Testing Technology – Grade Nines

22 May

Testing out using more technology in the classroom.  Students, please comment with your daily 5.

What am I learning?
How am I learning it?
How do I know?
How can I improve?
Where can I go for help?
Five things from yesterdays class.

Technology Troubles

7 Mar

This year I have been working really hard to create math videos for my lessons. I started in the first semester with Workplace 20 and Foundations 10 and found myself quickly giving up. I was very overwhelmed with all my work and was disheartened when the students didn’t use them as much as I had planned. Near the end of the semester I had positive feedback from the videos looking back and studying for the final, so this semester I decided I would try again and be more diligent.

I have been making videos for Precalculus 20 using the showme app for my iPad. I have found these videos to be effective for three main reasons:
1) I make the video before the lesson, so I practice teaching the lesson out loud before with a student which helps organize my lesson better.
2) I teach very involved students who often miss for sports and other activities, and there are also students absent all the time. When they miss they know to check the video online, which goes through all of the notes and they can fill it in. So far many of the students are coming to school already having watched the video for what they missed.
3) Time. There are so many students, and even without missing, it can be difficult to assist students who don’t understand concepts. The videos help when some students just need a refresh of the lesson.

What I have been trying to gear towards is a flipped classroom. I have been posting the lesson the night before, and a couple students have watched them before hand. There are a few difficulties I have been encountering that have stopped me from flipping my classroom. First I am very worried the students won’t watch the video beforehand. It is a different way of thinking for them so it may be a difficult transition. I have been trying to slowly transition, with the videos to work towards that. My second problem is with my own preparation. I am finding it difficult to have enough hours in my day let alone being extra planned in advance. I have been working on long term planning, and am a very organized person, but I’m worried that I won’t have a video ready on time or something will go wrong and mess the entire process up.

In all, I have seen many successes with the technology I have incorporated. Many students are using the videos and it is extremely beneficial in the classroom. I need to find the extra motivation to push myself to try more with my teaching.

There’s an App for That

4 Dec

Things that I thought I would continue to do once I started teaching: blog.

Things that I don’t do know that I started teaching: blog… sleep…

I really wish I could get into the good practice of blogging more often, so today I have decided to talk about apps.  In university I thought I had found all the most wonderful apps that are amazing and useful.  Yesterday I deleted 100 apps.  Today, I took a moment to realize how many apps I have downloaded since school has begun, and how I found apps that fit to supplement what I was teaching.  As I teach a course that requires curriculum outcomes that relate to games, I have found apps that work in each of my units.  Let me take a quick second to recognize the apps that I adore.

Crossmath! – This $0.99 game has been used more than anything on my phone.  It works for teaching factoring, balancing equations, deductive reasoning… and also when you are really bored.

Hexominoes - This app works for shape and space as well as logic! It costs $0.99

Rush Hour - All of my students love rush hour.  I even have a physical copy of the board game. Working in groups really is helpful as they communicate hundreds of strategies. Cost is $2.99.

Flow Free - This game is great for shape and space as well as logic, it is also FREE!

Tangram XL Free - Works for shape and space units, deductive reasoning, and is Free!

Vault Breaker – Tests your logic and deductive reasoning skills to crack codes.  It’s free and fun.

Battleship - Used this for review for graphs, plotting points, ordered pairs, deductive reasoning and strategy.  You can play against a computer, over Wi-Fi with another device, or pass and play.  It is free.

CribbagePro - Need I say more? Oh right, it is free!

And lastly, I had this app downloaded forever and not once had I used it or even thought about it.  Then I taught Pre-Calculus and I understood why it is a must have.

Free Graphing Calculator

These are just a few of the math apps that I have been using in my classroom, and felt like I needed to share them now that I am actually using mobile learning.

Using technology to start my teaching career

8 Sep

This may possible be the best app I have ever downloaded:

ShowMe Interactive Whiteboard

You can record your screen and voice on the iPad and post to twitter, Facebook directly. I am using them to put on my class website.

This is my class website: Miss Douglas’ Class Website
And my class twitter is @misssdouglas

I chose to use a posterous instead of a wiki because each post directly posts to twitter, so all my homework directly goes on twitter with only one update to make. There is also a posterous app which lets you post from your phone. You can also upload files which instability are posted through scribd so all the documents are embedded into each post easily.

posterous

This is my showme page, I’m doing all my lessons on here, it takes two minutes to make and share a video. I am also making qr codes for each video and putting them right in my lesson so they can refer to the video if they need a reminder.

Also, I survived my first week of teaching, and posted this entirely from my phone. #lovetechnology

National Aboriginal Day

16 Jul

This year to celebrate National Aboriginal Day I was able to give a workshop to grade four and seven students in the Holy Trinity Catholic School Division in Moose Jaw. I did an art workshop on Birch Bark Biting. I am fortunate to have done a Birch Bark Biting workshop when I was in elementary school, and it was so memorable that I remembered how to do a workshop myself. I began by showing them the following video so that they could see someone in the process of biting the birch:

I then showed them some examples of art done by a Saskatchewan artist Sally Milne. Sally Milne is a Cree woman from La Ronge, you can read more about her here. I showed them some of the intricate designs that have been done by Angelique Merasty from the ArtSask website. After seeing the intricate designs that could be done, it was time for them to start doing their own. I showed them my attempt at biting:

To make this you need only three things: a piece of tracing paper, a piece of carbon paper, and your teeth! To do this you take a piece of tracing paper (which you can buy from walmart in a package for under $5) and place the carbon paper directly on top of it with the black of the carbon touching the tracing paper (I got carbon paper at staples, also inexpensive) Then you make different folds in the paper to come up with different designs. What was nice for the students was that the carbon paper could be reused many times, so many kept it and tried it for themselves later. This is not the classic birch bark biting, done on actual birch bark, but is a similar process and much more convenient to do in a classroom setting.

We discussed symmetry and how we could make different shapes. The students had a lot of fun trying different designs and trying to make shapes form. This could be easily adapted for numerous Shape and Space units in the math curriculum across a few grades. This is a lesson that has been done by some peers at the university on the Aboriginal Perspectives website.

Along with the other workshops done, and the dancers and performers that came to the school in Moose Jaw for National Aboriginal Day, I had a wonderful day, as did hundreds of students in Holy Trinity.

Discovering Your Direction

16 Jul

The second great experience I have experienced this summer came from doing another math workshop. I was asked to put on a workshop for the First Nations University for their student conference Discovering your Directions. This event had grade nine First Nation students from local schools and school divisions. There were many great activities, and I was to lead the education and math workshop.

For the workshop I focused not only on an interactive math activity, but also speaking about my own education experience as well as the education program at the university of Regina. When the group came in I could tell they were not very excited that they had to “go to the stupid math” activity. I totally understood, everyone is aware that most people don’t have the most positive attitude towards math.

I chose to do die hard math, an activity I have done with Math on the Move before, because it was interactive and exciting. As soon as I started the clip I had them hooked and they had a much better attitude. They finished these quickly so I started my second game, the math alphabet. For this activity I put the alphabet on the board and an integer beneath it. I then put a sum on the board and they had to come up with a word that added up to that sum. This got even more of the students involved as they started competing for the longest word, or who could make the best sentence. Finally I ended with my new favourite puzzle, the rebus. I put 20 puzzles on the board and they were very competitive finding them out to see who could answer the most.

The most rewarding part of the conference was when a student asked if I was a real teacher, and if that’s what my math classes were always like, because they have never had a math class like that before. I laughed and was relieved that I could make math interesting for them.

The last part of the conference that I participated in was a student panel. Myself, along with four other university students in different areas, were asked questions about school and university. I answered questions like what my favourite subject and classes were, what my biggest struggles have been, what high school classes are important, and how my culture has affected my university experience. This was a wonderful opportunity to share things that I have learned over that past years with many young and eager minds.

I am so grateful and fortunate to have been apart of such a beneficial program for youth in our province, and would be eager to do so again.

Summer of Math

15 Jul

I haven’t blogged in a very long time. I haven’t been over the top busy, so I can’t even use that as an excuse. I have fallen out of practice, which is unfortunate.

Fortunately, though, I have had some very exciting experiences this summer and want to get back into the habit. First I have been hired as a math teacher at Vanier Collegiate in Moose Jaw. This is the high school that I attended and I am ecstatic to be able to work there in the fall. This is one of the main reasons why I want to continue blogging, as I wish to reflect on my work again the way that I did before.

Image

Math on the Move team 2012 via mathonthemove.uregina.ca

The first amazing experience I had this summer was being employed by Math on the Move for the second consecutive summer. This is a program run from the math department and education department at the University of Regina that takes math workshops to rural Saskatchewan schools for a half of a day. It is very similar to the Math Camp put on at the university every September, but a mobile version.

Through this activity we were able to reach seven different communities working with grade 9 and 10 students. We had jam packed days where, on same days, we did a workshop in the morning then again in the afternoon in a different town. Being able to be a part of this program twice has been extremely beneficial for me. Not only have I been able to visit numerous schools and school divisions in the province, giving me a new insight on how different schools run, but also I have had to think of innovative activities to do twice.

This year we had a program much similar to last years, which I blogged about here. We had four different stations that lasted 20 mins each, and the students rotated to all of them. At each station they were awarded points for their team, then at the end we had a final round to compete for points to see which team won.

All of the activities done this year were well planned out and fun. One station was playing the game of nim and creating a strategy. Another station was a stats baseball game that was made where you used the stats of a baseball player and simulated a game. The other station was a life size version of the app Rush Hour.

My station was also based on an app that I play often called Crossmath. The game is very similar to Sudoku but much different as it incorporates mathematical operations. I made cross math boards by getting two different mobile white boards which were 18″ X 24″. I then used electical tape to make the outline for the board and used white board makers to write in the different problems.

Cross Math Board without problem written on

Some students were able to finish these problems quite fast, and others it took some help. After doing this workshop so many times I knew the problems off by heart, and knew where the kids would get stuck and how to best help them. The problems end up turning into a simple math equation that they can solve, but they use their own reasoning skills to come to the answer. I am going to put these boards in my classroom for students to use! Examples of cross math worksheets I made are below.

Easy Cross Math

Medium Cross Math

Hard Cross Math:

The final activity consisted of many math problems that we had put together that the students had to accomplish. The rules were that they could only have one question out at a time, and if they discarded the question and wanted a new one, they could never get that question back. There was strategy involved with how they chose their questions! An element that I incorporated into the final questions was rebus’. I love them and I used them many times in internship with my students to fill time gaps. They make you think about problems from a different approach, which is why it was the question I started with during the final round. A great website to find rebus puzzles is Fun With Words and an app that I use on my phone is Rebuzzle. Below is the final activity that we used.

Answers to above questions

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