Increasing Math Literacy with iPads

Mathematics expresses values that reflect the cosmos, including orderliness, balance, harmony, logic, and abstract beauty.-Deepak Chopra

Math and I don’t get along.  While we are civil out of necessity, I make it a practice not to do math in public.  It just never turns out well. I think our disharmony can be traced back to the early beginnings of our relationship when my second grade teacher would smack our knuckles with a ruler if we used our fingers when adding.  I was terrified of her and I soon became terrified of math.  It’s been a rocky road ever since.

So how ironic that my 100th blog post (insert big fanfare here!) is about math.  I don’t want my students to be afraid of math, nor do I want them to share the same ambivalent feelings I have.

ella tens and onesOur common core math standard this week is “I can break numbers in to tens and ones.”  We’ve unpacked that standard all week.  We’ve practiced and practiced and today was the day they demonstrated their proficiency.  First, we chose four teen numbers.  They drew their tens frame in Doodle Buddy and showed the ones outside the frame.  After the drawing was saved, they imported it into Pic Collage and typed out their breakdown of the number into tens and ones.  This one to the left is Ella’s.  She has extended our valentines theme in her tens frame.

I’ve mentioned before how we are focusing on workflow fluency. As my students save their Pic Collage to their camera roll, I can transfer it to my laptop with Simple Transfer.  This allows me to keep electronic work portfolios.  You could also add this Pic Collage to Explain Everything and the children could tell all about their thinking.  Wells Tens and OnesIn Wells’ example to the right, he chose to draw some of his and use the stickers in Pic Collage for others.

Mathematical thinking supports science, technology and mathematical literacy.  Having students demonstrate and be able to explain how they came to their conclusions is not only important in math, but any problem solving activity.

As we have recently celebrated and counted up to the 100th day of school, we are exposing our students to greater numbers.  Having spent the week on tens and ones, they are already asking me about what the “1” in 100 means if their are zero tens and zero ones.  Time to move the bar up a notch and explore hundreds.

My students loved this activity and it is definitely one you can “count” on me using again!

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What’s Your Story?

I think it’s imperative to follow your heart and choose a profession you’re passionate about.-Steve Kerr

success1What’s your story?  We all have one.  Mine is chronicled here on this blog and while it may seem like a love note to Apple and iPads most of the time, it is more about the changes in my classroom as a result of innovation.

Teachers are innovators.  We have to be.  We are often short on time, money, and resources, but we are not short on passion, creativity, and a desire to make a difference.  It is easy to walk down the hall everyday to your classroom, close the door, and go about the business of educating each day.  It is easy to start believing that what you do doesn’t matter and even easier to drift into autopilot.  It becomes easy to reject new ideas and technologies because that brings change and change brings uncertainty and uncertainty brings…well, it brings a degree of discomfort.  And who has time for that?

There is a bigger story here.  It’s your story. How do you innovate?   What if you tried one thing differently today?  What if you said no to “what we’ve always done” and said yes to something you’ve always wanted to do?

Ok, enough about you, let’s talk about me…I’ve said before iPads have been a game changer in my teaching career.  I’ve always believed in my calling to teach.  It is who I am, but that doesn’t mean I am impervious to ruts, routines, and rigor mortis.  Jumping into this project with a “what if” mindset opened more doors than I even imagined.  Stretching, embracing the change, and learning to live in the uncertain was my personal lesson plan.  It was not (and still isn’t) without setbacks, do overs, and what-in-the-world-was-I-thinking moments.  Innovation does not come without your personal investment.  Innovation doesn’t necessarily mean setting the world on fire…I’d settle for setting my students on fire for learning.

Make a promise to yourself that you will try one new thing.  Stir your creative juices and stretch.  Your skin may feel a little tight; but in the end, you will find your story.  You will re-discover what it is that brought you to this profession and you will be better for it-both personally and professionally.

I’d love for you to leave a comment, subscribe to my blog, and/or share this post with a friend.