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Monthly Archives: September 2013

Math Apps, cont. (plus some other stuff)

I hadn’t planned on researching more math resources this week, but a fantastic fifth grade teacher asked me to find something for her accelerated math students.  And here is a little secret that most wouldn’t know about me…I’m a closet math geek.  I actually considered getting my master’s in math (that was pretty short-lived since as an el ed undergrad I hadn’t had complex math classes since my senior year in high school).  So, I am happily exploring more math games this morning.

I hit on a winner right away.  MathLands is designed for ages 7 on up.  It has six logic and number games for developing math reasoning and problem solving abilities.  There is even features designed especially for parents to help them guide their children in solving each puzzle.  Some of the puzzles I solved within a few seconds (you go to the next level each time), but a couple I couldn’t solve without first reading the instructions and the hints.  They should be good for students in grades 3-8 depending on the skill level.

The next math app I found was IXL Math.  It is for grades PreK-6.  The best part is that each grade level is broken down by topic (i.e. Geometry), and then by concept or skill (i.e. Identify planar and solid figures).  It is set up similar to a multiple choice quiz.  The player is timed, and receives a score for each problem.  The nice part is the step-by-step explanation when you get an incorrect answer.  This app would be great as a pre-test review, homework replacement, or for fast finishers who have extra time at the end of a class period.

Those are my two math gems for the week.  I have a couple other things I wanted to include in this blog that are unrelated to math, but totally related to technology (great seque, right?).

Quick Key is an app designed by a classroom teacher to quickly scan and grade your assignments.  Watch a short explanatory video here.  He grades a stack of papers while talking and filming this video in a minute and a half.  The great news is that it’s free (and coordinates with PowerSchool!!!).  The bad news is that it’s just on iPhones right now, and not iPads.  It’s still in the development stage, so I’m assuming it will be available on iPads soon.

Last bit of tech info:  October is Connected Educator Month.  I will host Manchester’s first after school Tech Time on Wed., Oct. 2 from 3:30-4:30.  All Manchester educators are invited to attend and BYOD.  We will be exploring Twitter and how to use it to connect to other educators.  Hope to see you then!

Math App Monday

I have been meeting with new teachers since school started to get to know them and offer my support.  I have been overwhelmingly impressed by the quality people we have hired for this year (eighteen new teachers to be exact!).  Last week I began making my rounds touching base with our second-year teachers (also very impressive).  One is a sixth-grade math teacher.  He asked me to look for an app or website that would give the students extra practice on their math facts.  I often download apps that people recommend with intentions of trying them out, only to have them sit, unused, on my iPad.  Well, this request gave me an excuse – and motivation – to play.  I soon deleted several, but in the process found a few that I really enjoyed.

Quick Math:

  • All operations, or a mix of the four
  • Four different levels
  • Easy to use
  • Fun
  • Race against yourself

Mulitiplication:

  • Grades 3-5
  • Dinosaur Memory Game
  • Fun, easy to use, platform is a bit elementary in nature

My Math App:

  • Grades 1-4
  • Two levels (starter/advanced)
  • Practice all four operations
  • Easy to use
  • A little boring (but good for those with attention issues)

Touch Letters and Numbers:

  • PreK-1
  • Great for letter and number identification

Math Puppy:

  • K-2
  • Free version only offers subtraction practice
  • Fun, easy to use

Pearl Diver HD or Lobster Diver:

  • Grades 3-8
  • Practices math facts, fractions, and decimals

Counting Race:

  • PreK-1
  • Perfect for individual or group practice (up to four kids can “play” on the same iPad
  • Works on counting and basic addition facts

Please comment if you have other favorite math apps.

*Not all of these apps are free.

Primary Sources

Most weeks I will spend time exploring a variety of websites and apps I have collected throughout the week.  However, I found an article on Edutopia last week that has 6 Free Online Resources for Primary Source Documents

With the Common Core Literacy Standards, all classes/contents need to be teaching students how to research and write argument papers.  The internet offers current and relevant resources in one easy and convenient location.  Gone are the days of dragging supplies to the library to look through a card catalog, write down call letters, track down encyclopedias and microfische (remember those?!) documents.  Now, we just open Google, type in our topic, hit enter, and Voila!  So we don’t need to teach students the library search tactics anymore, but what we do need to teach is how to find credible and reliable digital resources.  This becomes a much more cumbersome issue than carrying fifteen enormous books to a quiet table on the third floor of the library.

Students (and sometimes adults) believe whatever they find online.  “Hey, it’s on the internet, so it must be true, right?”  Wrong, of course.  Our media specialist does a fantastic job going into the classroom and teaching students the art of online research, how to determine credible sources, and how to cite said sources in their original essays.

The article in Edutopia makes those steps a bit easier for the classroom teacher by providing six links to reliable online primary source documents.  These are for everyone – not just English and Social Studies teachers.

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