Posted in Activities, Algebra 1, Distance Learning, Functions, Geometry, Google Slides, Notability

Multiple Representations for Leaners

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.

click for template
click for template
click for template

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.

click for template

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.

click to open
click to open

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.

click to view

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.

Happy creating!

Posted in Covid-19, Digital Manipulatives, Distance Learning, Google Slides

Digital Manipulatives

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.

click to go to Wakelet

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 mtolen13@gmail.com. We could set up a guest blog post OR I can simply feature your activity.

Posted in Algebra 1, Digital Manipulatives, Geometry, Google Slides

Digital Manipulatives

Have you seen a teenagers backpack? Three weeks into school and the protractor I asked them to buy is already in pieces in the bottom of their backpack. Books, binders, and a computer have been shoved into that backpack and the protractor is now broken. Or maybe they couldn’t afford school supplies to begin with. Protractors are not usually among the free supplies students can get. There are many reasons to use digital manipulatives, this is just one example, and inspiration behind my measuring angles activity. Created in Google Slides with a transparent protractor (google transparent protractor), students can move and rotate the protractor to practice measuring angles.

The balancing equations activity and the algebra tiles were created out of need for manipulatives but no funds to purchase them. Creating them digitally allowed me to have a set of manipulatives for every student.

A third reason to use digital manipulatives, blended and virtual learning. In this crazy Covid-19 time, we can’t send algebra tiles home with students, and not everyone has a protractor or ruler at home, but we can provide them with one digitally.

I create my manipulatives in Google Slides, but Google Drawing will work too. You can set any piece that you don’t want to move as the background so students don’t get frustrated. I may have learned this that hard way. Design the parts you don’t want to move. When you are ready, go to File – Download as PNG. Then click on the background button in the toolbar and choose an image from a file. Once the image is uploaded, you can delete everything. Your background will be behind it all. After your background is set, start creating the moving parts or parts you want the to type in.

Here are three digital manipulatives I’ve created for my classroom. If you use these in your classroom or with virtual learning, I would love to hear how it goes.

Balancing Equations MMNS                     Algebra Tiles MMNS

Measure Angles with Protractor MMNS

 

 

Posted in Activities, Google Slides, Polygons

Exploring Interior & Exterior Angles of Polygons

I’ve always had my students draw in the lines and explore the interior and exterior angles of a polygon, but they struggle with drawing the lines. Many students try to draw lines from every angle to every other angle and you end up with a spiderweb mess. We also spend so much time on the lines that we lose focus of the pattern that develops. During a PD when we were talking about students questions and exploration, a colleague suggested letting student cut out the angles on the exterior of a polygon and put them together. Well, if you’ve been around my blog long enough you know I am NOT a fan of cutting paper. So I created the exterior angle exploration during our session. It allowed the same exploration as the paper, but was possibly even more visual. Our team LOVED it.  I went on to create the interior angles exploration also. The purpose of this one is to spend time on exploring the pattern and not on the drawing of the actual lines.

If you use this exploration, please let me know. Make sure you put in in Google Classroom with make a copy for each student.

Sum of Exterior Angles Drag & DropSum of Interior Angles in a Polygon

 

Posted in Activities, BreakIN, Circles, Equations of Lines, games, Geometry, Google Slides

Break-In Game

Matt Miller had a guest post on his blog a while back by John Meehan on a game concept called QR BreakIN. I love to create BreakOUT games so this idea had me intrigued. John’s graphics were amazing and the game boards looked fun. I pondered how to use it in my math classroom for quite a while until an idea finally surfaced.

A few areas had me stumped.  1. I needed the tasks to be sequential and most games boards where you roll dice are random. 2. I didn’t think, unless it was a review day, I could accomplish much in our 45 minute class period using his format.

I used John’s template but with my own twists. I came up with the Donkey Kong idea because jumping the barrels creates the progression of tasks that I needed. I also made this a unit long game instead of one day. Reading more information on John’s blog, I found a post he had about Power-Ups, so I incorporated that into this game too.

Link to Slide Deck  (All graphics were created in Google Drawing)

7th Donkey Kong Equations (3)          7th Donkey Kong Equations (4)

IMG_2886.JPG

Since the game would be completed over 2 weeks, I made my game board and game pieces electronic. I also wanted to use Google Classroom to release the tasks instead of using QR codes, mainly because our student laptops aren’t the best and they don’t play nice with QR readers.

Donkey Kong Equations (3).png  Screen Shot 2019-04-04 at 9.27.11 AM

Here are my takeaways from this unit long game.

Game Board

I like that I can open the slide from day to day and update the progress of the game instead of moving it from the board and putting it back for each class daily (I did this in 3 classes). However, I felt like it took me longer than I wanted to get the board updated because I was checking and releasing tasks.

Narrator Cards

GENIUS! I gave my students 3 for the unit. The cards could be used to ask a content question of the Narrator. You know what happened? They asked each other instead, just as I had hoped. We are nearing the end of the unit and NO ONE has used a card. They have worked together as a team to find solutions.

Google Classroom instead of QR codes

This one was tricky for me because of the time issue. I did load each post ahead of time as a draft and then I could release to each group as they were ready. This still took more time than I wanted to spend. It would be much simpler to have the QR codes, but I also like that the tasks are still in Google Classroom if they want to reference them.

Student motivation

Wow, kids are serious about earning Power-Ups. If a student did not complete their practice, the team was ALL OVER THEM.  I had more practice completed this unit than ever before.  Students were also, mostly, positive in their encouragement of their team.

Would I do this again? YES. This has been a fun way to present a short and mostly review unit for my students. They seem to be enjoying it.

Check out the hashtag #QRBreakIN on Twitter and also lurk around John’s blog. He does some amazing things with students.

 

Posted in Activities, App creation, Area, Geometry, Google Slides

Area App with Google Slides

I love when you create a project that students are excited about! This project fits that description. We review area formulas in Geometry before we start surface area. I DID NOT WANT another “look up the formula” day. It’s boring! And, if I don’t like it, students won’t either. Then I stumbled across this post by @micahshippee on Kasey Bell’s website ShakeUpLearning.com. I have the privilege of knowing both of these wonderful people. Micah is part of my Google Innovator Cohort and he is amazing.  And ya’ll know Kasey. If you don’t know them, look them up, RIGHT NOW. You’ve been missing out.

Micah created an activity where student use Google Slides to create an “app” that you can load on your phone or tablet. I decided to use this wonderful idea to review area formulas. My students created an app where you could click a button and find the formula and an example for each shape.

Bonuses: Students were VERY ENGAGED. They were still working when the bell rang and didn’t really want to stop. They were helping each other, critiquing without being prompted, and giving great advice. I was MORE THAN excited when students came into class the day the assignment was due with the app already loaded on their phone. They were soooo proud!  I think, as an extension of this activity, we will share our apps with lower grade levels, who are learning about area for the first time, and have them give us feedback through Flipgrid.

Here is the activity I gave the students. My instructions are taken directly from Micah’s post because they are so thorough. He is cited in the activity.

Create an App for AREA (1)

I’ve also included some of the apps created by my students. OMGee, they make my heart happy. You should be able to click on the phone below and it will open a Google Drawing file where the links are active. If you use this activity, please share on Twitter and tag me @MandiTolenEDU and @micahshippee.

 

 

Posted in Activities, Application, Geometry, Google Slides, Trig

Student Created Trig Word Problems

For the last 9 years, I’ve had students do a Trig project where they use handmade clinometers to measure the height of an object taller than they are. I love this project because it shows the application of Trig and guides students through a thought process to solve this type of problem.

This year I wanted to shake things up a bit. I wanted them to do the same project, but this time I wanted them to write an angle of elevation word problem. Students struggle with the word problems, and writing them helps them understand the process and required information.

As always, I was blown away by the creativity of some of my students. Their word problems were hilarious! They were problems I would WANT to solve. I took a few and used them on our assessment.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Since we had a recent ice storm, pictures had to be taken inside. It was Homecoming week, so we had some interesting backdrops. Students used the HOCO decorations and wrote their stories around them. Aren’t kids great?

Angle of depression is still giving us issues so maybe next year I’ll have them measure something below them. Maybe from the bleachers or the top of the steps. Hmm… food for thought!

Posted in Activities, Geometry, Google Slides, Questioning, Thinking Questions

Thinking Questions

This idea came from Alice Keeler and the late Diana Herrington’s book Teaching Math with Google Apps. I have wanted to implement it for some time and even had some conversations with Alice about how she is currently using it. This year I finally created some. The whole point behind this type of question is to get student to look up information, explain their thinking, and persevere until they have it correct.

Now, Alice does a much more in depth version of this, and I LOVE it, but my students aren’t ready for it yet. We will get there!

I give the students a question on a slide. One portion is for their answer, another portion is for them to explain their thinking. I leave comments and return them if they need correction or more in depth explanation. Taking some advice from Alice, I started off by giving students credit as quickly as possible. They will get frustrated and quit if they have to resubmit too many times. If the response if VERY incorrect, I will conference with the student face -to -face so we can discuss their misconceptions and they can be more successful with their next submission. I only give one of these a week and I do give them a grade for it. But remember, they can resubmit based on feedback as many times as needed.

Here are some examples of thinking questions I’ve given Geometry so far.

I don’t assign points for practice but I’m making the exception for this. I feel like the effort and perseverance creates a deeper mathematical understanding. The students have responded well to it and most students turn it in successfully.

As always, let me know if you use this idea in your classroom.

 

Posted in Activities, games, Google Slides, Parallel Lines

Parallel & Perpendicular Memory Game with Google Slides

I try to incorporate an activity into every lesson. My goal is to make math not suck and sitting and taking notes is not the way to do it. A colleague found this memory game in an investigation for parallel and perpendicular lines from Wapakonta High School (sorry, I don’t know who to credit.) I love this type of activity but I HATE cutting out paper and having to keep track of the paper from year to year. I played around with Google Slides until I came up with a workable electronic memory game.

I included the instructions in the memory game, delete two cards and if they are a match, keep them deleted. If they don’t match, control z twice and put them back. I made the graphs a background image so they wouldn’t be deleted by accident.

Parallel & Perpendicular Memory Game (2)

2017-10-01_17-42-07

Parallel & Perpendicular Memory Game

It was fun and it was great practice for identifying parallel and perpendicular from a slope. A few areas of improvement from the students, make the graphs bigger and make the cards images because they kept clicking on the ? and deleting it instead.

Here’s a link to the slide. If you are interested in creating your own, click over to Infinitely Teaching for the tutorial.

Posted in Activities, Bitmoji, Geometry, Google Slides, Transformations

Transformation Comics

This is a lesson that I originally found here. It has gone through many iterations. You can see the progression of these on my sister blog Infinitely Teaching if you want a paper version of this project. I love this project because students have to take the transformation words and work them into their comic. They also use the transformation tools inside drawing or slides to actually transform their superhero.  This year we created Bitmojis and used those in combination with the Jachimo template from SlidesCarnival or template from the ever wonderful Sylvia Duckworth and my students loved it more than they ever have before. It’s amazing what adding a personalized Bitmoji will do for student engagement.

Here is the example I gave my students. We also had a quick exploratory lesson about how to transform the Bitmojis through the arrange menu (or 2 finger click or key command) and a quick lesson on how to crop and mask images.

Superhero Transformations.png

I was even more impressed after my students submitted their projects.

Example 1     Example 2    Example 3

I’ve included the template I gave my students but they weren’t limited to these templates. They had the freedom to create their comics however they saw fit. Remember, giving students choices will make them own their learning more.

Template to create your own (make a copy to edit it)

Please, if you use any of the provided templates, credit the correct person. SlidesCarnival is a wonderful resource and Sylvia has taken a lot of time to put her slide deck together as well.

As always, drop me a note if you use this project. I love to hear from teachers who find these projects useful.