Middle School Math iPod Touch Blog

Integrating Technology into the Middle School Classroom

GAMeSlab at RU offers good videos to help teachers new to using iPods in the classroom. April 22, 2011

What I like about the teaching profession is the collaboration among teachers, because we each have our own, creative ideas. As new teachers, the lack of immediate resources is one of the greatest struggles. When teachers work together, sharing ideas and pedagogy, we all become our best and the students benefit the most.

The GAMes lab at Radford University offers some good videos showing how some teachers are using iPods and iPad in the classroom. Twitter is another resource from some excellent ideas, if you have time to sort through the ideas. Another way of sharing and obtaining resources is through blogs by other educators and technology users. The most important thing is to be creative, reflect on your students’ behaviors and engagement, and build (and keep in contact with) your own PLN and PLC. All teachers need support, but especially new teachers need to know how to survive those first, most difficult years. I hope these suggestions help, especially when you are trying to incorporate technology into your classroom!

 

A lonely student with hearing loss needed a friend. My student’s best friend today was an iPod :)

Our school does an excellent job of trying to provide positive reinforcement opportunities for each child. In middle school, this is not always an easy task. One thing that we do is give coupons to students who have made good behavior choices during a certain timeframe. This time our coupons provided students with the opportunity to wear a hat, or sit with a friend at lunch.

One of my sweet students, whom I will call Brian, is totally deaf and has Asperger’s. He can be a neat kid, who adds a lot to our classroom. He is the only student with hearing loss in seventh grade, although there are several other students with hearing loss at our school. During lunch, he typically sits by himself and eats his same lunch in the same order each day. He likes it this way. Routine makes him comfortable, although many of our hearing students don’t understand this. They, enjoying time with him and wanting to help Brian feel included, ask to sit with him and write on a dry-erase board or paper to talk with him during lunch. We usually agree to let them try, but it doesn’t take long before the other student learns Brian would rather sit quietly.

Upon being praised for excellent behavior this quarter, Brian was offered a coupon and he chose a sit with a friend pass. In my less than stellar signing ability I asked if he had a friend he wanted to sit with during lunch to use his pass. He said no, he just wanted to sit and eat. Knowing how big he smiles when we use the iPod Touch in math class, I asked him if he would like to take it to lunch the next day.  It was a no-brainer! He smiled and said yes.

Today, he quickly ate his bag lunch as usual, but then with excitement reached for the iPod. I am now thinking of utilizing the iPod as a lunch buddy for Brian on special occassions. I am excited about looking for an app that teachers sign language (I know I have seen one before) and loading it on to the iPod. Then, some students can learn some signs in order to be able to have small conversations with Brian. Then, when he gets an “eat lunch with a friend” pass, he can use the iPod and another student can play apps with him and sign as well, after having learned some sign language.

I just wanted to share this story because we all know how iPods can help keep students engaged, it can differentiate instruction, and make learning fun. Now, it can help students build relationships by learning to communicate and can be a “friend” to a student in need.

 

Making Math Movies- Pros and Cons April 18, 2011

My students worked so hard on their movies this week using the MacBooks, keynotes and lots of their own creativity and excitement. This was a wonderful thing to see! I have had some wonderful suggestions on how to reach students without internet access at home. Some of the ideas include making dvds for them to use with computer, dvd player or x-box. Wow! Great ideas…I didn’t realize you could play dvds in gaming systems. I tried making a sample dvd and it worked great, so my student developers and I were even more motivated once they saw a sample.

So, those are clearly “pros”. Now, I have a few “cons”. Unfortunately, students were not able to use the recorder option in keynotes to record their voices to their presentations. I am not sure if this is a bandwidth issue, since our school struggles with this issue. Now, because I have spent 3 class days making wonderful videos, I am planning to load them onto iPods for students without the voice recording. This can always be added later. I am going to hold off on the dvds in light of the glitch, which is upsetting because I really wanted those dvds out to families to use for SOL reviews. I will have to keep trying, and find a way to help my students find success with such a worthwhile project that they really enjoyed.

 

Blogs about using iPod Touch in Middle School April 6, 2011

The internet and the world of blogging has made networking between educators much easier! We are so fortunate to live in a time where we can have advice of other teachers at the tip of our fingers, and a wealth of resources are available for those attempting to incorporate technology into the classroom. Here are just a few of the sites I prefer to follow for blogs related to educational technology, middle school math, iPod Touch, and teaching in a web 2.0 world.

Please feel free to contact me by comment if you would like to see your blog included in my list. Thanks to all fellow bloggers for your continued support and information you share with others every day!

http://myedet650.blogspot.com/

http://dlane650.blogspot.com/

http://edet650kknachel.blogspot.com/

http://ipoduseforsolremediation.blogspot.com/

http://powertolearn.typepad.com/teacher_tech_blog/ipod/

http://educationtechnologyblog.com/

http://edtechlife.com/

http://www.edutopia.org/blogs

http://mscomputerteacher.com/2011/03/17/technology-in-education-ipods-and-the-ischool-initiative/

http://www.msteacher2.org/profiles/blog/list?tag=math

 

A new venture… Response Systems April 3, 2011

Filed under: iPod Touch — msmathteachr1 @ 10:18 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

   Our school system is looking into various response systems for us to use with out iPod Touches. I am interested in this, and of course would like something that does not require a great deal of time spent on preparing questions for the students. I am familiar with Google Forms and think they are very beneficial, although not friendly to math questions that involve fractions. I may have to play with this a bit more and just become more comfortable with it. My students have said they feel it is too hard to see the questions on the small screen of the iPod, even though they have the ability to increase the magnification of the image.  What I do like is the immediate feedback and the ability to view data immediately.

  Tony Vincent has some other suggestions for response systems that I am interested in trying out. Check out his blog and see his suggestions. He has a wealth of information and is kind enough to share it with those of us still learning about the technology.  http://learninginhand.com/blog/four-student-response-systems.html

  So this is my goal for this week; I will try one of the response systems to see how my students and I feel it works out as a formative assessment. I will be sure to let you know how it goes!

 

Trial and Error with Flashcard Apps March 25, 2011

After finding several great flashcards for my students to use on Quizlet.com, I loaded Flashcardlet App to the student iPods. They already have gFlash+ for as a flashcard app, but it wouldn’t allow access to Quizlet. I really like Flashcardlet because it allows me to have students go directly to Quizlet and save the flashcards to their personal iPod library. It worked great when I did it during planning and before school.

Of course, things are not as easy as they seem. My students had the iPods in hand and when they selected the Flashcardlet app it started to open, and then immediately shut down. It never opened. I struggle with keeping momentum when I spend so much time planning, finding flashcards, finding apps, loading apps, and then this happens. I will have to find another app that may work better.

We ended up still using some other apps to practice integers, function tables and proportions, so it still ended up that students enjoyed learning with the iPods. I enjoy seeing them use them and will just need to try things a few days in advance just in case something should go wrong.

 

Probability March 5, 2011

I am so excited about beginning our upcoming unit on Probability. I will definitely need to invest some time looking for apps related to probability and/or the fundamental counting principle. I plan on asking for help with this in a tweet. I am curious to see if anyone (outside of our master’s cohort) responds. I always wonder if anyone reads my tweets.

I did find some great flashcards of probability terms that I can load onto the iPods.  Many are available at quizlet.com! I am also excited about having my students play some online games and use various interactive websites for this unit. I always plan for my students to explore probability using manipulatives such as dice, cards, coins, and spinners. I also usually spend one day letting students see what new facts they can find to share with the class after they do internet searches.  The internet makes it possible to use self discovery when helping students learn about the Law of Large Numbers. This really makes them understand it so much better than if I simply tell them a definition and move on. So often I am forced by the clock to tell students about concepts rather than having them learn through doing. The pre-test demonstrated all students already have some basic understanding of probability so we have many more opportunities with this unit. I’ll let you know what I come up with, and have a couple of students share their thoughts!