Thursday, April 30, 2009

Wordle in reading centers



I have been doing a lot of reteaching and reviewing to cram for the upcoming testing month. This has also helped with differentiating independent work in reading centers. Last week I tried to have the students type up their word family lists in a Word doc, then copy and paste them into Wordle. Not a surprise when my heterogeneous groups bombed at this task. So this week, I pulled out some "Centers Captains" (aka grade level students) to have a private training with Wordle and how I wanted this center to work. Alas, success!

My students took their writing journals to the computers center (yes! I finally have enough computers for a center!) and typed up the word lists we had brainstormed during whole group. When they had finished the Centers Captain helped them print their sheets. As predicted, this ended up being me jumping up from guided reading to help them all print- but still worth it.

During writing the students took their Wordle print outs and highlighted them according to short vowel families and long vowel families. They used a different color highlighter to represent the different vowel word lists. Short vowels proved to be easy (since we've covered them for so long) but long vowel lists were confusing and proved to be a difficult for the students (as you will see one is not very well color coordinated).

I am going to attempt to try this activity with the phonics standard each week. It proved to be fun, but less independent than I would have liked. We'll keep trying, practice makes perfect!




Probability with Spinners

We are are learning basic probability in second grade. To start off, I used a big die on the Smartboard and we tallied which number the die landed on. Then I gave them their own dice and they played. Then we got to spinners. The spinner in Notebook is pretty cool. It is very easy to change the number of sections and to change the colors of the sections. I changed things and each time we talked about most likely color and least likely color. We had fun doing that. When we were finally ready to make predictions and then try it out the students wanted 8 sections on the spinner. They decided to have 5 red and 3 green. Then they had to predict how many times it would land on red. There would be 19 spins (the number of children that day) so many of them predicted it would be red 12-16 times. Of course, probability never works neatly when we want it to. Green ended up winning by 1. I had to convince them that we did make good predictions, but we were not guaranteed. We did not have time for the whole class to take another round of turns, so while they were working on a math book page, I sat and ran the game again. The students kept an eye on the Smartboard and the tallies while they worked. This time, red won. I was quite relieved.
I don't have a lesson file for this because we made the changes as we went a long. Of course I forgot to take a screen shot of our tallies and fractions, but I do have a picture of the spinner.

Live blog: fate vs. freewill

My epistemology class of juniors and seniors will be engaging in a live blog session around the classic philosophical argument of fate vs. freewill: What is freewill? Does it exist or is it all determined in advance (destiny/fate)? Are fate and freewill mutually exclusive or can you have some combination of the two?

The event will start at 1:30 and will run about 45 minutes or so. If anyone is interested in joining us, that would be pretty sweet.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009



http://4hughes.wetpaint.com/page/Scientific+Process



In Science we are working on how to use the scientific process (method) with our investigations, and I thought that I could easily integrate technology into this standard.
The students designed their focus questions, made predictions, came up with a way to collect data, and designed the process they would use to conduct their investigations, and then we simply recorded them in action and posted it to our wiki. We also recorded their claims and evidence, conclusions, and reflections, but the have not been added yet.
We did mini videos for each part of the process, and I think this was the final boost they needed to see how the process breaks down.
The students were very motivated by this activity. There are seven special education students in this particular class, and it was great to see their involvement in the video and scientific process.
One thing that I would do differently is to make sure I have sufficient microphone coverage, as we had to do a lot of choral reading just to make their voices audible (I just used the web cam to video). I was also wondering how to combine my clips into a longer video, but today I met with Emily and she showed me how to use Movie Maker-- so next time I'll be ready!
An extra bonus to this activity is that I got more students from other homerooms to check out my classes’ wiki, where I have a lot of learning links posted.
These videos are great for a smile- fourth graders are so… well, fourth grade and cute!

The Clicker Experiment

Last Friday my students (24 of 26) took their first "real" clicker assessment on geometry. The kids were amazingly patient with me and often reminded me to choose start. Question one started off with a bang as I realized they had only taken multiple choice questions on their practice. The question was for them to count the sides on an octagon rug and choose their answer. Who knew an octagon rug could have 8,888,888,888 sides! After they learned about the send button, the quiz went more smoothly.

I also included performance assessments in the quiz. I knew the timing of the performance assessments would be tricky, but I lucked out and kids were able to work on their performance questions first because the first set of clickers I got wasn't able to receive the signal.

This assessment did give me the encouragement to work on more clicker quizzes for next year. Kids love it and their patience with me while I fix the quirks is unbelievable. If I do more performance assessments, I need to make sure the gluing portion is LAST!!!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Help with audio files, again

I was so excited to post about my classroom blog. I spent a while over the weekend creating simple Glogster posters with scanned in pictures and mp3 files of my students reading. I sent home a permission to publish form for parents to sign. Today I started posting the Glogster posters and I found that they took a long time loading. Some didn't finish loading before timing out. I found they worked better in IE. I am afraid some the families that do have computers and internet will have older web browsers and have even more trouble than I was having. So I've been searching for alternatives. I can easily post the scanned pictures. I can't upload audio files on blogger. Jeff suggested Internet Archive and I uploaded a few audio files. From there, Internet Archive provides a script to embed. I embed it into the post. Sometimes I can play the file from the post, sometimes, pressing play does nothing. I can't figure out what's going on. Does anyone have other suggestions for a place to host my audio files so I can embed them into Blogger? Liz or anyone have more experience with Glogster? Their website does not have any type of FAQ or help page that is worthwhile for actually troubleshooting or finetuning your glog or embedding it.
Thanks.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Lesson Enhancement in First Grade Habitat Lesson


I've just posted a lesson on habitats to my blog. I'm taking a course in using technology for students with special needs and some of the interesting things that I learned about are Lesson Enhancement strategies and Student Learner strategies. I've used a Concept Anchoring Routine and an acronym strategy.
You can find my lesson here.

SMARTboard Literacy Lesson Grade 7

I've often heard teachers ask about how they use the SMARTboard in their classroom, and I've been wondering this myself. It lends itself nicely to so many things, that sometimes I'm not even sure where to begin. So last week I worked on "The Bike" by Gary Soto, a short story with my 7th grade ESL kids and wanted to incorporate the SMARTboard in some creative way. I've decided to share what I came up with, which I found very successful.

For the lesson, click here.

All of the attachments are uploaded here on my website. You'll find the SMARTboard vocab lesson, the SMARTboard "story board" and the story reprinted with added images and spaces for notes and reflection. I've also bolded the vocab words in the story to make them easier for the kids to identify.

Please feel free to use it and adapt it for your own purposes. It's a cute story and the kids really enjoyed it. I hope you will too!

better late than never?

... At least that is what my mom once told me.

Anyway, back in early February I was teaching a habitats unit for science and decided to give my students a virtual feel for the habitats that are very different from that which we experience here in Colorado. The first habitat we studied was the tropical rainforest. I borrowed a camera from DT and took a weekend trip to the Botanical Gardens (one of my favorite places in Denver!). With my video footage I put together some shots and "edited" them in Windows Movie Maker. This was only my second attempt at filmmaking with Movie Maker and the first was in college a couple years back with still photos. Needless to say it ended up being more work than I thought! It was a lot of fun and the students LOVED IT! (2nd graders really believe that I flew down to the rainforest, haha)



Due to deadlines and lesson plans I didn't edit it very well and therefore, have been reluctant to post it on here.... But here it is nonetheless! Its very rough, but it served its purpose. (there is actually a typo in there I forgot to correct! Whoops! *teachable moment!*- Now that I mentioned it I'm sure you'll all watch it just to find it! A scavenger hunt, if you will.)

video

Sunday, April 26, 2009

swine flu and how the CDC is using web 2.0 tools...



Hi all. Hope for the best. This is potentially scary. Keep up to date by using the following:

general info

http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/

email updates

http://www.cdc.gov/emailupdates/index.html

rss

http://www2a.cdc.gov/podcasts/createrss.asp?t=r&c=252&showall=1

twitter

http://twitter.com/cdcemergency

Web 2.0 tools are now part of the US Government's emergency response strategies.

Hope for the best..... Doug

added: 4/27 click here for a google map showing presumed and confirmed cases in real time.

added: 5/1 click here for projection maps based on epidemiological modeling

Live Blogging about what Middle School is Really Like

The 6th grade language arts classes at KMS (Bortner, Brunelli, Mendez, and Springer) hope to have a live blogging conversation (via Cover it Live) with some of the 5th grades in the district in a few weeks time about the "big transition" to middle school. We envision having the 6th graders talk about what one needs to know, learn, and understand when coming to middle school and transitioning out of elementary school. We hope that fifth grade classes will want to participate, especially those from schools that feed into Kearney. Hopefully, this conversation will be like a question and answer session between students, with the teachers merely facilitating.

We can have students in small groups around individual computers or teachers can choose to have one computer going while students have the conversation with the teacher typing and paraphrasing. I still need to look at the next unit to see how this is going to tie in with the GLETs, but I don't foresee that being an issue.

If anyone has any pointers or suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

Thanks,

Liz

Friday, April 24, 2009

More on Livescribe

Ok so I went out and bought one for myself. The pen is actually called a Pulse Smartpen. It comes in two sizes (memory). 1GB cost $149.00 and the 2GB cost $199.00at Target. The software that is used with it is called Livescribe.

My goal was to be able to solve math problems as I would at a whiteboard or Smartboard in front of class but have the ability to save my work go and back to it with a narration of what I am thinking at each particular step. I found the Smartboard record tool not up to the task. For some reason the audio could never be captured completely and the Smartboard lacked the precision I needed for some tasks. It seemed to always need to be realigned.

I hope to build a bank of worked out problems that students can access from any internet source at any time. I also want to train students to use the tool and have them contribute to the problem bank on a regular basis. So far the pen seems to be just what I was looking for.

Here is my second try at uploading a link to my "pencast". This time with audio attached. Please click on the link below to see it and let me know what you think.

TDeaguero

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Global Learner UNITE

This day was an excellent. It energized and motivated me to continue several projects I have started but not yet followed through on. I learned or relearned abut many WEB 2.0 applications and how fellow teachers are using them in the classroom. I was able to problem solve about the best way to publish my students' pictures and voice recordings. I've got some great ideas-some of which I will be able to get to by the end of the school year and some I can play with over the summer for next year. Emily spent time showing me about Photo Story.
I am particularly excited about two collaborative projects. My second grade class will share questions and answers about our story of the week with Sara Zaleski's second grade class. Jon Fisher and I are planning to have my class share life as a second grader with his first graders. My students will be very excited. I think it will be a great balance to all the end of the year testing we are about to begin.

GL Day

I have learned many things to use in my class today.
Here are some of the things I will take back and use with my students.


Trekstor: This is a wireless recorder. It is used by students recording in it and then playing it back. Students do need headphones for this. I thought this would be great to use with students that struggle with writing. I have a few students that know what they want to say in writing, but can't put it on paper. This Trekstor gives students an opportunity to record a sentence, play it back and then write what they recorded. I think it will help students that have thoughts they can't get on paper.
Also, students can record a passage they read and play it back. This will help students understand how they sound when they read and they can hear how they need to improve their reading. (prosody, fluency, etc.)

Glogster: A fun site! Students can create a poster about a story we have read and reflect through glogster what they have learned. They can also do this for other subjects, such as science. This site gives students the opportunities to be creative when reflecting on their learning. All students love to be creative!

Webcam: I learned how to use this and how to upload it in my blogspot. Lisa Kellogg and I will be using this with our classes. We will be proposing questions and the other class with answer with the solutions, and vice versa.

This was a great day! I learned so much and can't wait to go back and implement it in my classroom!

Sara

Global Learners Unite!

I consider today a great day. I learned all about new apps and the one that I'm most excited about is Glogster. I hope to use it to have kids create autobiographical posters. I also would like to use it as a book review for my reading class.
I came into today with a electronic penpals project in the works, and I'm still working towards that. I'd like to practice a bit this year and work out the kinks, then hit the ground running next year.

new and improved reading centers

This is the time of year that my reading group and myself are getting a bit bored with our reading centers routine. I'd like to use this as an opportunity to spice things up a bit. Next week we are doing lesson 27 in reading. The main selection is a story about spiders. With this in mind I have downloaded some united streaming clips about spiders to download onto my set of video iPods. At one center, students will watch the clips on their iPod and then they will do a drawing of a spider and label its' different parts. I will also do a vocabulary center using the smart board and having students match vocabulary words to their definitions. I am also thinking about how to incorporate voicethread into reading centers as well. Any ideas?

video

First grade collaborative plant project

First grade collaborative plant project.
Kelly Berry, Jon Fisher
Students will develop a testable research question and design an experiment to test their question. They will make careful observations of their test and control plant. Students will share their observations twice per week using VoiceThread. Students will collaborate with their distance learning partners by asking questions and making predictions via the response features of VoiceThread.


Example questions:
What happens if you cut off half of the leaves?
What happens if you cover some of the leaves with foil?
Will a plant grow without soil?
Will a plant grow upside down?

We are looking for some feedback to get our project started. What are some other questions to investigate? We would likely start with nursery pre-potted plants. Does anyone have suggestions as to the best plants to use?

Freedom of Speech



I'm going to use a variety of software applications to assist my students with their speeches and monologues. Thanks to Uncle for the heads up for Odigo. Check out these programs, freeware of course, and available at www.download.com. I hope this will help extra-shy students while still allowing them to complete the assignments.

Odigo 4.0 & Text To Wav 2.11

Glogster Modster

Today, I learned a million things about Glogster, which I love. We've discussed and planned multiple lessons that will incorporate glogging and will be feasable to complete by the end of the school year. My students are currently reading books of their choice and are expected to do a review/one-pager as a product. My students will use a Glog instead!

We are also currently reading short stories and will collaborate with Justin's class to Glog and comment. We are expecting to do this in the next few weeks. Today has been an amazing day! Thank you:)

Professional development that works

Today, the Global Learning team and I were reminded of the excitement and enhanced teaching and learning that technology can provide. We were introduced to many new things and I am excited to try them in the classroom. I was very interested in Glogging on Glogster. This seems like a great way to work on visual maps of units or even have students highlight daily learning or weekly learning. I will continue to work with other global learners so that I can learn more about glogs. Luc and I were reminded of how much we enjoy voice thread and worked on creating voice threads for unit 6. We are also thinking about how we can best use them to enhance student learning. We are thinking of some way to use them to accentuate content objective and help students make connections to what we are doing in class. Ning seemed like it could have many applications for the classroom. Eagon and I will need to develop that idea further. I am interested in the atomic learning website, but did not have enough time to get help with it. There were other Global Learners from Kearney that I can go to for help.

Great Day!

Today I got back in touch with my GL roots. Jesse Brown and I created a few new VoiceThreads for the upcoming unit. We look forward to posting the student work on the blog. Also, I discovered "Ning", which will not only be great for the classroom, but I can't wait to use Ning to start a social network for the ACHS soccer team.

Collaboration from GL PD - Kelly & Dorothy


Hey Global Learners!

Kelly and I are collaborating on a literacy piece. We are using the book, Where the Wild Things Are and creating our very own 'reader's theater version' of it. Kelly's class is creating the characters, and my class is creating the backgrounds. We have divided up the book and each class is reading certain parts. We are each recording the readings and then will meet up to put it all together. We're considering live action versus still photo. The question is...which program to use? There are soooo many options!

Training progress

Today I learned more about using VoiceThread and about the live scribe pen Dave had. I learned how to use the screen capture and practiced making a voicethread on composition of functions. I also made prompts for the students to answer tomorrow on the smartboard. I hope that I can link the voicethread to the smartboard successfully. http://voicethread.com/share/459464/
I also learned about live scribe. Check out Tom's problem on this page.

Live Scribe in math

Hey Guys, check this out. This is a new tool (toy?) called LiveScribe. It allowed me to write out a math problem from my AP Calc class, and solve it just as if I were demonstrating to my students, then save both the writing and my voice online and share it. You can see the document here but it appears that you need to have the LiveScribe software to hear the voice. My next goal is to learn how to use Voicethread and use either or both of these tools to create web-based lessons and resources for my students to access from anywhere. Dave bought his at Target for about $150.00.
This is my first try so ... here goes...
Click here to see the document or click the LiveScribe home page for more information.
Line tangent to a curve
brought to you by Livescribe
Tom Deaguero
Adams City HS

GL Day

Penny and I are working together to create a unit with an end product of a Glogster. We think it is a great way to incorporate technology and help the environment. The conversations with the other secondary teachers has been enlightening. Thanks for a great day, so far!

Live blogging is easy

google sites / blogger examples and resources


Hi all. Click here for the ppt / google doc presented in the workshop.
It has clickable links to resources.

Thanks, Doug

Global Learners UNITE

What a great day, 80 degrees, sunny blue skies and 20 Global Learners UNITE to share ideas.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Attendance and Charts on the Smartboard

In March, Dave came to my classroom on a Friday morning. He filmed my students checking in by doing attendance on the Smartboard. He stayed for the beginning of reading, when we do CRF "charts." The original video is about 14 minutes. I played with movie maker for the first time and created a version around 2 minutes long. Here are the two versions of the video.


Friday Morning in Second Grade-Short Version from Lisa Kellogg on Vimeo.


Friday Morning in Second Grade-Long Version from Lisa Kellogg on Vimeo.

Glogster

UNITE Session Agenda 4/23/09

Hello Global Learners,

Here is the agenda for Thursday, April 23, 2009 from 9am to 3:30pm.


9:00-9:45 Introductions and Ignite Session
Student email accounts: Liz Springer
Voice thread: Jon Fisher
Live blogging/TextTheMob: Todd Mayville
Blogger/Google site: Doug Abshire
Ning: Todd Mayville & Liz Springer
Glogster: Liz Springer
Atomic Learning: Doug Abshire
Smart Board: Jeff Lewis
Clickers: Wesley Robinson
Video/story making: Kelly & Emily


9:45-10:45 Break out into groups as follows:
Elementary Group led by Kelly and Liz
Secondary Group led by Justin, Todd, and Doug

This hour will be for questions and concerns around GL issues specific to grade level. It will be in the format of a round table discussion for GLs to voice their ideas.

10:45-12:00 Work Time
Let’s start collaborating and idea sharing with other GLs. By lunch time, be ready to post on the blog about what you’ve discussed and worked on so far. What ideas are you going to pursue? Please visit the blog during the day and comment on this question.


12:00-12:30 Lunch
Text The Mob—vote for your top 3 choices on what you want to learn more about from this morning’s Ignite Session.

12:30-1:30 Q & A on new technologies and 2.0 Applications
Tables will be set up and GLs will visit each table to learn more about new technologies and 2.0 applications.

1:30-2:45 Work Time
Your goal is to complete a collaborative lesson to be shared with others. You do not necessarily need to plan a big project with another class. You can develop a lesson with a colleague that both people will implement in their respective classrooms.

2:45-3:15 Regroup
Get into ELEMENTARY and SECONDARY groups to follow-up and report out:
1. Here's my success for the day
2. Here's something I'm still wondering about and want to follow-up on
3. Here's the next thing I'm going to try in my classroom: lesson plan and commitment with results posted to blog prior to the end of this school year (June 4).

3:15-3:30 Next steps...future of Global Learner

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Science Power Points

My students have been learning about the life cycle of a butterfly.
I had students create a powerpoint of the stages a butterfly goes through.
While this may seem very easy to some, for my students it was not. MOST of my students do not have a computer at home. We do not have a computer lab time here at Dupont, so this was new and exciting to them. They got to learn how to change the font style and size. They learned how to insert pictures from clip art and use color for the background. Students enjoyed this project and it reflected what they learned about metamorphosis.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Reader's Theater Student Podcast


While carpooling with a fifth colleague, Deb Welner, she mentioned that her students were less than thrilled to listen to the weekly audio CD of the core story. So we decided to begin creating audio versions of the reader's theater at the end of every StoryTown theme using fourth and fifth graders. This is our first. The story is Exploring the Gulf Coast and it is from fifth grade theme 6. Students were given scripts a couple of days ahead to practice, then we put all the students together (4 from fourth and 4 from fifth) so they could practice. They read and recorded it twice using the iPod with the mic and this was the best read. The plan is to do another reader's theater from either fourth or fifth every week with a different set of kids.

I also uploaded the recording to archive.org which gives me the code for the player you see above. I embedded the recording on our class reading wiki so students could listen to it during centers. I also burned CDs for each fifth grade teacher using iTunes.
SIOP lesson plan

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Recommendations for class website?

Hi. I know we've discussed this topic several times before, but I'd love some thoughts on a few particular issues.

I responded to the "What are you doing now?" post about our letters about Mo Willem's book. I have finally scanned all my students' pictures and am working on recording the audio of my students reading their own letters. The plan is to create a webpage to share this project. I started with the Google site I created at the beginning of the year, but I can't host audio files on it. Then I spent time on a Wikispaces site. I can upload my pictures and audio. However, I'd also like a convenient way for people to comment on student work, yet I want to be able to filter them for inappropriate content. From what I can tell on Wikispaces, I can recieve notice when someone has posted on the discussion page, but I thought some sites allowed managers to okay posts before they appear on the site. Also, I was having a hard time putting a hit map on the site and I know many people say a hit map is an exciting widgit for students. It doesn't look like Blogger hosts audio files.

So here is my question for you. Is there a site that can host our pictures and audio files, can allow me to monitor/grant permission for comments, and let me easily use a hit map? Or perhaps, you all have not had issues with inappropriate comments and permission is not a necessary factor. What are your thoughts?
Thanks.
Lisa

Friday, April 17, 2009

live blogging is so cool!

Hi all. Yesterday my AP biology students had the opportunity to collaborate with Todd Mayville's Theory of Knowledge class in a live blogging session.

This was my first time using cover it live and it is really cool!. Kind of like instant messaging simultaneously between 30+ people! The topic was "How do filters affect our Knowledge" which as a prompt took the discussion in many different directions. An archive of the dialogue can be accessed here.

This was a new experience for almost all of my students and the feedback was very positive. I observed students engaged, enjoying the activity and realizing the power of such a tool.

Access was easy and immediate due to Todd placing the link on his blog and me emailing the link to my students,

So, check out http://www.coveritlive.com/.

It has lots of possibilities.

Thanks Todd (aka Mr. Live Blog!)



Thursday, April 16, 2009

Probability Bar Graph Voicethread


This is a voicethread my students have been commenting on. The process was as follows:
  • Together, we filled out a 6 x 6 table showing all the possible combinations that can be rolled with two dice. We then created a bar graph showing the probability of rolling a 2, 3, 4 etc. all the way to 12. They discovered that the probability of rolling a 7 was much greater than rolling a 2 or a 12.
  • Students worked in pairs to roll two dice 50 times and tally the results.
  • They used the laptops to visit National Library of Virtual Manipulatives and created a bar graph showing their results.
  • I screencaptured their graphs using the PrtSc/SysReq button on the computers because their wasn't a screencapture program installed on all the computers.
  • I uploaded the pictures to box.net which now has a feature where you can easily edit the pictures using picnik I cropped the screenshots down to show just the graphs.
  • I imported the pictures to Voicethread along with instructions on how students should comment.
  • Here's the SIOP lesson plan.
Students are choosing to comment using voice and text. I instructed them on how to choose their own "identity" icon before commenting although sometimes they are forgetting to do so. We began this process before spring break and before the blizzard so unfortunately we didn't finish then like I had planned. After the break, we worked on it again and honestly, I am disappointed with the results. I thought my instructions were explicit enough, but my students' comments seemed really surface-level and didn't reflect the deep level of understanding I was looking for. Other comments are very stilted and are read right from their worksheet without much thought to the meaning of the words they were saying.

Finally, I had major technical problems with Voicethread. First, my mics weren't working on any of my desktops. I tested them through the control panel and they worked fine. Then in Voicethread they didn't work. Then I did a test comment as a demonstration for my class and it worked on my laptop. When we went to the desktop later to listen to it on VT, it wasn't there. Other students have reported disappearing comments. It was so frustrating and brought everything to a standstill. I would like kids to go in and continue commenting, but I am bagging it at this point. Has anyone else experienced problems with VT? Voicethread is a tool with great potential and I was excited about using it, but I am really disappointed. We have another project happening next week where students will be publishing their work as a VoiceThread. I will publish it here and let you know how it turns out.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Atomiclearning.com

Hey fellow GL'ers. As we move into the next phase of our training and professional development, I'd like to quickly give a "thumbs up" to atomic learning which I have been investigating to help me improve my excel 2007 skills. Lots of tutorials for many of the applications that we use everyday. Lots more features such as curriki that Dave Tarwater (aka Mr. Mayor) can share with you.

Thanks,

Doug

Thursday, April 9, 2009

KenKen Math: Engaging Operations


I love to teach math to my 4th graders; they really excel with numbers. Plotting coordinates, finding the circumference of a circle, multiplying decimals- they love it all. Still, when I test my students I can still find cracks in their fundamental number sense. They can still slip up with their
basic operations. What is an engaging activity that builds this core skill?

Remember Sudoku? Well, KenKen is a math puzzle that uses the framework of Sudoku but involves the four basic math operations. Rather than decipher which of 9 digits to put in a row, column, or box, in KenKen you are given an answer to a problem, such as 2-. This means that the two numbers in the box need to have a difference of two. Other boxes could hold three or more digits, and have an answer like 24x, meaning that the three digits multiplied euqal 24. However, like Sudoku, the row and column of the grid can only have one of each digit- but the gird can vary form a 4x4, 5x5, or higher.

I had my students solve a few puzzles, but the real thinking began when they had to create their own. They start by filling in a gird with a pattern of numbers, where they do not repeat in each column and row, and then they box off the digits and create problems using the four operations.
The students quizzed each other, and generally had an totally engaed computaton fest.

Try a few KenKen websites:

KenKen creator site (may not work from district computers- not sure why!)

New York Times KenKen and learning website

Here are some student-created examples, as well as a Smartboard template we used.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

creating a google site to deconstruct a website...


Hi all. Hope your spring break was enjoyable...Anyway back to work...

As some of you know, Todd M and I are blending 9th grade English and Science curriculum to investigate problems facing the earth and possible solutions to those problems. To that end we are using Plan B 3.0 as a primary reference. Todd has begun to use ning as well as coveritlive to support classroom activities and I am learning from those experiences. (Thanks Mr. Live Blog!)

To that end, I have started to create a google site titled Is oil in your future? that deconstructs the website Life after the Oil Crash

By this I mean that I have taken various portions of the website, inserted them into google pages and then embedded assignments as well as alternative points of view for comparison since some of the author's claims are controversial.

I think that this approach takes a somewhat technical website and makes it more accessible by breaking it down into sections. Hopefully it will be more engaging to the students.

BTW, Is Oil in your future? IS NOT complete but does show you how I will be using the site. It is cross-referenced on the 9th grade blog

Anyway, I welcome your criticism of this strategy.

Thanks,

Doug

PS : this activity supports the IB Learner Profile

Storytown Resources Site

Better late than never, right?
I created a google site that all the second grade teachers in the district could use to share resources they found or created to go with Storytown, the new reading program. It's been up since January, and I've been meaning to post about it. Honestly, I have not updated it much. When I first started, I gathered many of the files from a Second Grade Teachers Club on NING. There was not a central place for them and I wanted an easy way to share them with other teachers in our district. Now, there are a few comprehensive sites that host most of the files created by the teachers in the Second Grade Teachers Club. So it became less important for me post them all on one site.
Also, I was really hoping that other ACSD 14 teachers would upload some of their files to the site. I know many teachers have made them and when we share we all have to do less work. In order to upload to the site, you must a Google account and I realized that many teachers do not and would not be willing to create one simply for this site. So I created a Google account that everyone can use and shared the password. All of this was supposed to be shared with all the second grade teachers through an email. While I think some teachers are using the files on the site, so far no one has added any files. I know I need to give it more time.
I have been meaning to upload the latest files from my second grade team and post the files from the Second Grade Teachers Club for the later themes, but it is still on my to-do list. Anyway, here it is http://sites.google.com/site/storytownsecondgrade/Home.
I would love any suggestions for the site or for encouraging teachers to upload files.
Lisa