Shine a Light on Math
Look at what we are doing in Math class.

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OUR JOURNEY in 2016-17

If you are viewing this page, then you are interested in how our math teachers are journeying through the changes as we move from a traditional classroom setting to a learner centered environment with many resources and student choices. Did you notice that I didn't focus on the digital piece? It's not all about the students getting a digital device. The laptop is just a tool. Some days it is appropriate for the lesson, other days it is not.

Early on in our journey, I decided that our story needed to be told, and if our story was to be told, I wanted our math teachers to be the authors of that story. As you read our story, start with the tabs on the left to see previous years, then start at the bottom of this page and work up. The entries are placed with the most recent happenings at the top, after all that's the most up to date information that you want repeat visitors to see first!

If you are a teacher setting out on a similar journey, don't expect your path to be the same as ours. Every journey is different. Even within our team of math teachers we are all approaching this transition in different ways and different speeds - and that's OK!

Using Make Beliefs Comix

The GT Math 6 students use  to demonstrate understanding of Triangle Sum Property.
students working on lap top students working on lap top students working on lap top

Using GeoGebra to Investigate Linear Transformations

​The grade 7 Algebra students all have a device this year. We were able to use the online GeoGebra app to discover that parallel lines have the same slope and the slopes of perpendicular lines are opposite reciprocals. The sliders in GeoGebra were a great way to investigate the ideas.

We had some visitors in class today to see the lesson in action.

I think using GeoGebra rather than Demos may be a good way to go. If the Algebra students get comfortable with GeoGebra then next year we can quickly get into using GeoGebra in Geometry class.

GeoGebra Lesson

Clothes Line or Number Line
 (Sept 2016)

Clothes line

Some ideas never go out of style. This set of fraction and decimal T-shirts was constructed 20 years ago. The students in the PreAlgebra class were each given a shirt to place on the number line as a part of a discussion about rational numbers. This activity served as a formative assessment as well as a review of equivalent fractions and how to write a fraction as a decimal. This photo was pasted into the students' OneNote as a reminder of what was done in class. Now that is something we couldn't do 20 years ago!

(Sept 2016)

This year there are three math teachers who are working to use digital notebooks in grades 6 and 7. I first learned about the OneNote Notebook in December 2013 and have been working towards our goal of putting OneNote in the hands of our students ever since.

OneNote Notebook provides three parts for the notebook. We use the Content Library to share resources with students about each unit. The resources may include documents, links, or images. 

OneNote Notebook logo

The collaboration space will be used for students to work together on a topic. Last week I asked the students to write a word problem using addition or subtraction with integers. The students were then able to type their problem into the page set up in the collaboration space for everyone in the class to see.

The student notebooks are set up by the teacher, but the students can each type in their own portion of the notebook. I think the best part of this section of the notebook is that the teacher can look at every page in the students' notebooks, but the students can't see each other's notebooks. It is like peeking into their binder. One day soon, once the students are more comfortable using the notebooks, I will be able to give them an assignment in their digital notebook and then click through the list of names in my version of the notebook to check their work. The feedback that I can provide on their page can be typed, it can be "written" with finger drawing on the screen, or I can insert an audio message for them.

This digital notebook could replace a big binder. Now students will no longer lose important papers or even need to carry stacks of papers all year. All of the important work will be filed under tabs and folders within the digital notebook.

Already the students are creating their own pages in their notebook to take notes and complete assignments. This week one of the students in the sixth grade class figured out how to make a number line in the notebook. He was thrilled to be able to share that skill with the other students in the class.

Years ago when I was first given an Apple 2E for my classroom, I envisioned a day when all of my students would be able to carry a small laptop that would replace the heavy paper textbook and the large messy binder with papers falling out. This is that year!