What are number talks you ask? They are a wonderful low floor, high ceiling task that allows everyone the opportunity to share their thinking. Here is a Wakelet of resources I have compiled from the interwebs. I use Fawn Nguyen’s Visual Patterns a lot! A great book I recommend reading is Making Number Talks Matter by Cathy Humphreys and Ruth Parker. I’m sure there are others, but this is the one I read. There are many videos, blog posts, and ideas if you just google Number Talks. I like that Number Talks strengthen numeracy and allows students to see that everyone approaches problems differently, which is the wonderful thing about math. Many students, because of how they have been taught, think there is only ONE way to complete a problem.
As I mention in my book, Make Math Not Suck, I want my classroom to be a safe space. Because of this, I like to keep responses like this anonymous, allowing students to share if they feel comfortable. I started trying to do number talks in PearDeck using the drawing feature. The problem I ran into was wanting students to be able to draw OR write to explain their thinking.
Enter Desmos. With Desmos, you can give students the option to type or write. And when you are working with patterns, they can draw right on the pattern.
We move to hybrid learning this week. Half of my class will be in person and half will be joining by Zoom. I think Desmos is going to work well for our Number Talks in this situation. I can still select student responses to share on the screen that both in home and in person students can view.
If you aren’t using Number Talks, do a little investigating. I think you will find it gives students confidence, it allows you to see gaps in their number sense, and it helps students learn new strategies.
I am not a paperless classroom. As I say in my book, use technology if
it makes your job easier
it makes the learning better for students.
So why a digital flipbook? Well, it’s actually not just one reason.
We have to go remote this fall, not because of Covid but because we have “spores” in our building that required them to close the building, throw away all of our porous material (i.e. books, saved foldables and student work, 20 years of personal books and memories).
I know some of my students won’t have paper at home to make a foldable while remote.
Umm… my foldables are all gone (see reason 1). They were thrown away 😦 If they had been digital, it would still have them.
I saw this idea in a TikTok by @adungan and knew this was my solution.
I recreated one of our foldables that was destroyed. I plan, with all of my digital lessons, to have students take pictures of their work and paste it in the foldable (or notes or practice, etc). I don’t want them to have to draw every image, but I also don’t want phantom floating notes so when they look at them there is no image or problem to reference.
I made a little tutorial that I am posting in Canvas/Google Classroom (this has been another huge debacle) to help them create a good scan and clip their images. (This is a Slides Mania notebook template)
Here is the foldable as the students will see it. I will put it in Google Classroom and set it to make a copy.
If you are putting this in Canvas, make sure you force a copy. Here is a gif from Jake Miller (@JakeMillerTech) to help you with that.
And here is a completed copy with student work snipped and uploaded into the document.
If you want the template, here is a link. You can also snag a copy on Slides Mania in the By EDU for EDU section. Paula is AMAZING and creates great stuff. She is also kind enough to share what others teachers create.
Now, if you are adventurous and want to make your own, I created a tutorial posted on InfinitelyTeaching. You will also find a 6 topic template posted there ;-).
This summer I have spent some (a lot) of my time writing curriculum for our Virtual Academy. One thing I have focused on is multiple representations of the content for each concept. I’m hoping to better meet the needs of all my learners. I broke by options into two categories, Read and Watch (Listen). Students are given the choice of which way they would prefer to learn the material and it provides additional resources if they need reinforcement.
Remember, this doesn’t have to be limited to virtual learning. Students in your classroom will benefit from multiple representations too.
Videos (Watch, Listen)
There are many options for using videos in your lessons. I have listed a few of my favorites below.
Make Your Own
I like to use Notability on my iPad. I have some tutorials on how I create my videos and upload to Google Drive and or YouTube, (YouTube adds closed captioning). If you watch your students, you will notice many of them watching videos with closed-captioning on. This not only meets accessibility needs for students, but also meets their learning style.
Videos from Others
You can find so many videos that are already created. I like this option because students need to hear information multiple ways. You are teaching it one way and videos from someone else may say the same thing in a different way. For my lessons, I used Kahn Academy, CK-12, and Delta Math, and YouTube. You would think this saves time, but you do have to watch the videos before you post them so it works out to be about the same amount of time.
I created an infographic for each lesson. This allows a student who like visual representations an option for learning. A few are shared below; feel free to use them. Please do not sell these. Some of the examples are from various resources I have so I do not want any of us violating copyright laws.
I have also adapted a few of my classroom posters into virtual “posters” or infographics. This one is based on a bulletin board set from Sarah Carter (@mathequalslove). I love this set, so I updated it for my virtual classroom.
Notes (Read and/or Watch)
One of the things I LOVE about Notability is the created PDF file for each note I write. I have these set to save to my Google Drive and I can easily share them with students. I include written examples as part of my visual learning options. Sometimes I also make a video of the examples (if the videos I select don’t have examples) and sometimes I just post the written version.
Check for Understanding
If I were in the classroom, I would walk around and check for understanding with each student. Virtually, I wanted a way for students to check their own understanding. I did not make this worth points and I had students self-report instead of returning the check for understanding to me.
I use checks from Kahn Academy, Delta Math, and CK-12. All three of these offer short checks for understanding with links to additional resources. I also use Desmos and Geogebra activities, making sure I provide the answers within the activity so students don’t need to rely on me to check their work.
I have often used self-checking slides in my classroom so I have a nice supply I can use for virtual learning. In the classroom, these allow me to differentiate based on student needs while I walk around the classroom and help individual students. Virtually, it’s a great quick check for understanding. I have shared a few below.
Here is a quick tutorial to create your own. You can also use step 1 of this tutorial for more elaborate instructions on using the Master Slide.
This is all just one step for each of my lessons. I also have launch type activities such as Which One Doesn’t Belong, Number Talks, Puzzles, and Open-Ended Question. I try to include some kind of activity, a reflection, and practice for each lesson too. I’ll share some of these resources soon.
I would love see anything you create or use from the ideas you see here. Tag me on Twitter @MandiTolenEDU.
I LOVE GOOGLE DRAWING!!! If you’ve been around here for awhile, you know how much I use Drawing or the Drawing features in slides. This post is dedicated to how I use Google Drawing to create my own images for activities and assessments.
Google Drawing will download as a transparent .PNG image. It’s vector based, so if you make a large image it will scale without much degradation of the image. I once create panels for a tri-fold display board, printed them and glued them to the board. The images were crisp and looked professional.
Here is a tutorial on some basic features of Google Drawing.
These are just a few of the images you can make with Google Drawing.
These are just a few of the VERY MANY images I’ve created in Google Drawing.
This tool will allow you to create your own AWESOME looking content. Enjoy
This is one of those activities I do in my classroom every year after we learn about equations of circles. Well… most of my kiddos don’t have a compass at home so I came up with a Google Slides way to do this. I even included an animation on the 2nd page to show students how to make the circles and change them to transparent.
My friend and colleague learned how to make digital escape rooms from me. You all don’t have me next to you everyday so you can learn from my post on Ditch That Textbook. This is the second escape room she has made. She’s getting pretty good at them!
I plan to use this one as a self-assessment during our distance learning time. I’m so grateful for colleagues who are willing to try new things and then share when they do.
Feel free to use this escape room. It includes a review of equations of lines and equations of circles.
Wow, what a crazy time! Covid-19 has turned our world upside down. I saw a post today commending other teachers for providing their resources for free during this time. It shouldn’t take a pandemic for us to take care of each other. I have always provided everything for free. We need to support each other when we are not in crisis just as much as we do now. Ok, stepping off my soap box.
Below are many of the Algebra 1 activities my team and I have created for our practice days. These are days when students can work on whichever standards they need additional practice with. A few of the resources are virtual manipulatives.
Maybe you are looking for review material. Maybe you want to supplement an online activity. Please use these to make your life a little easier.
Installment three of the area, surface area, and volume application problems. I know some of you have been using these and I hope they are working out well.
Area application can be found here. Surface area application can be found here.
In this post I have included volume application problems and application for surface area and volume of spheres.
I also provide students with candy in boxes and have them calculate the wasted or empty space in the box. This gives them hands-on application and allows them to use their tools. And, student LOVE to eat candy!
The Life Savers box is an amazing find! It’s a trapezoidal prism and we calculate the Life Savers as cylinders with a cylinder removed in the middle. The Mike and Ike’s are also fun because we calculate them as a cylinder with hemispheres at each end. The Kisses container is a triangular prism and we use the cone formula to estimate the volume of each Kiss. Gobstoppers are less fun, just spheres inside a rectangular prism, and the Tootsie Roll container is the least challenging of all with cylinders inside of a cylinder. I have each group work these problems on poster paper and then present them to the class. Giving students the opportunity to share in front of the class is something I try to work into each unit. Please make sure you have a culture of trust and respect in your classroom before you do this with students. It can be damaging to their fragile egos if they are ridiculed or made fun of. And if you chuckled at fragile ego, remember back to high school. What others thought of you mattered at lot!
Here are the application activities I promised. Please let me know if you find them useful. It makes me happy when others can benefit!
I love taking boring problems from the book and turning them into fun learning experiences. A boring word problem was the beginning of this task.
The actual prompt (which I can’t seem to find anymore) gave two popcorn containers, one a cylinder and one a cone, and asked the relationship between the volumes.
I saw an opportunity to construct three-dimensional figures AND eat popcorn. Oh yeah, we could discover the formula for the volume of a cone and have some great mathematical conversations too.
I’ve been doing this project for quite a few years. I originally posted it on my Infinitely Teaching blog. I have updated the Google Slide I give to students and I now encourage them to begin with the cone and move to the cylinder. This simplifies the process significantly.
Here are some pictures of our recent process. My favorite comment overheard by a student was “This is so much fun!” I want math to be fun so this is a success.
Here is a link to the Google Slide I give students with instructions and a scoring guide. If you use this, please let me know about it. It makes my day when others find my contributions useful!
I posted some area application problems last week. You can find that post here. I also promised some surface area problems, so here you go. One page is many different problems that you could use as an assignment, assessment, or problem of the day. The second one is one problem broken up into 5 days, perfect for a daily warm-up. This idea of taking one prompt and using it all 5 days, called Focus on the Question, comes from Sue O’Connell in her Putting Practice Into Action book. It’s written more for elementary but the idea can be used with high school. I’ve found this strategy to work better with struggling learners. They have conversation time and it breaks the task down into smaller parts. I always call on a table, and not a person, to allow them to share what they discussed, discovered, and concluded.
I’m currently working on some volume application, which sneaks in some surface area. I will have another one including spheres. Stay tuned.