Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Stats and sports

Today, I had a warm-up question where I asked the students to come up with three stats used in sports and how are they calculated.  The students promptly replied average, mode, and range.  It showed me that they were missing a basic concept in how they have a disconnect between the terms of mode, range, median, and mean.  Since we won't be doing much next week, I am going to find a website with either activities or with stats to have the students look up stats for either basketball, NYO (native youth olympics), volleyball or wrestling. These are the major sports played in our school.  If anyone has suggestions on websites for doing this I"d love to hear about it.
Maybe I can have them find certain stats, how the stats are calculated and have them write up a compare and contrast between at least two players so they can practice analyzing and writing.  My students are not good at synthesizing information and this could be turned into a good activity to help with that.

Monday, April 29, 2013


From midnight (12:00 AM) to 11:59 PM on April 30, 2013, my e-book is being offered from free at Amazon.com. The title is "Teaching Math Using the iPad".  I hope some of you will be kind enough to take advantage of this.

learned something new today

I actually learned how to use the Venn Diagram for Lowest Common Multiples. When you are finding LCM of two numbers, you write what is common to both numbers into the overlapping section, the remaining factors in the circle for the number then multiply the factors together.

As you can see the factors for the LCM are 7 x 2 x 11 x 2 x 2 if you read left to right.  This is a way for my students to see the difference between GCF and LCM and they have trouble telling the two apart.
This could easily be done on doodle buddy or SAS Gloss or some other program which would allow them to use their fingers.
I am thinking that you could have a venn diagram in pdf form and send it to the kids so they use annotation to do the work.  Opens up some new possibilities.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Back to learning menus

I've been giving a lot of thought to learning menus and writing.  I've worked hard this year to increase their verbal communications by asking why, how did you come up with that answer, and other questions. I have been projecting warm-up and standardized test questions on the smart board.
Unfortunately, they are not as strong on the written, so I am toying with the idea of having students create pamphlets or jingles/raps or create some sort of digital presentation on showme, iphoto, or make a pod cast. 
In the past when I've had students create digital presentations, they've struggled with the creativity.  Many of these students have grown up in an oral culture and have little if any printed material in their homes.  So if I ask them to create a printed ad, I'll have to show them an ad and discuss the parts.  The nice thing is that I can bring a few magazines along to give them ideas and they can take photos to keep a record for themselves so they have a guide. 
This is something I'm going to be working on over the summer so I set it up properly and introduce it slowly over the year.  Maybe start with a choice of two digital projects and increase the number of choices over the school year.
If anyone has suggestions on setting up and using digital learning menus, I would love to hear from you.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

idea for teaching 30/60/90 triangles.

I am going on memory right now and will do some additional research this summer but I seem to recall something on iTunes university about math in nature. This series shows real life examples of math in nature.  Then they go on to show the mathematics behind it.  I recall watching the episode on nautilus and if I remember correctly, it used 30/60/90 triangles.  I am thinking I can show the episode on the nautilus and the math behind it.  I can then have them create their own nautalis on the geoboard app on my iPad.  This would happen toward the end of the triangle section.
I am adding to this as I was grading papers after having read a bit on fractions and realized I can use the Geoboard app to have students create representations for fractions such as what is 1/3 or 1/3 x 1/2.  I  can also use it to show the distributive property and multiplication of binomials.  This opens more uses of the app for me.

I should be letting you know on Monday when I am offering my e-book for free.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Prime numbers

I keep hearing that we need to relate math topics to real life so students can see where the concept is used.  I had my 9th grade algebra I students go to Safari and research the answer to this question.  "How is prime factorization used in real life.  they found these answers.
1. Cryptography - developing and breaking codes
2. Internet security
3. Credit cards
4. Random number generators
5. breaking thing into parts
6. Magicians use them
I have a small class. Two of the students gave up on looking and one always takes her time.
This exercise gave them an opportunity to do research on a topic and find out more about real life.  I think I am going to integrate more of this next year along with having them write more.  My students score low on the writing and need to see you use it in other subjects.
I am hoping to do a bit of mind mapping on prime numbers on Monday.  It will help them develop some thinking skills they are low on right now.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Correction, observation and announcment.

I've have been increasing the amount of time I have the students on the iPads this week.  After the warmup, I send the students to a website to do something such as read or do practice problems.  They are much quieter than when I try to officially teach a lesson and they are more focused.  I feel they get even more work done.  I also show a video or two during the week instead of lecturing and they seem to pay more attention to the video than a lecture.  I still assign the study notes worksheet so they read the section but I first assign four reading for meaning statements so they preread the section.  I do not actually assign the study notes until mid week when they have had a chance to build a foundation.
The correction is that at cool math, not all lessons show up on the iPad, only some of them. It turns out the lesson on the sieve of Eratosthenes works on coolmath.com but the one on algebraic fractions does not.  So I need to check ahead of time.
The announcement is I published a short e-book on Amazon titled "Teaching math using the iPad".  It has general suggestions or types of programs, specific recommendations for how to use those apps and recommendations or suggestions for apps themselves. I give reasons for many of the recommendations.
 I will be choosing one day to offer it for free in the very near future.  I will post the date here so you all may take advantage of it being free as a thank you for reading my blog.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

website and communicating.

One last website I like is www.coolmath.com.  It works for the most part on an iPad but the games do not work because they require flash.  Otherwise, the cruncher or practice problems work pretty well.  This site has some good material in it.  Tomorrow I am going to send my 9th graders to read up on prime numbers and prime factorization.  The prime numbers section has the Sieve of Eratosthenes in the definition.  I think I will provide an unmarked one for them to do along with the explanation.
Over the summer I am going to try to put a syllabus, homework and class info on the school wiki so come fall, I can just send students there to download information and check on assignments etc.  I just found out one of the teachers who runs an afterschool activity, uses Edmodo to communicate information, dates, etc to her students.  I need to further explore this option further. 
One thing I need to consider as I do more things on the iPad has to do with keeping student work safe.  I have one set of iPads which are shared among all my classes.  I have to research how email works on the iPad to see if my students can keep their privacy.  I have an idea but I need to pursue the idea further.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

2nd website and mindmapping

The second website I use is www.aaamath.com.  I often use it for my Algebra I or Pre-Algebra level students who need to practice various topics.  Today I'll be sending my students here to read and practice prime factorization.  This website has a topic, information on doing it, practice and often offers games.  My 9th graders tend to be much more focused in class when they have an iPad assigment.
I gave some thought to mindmapping last night and came up with a couple ideas of how to use it in my math classes.  So far the ideas are for geometry but its a start.
Mindmapping ideas
1.  Use it for classification of triangles.  The center topic of triangles has three arms.  One for angles, one for sides and one for both.  There are more arms off of each of those topics to list the type such as right, acute, scalene or right scalene.  Add more arms for the characteristics such as acute would have three acute angles, or right scalene might list must have a 90 degree angle with three different length sides.  A 30-60-90 degree triangle would be an example.
2.  Classification of quadrilaterals.  This would work the same way as the triangles one.
3.  Altitudes, bisectors, and medians.
This could easily be done on a mindmapping app on the iPad.  I use Simple Mind.  It is free and it allows you to use a different color for each branch of the map.  Students often remember color better than something in black and white.
I'll give some more ideas for mindmapping in a day or two.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Nice web site for use with the iPad

I use several math sites in my classroom but over the next few days I will focus on three of them.  Two of these can be used with the iPad and the third required the use of Rover the last time my students used it.  I'll talk about each of the websites over the next three days.
The first website is www.mathisfun.com  After I've introduced a topic such as prime factorization, I will often use a QR code to send my students to read the material on the website.  Most of the topics have a small quiz at the end of the reading section which I have the students do.  I do not grade them on how many they got correct, only that they did it.  Its a second way to expose them to the information.
I was reading on a website that it is good to provide both written and verbal instructions so that when students are not listening to verbal directions and they ask "What am I supposed to do?  you can point them to the written instructions.  I have put the written instructions into a QR code and had the students use the iPad to read it. It actually worked quite well. 
The same website suggested giving students choices in the classroom including choices of writing prompts.  I am going to try the writing choices out with the Journalize or the Notes program.  I am having fun trying to find ways to increase writing in the Math classroom. 
Tomorrow will be www.aaamath.com

Saturday, April 20, 2013

update on two apps and a new one.

I spent some time going through the Boss T Maths I downloaded the other night.  It appears the one I found are just samplers rather than the full versions. The first one, Expanding and Factoring, shows you how to expand the distributive property or factor it from the expanded form to the original problem.  The examples are for a(b + c),  a(b-c),  (b+c)a and (b-c)a.  The app provides some vocabulary and a geometric representation.  Once you get to the practice problems, you can access the ones for the first examples but the others are locked and  you need to purchase the full priced app.  You can access the first practice problems for factoring ab + ac and evaluating ab + ac.  Again, if you want to any of the other problems you have to upgrade.  I was rather disappointed in that I was unaware of this being a lite version rather than the full version.
The special binomial products is set up in the same manner as the other.  You have to upgrade to access all parts of this app.  I think I could still use this effectively with my students for reteaching or guided practice using the examples.  Although I cannot access all of the practice problems, I can always create problems with the answers contained in a QR code so once my students have finished the problems, they can check their work.
I found a book making app Book Magic.  It allows kids to make their own books.  I can see this being used by elementary students to create books on shapes,  processes,  etc.  The app comes with basic shapes and it also allows the students to draw pictures, import photos or other material.  This is a bit too simple for older students. 

Friday, April 19, 2013


I am looking at incorporating journaling in my math classes as it is important to include more writing in my class.  I found a nice program Journalize which I got on the day it was free.  It looks just like a journal but it allows you to import pictures, etc and I am thinking it would be great if I could have students keep journals in some manner so they can write about what they are having trouble with, write a letter to a penpal explaining what they did in class, create a drawing and import it.  Make it more friendly than the usual write it down on a sheet of paper or keep in a book.  Too many of my students loose their pencils, binders, etc.  The less paper I have to have them deal with, the more they turn in.
I found two programs from Boss T Math.  One is on the distributive property and the other is on special binomial products.  It comes with instruction and quizzes and seems to be done in a very mathematical way.  I have downloaded them and will play with them over the weekend.  This company makes 7 more and all but one are free at this point in time.  I'll give you a report on the two apps on Monday

Thursday, April 18, 2013


I've been reading about infographics and I think it is something worth trying.  Since my college prep is in the middle of a project, I think on Monday I will give them a choice of actually writing the short report or preparing an infographic on logs and natural logs and their use.  I think they might have more fun doing the infographic rather than a report since it is a bit more creative.  From what I've read about infographics, these would be great for the probability unit as students can see the real life applications of probability.  Bingo is a huge business out here and parents will often go play to 3 or 4 in the morning.  Maybe an infographic on the probability of Bingo would be a good place to start the unit. 
I am hoping to discuss a couple math apps I discovered on iTunes that will help students with the distributive property and with the special binomials such as (x^2 - 4).  I even have ideas of how to do a graphical representation on Geoboard but I want to do more research on other apps that might help me with the graphical representations.
If anyone knows of one, let me know.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Three apps

I downloaded three apps I found on a list of apps you should have if you are teaching math.  One seems to have disappeared and I've been unable to find it.  The three I found are Ooops, Virtual Manipulatives, and iSpy-x.
The basic premise of Ooops is that you get several numbers and operations that are equal to something.  You insert parenthesis to make the problem come out right.  It has 5 levels and uses all four operations.  Sometimes it uses one set of parenthesis, sometimes it uses two.  When you think you have the answer, you hit the check button and it shows the work with the answer your problem has and tells you if it is right or wrong.  I like this app in that it gives the students a better conceptual grasp of PEMDAS and how it can effect the results of the problem.
Virtual Manipulatives has actual manipulatives for fractions, decimals and percents.  It uses the bars that start at 1 and then are subdivided for 1/2, 1/3, 1/4, etc.  The 1/3 for fractions, decimals and percents has all the same color and you can move pieces so you can have students explore 1/2 = 1/4 + 1/4 or 50% = 10% + 10% + 10% + 10% + 10%.  Virtual Manipulatives is great for the upper elementary or middle school grades.  I could see using in high school with students who struggle with basic math or in a pre-algebra class.
Finally iSpy-x which is supposed to help students learn to solve simple problems such as 2 + x = 7. You can choose the one of three levels and on each level you can select the operation or used mixed operations.  I downloaded the program 3 different times and each time it had a different bug.  I could never get it to work on more than the easy level for addition.
I know that I am going to load Ooops on my iPads next year to use in the classroom.  I like it and it can provide great differentiated instruction due to the 5 levels it offers.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Good websites for math

Due to the cultural celebration beginning at school tomorrow, today is really the last day this week I will be teaching, so I made the majority of work, iPad based. 
In period 1 we've been studying scientific notation.  The students went to http://janus.astro.umd.edu/astro/scinote/  It allows the student to do practice problems before taking the quiz.  I had the students do 10 practice conversion problems before they took the quiz.  On Monday, they will do practice multiplication and division problems using scientific notation before they take the quiz.
In period 2 we've been simplifying, multiplying and dividing rational numbers.  We used this website: http://www.regentsprep.org/Regents/math/algtrig/ATO2/indexATO2.htm to practice these types of problems.  The lessons and practice sections do work on the iPad.  I enjoyed it because the students could do the problems and then check their work.  If they got stuck they could go to the solution and check out how the problem was done step by step.  It gave them some guidance and allowed them to be independent.  I did not see any students go to the solutions and just copy down the answers.
For periods 4 and 5 They will be going to  http://www.mathguide.com/lessons/SurfaceArea.html
to learn more about Surface area.  It comes with a lovely explanation and practice problems afterwards. 
I printed QR codes on paper, put directions under the codes and had the students use the iPads to read the codes so they knew what to do and the code sent them directly to the website.  I did not spend time trying to have them type it in.
I am using these activities to engage them and to monitor their understanding of the materials.  I am glad to find sites that work on the iPad. 
Tomorrow I'll be writing on three math apps I downloaded that I plan to try tonight.  I'll let you know how they work.

Monday, April 15, 2013

logs and volume and surface area.

The project started off well.  One young lady discovered that they use logs in regard to determining pregnancy while the other discovered it is used for carbon dating of artifacts.  So they both had a great start.  I am going to do some research to see if I can find a website to help the geometry class work more on calculating surface area vs calculating volume.  Due to having to take time off, I did not use my usual introductory lesson on 3 dimensional shapes where I have them build actual models out of construction paper, and tape.  I need to find a program that will allow students to put pieces together to create 3D shapes on the iPad.  For instance,  a cylinder is made from two circles and a rectangle.  I use this lesson to help my hands on  and visual learners to see how the formulas for SA and Volume relate to the object.

I found a website  http://www.mathguide.com/lessons/SurfaceArea.html  which shows in wonderful detail how to find the surface area on various 3 dimensional shapes with a quiz to take afterwards for each shape.  This works on the iPad so I'm going to have my students try it tomorrow to see if it helps them increase their understanding for finding surface area.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Logs and Lns and reading the textbook.

We have a short teaching week so I am going to have my college prep class do some research.  They will find out how logs and lns are used in real life, prepare a report on it using any app on the iPads. They have to find one for logs and one for natural logs, include the specific situation, a graph and write an explanation of who is using the function and why.  This may help them make the real world connection they miss in the book.
 The textbook we use has real world examples but the students try hard to avoid reading the textbook.  I've started using a reading for meaning exercise where I make a table with three columns and four rows.  In the center column, I write four things out of the chapter.  The left column is for agree and the right most column is for disagree.  The student reads the chapter and decides if the statement is true or false and writes the sentence out of the book that proves the statement is true or false.  They have to include the page number with the information. 
I find students read much more carefully, especially if I tell them that I will  not help them.  The may help each other.  The next time I do this exercise which will be next Monday, I am going to try it using the iPad.  I just have to decide what will be the best app to use to share the form.
I do this type of exercise because most of my students are classified ELL (English Language Learners) and they hate to read.  So this helps them read the material and get a chance to understand it.  They help each other.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Virtual manipulatives in the classroom.

Currently I use two different ones in my math classes.  One is Geoboard for the iPad.  It is just like the real life geoboards we have in our classrooms except this app comes with two different boards and lots of colored rubber bands but no chance of loosing either the board or the rubber bands.  I've used it for students to create various types of triangles such as those classified by sides, or angles, finding the number of triangles in a polynomial as a starting point to find the equation telling the interior measurements of the angles, tessellations, transformations, etc.  If you use a geoboard in real life, you can use this app to do the same thing.
The second app I've used in geometry is Geometry pad.  It allows students to use a coordinate plane for geometry.  It allows students to make all sorts of quadrilaterals and polygons, triangles, circles with radius, arcs, chords, etc.  There is an option for points, angles, lines, rays, segments, perpendicular bisectors, medians, altitudes and angle bisectors.  you can draw, type, use a ruler, and do certain functions.  I've used this one when the book has a coordinate plane problem, transformations, midpoints, diagonals, etc.  If I have to resort to worksheets for certain activities, I will have my students use this app to help them complete the worksheet. 
Due to iPads not having java, I am unable to use many of the virtual manipulative websites on the internet.  I found another app that has great ratings and I hope to down load it tonight to play with.  Its virtual manipulatives and focuses on decimals, percents and fractions.  Although it is rated for middle school, many of my lower performing high school students are weak in that area.  I think this could be used in that class to help them learn how decimals, percents and fractions relate to each other.  I hope to give more information on this app on Monday or so.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Idea for the last week of school and today's exploration.

I am about 4 to 5 weeks out from the end of school where I am.  The last week of school, we don't do much so I am thinking of running a project that will be cross curricular and should be fun. I was reading the back of a VHS tape and there was a project listed called The Math Trail. The students are to use concepts from the math curriculum and create books of problems based on objects and events in their community.  For instance, students might create problems concerning how much heating oil is held in their tank and then write a problem on how much it would cost to fill.  Students would be using math and either ibooks author or some other book making publication. They could take pictures of the items, add arrows, etc. They possibly could add a voice over.  I am going to spend the next few days working up the parameters on it.
Today I had my 9th graders use their iPads to research how scientific notation is used in real life. They found two real life examples and posted them on the board (smart board).  They came up with some really good examples.  Some were the speed of light, government debt, size of a virus, size of the space inside a computer chip, a mole etc.  The kids needed experience searching for information and they also needed to discover how scientific notation is used in real life.

Thursday, April 11, 2013


On Monday I am going to assign my seniors a two day project where they will use iPhoto and the camera to create a short 1 to 2 min project on where and how logs and ln are ussed in the real world.  We have doodle buddy they can draw things on, notepad to type and a couple other programs to use.  I believe they can use iPhoto to create a slide show of sorts and that will be awesome.  I have to figure out the parameters of the project and write the rubric for Monday.  I will tell them they can use what ever apps are on the iPad and make sure they know how to do screen shots so they can use those to help make the presentation.
I am looking forward to the results and I will be sure to share them.  I found an app to animate things but it has limited uses unless you register at the website.  So I need to investigate that.  I know their attention is much better when they do things on the iPad, I just need to make sure they are learning the material rather than using it as a toy.
I think I might have found an animation app that is free.  I am going to download it tonight and hopefully try it out.  I will report back on it.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A first

Today the students in my College Prep math class asked me to stop the video I was showing on the properties of logs so they could take notes.  I show the videos using the smart board because I have limited bandwidth and we don't have the serious stuttering problem that often happens if everyone is trying to watch a video at once.
I am going to explore the showme and Educreation apps over the summer.  I am thinking of using the learning menu idea where I give them the menu at the beginning of the unit and let them choose a couple projects that are due at the end of the unit right before the test.  I hope that I can have the students use either of those apps for one of the projects on the menu.
I have so much to do this summer as I plan my units.  I am going to try to have more integrated technology but it also depends on what changes they make over the summer.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Guided practice

I find that I waste way too much paper when I have students do their first few problems on paper.  Most of my students throw the paper out rather than use it as an example for later, so I have them use an app like doodle buddy or SAS gloss.  Doodle buddy is more of an art program where students can use their fingers to try the problem.  It allows them to choose the background, the ink, insert text, etc.  I usually walk around the class checking their progress, answering questions, etc.  if they have done the problem correctly, I draw a smiley face, if not, they get a frowny face.  They can save the image and email it if desired.  The other program offers a bit more.
Gloss offers the drawing surface but it also allows you to choose graph paper, wide ruled or college ruled paper as a background.  This program also allows you to add shapes, write or insert text and is easier to use in a math class room.  I am going to install this program in a day or two and try it out.  I am thinking it might offer me a way to increase the amount of writing I have them do in class.  I will keep you posted on how it goes.

Monday, April 8, 2013

State mandated testing

Since these tests seem to. Take over the curriculum, I am thinking of beginning the first day of classes by setting up an online test with practice questions.  I figure that I can use the data as a starting point for what I teach, the starting point, and where I start.  Since the push is for data driven teaching, using testmoz.com or other site, I can have ongoing data to refer to.  This opens up lots of good possibilities.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

More on yesterday's QR experiment

I was able to export the results of the 10 question protest I gave my students on scientific notation.  The information provided includes all 10 questions, student names, their answers and their score for the quiz.  Now I can take the information, analyze it , and have a place to start teaching rather than just teaching by the shotgun effect.
I plan to use this with other classes and I am going to make it a regular part of my arsenal for next year. The site again for building your own test is testmoz.com  
I love finding places like this that I can use with the iPads.

Friday, April 5, 2013

After spending the past couple of days, I set up an opening activity with my 9th grade class using the QR codes.  The first code simply told them the order of things we were going to do on the iPad.  The code showed up on the notepad app.  It worked better than I expected.  The second QR code sent them to testmoz.com to take a pretest quiz on scientific notation.  I like this site as it allows me to set up the type of question and I set this quiz up as a multiple choice.  Once they finished, I can go back to the site and look at the report on the results.  It gives me the name of the student, their scores and the time it took them to take the quiz.  Below that is a grid that shows me how each student did on each question.  Both charts can be exported in CVS format so I can carefully analyze the results to help me design the unit better.
I was pleasantly surprised at how well it went.  I am going to try this method in other classes and will use this as one of my regular assessments.  This can help me monitor how well the students are learning the material so I do not have to retest.
Next step is to use the QR code on a homework assignment which I think I"ll try in a couple of weeks.  Please feel free to leave comments or suggestions on QR codes.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Quizzes and such

I spoke to the school board president this morning about math and the students and ways to help the students who are not college bound prepare for life after school.  Since I am piloting the iPad program for our school,  I told the president that it is a process of my learning how to use the iPad effectively during instruction while helping the kids learn to use it as a tool so that when they leave school, they can work in a technologically heavy world.  He understands that to really integrate the iPads it will take more than one year because I am learning as I go. 
Tomorrow I"ll show him some apps on my iPad for both elementary and high school so he has an idea of what can be accomplished especially with free apps for the  iPads and mini iPads.  The elementary school will be getting mini iPads and I will be overseeing that program. 
I think for the younger elementary I'll be recommending Doodle Buddy for math and reading, the math app from SAS which has a variety of units that are great for K to about 3.  I think the Doodle Buddy will be good for students learning letters, numbers, writing words, and sentences. 
For the high school, I found a test making site  with fewer bells and whistles to use on the ipads.  I can design my own questions, decide the type (multiple choice, fill in the blank, true or false) and then get information on how the students did.  I am trying a short 10 question true or false quiz for my 9th grade Algebra class as a way to see what they already know about scientific notation.  Once done, they will go to a website to read up on the topic and take another short quiz that will give them instant feedback.  I am going to try a fill in the blank exercise from the book with the questions spread around the room (perhaps done with QR codes) and they have to find the answer in the book. 
I'll let everyone know how that goes. 
The reason for the last activity is that my students do not want to read and they need to learn to read for comprehension. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Balancing technology with knowledge.

This post is coming out of something I"ve been thinking about for a while and since the standardized testing for my state is in its second day, I thought I would address this issue.  I've noticed that many of my students need their calculator to do a simple problem such as 27-32.  If they do not use the calculator, they often answer this as -15 not -5.  They tend to switch digits so the bigger one is on top.  When I have students graph functions, they do not recognize they didn't graph it correctly, even though we've studied how the graphs should look. When I taught college math, my students had the same problem on graphs.  The attitude was simply "I entered the problem in and the calculator gave me the answer so its right."  I don't think students even stop to check to see if the answer seems reasonable.
I wonder what I can do to help them make this connectivity that they are lacking.  At this point in time, the students are not allowed to use calculators on the state mandated tests so they struggle many times to find the correct answer.  I am working to find ways to help students use technology while learning the material so they can find their mistakes.
I would love suggestions on this.
On the other hand, I finally got to watch the three videos on using SAS gloss.  It showed how to download pdf files with math problems so the students can do the work right on the iPad and e-mail it to the teacher when done.  The app has graph paper so students can practice graphing and it has lined paper so students can write out explanations or journal.  So far I am impressed with everything this does.  I am going to put it on my classroom set of iPads next week and use it for the remainder of the year.  I'll let everyone know how it goes.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Subject specific apps

I just read something in edudemic.com in which the author said that too often people look for subject specific apps rather than the more general ones to utilize.  That is quite true but in math, there are certain subject specific apps I've had to look for.  For instance, when I teach conic sections, I want a graphing app that will allow the students to graph ellipses, circles, hyperbolas, and parabolas without having to rewrite them into the y = something format.  I actually found one,MathGraph from the iTunes store.  It allows my students to graph all the conic sections and they have a choice of orienting it either vertically or horizontally.  It also has a small quiz section for each type of conic section.  It also does lines, exponents, log and ln.  I like using this particular app for my Algebra II and College prep classes.
While surfing today I discovered this website:
It lists 100 apps for the iPad but it is divided into topics such as Digital learning, Blooms Digital Taxonomy, etc. The one for Blooms Digital Taxonomy lists suggestions of apps for each level from creating to remembering.  This is one I am going to explore in more detail over the summer when I have  bit more time.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Which is first, the lesson plan or the technology in planning?

I just read an article on edtechreview.in about technology and pedagogy in which they discussed teaching and technology.  Do you choose the technology and then write the lesson plan or do you write the lesson plan and choose the technology?  Personally, I don't think it is either.
From my perspective of teaching math, it is more important to choose the concept first, decide how you want the concept to be understood by the students and then look at where in the process the technology is best used.  Technology is a tool to help students learn the material.
One item taught during transformations is tessellations.  I introduced this section by showing pictures of tesselations on my smartboard. I asked questions about what they saw and how they think these were made.  We reviewed types of transformations and discussed  how they were used to produce certain pictures.  This was followed by a video on tessellations and I asked them to design their own tessellation on the geoboard app on the iPad.  Once they had their tessellation created, they transferred the design onto graph paper and colored it in.  This took about two 55 min periods to complete.  The students stayed engaged and we used technology to further the lesson.