Thursday, March 21, 2013

Letter Reflex

If you're looking for an app to help students with b/d, p/q reversals, then look no further. This app, Letter Reflex, by Binary Labs may be what you are looking for. I have been using this app for a couple of years now, but this year I have used it more consistently than ever before with one student in particular. I have been very pleased with the progress he is making and he is really beginning to see, think about, and recognize the difference between all four letters. I am also seeing this knowledge transfer over into his daily writing. Obviously there are other variables so I can't say the app has solved all of his issues, but like everything else, it is all balance and every modification and intervention helps. 
This app also has a section where kiddos have to apply their knowledge to correctly flip the letters and even words (see above) to their correct formation. Watch the video below for a sneak peak at how the app works.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

*FREE* Lakeshore Apps

Lakeshore's done it again. They have 4 brand new apps for math and language arts that have been newly released and are FREE UNTIL MARCH 11th!!!

I downloaded the Math Game Show for Grades 1-3 and started to play. I love the fact that it is a mulitplayer game. There were a few questions that I felt would be too difficult for my kiddos (granted it's made for grades 1 to 3) but there was no way to toggle various question types on or off. I think this will be an especially great app for my higher end thinkers. I'm excited to kid test it sometime next week. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Doubles facts

Today we tried something new in math to show our learning. As we continue to move towards implementing Common Core State Standards and we want our kiddos to do more showing, explaining and proving their work and thought processes I have been finding that creation apps such as Doodlecast Pro, Educreations, Phonto, Pic Collage, and so many others are going to be a wonderful asset. Today on a bit of a whim, I tried something new and a little bit out there. As I always tell my kiddos, "You won't know until you try it"- right????
So here's what took place. Our math lesson yesterday and today revolved around learning and practicing turn-around facts. Along with that we discovered and discussed turn-around facts for doubles numbers as well (or rather the lack of a turn-around fact).  As a multi-faceted assessment/learning tool today, I started by emailing my students a copy of a fact table from our math journal. When they opened their email they saved the photo to their camera roll so they would be able to access it from various apps.
We then went into Doodlecast Pro and imported the image and rotated it to landscape orientation. At this point their job was to independently:
1) Press record and find, highlight, and recite all of the doubles facts
2) When they finished they were then supposed to explain the pattern that the doubles facts made on the table
3) Tell what makes doubles turn-around facts special.

Last, they emailed me their finished Doodlecast recording to me. My plan was to then share these with parents at our upcoming parent teacher conferences.

Reflecting on the experience, I think the objective was good, the students' knowledge of the technology was good as was their basic knowledge of the concept, however, "proving" their ideas has proved tricky for them and I honestly don't think it was the assignment but rather the fact that this is so new to them or maybe it's this particular class as they are very dependent on me for approval. We are constantly working on becoming independent thinkers but it has proved to be very difficult for this particular group of  kiddos.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Number Stories Tech'd Out

This week in math one of our learning targets was to create and solve number stories. We used an app called, DoodlecastPro to help us show our learning for this target. Doodlecast Pro is an app which allows you to record yourself while also recording your writing and/or drawings.

After learning about the 3 main parts of a number story (numbers, words (story), and a question), students were given 2 numbers and a bag of manipulatives. With their partner they had to show their numbers with their manipulatives, take a picture of their representation and then come up with a story to match. They then uploaded their pic to Doodlecast Pro and then recorded themselves telling their number story while also adding the corresponding number sentence. The results were phenomenal and compared to the math journal version seen below, this was sooooooo much more engaging. I can see where kiddos will definitely remember this vs. the blue and white, boring page from our journals. 
After doing this with a partner, students created their own number story following the format above the next morning. After creating their number story, they emailed their video to me which I am now able to use as an assessment piece or add to their digital portfolios. I also emailed the video to their parents.
See below to view samples of some of our partner videos.