When I stepped into a classroom yesterday I was so intrigued that I couldn’t leave. Before I spill the beans on what I saw, I must say this. There has been a lot of emphasis at my school about having students share their work for a lesson closing. This idea could also spill over into the common core mathematical practices in which students must “construct viable arguments and construct the reasoning of others”. Now I understand that when students share their work in front of the class that this does promote other students’ higher levels of thinking as other students decide whether they agree or disagree. On the other hand at this late point in the school year the downfall of student sharing is that even with a doc camera and students’ micro phoned voices other students attention spans are likened to a fly hovering over a summer picnic buffet.
Now, onto what I saw. Ms. T was showing students a flip cam video of herself talking to a student named ‘Briana’, who was solving a double digit addition problem with base ten blocks which she had taped during the students’ work time. She showed the video to students after their work time and paused it after the questions she asked Briana in the video. Then Ms. T would ask the class what the answer was to the question in the video. The class would respond. Then Ms. T would un-pause the video to allow the class to see if Briana answered, counted, or exchanged blocks correctly. I absolutely loved this–so much more engaging than regular sharing!
Thanks to the literacy people who ordered these flip cams with literacy money! They were originally bought for students to do book talks. Using them for math sharing–so much better in my unbiased opinion .
I just discovered a new app called Show Me similar to an interactive white board on the ipad. A kindergarten teacher shared with me today how she uses this app in her classroom. She uses a class set of ipads and has the students record themselves talking as they are solving math problems. The app has the ability to record the students’ voices and actions on the screen as they are thinking through their problem. Students can write on the screen with their finger or a stylus in several different colors while they are solving their problem. Pictures can be imported from the ipad files or you could email yourself a picture from another file to have it on your ipad. For example, if you wanted to solve problems with color tiles, then you could build some colored squares in another program and email them to yourself. This particular kindergarten teacher, however, explained how she had students solve CGI problem types on the ipad while they recorded their voice and writing on the screen. She did this in order that she could hear their thinking because she wasn’t always able to make it to every student to hear their thinking. Later she would take the ipad home so she could hear the students solving their problems.
Use this link for almost any app you can think of. The link will take you to a nearly exhaustive chart of all types of educational apps sorted by discipline. Some of them are free and some are not. These would be great to compile a list for your students’ parents or to use in the classroom if your school has access to ipods or ipads.
Our school’s guidance counselor came to me the other day and told me about an app she had discovered on the iphone–Mental Math Ninja. This app teaches mental math strategies using videos all for free. I learned some mental math strategies from watching these videos. Just when I thought I had learned most of the mental math strategies there were from being a math coach and attending many workshops, I learned more! Some of the videos included are:
- Rapidly multiply by 11′s,
- Calculate a 15% tip
- The Secret to Mental Addition
- Rapid Single Column Addition
- Rapid Two Column Addition
- Adding Money
- Rapidly Multiply 2-digit Numbers
- Square Numbers Ending in 5
- Square Numbers in the 50′s
- Square Numbers Close to 100
- Mutiply 2-digit by 1-digit Numbers
- Square any 2-digit Number
- Multiply 3-digit by 1-digit Numbers
- Multiply 3-digit by 2-digit Numbers
- Multiply 3-digit by 3-digit Numbers
- Divide by 0.5 or 5 or 50