With over 650,000 apps in the App Store, how do you determine what’s really worth your time, and in some cases, money? As a middle school math teacher and summer math enrichment program director, I’m always looking for new games and ways to engage my students. I have spent countless hours scouring the App Store, downloading and testing out various apps, sometimes even getting addicted to some myself! Without further ado, here is my list of the five best math apps currently on the market. § Read the rest of this entry…
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We discovered an article posted five years ago and thought it worthwhile to share. The article reveals ten easy arithmetic tricks.
We know many teachers do not like parents teaching their kids tricks, but once students have demonstrated conceptual understanding, learning tricks makes math so much more fun. § Read the rest of this entry…
Someone posted this on a Facebook page yesterday:
2 + 2 x 2 + 2 x 2 – 2 x 2 =
And I was shocked to see that so many people got the wrong answer.
Knowing the Order of Operations is important for a student’s success in math – so important that we included two lessons in the Elevated Math iPad app dealing exclusively with this subject.
If you are absolutely sure of the right answer, don’t bother watching the following videos. BUT if not… or if you want a peek at how Elevated Math teaches the Order of Operations, § Read the rest of this entry…
When running for school board, one question was asked a number of times, especially in the debates and usually asked by students, “How will we provide more teacher/student interaction?” I assumed that students wanted a more personal experience in their learning until an article last week made me realize that a lot more was behind this question. The BBC News wrote, “Secondary school pupils are so scared of looking stupid in maths lessons they will not tell their teachers if they do not understand, suggests research.” The article continued, “The reasons pupils gave for not asking for help more often were that they were worried about looking foolish, were embarrassed or did not want to draw attention to themselves.” In other words, they lack confidence, which could be overcome if teachers had the time to spend more one-on-one with their students.
Are there other ways to build a student’s confidence in math? § Read the rest of this entry…
A short article written in a 2006 issue of NCTM’s mathematics journal, Teaching in the Middle School, caught my eye. It was entitled “Some Students Do Not Like Mathematics”. The reasons stated were the same as we have heard for years: “We don’t engage our students,” “Parents are not involved,” “Students don’t know how to expand their thinking when they solve a problem.”
I object to hearing a problem discussed without including at least one concrete solution, and this got me thinking: What solution(s) would I offer if I had written this article.
Of course, my first advice would be to buy an iPad and download the Elevated Math lessons. Most students enjoy math when they watch the videos and work the problems.
But that’s an obvious answer. What else could I say? § Read the rest of this entry…
A memory of middle and high school is being stuck in class and daydreaming my time away, full aware that my inability to focus on the droning lesson in front of me would cost me dearly when I had to figure out later how to answer the homework problems. Maybe this is why I made educational films in college and more recently worked with a team to launch Elevated Math, an iPad app that teaches middle school math. Teachers need to do something to engage our kids. We have infinite ways to do this, but for now I’ll touch on four.
1. Passion. Teachers must not only love the subjects they teach, they must be passionate about them. In college, I took a class on existentialism. The instructor would talk an hour in the lecture hall and then, when the hour was over, would invite us to join him in the sculpture garden outside where he would lecture another hour. Everyone followed him. He would speak about each philosopher as if this person held the ultimate truth of life that we each needed to know. No doubt this professor passionately loved his subject. Can we approach our class in the same way, as if we hold a sacred gift of knowledge that we must pass on?
2. Real-world problems. I remember my earth science class when the first photographs of the moon were released. My teacher drove to Washington D.C. (we lived in northern Virginia) and acquired large prints of these maps. § Read the rest of this entry…
An article in EdWeek this month by David Ginsburg entitled Don’t Prevent Students’ Mistakes, Prepare for Them has prompted this post. The article discusses how traditional teaching methods often deny students the chance to learn from their mistakes. But what about the teachers? Are they encouraged to make mistakes? Are they willing to take chances with their instruction? Is an unwillingness to create a video to use in a flipped classroom a bigger mistake than failing at the attempt?
In the traditional classroom model the information transfer takes place in class with assimilation of that information taking place outside the class. In an inverted model, as in a flipped classroom, the transfer takes place outside of class (often through online videos) and with assimilation in class. If implemented correctly, the class can become a robust environment where students work on challenging problems aimed at making sense of what they’ve seen and heard outside of class. Read our earlier blog if you need to know more.
I’ve spent the last couple months talking with teachers, visiting their classrooms, and reading blogs. I’m convinced schools should head in the direction of the inverted model and they should vigorously pursue the implementation of the flipped classroom.
A teacher I visited outside of Boston had a 6th grade flipped math classroom. It was a fascinating visit. Despite his struggles to keep § Read the rest of this entry…
Instead of cramming right before the exam, it is much more beneficial to study in increments. This incremental study pattern or rhythm is proven § Read the rest of this entry…
On May 23, 2010 in my very first blog, Teaching Math; It’s All in the Balance, I shared my view that both the traditional and reform camps have something to offer math educators. Basically, traditionalists believe skills should be taught based on algorithms, formulas and step-by-step procedures; reformists support a more inquiry-based approach that emphasizes developing conceptual understanding and problem-solving skills. My contention is that a balanced approach is best. Also, I am an advocate for using engaging, interactive technology whenever possible to reach and teach this generation.
I shared a conversation I had with Grant, my oldest grandson, about adding two two-digit numbers. During our talk it was obvious his skill for adding single digits was developing nicely, but he lacked an understanding of place value concepts. Even though he could get the right answers, when I asked him the value of the digits, he had no clue.
In my second blog posted on June 27, The First Steps in Developing Conceptual Understanding of Place Value, I emphasized the importance of developing a foundation of understanding. I also shared ways to help children understand place value when first learning to count with non-proportional items (straws and money) and with proportional manipulatives (base-ten blocks) when adding and subtracting.
Grant is now in the 3rd grade. He tells me he “gets” math. He doesn’t need my help, thank you very much. That is… until this week. Monday, he called to say he had taken a test last week, and he wasn’t happy with his grade. “Can I come down, Gigi? Can you help me?” Smile. Gigi is back in the picture.