Friday, June 21, 2013


I was watching a television show and the substitute had a fantastic answer to the question "When will I ever use Pi in my life?"  The answer given was awesome.  He explained that Pi is an element number and it contains every telephone number, every birthdate, every price within its decimal answer.  He said if you converted numbers to letters, it would contain every word you know.  
That was such a profound answer that I may use it in my own classroom.  It is a way of seeing Pi that I have never thought of.
I am still traveling and hope to post over the next few days.

Friday, June 14, 2013

HUP polynomials

I downloaded HUP's polynomial app.  It covers key concepts, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. The multiplication and division parts focus on either multiplying or dividing a problem by a monomial.  Each page of the explanation has the problem, a visual representation of the problem and at the bottom of the page you can hit the button to access a video or you can try a problem.  This is a nice app that students can use for a homework assignment in a flipped classroom, or as supplemental material to help scaffold learning and it provides extra practice.
I am working on setting up my first subtext unit using a captured web page from on factoring.  I plan to integrate a video, questions, and a short quiz.  As I integrate technology into the classroom, I hope to increase student centered learning and decrease me being the one who does all the work.  When I have guided work in class, I think I am going to put answers into a QR code so I do not have to answer the constant "Is this right?"  
I am going to be rather sporadic with entries till July 11th.  I had to fly down to my parents house unexpectedly and my mother is still using dial-up.  In addition, her connection is always slow and not very good so I have to wait till I can get to somewhere with wireless.  

Friday, June 7, 2013

Hup Algebra app

I found this line of apps by HUP.  The one I am looking at is HUP algebra.  It is a nice app which could be used to help flip the class and have students use the app at home.  It has several sections starting with "What is algebra?".  Then it has sections on solving single step equations using addition, subtraction, multiplication, division.  Each has a pictorial example using tiles, a written example and you can try problems.  There is a section on solving multi-step equations and on solving equations with the distributive property.  All sections have practice problems.  I like this app as I can use it to flip the class or I can use it to scaffold some of my students who need additional help or practice. It is free at iTunes.  I just got a Nook and I am starting to find neat apps there so I will review some of those.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

More on centers

I have been giving some serious thought to using iPads with centers.  I have a book with printed instructions for using centers in Algebra I and ll, geometry and pre-algebra.  I can scan the various activities into PDF form.  If I have an app on the iPad that allows the students to read and write the answers on the file, they can then send it off to me so that I can grade it.  By using centers, I can increase their group activities and hopefully decrease their dependence on me. I look forward to trying this.  If I store the pdf files in the school wiki, I can use a QR code to send them to the proper page, provide instructions and any additional information.  I am trying to change the main focus from teacher oriented to student oriented.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Hands on equations lite

When I first downloaded this app and opened it I was a bit disappointed with it because it only had a video for each of the three levels.  All other functions were locked and you have to pay for an upgrade if you want access to all the functions.  After some thought, I decided it is not a bad thing.  I watched the the first video and liked the way it used a pawn and a balance scale to explain solving for the variable.  This gives students a new way to view the process and it is a way to differentiate my instruction.  In addition, I can have students rematch the video as many times as they need.  Hmmm I could use this app as part of a center.
I know they use centers in elementary school but not as much in high school.  I just realized I could use many of these apps as part of a centers set up.  I have a classroom set of iPads that I could set up into centers using the app.  I would have to arrange for instructions that would have students do more than just watch the video.  They might have to answer questions, do some of the problems out of the video.
If you have used mobile devices as part of centers, I would love to hear from you.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Algeboats lite

Found a nice little game called Algeboats lite for students to practice evaluating one and two step equations.  There are boats with equations such as x-3.  On the dock are four loads each with numbers you could substitute in for x and there are four flags at the top with the answer to the problem based on which value of x you choose.  Once the value for the variable is substituted and the correct answer is put on the flag pole, the boat moves away. There are three levels, rowboat, speedboat and yacht and each level has three sublevels which are unlocked as the first sublevel is completed.  The student can get a fair bit of practice.  The only thing that might frustrate students is that the loads and the flags do not always move as directed and it can sometimes take a while before moving.
I mention games because my students love playing games and this is something that could be done when there is time left in the class after they have completed the assignments or done after the weekly quiz on Friday or perhaps to obtain an exit pass.
Games provide possibilities for students, especially the lower performing ones, to practice in a fun and safe environment.