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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Let’s Get Creative With Educreations

  In the planning stage of a book, don’t plan the ending. It has to be earned by all that will go before it. -Rose Tremain

With only 74 days of school remaining in this year, (wow, that totally seems like I’m counting) I’m feeling the urge to mix things up a bit and try some different things.  I’m a self-confessed organization evangelist and I don’t like messy things (no glitter, ever).  I’m also a big planner and to-do list person.  Call it our ridiculously warm winter this year or perhaps early, early spring, but I’m up for a bit of whimsy.  A bit of spontaneity.

unpacked standardsThis week, our unpacked standard in math, is addition is putting things together and subtraction is taking things apart.  Another kindergarten teacher and I thought it would be fun to put 2 groups of our children together and let them come up with a number story with a partner from the other class.  They would plan together and write it out on paper first.  The partners would decide if it was an addition story or a subtraction story first, then they would decide what object(s) would be used in the number story.  One of the stories went like this: We had 4 flowers.  We gave 2 flowers away.  We had 2 flowers left.

After the story was written out and illustrated on paper, the pair opened their Educreations app.  Educreations is a free interactive whiteboard for iPad. Students can create a video tutorial, record and play their voice, add photos from the camera or their own drawings,  and can animate their images by dragging them around the screen while recording.  planningEach pair of students, decided who would read the story problem first and who would illustrate the story problem while it was being read.  Then they reversed roles and recorded it on the other student’s iPad.  This way both students had their work to show.

My planning only went as far as the partners working on the story problems together and then recording. These students took this assignment and ran with it.  The partners came up with great story problem ideas and did a wonderful job collaborating and taking turns. They loved taking turns and putting the story problem on each iPad.  I’ve mentioned how much they love to talk!

This app has so many possibilities and is so easy to use.  I can even create lessons on the app and have students watch it as needed to work on a skill.  Lessons can be shared via email, Facebook and Twitter if needed.  By having a target plan in place, but allowing the students to take charge and turn it into their own, I find the results usually far exceed even my high expectations…and THAT is definitely a happy ending!

boys planning

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