Makerspaces!

Recently I found a blog discussing the concept of making the classroom a makerspace. To me a makerspace is where students can express their ideas and creatively work on projects.  Makerspaces allow students to look at projects as a way for them to express their creativity. In the blog I read instead of the teacher having students just read stories about bullying, she had students think and create something that they thought would be most beneficial to students in a school.

I would like to make my classroom a makerspace by allowing students to think freely. I know my subject area is math, but I think if I asked some open ended questions students would be able to think creatively by building whatever they wanted. I could ask questions about architecture in a trigonometry/algebra class. There are questions that I could ask students that would have them thinking about math in a new way instead of just them sitting at their desks doing a work sheet.

All classrooms should be thought of as makerspaces because it allows students to think creatively as students instead of them sitting at their desks all day, not really thinking and creating, just memorizing and copying notes. The classroom can be so much more than worksheets and notes.

If you would like to read the blog that I read you can click here. I think this is a really great start to thinking about how we change the classroom to a makerspace.

Advertisements

FlipGrid!

I made this super cool flipgrid for my students to respond to me in a video message! I think this is a really great way for my students to share their thoughts. As an introduction, I thought we could start off by getting to know each other! So I asked what my students favorite tv show is and why. I’d really appreciate for my students to respond using a video message or by commenting on my blog here! Thank you!

https://flipgrid.com/embed/topic/fdb6b5

Introduction to Trig Functions!

Here is a quick little video for my students to watch. This video will teach the very introduction to sine, cosine, and tangent. Here is the video:

There is also a quick question sheet for after the students have watched the video! It’s only a few questions to see where everyone is with the concept and to make sure that everyone did indeed watch! Make sure you answer this form!

Have a good night and happy learning!

Looking at new platforms to teach with!

I have been looking at a new platform that I think could beneficial to my students. This platform is called Edmodo. Edmodo is a learning management system or LMS. This website works just like social media, which this would be good since most high school students live through social media. They can post questions for me to see and answer, but I can also post homework, quizzes, and tests for my students to do. I think this is a great platform for students to use to do so because they can take it on the go. It is a free application and there is also an app that students can put on their smart phones so they can questions whenever.

Edmodo would be a great website for me to use because of my flipped classroom approach. I can easily upload any notes or anything I need students to review before class. As a teacher there are also a lot of resources I have available to me to make my flipped classroom the best that it can be.

I also like this LMS because there is a grade book option right on the website. This way I can upload grades onto the website so parents and students know their grades at all times. I also like that we can take tests on the LMS, this way as a teacher I will never misplace a students work nor can the student lose their work.

Edmodo is a great tool to help keep everyone organized. I also like Edmodo because there is a large online community for students to look for answers and to get extra help if they ever need. One of the most important things I liked is that I can add groups into my classroom online. So if different class periods are working on different things, then I can upload documents that are only related for a certain period or if I have different groups in class I can make sure that all students in my class have everything they need.

If you would like to check out Edmodo, you can do so here.

Is Screencasting worth using?

Screencasting is when a teacher records a video on what is on an interactive whiteboard and then records their voice to help explain topics further. For math, this could be used to show how teachers would solve a particular problem. Two reasons I would use screencasting in my classroom are:

  1. Flipped Classroom: screencasting is a great way to put flipped classroom into use. A teacher can go through and explain a notes sheet and problems to go along with it. This way students can follow along and they can hear and see what the teacher is doing. I also think this is a great way for teachers to use screencasting because then students can review and look over the video whenever they want.
  2. Test Review: After a test, a teacher can go through the test and explain how and why they would do each problem. I think this would be a great way for students to compare what they are doing to what they should actually be doing. Also after tests, I know from experience, that students don’t know how to fix what they got wrong and usually teachers move on with the lessons after a test. Using a screencast would allow students to correct themselves.

The only downside to using screencasting for notes and review is that not everyone always has access to technology. I know that not all families can afford internet or a computer at home. But I believe that I could work with students to try and give them just as much access as the other students.

Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology (AT) is simply anything that helps someone with a disability be able to accomplish the task at hand. Most of the time when people think about AT, they think of devices that turn words into text and other advanced technologies. But AT can be as simple as a calculator or even simpler, organizers to help a student become more organized which could help them with their school work. Recently I have done some reading on the topic and wanted to share what I have learned.

In the first text I read, it discusses how students with a 504 plan or and IEP can have assistive technology in the classroom. For a student with an IEP, the school chooses and provides what technology a student needs. For students with a 504 plan, a school does not have recommend or provide the technology for the student. But they do have to consider it for the student. To figure out what assistive technology a student needs, they will do an assessment on students who have an IEP with a professional who can truly decide what technology would be most effective for the student. But if your student does not have an IEP, parents are responsible for looking into technologies and seeing which one would help their child.

The second article I read is about how music can be considered a useful tool for students. Teachers and parents can use music to help students learn. Teachers and parents can make a song so facts are easier for students to remember. Teachers should try to utilize rhyming and putting facts to music so it sticks in a child’s head. But after you do so ask a student questions about it to see if they are retaining everything that they should be.

The third article I read discussed the controversial question that if a student is using assistive technology, is it taking away from them learning other skills. Like for an example, does the use of the calculator take away a students ability to learn long division by hand? This article really focuses on if technology that turns words into text takes away from students developing typing skills. There is no clear precise answer. It is up to a teacher and parents to decide if there is a limit to where assistive technology should go.

All students should be able to get the help they need to help them in schools and in life. Teachers and schools should look into what they can do to help their students. But parents should also be aware of certain technologies and see if they can help their student if they are struggling. Here is a link to an article that has many more resources for teachers and parents to learn about assistive technology. This article would be a really great place to start for parents or teachers who are completely new to the topic of assistive technology.

 

King of Math

Games can be a great asset to a classroom. Games help students to be more motivated in what they are learning. Traditional learning can have students zone out and not learn what is being taught, but a game can grasp the students attention and help them learn in a fun way.

There is this site called mathgames.com. It is a free site, where I can track their progress. There are multiple games within the site along with practice problems on any 8th grade math topic you can think of! But one game in particular that I found extremely helpful, the game is King of Math. King of Math is an extremely fun game that has students solve a variety of problems to help them shoot the zombies. I know what you’re thinking, that this can’t possibly be an educational game. But I played it myself and have found that it isn’t really about saving the castle. It really helps students think quickly about how to solve a problem. This game can be played with equations, algebra, fractions, and decimals.

For me this would be a really great way to have students practice their skills without having them just answer countless worksheets. At the end of the lesson, I can have students log on and start playing games or doing the extra problems that they provide. This is definitely a website I will be utilizing. It will definitely get students to enjoy what they are learning.

Like always, if you have any questions you can always contact me or I will insert the link here.

Podcasts: Are they useful?

For those who don’t know a podcast is an audio clip that can be downloaded on the internet. Typically a podcast comes continuously in a series. Podcasts can especially useful when it comes to the classroom. In my classroom, podcasts will be utilized to make sure that students who are absent are still on top of lessons and any homework assignments they may have missed.

I can use podcasts this way by recording my voice and the stuff I write on the board together. What I mean, is I can solve problems on the board and have my smart board record it, while I talk and try to explain every step along the way. This way students who didn’t come to class that day are still able to watch and learn how to do that days lesson.

Also podcasts can be exceptionally helpful if I ever have to miss school for a workshop or teacher meetings, my substitute teacher will know what is going on because they can also watch the video and get informed on how the lesson is going to work. Also instead of having a substitute teacher teach my students a lesson, I can just use a podcast to teach the lesson when I am unable to be there.

I think podcasts can be very useful for parents as well. This way parents can see what their child is learning in the classroom. I can also use the podcasts to make sure parents are up to date with anything important going on in school. It’s a useful tool that can help me get all the information out there.

Podcasts are definitely a tool I plan on utilizing constantly in my classroom. But I think that podcasts are more important for what is going on outside the classroom and to keep everyone up to date on what is going on.

 

Two awesome websites to use in class!

I have found two awesome websites that I think Trigonometry teachers should look into using. These two websites can really come in great help with students who are struggling and need extra practice or if a teacher wanted to use these sites to assign homework, teach lessons, or watch videos.

The first website is the khanacademy.org. This website has great videos and problems for students to do. I think teachers should utilize this website because teachers could show the students the videos they have on the website in class. I think this might be a good start with any topic you are going to discuss. It would be the starting point. After showing the students the video, a teacher could go more into depth showing the students how to solve the problem. But if a student needed later, they could go back to the site and watch the videos. I also like this website because it is free for teachers and students to use. A teacher can make an account and add their students, this was students can keep track of their progress but the teachers can too. This is also a good site for students to do problems on because if they get stuck it offers hints and videos that could possibly help a student get through whatever struggle they are having on the problem. Here is the link to the Khan Academy.

My second website is mathisfun.com. I like this website because they break down each section with a ton of notes and pictures so students can understand. I also think this is a great tool for teachers to utilize because there are multiple questions at the end of each section. When a student gets the answer the wrong, it not only tells them the right answer but it goes into detail as to why that is the right answer and shows a student how to solve the problem. I think that this would be a good tool for students and teachers to utilize as a notes sheet or extra help if a student needs. Because they cannot make an account of the website, this would be a good tool for teachers to use in class as work time problems. They can have students work on it, once every one is done have the students go over it altogether. Here is the link to math is fun.

I think that both of these websites could be a great tool for teachers to utilize. I know I will definitely be utilizing them in my classroom!

 

EZY Trigonometry

I have found an app that I think my students should really look into using. The app is called Ezy Trigonometry. This app helps students further understand the trigonometric functions and the unit circle. I believe this would be a great tool for students to have if they are struggling on homework, because instead of just having to imagine the unit circle or try to draw it themselves, it is on the app and interactive so they can look for any angle that they may need to find.

This app can also be a great study app because it gives all the properties that go along with the trigonometric functions. A student can go on the app and just look them up. If they do not rely on the app at all times, eventually they will start to memorize the properties.

This app would be ideal for a student who is struggling in this topic area. The unit circle is one of the hardest concepts for a student to grasp. When I was in high school I had to visualize everything in my head, but students will now be able to have everything right in front of them to play with and utilize.

This app would really help students understand and remember for this particular section. The app is free, which makes it even better.

If looking for the app in the apple app store, again the name is Ezy Trigonometry by KGiants. I really recommend checking it out if you or your student is struggling in the class.