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