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Showing posts from September, 2017

60 Minute Math Block Planning

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Recently I wrote a post about planning an 90-minute middle school block. Since then, I've been asked to think about ideas for teaching a 60-minute block in elementary school.

I came up with 5 ideas for ways to structure 60-minutes of time with 1st-5th grade students. Think of these as recipes. A starting point. Something you can try as is, and then, as you get more comfortable, move around and adapt to your needs and the needs of your students. I don't know if you like to cook, but it is one of my favorite hobbies.


I love trying new recipes. For me, I try the recipe as suggested for the first few times. Once I get comfortable, I might substitute in some herbs. Maybe I change out other ingredients or move things around. It's the same idea for these structures!




Option 1: This first idea is based on the 5 E's model: Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, Evaluate. I love this model for encouraging exploration and being true to the constructivist philosophy that I love.






Optio…

Desmos in Elementary!

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If you are an elementary teacher, the tool Desmos Activity Builder might be new to you. While I see most current activities for middle and high school, don't let this deter you from giving it a try! There are some interesting and powerful ways to leverage this digital activity builder for you classroom. I've started making a few activities myself!

Some of the best things about Desmos is that you can use it on any device, it's free, the teacher dashboard/controls are awesome, and the activities you can build let you see student thinking in the moment! (Check out my blog post about 9 criteria to see how I judge formative assessment tech tools.)

I made a few screencast videos to help you get started and get some ideas of how you might use this in your K-5 classroom:


Getting started and adding card sorts to your activity options:






Adding a card sort to your activity:






Teacher Dashboard and Controls:





The power of sketch and sketch overlay:

Criteria for Choosing Tech Tools

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I LOVE USING TECH TOOLS.

Let me be clear that I don't like using tech just for tech's sake. Instruction first. Always. Also, focus on the learning. I heard someone say "there is no app for good pedagogy." So true.

So, with all those disclaimers, why do I love using technology? Well, it's important, relevant, and honestly can redefine your classroom and the learning for students. I love this quote from NCTM's Principles to Actions:


The word essential really stands out to me in this quote. Technology isn't something you can ignore or deny. It's an essential part of our students' world and we need to embrace that.
But we all know that there is amazing tech tools and some not-so-great stuff out there. How can you decide what to use? When it comes to using technology in the math classroom, I find using it for students to do practice/formative assessment is most powerful. If I can see their thinking, in the moment, and give feedback it can really put yo…