Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Because I'm Appy! - My Favorite Teaching Apps

With everything we teachers have to do nowadays, it's nice to have something that makes you're life a little easier.  Here are some of my favorite apps and websites that I'm using this year:

Kahoot! (Website - compatible for use on most devices)

Having fun and leaning with Kahoot!
Kahoot! is an awesome way to engage my kids.  I create multiple choice quizzes on the website and then my students use their iPads to answer the questions as they come up on the screen.  The students earn points as they answer the questions - the faster they answer, the more points they get.  I usually give a little prize to the winners.  I can also download the data from each session to use as an assessment.

GoNoodle Brain Breaks (Website)

This is one of my kids' favorites!  I use GoNoodle to give my students a brain break between lessons.  There's lots of choices from yoga to Zumba to track and field.  I also love to use the Indoor Recess mixes on those cold, rainy days that we've been having.  It also becomes a game because as you earn minutes, your class avatar changes and becomes stronger.  This one is a keeper!

ZipGrade (App, website for downloading answer sheets)

I can't say enough about how much this app has changed my life as a teacher!  ZipGrade is an app that allows you to grade multiple choice quizzes by taking a picture with your iOS or Android device. You scan the key then scan the answer sheets.  It's so easy!  It also gives you automatic Item Analysis as well as the option of downloading the data to your Google Drive or Dropbox.  I use this for nearly all of my tests as well as for exit tickets or quick quizzes.  There's a free version for the first 100 scans, but the full version is only $9.99 in App Store.  Believe me, it is totally worth it!

Google Apps - (Web and Apps)

I've been addicted to Google for years, and now that Docs, Sheets, and Slides are available as Apps, I've gotten even more use out of them.  My campus hasn't quite gotten all Googly yet (I'm working on it!), but I still love using Google Drive to share documents with my coworkers and parents on my website. I create exit tickets and classroom sign-ups with Google Forms. It really just makes my life a little easier and more paperless.

Reflex Math (Website and iPad app)

One of my goals this year is for my students to become fluent with their math facts, especially those multiplication facts!  Reflex Math helps me to do that while my kids have fun at the same time.  They beg to practice their facts and are really showing growth with the games and fast action quizzing.  I'm able to track my students' growth with my teacher account and see which facts we need to focus on.

There is so much more I could share, but I need to go prepare for our Science Fair experiment.  We're doing a little something with forces and motion...can't wait to show you next time!

Have a FANTASTIC day!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

We Wish You a Mathy Christmas (New Year's Edition!)

Technically it's still Christmas since my tree is still up, but since I finally get to return to work tomorrow, I thought it was time to update the blog.  I wanted to share what my kids were up to before we left for break so we can get ready to rock 'n roll into the new year.

We spent the majority of our time working on multiplication concepts and practicing different strategies for recognizing solving multiplication problems.  Then the students practiced by creating their own story problems and representations.

Multiplication Strategies Anchor Chart

We also learned about multiplication and division fact families by creating some lovely mistletoe (saw this on Pinterest of course!) I randomly assigned multiplication facts, and the students created the fact family on the leaves.  The berries in the middle show the numbers in the family.

The students really enjoyed playing Multiplication War to help with their math facts.  I know this game is going to be a regular part of my Math Workshop rotation!

We also spent one day participating in the Hour if Code.  This program is used to expose students to computer coding in a fun way.  The students spent time in the computer lab solving coding puzzles based on Angry Birds or Frozen.  It was amazing seeing the students completely engaged and helping each other.  Many of the kids continued to work on the iPads during workstations and found an activity where they could program their own version of Flappy Bird.  Here's some pics from that day:

One of the things I really love to do with my students around the holidays is origami.  We made these fun origami picture frames and used them to decorate our class tree.  I used the pattern and directions from the book Origami Math by Karen Baicker.  

Although I'm not looking forward to my alarm going off early tomorrow morning, I am excited to get back!  We'll be making some goals for the year, working more on fact fluency and problem solving, and begin division concepts.  It will be an adventure!

Even Santa showed up in my class! :)

Have a FANTASTIC year!