Beyond Word Processing: Why We Should Replace Typing Time with Technology Infused Math Lessons - and How We Can Do It Without Losing Our Sanity
This summer I had the opportunity to present about math technology in the elementary classroom at my district's Technology Conference. We have a wide range of technology in my district, ranging from a couple of computers to one on one Chromebook classrooms. So I needed to present ideas to these teachers which would help them learn about technology and math in elementary no matter what technology they had.
Technology at the elementary level is often used for typing essays and doing research. My presentation was about why and how we should be using it for technology based math lessons too! After the presentation I had multiple teachers stop and thank me for the information and ideas I had shared with them. So I decided to share a similar presentation here for you. I have recorded my presentation and below you will find the video, as well as the links to websites that I discuss in my presentation. I hope it will help you to infuse technology into your math lessons, making your technology time more impactful.
SAMR Technology Model
In my presentation, I use the SAMR model for technology. This model encourages teachers to look at the different ways they are using technology. It explains that technology can be used as a:
substitution for what you are already doing, like using virtual flash cards instead of paper ones or typing up something that could easily be written on paper.
augmentation to what you are doing, where the technology gives the assignment a little boost, but isn't irreplaceable. For example, websites like Khan Academy help us differentiate and using formatting tools makes our essays look better, but neither can't be done with paper/pencil tasks.
modification of an assignment that begins to take the task to the next level. This is where the assignment begins to NEED technology in order to work. You can do modification tasks like creating presentations or completing complex projects without technology, but it would be a lot more work. Modification often allows us to be willing to try out more complex tasks with our students because the technology is making the task easier for us and our students. A lot of project based learning and connecting with other classes falls under modification.
reinvention of a task into something unheard of before technology. These are the tasks that you wouldn't be able to complete WITHOUT technology. This is where coding and video making start to come into play and this is where students start to truly immerse themselves into the technology. This, of course, is also where some of the highest levels of thinking happen.
In my video I make it very clear that although we should all aspire to use technology as a reinvention tool when we can, teachers and students should be working at all levels of the SAMR model, just as we work at all levels of Bloom's Taxonomy. Here is the video with specific examples on how to do just that:
Links and Resources
Within the video, I discuss a wide range of websites and technologies. Here are quick and easy links to those resources:
- Websites for "online flash cards": Math Magician, Sumdog
- Google documents
- Online Math Games
- Math teaching videos and activities with Khan Academy
- Math practice websites that track student data and allow for specific differentiation:
Free: Prodigy Zearn
Paid: IStation IXL
- Google Forms
- Google Sheets
- Presentation Sites: Prezi, Google Slides
- Video creation websites: Powtoon, Screencast-o-matic, IXplain
- Video game creation websites: Tynker, Scratch
- Website creation and online portfolio websites: Google Sites, Live Binder, Weebly
The challenge from my video is also a challenge for my readers: Come up with a way that you can use technology in your math lessons at least once a week (once a day if you have a one-to-one ratio) during the upcoming school year. Please feel free to post your ideas here i the comments so we can learn from each other!
In the meantime, here are a few resources from my Teachers Pay Teachers store that may help you along the way:
Math and Technology Project Matrix (Free)
Technology Integration Bundle
Tutorial Video Creation Planning Sheet
Have a great day!
The end of the school year is one of the hardest times to engage our students. One way that I engage my students at the end of the school year is with room escape games. At the beginning of the last month of school, we write ESCAPE ROOM in bold letters on our calendar for one of the last days of school. Students know that misbehavior can keep them from the Escape Room, so this helps give them a carrot to work towards during those difficult to focus spring days.
The Escape Room itself takes us about 2 hours and it's a very engaging 2 hours for the class. Even those who do not escape tell me they had fun trying. I have tried to make the experience as similar to an escape room puzzle that you would pay for as an adult, while still making it educational and appropriate for my kiddos.
For the escape room, I break my class into 3 groups. Each group has colored clues to follow. The clues I use are all math problems for topics they should have mastered. Once they solve the clues, they use them to unlock envelopes. Inside some of the envelopes are harder problems. The answers to these problems help students to unlock other envelopes, which have brainteaser type problems in them. These brainteasers lead them to the prize, which unlocks the classroom.
Students work on so many skills with the escape room. They do math. They work as a group. They strategize. They divide and conquer. I love watching the real thinking that happens. I also love that they think it's a party when they're showing me their thinking much more than on any test I've ever given!
Right now I have escape rooms available for 2nd grade math review and 3rd grade math review in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. I hope to get some more made up during this summer vacation. What type of escape room would you like to use with your students?
The year is coming to a close. I personally have 8 more teaching days. Rather than allow my students to check out, I am challenging them to use everything we have learned this year and apply it to something fun. I recently went to an Escape Room for my friends' birthday, and let me tell you it was a blast. We had so much fun that I decided I must try to make one of these for my students. The results are my Pirate themed Math Escape Room for 3rd grade.
My kids loved this activity so much that I am currently working on one for grammar and for reading as well. What skills would you like to see covered in an Escape Room? This is definitely going to be my summer project, so leave me a comment telling me what you'd like to see and I'll try to work on it.
Math is best learned and practiced in relation to real life situations. For this reason, my students have always worked on at least two different math projects during the course of a school year – often more if time allowed for it. For the past two years, I kept the same students in a multiage classroom, so I wanted to make sure that they were doing new math projects that helped them work on different skill sets. A few of my math projects – like the Balanced Checkbook project and the Holiday Shopping Project – can be done by the same student multiple times, but most should only be done once. Because of this, I created new and different projects, and have now bundled them together into a set of 7 math projects, which is available for less than purchasing each project individually. The seven math projects available in the set are:
Holiday Shopping (works on addition, subtraction and rounding while building a holiday shopping list)
Ice Cream Shop (works on multiplication, division, subtraction and rounding while students split the bill at an ice cream shop)
Be an Architect (works on area and perimeter while students design their dream school)
Balanced Checkbook (works on all 4 operations and rounding while students plan a monthly budget with salary and bill cards)
Party Planning Project (works on doubling, halving, tripling and quartering, as well as all 4 operations and rounding, while students plan recipes and a budget for a party)
Field Trip Project (works on elapsed time and all 4 operations while students create a plan for a field trip they would like to take)
Holiday Recipe Project (works on elapsed time, addition, subtraction and rounding while students create a plan to follow a holiday recipe)
I hope one of these projects, or the entire bundle will help your students to practice their math skills with a real life application. Happy teaching!
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