Math Stories or “There’s More Than One Way to Solve a Problem”

Maybe I have been watching a little too much TV with G,  my 4 year old, but I am absolutely LOVING Peg + Cat on PBS. It is the perfect mix of math concepts, problem solving strategies, songs, stories, and all around silliness. All of this stuffed into a cute little girl named Peg and her “AMAZZZINNNNGGG”, talking pet cat. One of the best parts of the show is when they finish every challenge with this song…

I am so inspired by all that G is learning from Peg and Cat that I thought I might share some Math inspiration for your kiddos in your classrooms. The Three Acts Of A Mathematical Story from Dan Myer is very similar to Peg+Cat in that teachers create a story built around real-life math.

Here’s the idea :

  • Act 1 – “Introduce the central conflict of your story/task clearly, visually, viscerally, using as few words as possible.” (check his site for examples)
  • Act 2 – “The protagonist/student overcomes obstacles, looks for resources, and develops new tools.”
  • Act 3 – “Resolve the conflict and set up a sequel/extension.”

Here is an Example - The Slow Forty

(eMINTS teachers….seeing any connections to the Instructional Procedures unit expectation?)

Check out Dan’s Three Act Math Tasks Spreadsheet and his 3-part blog series with videos and instructions.

This blog post is from 2011, but Dan is not a one hit wonder. I encourage you to explore his recent blog posts and see what he’s been up to….hint hint – he is quite an active presenter and does so much more than Three-Act Math Stories.

Brooke Higgins, occasional blogger, is an eIS for the eMINTS National Center working with eMINTS teachers, trainers, and administrators. All of her posts, including this one, can be found at The Higgins Helps blog.

Common Core State Standards Tidbits: Episode 2

After the webinar I overviewed in CCSS Tidbits – Episode 1, I did some additional research to gather more information about the CCSS.  Below is a collection of links that you might find helpful as you move forward with your Common Core implementation.  I have also linked to this great infographic on becoming a Common Core Ninja!  For anyone interested, I am working on pulling together some resources for developing and using infographics in the classroom, so stay tuned!

Resources:
 
Explanation of the Standards
This is a sample document that shows how the standards are broken down, which grade levels teach to the standard, the DOK level of the standard, what it might look like in the classroom, and much more.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a full copy of the book for free, however, you can get a full copy from Amazon.com.
The North Carolina State Board of Education has developed a site with a great deal of resources, including an explanation of the standards “unpacked.”  They also have tool for implementing the standards.
ASCD has pulled together several great resources that provide an explanation of the CCSS as well as tools to help teachers implement.
If you’re a visual learner like me, you will love LearnZillion’s visual representation of the standards!
COREpedia is a resource tool to assist you in the understanding and implementation of the Common Core State Standards
Teacher Professional Development
This site is AMAZING!  They have a great deal of videos that will help teachers implement the common core   standards.
Pearson has done an excellent job at developing some top notch professional development resources! Teachers can watch webinars, they can access practice tests, find information for ELL students, and learn about rigor, instruction, assessment and much, much, more!
Classroom Tools / Resources
This is a nice collection of common core resources for 5th grade.
An CCSS integration tool that allows you to plan and track standards in your lesson plans.
“We Are Teachers”  has a nice collection on Pinterest for Common Core including great visuals, infographics, and other images.
This is a comprehensive site for all things Common Core including curriculum, assessments, PD, Videos, and tons more!
Curriculum Alignment
This sight helps schools ease the transition into Common Core.  They have excellent explanations of the   shifts taking place in both math and ELA.
Partnership for 21st Century Skills has additional information and resources on how to align to the CCSS and meet the needs of our 21st century learners.
Scholastic has pulled together some really great lesson plans, glossary of terms for teachers, Nonfiction & Literature lists, info on assessment, and professional development tools for teachers.

Jen Foster is an eMINTS Instructional Specialist and blogger. Check out her blog at eMINTS Classroom Strategies where she shares her thoughts on learning theories, teaching tips and strategies, practical classroom applications, and reflections on her journey to continue learning. This post was originally published on August 5, 2013.

Common Core State Standards Tidbits: Episode 1

I recently listened to a webinar provided by edWeb and Follett about the Common Core.  Common Core: High Impact Planning was an excellent, and highly informative webinar.  I have linked the recording so you can listen to it yourself, but I also wanted to give you the highlights in the form of my notes. Any educator will gain a great deal of information from this webinar, but it was specifically targeted to administration.

  • The goal of Common Core State Standards is College and Career Readiness.  The question we need to ask ourselves is “How can we reach ALL kids, and help them achieve the goal of CCSS?”
  • Common Core goals were set by companies, corporations, higher education, military, etc.

Students should be able to:

    • Understand concepts and new developments in science and technology
      • This is one of the most important new skills in light of our world that is data-driven!
    • Analyze and solve complex problems.
      • Real-world problems are complex, so we need to engage students in real-world complex problems to prepare them for life after high school.
    • Apply knowledge and skills to real-world settings.
    • Use critical thinking and analytical reasoning skills
      • We no longer have to memorize information.  We have access to all the world of knowledge at our fingertips.  Instead we have to focus on how to navigate through the world of information, think through it, and analyze it.
    • Effectively communicate orally and in writing.
      • Students must be prepared to communicate, and must practice often, especially in the use of electronic communications!

Being Prepared:

  • We need to begin to prepare our stakeholders for the change.  Test scores will go down, because CCSS have raised the bar.
  • We must “stretch” our students Lexile scores by 2-3 grade levels from what they are reading now.
    • Reading is a national security issue because 75% of our high school graduates cannot join the armed services because they cannot read well enough to pass the test!
    • There are a great deal of welding jobs currently available, but we cannot fill those jobs because we cannot find young people that can read the technical manuals required for the job training.
    • Students are leaving college early, and in considerable more debt because they are have to take remedial reading and math course to bring their skills up the level necessary.
    • Libraries will need to be reconfigured to provide students with the books they need to meet the new lexile requirements.

Lesson Design and the Common Core:

  • Recipe to align units and lessons with CCSS assessments
    • 2 Anchors (ELA Standards) or Practices (Mathematical Practices)
    • 3 – 5 Content Standards (this adds complexity)
    • 2 Questions: DOK 1 / Bloom’s 1-2
    • 2 Questions: DOK 2 / Bloom’s 3-4
    • 2 Questions: DOK 3 / Bloom’s 5-6
    • Write 1 (short write focused on comprehension or in math focused on fluency)
    •  Essay 2 (longer writing piece)
  • Only 86% of the standards will be tested

Content Areas:

  • Math
    • 7th & 8th Grade (these grades contain the critical skills necessary for students to move through high school and into college!)
    • All about fluency of basic math skills
    • Even the simplest math problems on the CCSS assessments will require a great deal of reading.  Students will be required to read multiple types of texts to solve one problem.
    • Performance Events will take approximately 2 – 2.5 hrs., will revolve around a real world problem, students will read, and analyze multiple types of texts to gather information to determine the type of problem that needs to be solved, what data is needed to solve the problem, and then actually solving the problem.  Students need to learn how to do all these things and PERSEVERE throughout the entire event!
  • ELA
    • Writing, Vocabulary, Argument
    • Student writing skills must be improved (this is critical!)
    • To expand vocabulary students need to read materials at a wide range of ability (low, medium and high)
    • Content needs to be presented in multiple formats (text, multimedia, video, real-world, literature and non-fiction)
    • School leaders should constantly have conversations about reading data!
      • Know the starting level of each student
      • Ask the questions:
        • What does the data say?
        • How are the students growing?
        • How do we know?
        • What are we doing about it?
        • Are students reading non-fiction in our libraries?
    • Connect lit studies to non-fiction
      • Example – A teacher loves to engage students in a lit study of Huckleberry Finn.  The students read about Huckleberry pies, they eat pie, they study Mark Twain, and read the novel Huckleberry Finn.  To engage the students in a more complex, more in-depth study, the teacher could have the students read a non-fiction work on the Mississippi River and learn of the changes that have taken place over time.  The students could then engage in a conversation as to how the story Huckleberry Finn might have changed because of the difference in the river system.
    • Students should be writing a lot and often (4 – 5 pages weekly for some grade levels)
      • Writing should be for an authentic audience
        • Traditional prompt: What did you do over the summer?
        • CCSS Style prompt: Write an paper (blog, wiki, etc) to convince me of where I should vacation next summer!
        • Use technology! Write on the computer, publish often!
        • Use a thesaurus (students need to consider word choice in written communication)
        • Follow the NAEP writing requirements

Overall this was an excellent webinar!  The next installment of this series Common Core & Back to School – Issues for the Upcoming Quarter is August 23rd at 1:00 pm central time.  If you can’t attend, no worries, they record the sessions :)

Jen Foster is an eMINTS Instructional Specialist and blogger. Check out her blog at eMINTS Classroom Strategies where she shares her thoughts on learning theories, teaching tips and strategies, practical classroom applications, and reflections on her journey to continue learning. This post was originally published on July 25, 2013.

Getting Students to the Finish Line

School is slowly coming to an end, final grades are in and students are getting a bit restless. What can we do to continue to build on that strong sense of classroom community and keep students excited and energized?

Images can be used to make us laugh, cry, think, reflect, and ask those higher level questions. Plus, students love taking pictures of themselves and their classmates. How can we use images to reflect on the school year?
End of The School Year Blog ImageGetting Started…

First, have students do an internet search for inspirational posters.  Looking at examples will help to get those creative juices flowing.  Next, have students take a picture(s) or locate images that communicates their answers to a question prompt. Then, challenge them to create a caption for their image that communicates their answers in a limited number of words or characters. This will help to Online Gambling Addiction emphasize the importance of effective communication and create a positive atmosphere for creativity. Here are a few example question prompts…

  • What advice would you give to upcoming students?
  • Where are you now compared to the http://www.phpaide.com/?langue=fr&id=5 beginning of the year?
  • How has your teacher helped you become a better person?
  • What has influenced your thinking the most?
  • What do you now know about _________ ?

The final step is to create their posters. Below are just a few resources to assist in creating and editing images.

For even more ways to “End the School Year in Style”, check out eMINTS eIS Jen Fosters”s eMINTS Classroom Strategies blog.

What other strategies might educators use to engage and energize students?

__________________________
[This post was provided by Amy Blades, an instructional specialist for the eMINTS National Center.]  *Image provided by Pics4Learning

Hooked on Edudemic

How do you stay connected to the latest trends in education?

Recently I discovered a resource called Edudemic. It started out as a search for educational apps for my iPad, which lead to my discovery of their website. Instantly I was hooked! As I browsed their list of featured stories, I found myself wanting to read them all. The headlines ranged from ways to use social media in your classroom to information about other countries using technology. I am ashamed to admit it, but I hardly find myself reading the news as much as I read my email. When I discovered that Edudemic would send me an e-newsletter with their daily digest, I just had to subscribe. Now when I am checking my email I am able to scan through their newsletter and read the articles that instantly catch my eye. Plus once it makes its way to my inbox, I can read them at my leisure gonflable Arches.

What is Edudemic?  It is “a global community designed to keep educators, administrators, and everyone up to date on what is happening in the world of education and technology. It pulls from more than 100 different online educational resources to inform and connect the

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To get started using Edudemic…

  1. Go to http://edudemic.com/. You do not need to register or subscribe you can start reading directly from their website.
  2. You can follow their posts on Facebook, Google , Twitter, Pinterest, RSS Feed or you can subscribe to their Daily Digest that is delivered to your email.

Here are a few of my favorite articles to get you started:

How might this resource be utilized by students?

_____________
This post was provided by Amy Blades, an instructional specialist for the eMINTS National Center.

 

To Tweat or Not to Tweat

So Twitter can have value to learning in the classroom, but how?

We’re studying rocketry and just getting started with blogging and tweeting this year.  I wanted to demonstrate how we could reach out to experts.  So, I asked what questions we had for Astronaut Clay Anderson.  A student was curious about what Zero G feels like.  We tweeted and later that day, students were thrilled to see we had received a tweet back.  One simple exchange.  We had just exchanged a message with an astronaut.

It made me wonder, what about other fields? Meteorology. Zoology. Geology.  How would I find these experts?  Then, I came across a list “100 Scientists on Twitter: Organized by Category.”   What if Twitter is not just a tool to connect with other classrooms, but to connect with experts in the field? Powerful.

So, you might be wondering, how do I get started?

Want to have a classroom chat that kids can have individual accounts in a small, classroom environment? Allow kids to start out with a version of Twitter that is only available in your classroom? Try Twiducate.  At the end of the day, ask every student to tweet what they’ve learned.  Twitter allows you to share with the world, Twiducate allows your kids to share with each other.

Want to work with your kids to develop Social Media Norms?  Have a class discussion about what’s appropriate and what’s not appropriate to share.  Build a classroom community where kids support each other.  Whether sending a tweet from a classroom account on Twitter, or an individual account on Twiducate, help students understand that if you wouldn’t shout it in a crowded shopping mall, you shouldn’t share it on social media!  Post the norms.  Watch how kids take ownership in what they’ve decided upon as their norms.

Wondering how you will fit in time to tweet?  You may be thinking, I don’t have time to add one more thing to my classroom.  Ask one kid to take on the role each day or week.  Give him or her a “Media” badge.  Allow him to share what’s happening, 140 at a time.

Thinking about how you will find other classrooms that tweet?  Don’t worry!  I’m building a Twitter list.  Pick one or two to get started with.  You don’t have to follow hundreds of classrooms to get started.  Start small. Chat with a class in Australia or Illinois or your own school.

This is the second in a series of posts on using Twitter in the classroom.  Next up, five ways to use Twitter in the classroom. Our class tweets at @greatdaytolearn. Our Google Doc “Classrooms That Tweet” is growing everyday!  If your class is on Twittter, please add your name! If you’d like to get connected, check out the Twitter list “Classrooms That Tweet!

This post was originally published at Venspired.com September 9, 2012. Blogger and gifted teacher Krissy Venosdale has graciously given permission for us to share her work here on NT&L. Be sure to jump over to Venspired to see what else Krissy is doing with her students.

I Tweat. Therefore, I Learn

I Tweet.
I tweeted one request, “Please share your location and current outdoor temperature with my class today.”   Throughout the day, the tweets poured in from Australia, Sweden, Spain, New Jersey, Brazil, and the list goes on.  As I shared with students, they looked at the temperatures and their questions reminded me that using Twitter as a connection point with the world has true value for learning.

  • Why are some of the temperatures being reported in Celsius instead of Fahrenheit?
  • How do I convert a Celsius temperature to Fahrenheit? Is there a formula for that?
  • Why is it so cold in Australia right now?
  • What time is it in Sweden?
  • They just said “Morning”, what time is it there?
  • Can we put these on a map so we can see how much of the world we covered?
  • How do I pin something on a Google map?

Time zones. Patterns. Data. Metric System. Weather. Google map creation. Geography. Continents. Temperature conversion. Collaboration. The world.  Learning.  From one tweet.

I’m not saying that tweeting automatically equals learning.  But, look what happens when tweeting (or any tech tool!) is used in the classroom to connect.  Real thinking and learning.  The kind where kids deepen their understand of the world around them.

This is the first in a series of posts.  Next?  The day we tweeted an astronaut and he tweeted us back. For real. Our class tweets at @greatdaytolearn. Our Google Doc “Classrooms That Tweet” is growing everyday!  If your class is on Twittter, please add your name! If you’d like to get connected, check out the Twitter list “Classrooms That Tweet!

This post was originally published at Venspired.com September 8, 2012. Blogger and gifted teacher Krissy Venosdale has graciously given permission for us to share her work here on NT&L. Be sure to jump over to Venspired to see what else Krissy is doing with her students.

Starting the Year with Community

As many of you begin to prepare for the first days of school, you may be pondering ideas for creating a strong sense of community in your classroom.  Educator Chris Biffle shares one holistic approach at his website WholeBrainTeaching.com. He shares ideas for grabbing the students’ attention and directly engaging them throughout the entire instructional process.  His methods assist educators on creating a fun engaging classroom, where even challenging students thrive.  This brain based approach puts the fun back into the classroom for both the teacher and the students.

To view the basics of this approach view this YouTube video:

The BIG 6 of Power teacher are:

  1. Class Yes
  2. The Five Rules
  3. The Scoreboard Game
  4. Hands and Eyes
  5. Teach-OK
  6. The Switch

If I had to choose just a “few” to introduce on the first day, I think it would have to be “Class Yes” and “The Five Rules”.  I think these basic classroom management tools will have your classroom booming with student engagement and strengthen the sense of community from day one.

“Class Yes” is an approach used to focus the classes’ attention. The teacher says “class” and the students say “yes”.  This works because it gives the students something to do immediately and prepares them for the teacher.  Part of this method’s effectiveness is it has the students mirror the tone the teacher uses. For example the teacher could drag out the word and add a funny voice “clllllasssssss”, which the students would respond mirroring the teacher “yeeeeessssss”.

On the first days of school, it is common to start with sharing the classroom rules. In the video you saw a demonstration for “The Five Rules”.  Each rule uses visual, auditory and kinesthetic movement to help students reach a deeper understanding of how the rules relate to the expectations of the teacher and the success of the classroom as a community.  Here is a brief explanation of “The Five Rules”:

  • Follow Directions Quickly (wiggling hand moving forward)
  • Raise Your Hand for permission to speak. (Raise hand, make a talking mouth hand)
  • Raise your hand for permission to leave your seat. (Raise hand, make walking motion with two fingers)
  • Make smart choices (point to brain)
  • Keep your teacher happy! (frame your face, wag head back and forth smiling)

This is just one way to begin building classroom community….

How might you foster and sustain a sense of classroom community during the first days of school?

Amy Blades is an instructional specialist for the eMINTS National Center.

Crazy about QR Codes

QR Code

Those who know me know that I am a little obsessed with QR (quick response) codes.  You know those little boxes of rectangles and squares that are on almost everything now a days.  They really are just about everywhere when you start looking.

Now I am from Sedalia and the biggest thing getting ready to start this Thursday is the Missouri State Fair.  As I was taking routine drive through the fairgrounds to check on the progress of set-up, I suddenly noticed… QR codes.  A sign is in front of the major buildings on the fairgrounds with a QR code boldly printed on it.  Of course I whipped out my phone and scanned and was pleasantly surprised to see a page of historical information about the building.  The fair has embraced a piece of technology and utilizing it to teach history by creating historic-walking-tours with QR codes.  I love it.

This brought back the memory of a recent conference I attended where a group of teachers presented how they use QR codes in their classroom.  Some of the things mentioned for their use were center directions, interactive bulletin boards, information to parents, and links to resources.   With the combination of ideas from the conference and what the fair is doing, my mind hasn’t stopped thinking about how a school or classroom might utilize QR codes.  I think about scavenger hunts, historic background, or even star student information.

So I would like even more ideas and possibilities.  Please share with me how you have used or would like to use QR codes in your school or classroom?

Terri Brines is an eIS and Cognitive CoachingSM Trainer for the eMINTS National Center.

Access/Share Google Docs in Edmodo & the Power of My PLN

Edmodo and Google Users…

I guess I am a bit behind in the game because I just realized you can access your Google Docs in Edmodo now. This new feature came about in March and allows you to Sync your Google Docs (Drive) with your Edmodo Library. That means you can share documents with your Edmodo groups and students can easily turn-in assignments completed via Google Docs.Find the instructions to do this at the Edomod Help site. FYI all users will need to link their Google Docs account with Edmodo before and sharing of docs with users or groups takes place.

Wondering how I heard about this new feature of Edmodo??? Maybe not but here’s the power of my PLN…

I found this blog (while I was browsing Pinterest one evening). It’s by a Digital Learning Coordinator in the Chicago Public Schools > Teaching like it’s 2999 . I first pinned her idea to my “learn” Pinterest board and then visited her blog and found that what the author, Jennie Magiera, blogged about was so connected to what I do so I added it to my Google Reader.

One day this week Google Reader showed that the author had posted something new to her blog called More Ideas to Googlize Your School. That post linked to a Google Doc that she was going to share at a presentation she was doing with teachers. As I scanned the doc I noticed a reference to “Edmodo’s Google Doc integration” so I did a Google searched for edomodo google docs and came up with the link that I shared with you all above.

Isn’t that so cool…in a nerdy sort of way :) In what ways do you “harvest” great teaching ideas from the web? And a big shout out to Jennie Magiera for sharing her ideas and more with us all.

Brooke Higgins is an instructional specialists, Cognitive CoachingSM Trainer, and sporadic blogger for the eMINTS National Center. This post was originally posted at the Higgins’ Helpful Hints Blog.