I follow Theresa Wills @theresawills on Twitter and she shares some really amazing math games on her blog that she creates for the platform PlayingCard.io. The really fun thing about this platform is that you can play with a partner in real time.

The exciting piece of this is the customizable games. This is where Theresa shares her magic.

Click here to see all of the games Theresa has to offer. Check out the rest of her website too. She has a lot of wonderful information to support math teachers.

Now many of Theresa’s examples will work for younger grades, but I plan to use a few as remediation games for my kiddos. I would also like to create a few games to use as we get closer to the end of the year. I will definitely share when I get them created. For now, check out all that Theresa has to offer and try out PlayingCards.io. It’s pretty amazing.

I gave a quiz this past week. Some students did quite well but others struggled with some of the concepts. I wanted an activity that gave more practice of the skills students were missing but was self-checking. Students have been asking for another pixel-art activity so I decided to combine the two.

This week in the United States is Groundhog Day. You can click here and read about the history of Groundhog Day. It’s very interesting! One of my colleagues and friend grew up in Punxsutawney Pennsylvania, home of the official Groundhog. When we are NOT in a pandemic, she makes groundhog shaped sugar cookies for all her students and the other math teachers. I know this year she is sad because she won’t be able to share this tradition. To honor her hometown, I made this pixel art activity as a groundhog :-). This one is for you Danyelle.

You may take this one and alter it. You may also create your own with this tutorial I created.

I also wanted to share a couple of Desmos activities I found and used during this unit. Both are by Kurt Salisbury.

The Zelda activity is one I’ve used before and I really like it. It practices Pythagorean Theorem.

The second one I found just this year and it is AH-Mazing!!! I will be this good at Desmos CL one day and will make fun things like this! This is one is an intro to Trig with some terrific animations. It really allowed my students to think an explore.

As promised last week, here are some exit tickets that you can use with a Similarity Unit in Geometry. Just a reminder of how I use these. I give feedback on each submission and have students work on them until they are correct. I love doing this with the comment feature in Google Slides. In Canvas, I am using the Google Assignments LTI so it looks just like Google Classroom.

Now, you might not want my Bitmoji on your slides. I mean, she’s cute, but I get it! You can go to view-master and change the Bitmoji there. I changed my jacket color for each day. One student told me he was excited each day during the lesson to see what color the jacket would be but slightly less excited about the math. ðŸ˜‚ Whatever gets them there!

It’s nice when you find an activity that you can just USE. If you are getting ready to teach or review triangle congruence, hopefully these exit tickets will be helpful.

I give these the same day I teach a new lesson. Students get feedback from me until they have correct answers. It has worked very well during our hybrid schedule but I plan to keep doing it when we go back in person.

These slides are interactive so you will want to make a copy for each student. You can edit the content by going to view-Master. I create it there so the static parts don’t move.

Each one is set to template. If you would like to keep the activity, just select the get template button in the top right corner.

I am a huge proponent of application when application is possible. I realize sometimes application is not possible at the level you are teaching. For example, my senior son was working on Calculus the other day and had to recall the exponent rules from Algebra 1 (8th grade for him). He hasn’t needed to use exponent rules in any other class AND when I teach Algebra, I know it’s near impossible to find application for the rules. Clearly they have a purpose, but he didn’t see that purpose until four years later. Application wasn’t possible at the time he was taught the rules.

Surface area and volume, however, is VERY applicable. Last year, I switched my focus from using the formulas to finding online calculators (Read about it here) and just applying the formulas. I created many application type activities, including measuring objects in the classroom. We ended the unit with our robot project (referenced in the book Make Math Not Suck), which the students LOVE!

This year, I wanted to make my life and my student’s lives a little easier. There isn’t ONE calculator online that will calculate every surface area and volume problem we encounter. Teaching students the skills to look for these calculators is a good skill! The issue was the time involved searching for a calculator that would work, then when we did find one, there were some inappropriate ads on some of the pages.

So I fixed it! I created a SURFACE ARE AND VOLUME CALCULATOR that I can give to my students. They still need to know which one to use but they don’t have to search the internet to find one.

Please use this with your classes. Please DO NOT sell this to others or pass it off as your own. I drew each figure on my iPad and I entered each formula in the cells. It took some time! I LOVE when people use my stuff (for FREE) but it upsets me when they take it and sell it on TpT as their own. DON’T BE THAT PERSON!

Here are some quick links to previous posts about surface area and volume applications to use with the calculator and a BRAND NEW remote learning performance event.

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 ðŸ˜¦ 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.

Infographics (Read)

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.

Online Resources

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.

Google Slides

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.

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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.