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.
In this season of virtual learning, digital manipulatives are more important than ever. There are a few I have used over the years in my own classroom like the protractor, ruler, algebra tiles, and algebra balance scale. I created them to fulfill a need in my class. My students can’t always purchase these supplies, or if they do, they are broken by the time we need them.
At a conference last week, I had elementary teachers ask if I had additional resources or digital tool websites for teachers. I did have resources, but they were in many different places. I’ve created a Wakelet of these resources to make it easier and included the link below. I will continue to add to it.
I’ve also had the request to include more elementary related material. I have an elementary friend who will be sharing some of her resources here but I would LOVE to feature you on my blog. If you have a fun learning activity that Makes Math Not Suck for elementary students, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We could set up a guest blog post OR I can simply feature your activity.
I have been using the Geometric Town project for years. You can read about it from my original post and also obtain the non-digital version. During this crazy Covid-19 quarantine, I’ve been updating my activities to make them more virtual learning friendly. In this situation, I gave students the choice to complete this activity digitally or on paper.
There are components of this project that I like on paper, like graphing equations by hand and students using their creativity with their buildings. Other benefits became evident when I created this digitally. The use of Desmos to create the graphs and the use of digital icons made correcting misconceptions much easier.
Either way, this is still a fun project that reviews many of standards from the year.
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.
I created this activity last year to review equations of lines and learning about equations of circles. It was completed in groups by table but the delivery was mostly work at their own pace. Well, this was perfect for distance learning. I changed from groups to individual, added some Google Forms practice checks that students could complete as many times as needed until they were 100% correct, and some video notes where I would normally have given a few notes.
So far it has been a huge success. I love giving individual feedback for each student and I love to see the questions they have when they get stuck. I feel like they are learning a lot AND having fun.
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.