Using Jamboard for Math

Last year my son’s Chemistry teacher created a lot of assignments in Jamboard. He proudly showed me his work. At the time my Algebra kids were humming along with taking pictures of their work on paper. I was intrigued by his projects though and offered up the option to them to give it a try. The class agreed that it was too challenging to write on and it worked just fine to take pictures.

Math 8 was a different story. When I opened it up to them they were mixed. Some students preferred the format and others were really frustrated by it. Our school was using Google Classroom at the time and classroom played very well with my iPad. I could pull their pictures into it, mark them up and grade easily. It didn’t play nicely with Jamboard. So, last spring I offered Jamboard alternatives to students who wanted to use them but stuck with mostly traditional pictures of work.

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S.E.L. Dice

In the fall of 2019, as part of a regular professional development day in October my district had someone come in and work with us on Social Emotional Learning Standards. We participated in activities, collaborated and I left feeling ready to come up with some ways to more intentionally teach and reinforce social emotional learning in my classroom.

Dice

I spent the weekend reading through the materials and came up with an idea of S.E.L. dice. I found a template and printed it out on 6 different colors of thick colored paper, put the activities I thought I could manage on them and printed up a key for myself. Each table bin in my 8th grade classroom got a single die and we used them regularly. My original project is linked below. The GREAT things about it.

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Quadratic Formula Song

Normally when we learn in our actual classroom space when we get to learn the Quadratic formula in Algebra, I have the song playing as the students come in. This is not my original idea – in fact I learned the song when my daughter took Algebra. Her teacher played it day in and day out for them.

This year we were in our virtual learning environment when it was time to learn the formula. Naturally I still wanted to follow the tradition and play the song. However, when I went to find the song, I found A LOT of songs. There was the catchy, familiar version that I know and love set to the tune of “Pop Goes the Weasel” but there were also so many others out there. People sang it to the tune of Rolling in the Deep, there were rap versions and more. I found a few and popped them into a playlist on my YouTube channel and shared them with my students.

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Color Coded Notes

This year our 8th grade Algebra class has the opportunity to “loop” with me as their teacher for a 2nd year. The benefits: we all know each other and our class systems are familiar. The drawbacks: students who hoped to get an opportunity to learn from someone else don’t get that opportunity and we can fall back into too familiar patterns with each other early in the year.

I’m happy to report that for the most part we haven’t settled into bad habits but instead I see new and better habits emerging. The kids have really let me grow as a teacher and I’ve let them grow as students. One great thing for our class is the addition of a new student. She is really organized and loves to color code her notes. The result? It is spreading!! I now have several students taking the time to add color to notes.

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Whiteboard Equation Solving

You can use water-based markers on a whiteboard

It was a happy accident last year. A student (or maybe it was me I don’t actually remember) wrote on our classroom whiteboard in marker. Not dry erase marker. Oh dear!! We’ll have marker on our board forever, I thought. Before panicking though I grabbed some paper towels and a water spray bottle and was so happy to see that it came off!!

This mistake prompted me to use it as a teaching tool in the classroom. Continue reading “Whiteboard Equation Solving”

Integer Mind Maps

Our Mind Map Project

This fall I took an independent study class. The class was full of things, but one portion was an app that required you to create a mind map. I really haven’t done that before, and part of the course required that you create one that could be used in your classroom. I created one for our current unit of study at the time: Integers.

Upon looking at it, I realized it could be a really nice way to keep everything straight. We discovered the rules for integers by using integer chips. I felt pretty good about the exploration piece of this. I pre-taught the kids in Math Lab so they’d have more time with the chips, and then we worked through the rules in our groups in class. Each day we’d add to the mind map. Occasionally, I posted a new picture of our classroom board mind map on Google Classroom. Continue reading “Integer Mind Maps”

Thank you Middle School PTO for our calculators!

Calculators are a must have in seventh grade math class. Mrs. Dawson has math classes all throughout the day, and has found a system for making sure that calculators are always available when you need them. The students were asked to buy calculators, as well as the PTO kindly buying enough for everyone to use during class. They are a part of our shared bins on every table, which also includes highlighters, pens, sticky notes, scissors, pencil sharpeners and erasers. Most of these items the students were asked to help supply the classroom with, and they are definitely being put to good use. Continue reading “Thank you Middle School PTO for our calculators!”

Pi Day! (2018)

Gail Brisson nabbed some pictures for us as the kids were rotating through each station. View our slideshow below. Read on for more about our Pi Day celebration. Many thanks to our 3 parent volunteers that helped us with the day. We really appreciate your help! Many thanks to our judges and to all the Math 7 team members that made this day possible. It was a lot to coordinate but we pulled it off.

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Using the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil for Teaching (2018)

Two years ago I was a long-term sub teaching 8th grade math in a classroom where the SmartBoard wasn’t working properly. It wouldn’t stay calibrated, rendering it really not usable. Instead of declaring it dead, I noticed the Apple TV in the room and had a brainstorm – could I airplay from my iPad pro to the Apple TV and use it for instruction? The short answer was yes, and I used this set-up for classroom teaching. At the time I wrote about it on my husband’s blog. I am posting that here because while many things have changed and improved in two years, the heart of the matter is still very relevant. Read my original post about using the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil for teaching math.

I’ve divided this new post into two parts: “Getting there” and “How I’m using things.”  If you are only interested in how I’m using this technology, please skip to the second part. I included the first part because I want to thank the people who helped me with this, and I want to remember it. Continue reading “Using the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil for Teaching (2018)”

How I use Trello as a Lesson Plan Book (2018)

Anyone who chats with me about computer things realizes quickly that I LOVE Trello. Every time I discover some new way to involve it in my life one of my family members remarks, “You know you really should work for Trello or at least get paid as an ambassador!”

I used to use Google Drive exclusively for tutoring, but then I’d find it challenging to keep things in order. Trello was helpful with its cards, but it wasn’t until after using Trello for a full year tutoring students that I realized that the calendar feature was the lynchpin for using it very successfully. I tutored my son through Algebra 1 and we needed to keep a daily log to show his school that we were actually doing work. I wanted something that we could just share with them virtually, so I went looking at the power up opportunities. Fortunately for me, a calendar was an option. The calendar allows you to put due dates in all your items, and they appear on the date they are due on the calendar view.  Continue reading “How I use Trello as a Lesson Plan Book (2018)”