26 August 2014

Create Digital Manipulatives with PicCollage App

Searching for a fun way to enrich my students who had already watched and accounted for the videos for today's lesson, I decided to have them create and use manipulatives to model the addition and subtraction of integers that I had presented in my flipping videos.

My first decision was to just have them use paper, but with other kids in the room catching up on the videos on the class iPads, that almost seemed like a PUNISHMENT. "Good job doing your homework and getting ahead. Now give me back the technology - you can cut paper squares." Not exactly the engaging environment I was hoping to create. While rethinking it during my prep, I opened my iPad just to look through my apps to see which of them might give me some of the create-a-shape-and-then-move-it-around functionality I was seeking.

I settled on the app PicCollage (iOS | Android), which I previously used last year to have students construct a Frayer Model for our exponent rules.

Here are some student examples. Taco vs. Nachos was my favorite. :)
That was "-6 + 12 =" in the blue text, in case you're thinking this kid was as lost I was first thinking when I looked at it. :)
This was is also -6 + 12
7 + (-12)
The real winner was when the creator of smileys vs slushies above used HIS OWN MODEL to help out the kid next to him who was a little confused on how to use the model. Student win!

24 August 2014

Donorschoose.org for #Ferguson

Writing from his blog on Friday, +Bill Gates announced a HUGE match offer for this weekend on the popular philanthropy site Donors Choose.
Melinda and I are big fans of DonorsChoose.org, a program that makes it easy for teachers to connect with potential donors. Teachers can post projects that need funding, and donors can search for projects by school, subject, grade, and so on. You can give to your local school, or one across the country.

To make it easy for everyone to support teachers via DonorsChoose.org, our foundation will meet donors halfway. From August 22 through August 24, nearly every project on the site will be half off. For example, if a $500 project gets $250 in donations in that time, we will match that with another $250 and fully fund the project. (We will match up to a total of $1 million.) You can search for a project now—there are thousands to choose from.
I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight the Donors Choose projects in and around my school district in Ferguson to see how many classrooms we could help get over that 50% mark.


22 August 2014

SMART Notebook Template for your #Flipclass Videos

One of the more common complaints I here from students in flipped classrooms are that they want their teacher to teach the class. This is usually in response to the model as a whole, but using other teachers' videos definitely exacerbates the complaint.

+Lodge McCammon's method suggests teachers K.I.S.S their approach and do their video with a simple whiteboard behind them in one take. The approach is certainly more luddite-friendly than editing an iMovie project or even screencasting on an iPad or other tablet, but it also passes on the opportunity we have to include multimedia in your lesson.

For the first time in the "studio" this year, my Algebra 1 co-teacher and I decided to put some slides together in SMART Notebook and present at the board as we would in class. Expecting that he and I will be doing this dozens of times throughout the year, I created a template to make our video sessions more efficient during our common planning period or PLC times once the school year begins.
flipped video template on Make A Gif
Here are our first efforts. I think we're still working on the lighting - putting the guy with dark skin on the dark side of the room was obviously a problem. :)