answers.  When finished, students hit submit and then check e-mail for results.  While waiting, students use the Fast Facts Math App to review the basics.
Some students just write down the answers w/o doing the work as the teacher goes over them.All students must do all the problems. Everyone gets feedback.  Focus is on solving the problems not waiting for everyone to finish.

3.  Doceri had been the perfect app for students to use for taking notes, doing homework, and creating screen recordings. Screen recordings of homework give both us and the students valuable feedback to versus what we glean from paper and pencil. Hearing the kids explain their work immediately tells us what they know and what holes they have in their comprehension.   Screen recordings give every student a voice.  In the classroom before iPads, only a few people can be called on to give an answer. Now, every student explains at least one answer every day.  The way to get better at anything is by doing.  Watching us solve problems on the board does not increase their success solving fractions.  It is in doing they learn and by explaining they understand.  We find that their comprehension of the topic is directly proportional to their explanation. Even if the answer is correct that does not necessarily mean mastery.  Because students have to explain to us how they came up with the answer, we have a better pulse on their level of understanding. Click the video below to see a screen recording.

4.  E-mailing homework is very fast, efficient, and is an effective way to provide personalized feedback. The e-mail is individualized, immediate, and easy to access.   Instead of wasting valuable time passing back a papers, students tap the mail app and they have their message. Students create the work in Doceri and send the slide as a PDF. Simple to share!

Sample Work:

E-mail to the student from Mrs. Stukenholtz over the work above:

“#1- looks good!
#2- You made a mistake on both fractions when converting.  2/3 = 12/18 (multiply both by 6) and 1/6 = 3/18 (multiply both by 3.) Also, consider using a smaller LCM, or common denominator.  6 would have worked.
Try these again for a higher grade.  “

5.  Appytime is fantastic.  During this time, students explore math concepts with a variety of apps.  Leveled apps make it simple to differentiate to meet the exact student needs.  Student are self differentiating and have learned a lot about self-control!     
6.  The kids are quickly transitioning between activities with the iPads. Now time on math is at an all time high!  Paper shuffling is no longer existent!  The iPad has been a wonderful tool for organizing student notes and work!

Written by: Ann Feldmann

Monday, December 10, 2012

Google Plus Community Feature

Google Plus recently just came out with a new feature.  "Communities"

You can see it in the above picture along the left hand side.  As you can tell from this Screenshot I am already in some new Communities that I was sent an invite to from a "moderator" and this moderator sends out the invites and potentially then folks join the community.  

Once I join, then I have the ability under "Actions" to share the community in my Google + feed or  I could invite people also.  Depending on how the moderator set it up, will depend on those who get in.  The moderator may have to approve first.  See this picture below:

You can also look through many communities that might be of interest to you and join them, it looks like from this small screenshot there are all kinds of areas and all kinds of fun to explore out there:

If you want to start your own community you have to go to the Communities button on the left hand side of your home Google + Page and click on it, then you will see a RED BUTTON that says CREATE A COMMUNITY.   See picture below:

You will then be prompted to choose between public and private as pictured below.

 If you click on Public you will get some options, what do you want to call it and do people need permission to join?  See picture below:
If you go the Private route it will look a little different and prompt you about whether or not you want to hide it from searches or if people can find it and ask to join, see below:
The picture below is after I chose Private and started a Catlett Family Community.  I could name it, add a tagline, add a description, add a category, and then save:

Once I had that initial set-up done and I said "Done Editing" then it prompted me to invite people, see picture below:

So now the SKY IS THE LIMIT with these Google + Communities in my opinion, as you could tell from the screenshots above I am already involved in some great local Nebraska Communities and the Google Certified Teacher Community.  I can see how setting up a Private Family one could be very fun too!  

I can see school districts running wild with this now that Google + is open in K-12 Domains for Google Apps for Education (GAFE).
You could have a district wide community, a high school building Community, a middle school building Community, etc.  Tons of potential in my opinion and once again Google continues to make such a collaborative, amazing product even better!  

Perhaps I will see you soon in a Google + Community!

Building a Digital Library for Your Students

Are you a relatively new elementary teacher with iPads in your room?  Do you have a small library of books for your students to read?  Maybe it is time to start building your digital library instead of buying paperback books that will eventually end with the inevitable masking tape down the side to hold it together in a couple of years.  I came across an amazing little app that I think would be a great way to start building your digital library.  It is called Meegenius and the app itself is free.  It is a bookstore app, but so much better than just ibooks or kindle books.  The books you purchase can be read aloud to your students and the words are highlighted as its being read.  The selection of books is of high quality as well.  

The book Princess Justina Albertina, a Cautionary Tale can be purchased for $1.99 instead of $4.99 at Barnes and Noble.  And this book can be read aloud to the child.  If your ipads are all being managed with the same Apple ID you can purchase the book once and put it on all of your devices.  Or how about Redhead Robbie’s Christmas Story by, Bill Luttrell for a mere $3.99 instead of $16.95 at B&N!  That is a huge difference.  

If your student's parents ask what you want for Christmas, tell them iTunes gift cards and get yourself some great digital books to start your digital collection!  Just think how much space you will have left on your bookshelves for crayons, rules, projects, and wet wipes!

Written By,
Jennifer Krzystowczyk

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Purposeful Padding in the Math Classroom - Post 9

Transformational! That is my new favorite word. Why?  Because we are on a the brink of transforming the way teachers teach and kids learn.  This week was the week we turned the corner from substitution to redefining what we do!  We moved from using the iPad as a tool to substitute what we have been doing in the paper world to a tool to transform the way we teach and kids learn.    

In terms of the SAMR model (see post 6),
here is the way we moved through all four levels of technology integration in just the two weeks we have been using iPads in the classroom.

TASKDefinitionOur Classroom Examples
SubstitutionTechnology acts as a direct tool substitute with no functional improvement
Math Facts with Apps, Notetaking in Doceri
Bell ringer in Socrative or Google Forms
AugmentationTechnology acts as a direct tool substitute with functional improvementE-mail Notes
Communicating with students via e-mail.
ModificationTechnology allows for significant task redesign
Using Google Forms + Flubaroo to grade and e-mail students results of the bell ringer.

Watch videos and take notes over the video.
RedefinitionTech allows for the creation of new tasks, previously inconceivable
Create a screencast to explain your homework .
Teach your teacher about equivalent fractions.
E-mail your homework videos to your teacher.

Written by Ann Feldmann

Friday, November 30, 2012

Purposeful Padding in the Math Classroom - Post 8

I was a fly on the wall, in the room, but not interacting, just observing.

Students headed right for the iPad shelf and got right to work with the Meteor Math App and I took a video of the room.  They were all in their seats three minutes before school started and hard at work on their app.  Not one tardy!  

When the bell rang, the kids checked their e-mail and started on the bell ringer which is a Google Form.  They swiped between Doceri and the Google Form to work out the problem and then swiped back to put in the answer.  Google Forms makes it nice since the kids can see all the questions at once before submitting the activity.

Instead of traditional notes, today the kids put on the headphones and listened to a Khan Academy video on equivalent fractions.  Afterwards, Gina revisited two of the problems that were discussed in the video and modeled a couple examples for them.  

Then, the students were all assigned four problems to solve and record their explanation in Doceri.   Here is the assignment:
Submit a recording for a grade explaining and working through each problem:

  1.     Simplify 16/24
  2.     Convert 6 3/4
  3.     Convert 18/5
  4.     Give two equivalent fractions for 2/3 and 4/5

We split the class into two groups of 10.  I took 12 of the students to my classroom and the other 13 stayed in their classroom to help reduce the noise while we recorded.  The recordings were e-mailed.  We have gone from paper to video assignments in just two weeks!

Lessons Learned
1.  Video is the learning modality of choice by many students.
2.  The Doceri recordings are powerful formative assessments.  By hearing the recordings, it is very easy to know if they understood the material and if they didn’t know it it was easy to see what needed to be corrected.
3.  All the kids were motivated to complete the assignment.

Written by Ann Feldmann

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Purposeful Padding in the Math Classroom - Post 7

Today I was in the room before the tardy bell.  As students arrived, they took their seats.  

“Do you want to grab your iPads and get started playing Meteor Math?” I asked.

They quickly grabbed  jumped up and got their iPads and those walking in the room joined them. Before long, everyone was working away on the Meteor Math app and the tardy bell had not even rung.

When the bell did ring, students were already engaged in the app! The head fake is they think they are playing a game and moving up levels, but they are really solving lots of math problems even before the day officially started.

In our quest to be paperless, I wanted to see if we could scan a QR code projected on the screen to move to our bell ringer, rather than sharing it on paper.  We discovered that the QR code must be bigger in order for them to scan it from their seat. So, we moved ahead with plan B, e-mail.

“Ok, tap the mail app. You will see an e-mail from me about your homework and you will also see a link to a Google Form for our bell ringer, “Gina Stukenholtz, 7th grade math teacher, said.

Efficiency. That would be the word for it.  They transitioned from the Meteor Math App, to the Mail App, to a Google Form and Doceri seamlessly and effortlessly. No shuffling papers, looking for pencils, finding page numbers, just a tap of the home button and all was well.

Another tap, they started a new Doceri project and began notes on fractions.  Instead of just e-mailing a homework problem in today, we took a bold new step and had the students explain their reasoning.  Using the Doceri app, students tapped record and then talked us through how they solved they converted a mixed number to an improper fraction.  It was a delight to hear the room full of students talking like mathematicians.  

Sharing the file was very easy, just a matter of dragging the recording to the mail icon, and voila, it was off to Mrs. Stukenholtz’s e-mail.  


Lessons Learned

1. E-mail is transforming classroom workflow for papers.  The two way communication is great.
2. Scanning a QR code works best on paper.  It is a great way to connect to the digital world without having to type a URL.
3.  Google forms seemed to be easier for the kids to use than
Socrative.  It was less frustrating for some students that had issues getting Socrative to start correctly on their screens.
4.  Students are engaged, solved many math problems, and are competitive playing Meteor Math.

Written by Ann Feldmann 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Purposeful Padding in the Math Classroom - Post 6

“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out; the brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something.” Randy Pausch
Today we had an off day.   The kids were chatty, our fourth attempt to use Socrative for our bell ringer failed, the kids were off task on the iPads, and we have a quiz tomorrow.   Compared to all of our other days, today left us a little flat.As Pausch said, “The brick walls are there for a reason.”  Gina and I put our heads together during plan time and shared ideas on how we wanted to move forward.    We reflected on the the past two weeks.  We have done an amazing job of integrating the iPads into all class activities, taught the kids how to use the iPads and apps, and now teach with the iPad and Apple TV.   She and I both had some great ideas for the Fraction unit.  Now is the time for us to move even deeper into technology integration.

I shared with Gina about the SAMR Model on technology integration created by Dr. Reuben Puentadura that I learned about on Twitter. Essentially, there are four stages to technology integration: substitution, augmentation, modification and redefinition.  As you move to new levels of technology integration, enhancement increases and transformation takes place.

  • Substitution - Technology acts as a direct tool substitute with no functional improvement
  • Augmentation - Technology acts as a direct tool substitute with functional improvement
  • Modification - Technology allows for significant task redesignRedefinition - Tech allows for the creation of new tasks, previously inconceivable 
  • SAMR Model of Technology in the Classroom from http://rde.nsw.edu.au/tpack-s
Up until now, we have been using the iPads for substitution.

Examples of Substitution
Without iPads: bell  ringer on paper; With iPads: bell ringer with SocrativeWithout iPads: notes on Paper; With Technology: notes in Doceri

Example of Augmentation
Without iPads: handing in paper homework; With iPads: e-mailing homework

For our new unit on Fractions, we plan to take the students to new levels! Our goal is to utilize the iPads for modification and redefinition of tasks!  Time for us grow even more!  Stay tuned to see what happens as the week continues! 

Lessons Learned
1. Socrative does not allow students to change an answer. Once it is submitted, there is no way to go back.
2.  It is time to use even more of the capabilities of the iPad do individualize instruction and move to deeper levels of learning.Written by Ann Feldmann

Monday, November 26, 2012

Purposeful Padding in the Math Classroom - Post 5

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, “ Leonardo Da Vinci.

Simplifying the classroom paper shuffle is the name of the game today!  Using the iPads, Doceri, and the mail app, handing in work has never been more fun, fast,  or easy!

By now students are now very comfortable using the Doceri apps for notes.  (If you haven’t been following the “Purposeful Padding in the Math Classroom” project, you may want to check my first post and follow along.) It was the natural progression today to show them how to share out their work via e-mail.   

Students opened a new Doceri project for the guided practice problem.  “Tap the happy share arrow and e-mail the problem when you are finished,” I said.  In a matter of seconds, bytes and bits flew through the wireless to Gina’s e-mail. 

Student work created in Doceri and shared via gmail.
As class ended, Gina’s work began.   A quick glance of her e-mail inbox showed all the files waiting to be opened!  

She sent me an e-mail later in the day that I quickly moved to my warm fuzzy folder.

“I am LOVING this,” she said. “It allows me so much more freedom to communicate with and give feedback to kids even though my face time with them is limited.

Even though it took a bit to get into this (which we knew it would), I am really starting to see the benefits!! So glad we're on this journey together!! “

Lessons Learned:
1. Slow and steady like the tortoise.  Teaching the kids how to use the app a little at time has been very successful.  They are getting more and more confident each day.
2.  An iPad is a personal device.  The kids are using the same iPad each day and have personalized it with their gmail accounts. This makes sharing very easy.
3.  Simplicity is key.  The iPad is simplifying and digitizing the paper trail.  It is very simple to share a file out of Doceri.

Written by Ann Feldmann