Middle School Math iPod Touch Blog

Integrating Technology into the Middle School Classroom

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.


Using Keynotes to Make Movies April 5, 2011

My students really enjoy watching video tutorials of past concepts as a way of reminding themselves of a skill. They would much rather watch a video on their own, then read a review page or ask the teacher a question. What is even better is when some of their classmates created the video that they are going to watch. The students are not in the video, but their voices narrate the keynote presentation for their classmates to view and listen to either on the iPod Touch or on the MacBook.

Try this out for your class and see how much the students enjoy learning from each other. Have two students work together to make a keynote presentation as they would normally make a Powerpoint. Then, follow these easy steps:

1. Select Play – Record Slideshow    Students record their narration and simply hit the down arrow when they are ready to move to the next slide. At the end, they hit ESC to end the narration. Be sure they save after re-checking their work.

2. Export the Keynote either as a QuickTime video or to the iPod as a movie.

3. It’s as easy as that. You students will love getting out their earbuds and listening to a review and learning from their classmates. They will then want to get a good grade on the next quiz so they can record a lesson for someone else.

It’s really exciting to watch students making and viewing these videos!

Try it out, and let me know how it goes!!


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!


My, Oh my! February 17, 2011

My class used the Macbooks today for differentiated practice on percent of a number, and determining the tax, tip and discount. I thought I had figured out how to get the Macbooks to work more readily by having students log out instead of shutting down. That was not the solution. In one class, it took over 10-minutes of waiting for the Macbook to turn on, access Safari, and go to my website. This allows too much time for students to lose focus, a lack of time on task, and causes a change in the once positive atmosphere of the classroom. I certainly need to speak with some other teachers in the county to find out if they experience the same issues, and what can be done about it.


Macbooks are getting easier :) February 16, 2011

We used Macbooks today to watch a BrainPop video on taxes. BrainPOPThen we played a game and went to a practice site. The game was sorting equal fractions, decimals and percents into groups. Then, we found percent of a number on aaamath.com. We finally learned how to use the Macbooks without having them freeze up on us. We don’t turn them off during the day. When one class is finished we log off, and the next class logs in. This worked much better!             By Tyler