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Animoto Book Trailers

 Posted by on January 21, 2014  Content Integration Ideas, Content Recommendations  Comments Off on Animoto Book Trailers
Jan 212014
 

jumanjiAnimoto is an online tool that allows you to upload photos, enter text, and choose a style for the program to transform into a professional looking video.  The free version allows you to create a 30 second video, but that is still a long enough time frame for many classroom projects.  One of my favorite ideas is to use Animoto to create a book trailer.   Just like a movie trailer, a book trailer is designed to get someone interested in reading the book.  You could create a trailer to interest your students in a book or to entice them to predict what a book may be about.  Here is a trailer I created for Chris Van Allsburg’s Jumanji: http://animoto.com/play/ffokpW03Ih8iMqNIxxL7nA

Students can create their own trailers.  It takes a lot of prior planning for students to convey their intended message in only 30 seconds.  Trailers can be focused on fostering interest in a book, conveying the main idea of a book, or even sharing the story elements of a book (characters, setting, problem, solution).

Copyright free images for your trailers can be found by using Google’s Advanced Image Search.  http://www.google.com/advanced_image_search  Make sure SafeSearch is set to Filter explicit results, and depending on your school’s filter, you may want to supervise a student’s search.  Under usage rights choose free to use or share to include only copyright free images in your search.

Please share your Animoto book trailers with us below!

Basic Facts Practice

 Posted by on January 9, 2014  Content Integration Ideas  Comments Off on Basic Facts Practice
Jan 092014
 

basic factsWith the acquisition of basic facts being a strong predictor of later math success, StarrMatica includes with every plus membership an individualized basic facts program.  This is a great value for our members when you consider the cost of software that just focuses on basic facts can be as expensive as $7,500 per building.

In StarrMatica, students can practice their individualized facts for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

  • Students first take a benchmark test which records the facts they know and the facts they don’t know in classroom management.
  • Students can then practice their individualized facts in StarrMatica’s facts practice sections.
  • Practice progress is recorded in classroom management.
  • Teachers can view class fact progress or individual student progress.
  • Students and their parents can also view which facts they are working on.

For more specific information on our basic facts program, check out our basic facts overview video:  http://www.vidmeup.com/vid/4f871f8461589

Virtual Manipulative Mania: Part Seven – Interest students

 Posted by on December 11, 2013  Content Integration Ideas  Comments Off on Virtual Manipulative Mania: Part Seven – Interest students
Dec 112013
 

This is the final in a series of seven posts sharing reasons virtual manipulatives should be the cornerstone of interactive content in the classroom including specific practical examples.  (The previous posts can be viewed here:  Part 1-VisualizingPart 2-Explore Difficult ConceptsPart 3-Access Materials/Added ValuePart 4- Inquiry LearningPart 5 – A New Way to Present, Part 6 – Demonstrate Understanding)

We know that engaged students learn more, so let’s face it—a large amount of our planning time is spent figuring out ways to interest and engage students in learning.  With that in mind, one of the reasons for using virtual manipulatives is simply to gain student attention.  Some students get excited about using technology and will buy into an activity simply because it is displayed on an interactive whiteboard or computer screen.

Below are four manipulatives that can be used to gain student interest.

foam Foam Phonemes

Shoot letters and word parts into the air. Then, create words in the sky with what you have chosen.

http://www.kenttrustweb.org.uk/kentict/content/games/foamPhonemes_v10.html

 

bubbleBubble Trouble

Count the bubbles!

http://www.kenttrustweb.org.uk/kentict/content/games/bubble_trouble_v3.html

 

deckDeck Chairs Symmetry

Create a pattern on the deck chair. Then, check to see if it is symmetrical.

http://www.iboard.co.uk/iwb/Deck-Chairs-737

 

splatSplat Square

Splat this number grid to show factors and multiples.

http://www.primarygames.co.uk/pg2/splat/splatsq100.html

All of the activities shared in this seven part series could fall under several of the reasons we have explained because there are many simultaneous benefits to using virtual manipulatives in your classroom.

Please let us know how these posts have contributed to your thinking about virtual manipulatives in the comments below!

Virtual Manipulative Mania: Part Six – Demonstrate Understanding

 Posted by on November 20, 2013  Content Integration Ideas  Comments Off on Virtual Manipulative Mania: Part Six – Demonstrate Understanding
Nov 202013
 

This is the sixth in a series of seven posts sharing reasons virtual manipulatives should be the cornerstone of interactive content in the classroom including specific practical examples.  (The previous posts can be viewed here:  Part 1-Visualizing, Part 2-Explore Difficult Concepts, Part 3-Access Materials/Added Value, Part 4- Inquiry Learning, Part 5 – A New Way to Present)

Virtual manipulatives are often thought of as teaching tools, but they can also be tools for students to use to demonstrate their understanding of a concept.   Watching the way in which a student utilizes a manipulative can tell a teacher the depth of his understanding, the source of a mis-conception, or whether or not a student can apply his knowledge of a concept.  For students, using a manipulative for assessment can be a more interesting and authentic experience than paper/pencil tests.  Using manipulatives for assessments can also provide additional support for exceptional students who need modified testing accommodations.

Below are three manipulatives that can help students demonstrate their understanding of a concept.

number balance Number Balance

Students can use this interactive balance to demonstrate their ability to balance equations and finding missing digits and operations.

http://www.crickweb.co.uk/assets/activities/nbKS2.swf

 

paintFraction Paint

Students can demonstrate their ability to find a fraction of a whole and to explain equivalent fractions using halves, fourths, eighths, and sixteenths.

http://resources.oswego.org/games/FractionPaint/fpaint16.html

 

graphCreate a Graph

Students can use their own data to create a bar graph, line graph, area graph, pie graph, or XY graph.

http://nces.ed.gov/nceskids/createagraph/default.aspx

Virtual Manipulative Mania: Part Five – A New Way to Present

 Posted by on October 24, 2013  Content Integration Ideas  Comments Off on Virtual Manipulative Mania: Part Five – A New Way to Present
Oct 242013
 

This is the fifth in a series of seven posts sharing reasons virtual manipulatives should be the cornerstone of interactive content in the classroom including specific practical examples.  (The previous posts can be viewed here:  Part 1-Visualizing, Part 2-Explore Difficult Concepts, Part 3-Access Materials/Added Value, Part 4- Inquiry Learning)

Virtual manipulatives can provide a new way to present a concept to student.  We know that students learn in different ways, so using an uncommon manipulative can be a way to help students understand a concept they are struggling to grasp.  Using a variety of manipulatives can also challenge the understand of advanced learners and encourage them to look at a concept in a new way.

Below are three manipulatives that help students look at concepts in a new way:

abacus Place Value Abacus

Build numbers with a model that is uses colors to indicate value.  Compare this model to traditional base ten blocks.

http://www.wmnet.org.uk/resources/gordon/Abacus.swf

 

number barsNumber Line Bars

Use number line bars to explore the concept of multiplication as repeated addition.

http://nlvm.usu.edu/en/nav/frames_asid_180_g_2_t_1.html?open=activities&from=category_g_2_t_1.html

 

keyboardMusical Patterns

Create a pattern with images and sound.

http://www.harcourtschool.com/activity/pattern/pattern.html

Virtual Manipulative Mania: Part Four – Inquiry Learning

 Posted by on September 24, 2013  Content Integration Ideas  Comments Off on Virtual Manipulative Mania: Part Four – Inquiry Learning
Sep 242013
 

This is the fourth in a series of seven posts sharing reasons virtual manipulatives should be the cornerstone of interactive content in the classroom including specific practical examples.  (The previous posts can be viewed here:  Part 1-Visualizing, Part 2-Explore Difficult Concepts, Part 3-Access Materials/Added Value)

Virtual manipulatives help students learn through inquiry by providing teachers with easily adjustable visual tools.  Students can test their ideas, explore the effects of changing variables, and formulate theories based on results.

Below are four manipulatives that help students learn through inquiry.

areaArea and Perimeter Relationship

Students investigate and form theories about the relationship between area and perimeter by changing one variable and observing the resulting change in the other.

http://staff.argyll.epsb.ca/jreed/math9/strand3/area_rectangles.htm

 

kidsKids and Cookies

Students explore the concept of fractions by sharing cookies equally between different numbers of students.  Both “fraction of a group” and “fraction of a whole” concepts can be explored.

http://www.teacherlink.org/content/math/interactive/flash/kidsandcookies/kidcookie.php

 

notesNote Flight

Students create short online compositions and play back their creations to explore a variety of musical concepts including melody, harmony, and note value.

http://www.noteflight.com/demo

 

colorColor William

Students mix colors to explore what secondary colors can be created by mixing primary colors and what intermediate colors can be made by mixing primary and secondary colors.

http://www.metmuseum.org/metmedia/interactives/start-with-art/learn-about-color

Virtual Manipulative Mania: Part Three – Access Materials/Added Value

 Posted by on September 4, 2013  Content Integration Ideas  Comments Off on Virtual Manipulative Mania: Part Three – Access Materials/Added Value
Sep 042013
 

This is the third in a series of seven posts sharing reasons virtual manipulatives should be the cornerstone of interactive content in the classroom including specific practical examples.  (The previous posts can be viewed here:  Part 1-Visualizing, Part 2-Explore Difficult Concepts)

Unlike hands-on math manipulatives, virtual manipulatives are found online.  While this means students are unable to touch the manipulatives, online versions of common manipulatives can be beneficial in other ways.  Classroom budgets don’t always allow us to purchase all the tools and resources we need.  Online manipulatives are an inexpensive (and usually free) way to supplement your manipulative supplies.  So, if you can’t afford a classroom set of fraction bars or if a fellow teacher is using the school’s set when you need them, an online version can be used in its place.

Online manipulatives, when paired with an interactive whiteboard or projector, help all students in the classroom have an equal opportunity to see the manipulative without huddling around a table.

Online manipulatives also provide added value.  They often have features that can be turned on and off and have added learning opportunities that are not possible with traditional hands-on manipulatives.  The virtual clocks shared below include the ability show both digital and analog time as well as sunrise and sunset to assist in a discussion of AM and PM.

Below are four manipulatives that help students by adding value or providing access to materials.

clock1Telling Time:  Virtual Clock

Advance the hands on the analog clock to watch the sun and moon rise and set.  Reveal and hide the digital time.

 

clock 2Telling Time:  Virtual Clock II

Advance the hands on the analog clock.  Reveal and hide the time in word form and the digital time.

 

place valuePlace Value Cards

Create three digit numbers, separate them into values, and display their representative base ten blocks.

 

solidsPlatonic Solids

Rotate and count the faces, edges, and vertices of the five Platonic Solids.  Watch each solid fold and unfold from its net

 

Virtual Manipulative Mania: Part Two – Understand Difficult Concepts

 Posted by on July 31, 2013  Content Integration Ideas  Comments Off on Virtual Manipulative Mania: Part Two – Understand Difficult Concepts
Jul 312013
 

This is the second in a series of seven posts sharing reasons virtual manipulatives should be the cornerstone of interactive content in the classroom including specific practical examples.  (The previous post can be viewed here:  Part 1-Visualizing)

Virtual manipulatives help students to understand difficult concepts.  They help to make abstract concepts more easily understandable with visual tools.  A classic example is using base ten blocks to illustrate “regrouping” in a multi-digit addition or subtraction algorithm.  Students are given a concrete visualization to hold in their minds when they are computing to understand what is really happening mathematically.

Below are three manipulatives that help students explore difficult concepts.

ladybirdLadybird Spots

Students add spots to a ladybug (ladybird in the UK) to demonstrate a part/part/whole addition problem.

 

boundedBounded Fraction Pointer

Practice comparing and ordering fractions, simplifying fractions, or finding equivalent fractions on a number line that adjusts instantly.  Create fractions visually and then watch them plotted on the number line.

 

arrayMultiplication Arrays

Explore the meaning of multiplication by viewing arrays paired with the traditional algorithm.

 

Virtual Manipulative Mania: Part One – Visualizing Concepts

 Posted by on June 5, 2013  Content Integration Ideas  Comments Off on Virtual Manipulative Mania: Part One – Visualizing Concepts
Jun 052013
 

Every time I use the term virtual manipulatives outside the education community, my gaze is met with blank stares and funny looks. Being a teacher, “education speech” comes naturally to me, and I often forget that not everyone is a member of the club. Virtual manipulatives is a term that I always stop to explain to whomever I am speaking because virtual manipulatives are an integral part of using interactive content in the classroom effectively. I refer to manipulatives as online objects that can be moved and explored to help students understand concepts. A few examples would be base ten blocks, fraction bars and multiplication arrays.

As teachers begin to use interactive content in the classroom, I encourage them to use content that has already been created as a starting point for designing interactive lessons rather than starting from scratch to create their own content. I suggest this for three reasons:

1. It helps both tech-savvy and non-tech savvy-teachers begin to use interactive technologies right out of the box without having to spend time learning to use new content-creation software.

2. It increases teacher planning time by allowing them to focus on designing an effective lesson around the content rather than spending time with design elements of the content. ie: Teachers should be figuring out what questions to ask their students to guide their exploration of a manipulative rather than worrying about text size and finding appropriate graphics.

3. Teachers cannot create manipulatives with the same graphics and interactivity programmers can.  They simply don’t have the same tools and skill set.  And, manipulatives with those elements are an essential part of using interactive technologies effectively. (These points will be well evidenced throughout this series of posts.)

StarrMatica has curated one of the largest collections of virtual manipulatives available because of the reasons above, the research associated with the use of virtual manipulatives, and the reasons I will be sharing with you in subsequent posts, I believe virtual manipulatives should be the cornerstone of interactive content in the math classroom.

This is the first in a series of seven posts sharing why I believe so strongly in virtual manipulatives along with specific examples that exemplify each reason.

Virtual Manipulatives Help Students Visualize Concepts

Virtual manipulatives help students visualize abstract concepts. Using manipulatives for this purpose allows students to learn through inquiry and to explore a concept in a way that is not possible without the manipulative.

An obvious math example is base-ten blocks. These virtual manipulatives allow students to visualize the “sizes” of numbers indicated by their places in our number system. Below are three additional manipulatives that help students visualize concepts.

Mega Penny Project

Students explore images in this manipulative to help them visualize the size of large numbers using groups of pennies in relation to other objects.

 

 

 

Visualizing Percentages

Students visualize the size of percentages by viewing different objects.

 

 

 

Alphabet Symmetry

Students explore line symmetry by folding letters and symbols vertically and horizontally.

 

Digital Backpacks for Summer

 Posted by on May 20, 2013  Content Integration Ideas  Comments Off on Digital Backpacks for Summer
May 202013
 

Teachers with classroom management accounts have the ability to create collections of content and share those collections with their entire class or with individual students.  Students can then access content their teacher has shared in their digital backpack of collections found on their student member home page.  You can use student digital backpacks to differentiate Instruction, share relevant content with the entire class, maintain content consistency across a grade level, keep parents informed, and keep students’ minds sharp over the summer.

In our April newsletter we shared with our members that we had launched a new feature to organize our student digital backpacks.  We also shared these eight ideas for using digital backpacks with your students:

1.  Teachers who share the same student can use the Student Title to let

students know which teacher has shared each collection. For example:

Addition from Mrs. Nelson or Mr. Arp’s Place Value.

 

2. Remember, your students are seeing these titles, so have fun with

them. Wouldn’t your students like to explore a collection called Top

Secret: Inference Detectives Only! or Fourth Grade Fractions Fun.

 

3. Create a passport for your students to get stamped throughout the

year. Students achieve a stamp by completing the activities in a given

collection. For example, in math you may have the Island of Algebra,

The State of Subtraction, and The Country of Comparing.

 

4. Be proactive about preventing summer learning loss and create

collections for each month of the summer filled with interactive activities

your students will actually complete. Create backpacks for your current

students, or coordinate with the teacher of your incoming class to use

her account to share collections with your new students.

 

5. Create backpacks to differentiate your instruction. Choose content

from the library on the same topic but at different ability levels or

choose content for different styles of learning.

 

6. Create backpacks for remediation or enrichment for students to

complete independently. This is one way you can individualize

instruction and address the needs of each student in your classroom.

 

7. Create backpacks of interactive content for students to complete at

home. This is a great way to create a school-to-home connection by

providing resources for parents to address their child’s specific needs.

 

8. Use the public collections feature to share collections between

classrooms within the same building. This ensures content in

backpacks is consistent across classrooms in the same grade level.