Student Blogging? Share your thoughts!

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So after doing some research I have seen a few student blogs that are actually their portfolios.  I am intrigued to say the least.  I knew it would be a valuable tool for ELA and SS and Science, but I was unsure about its usefulness in math.  Yesterday when I posted about some math apps, that is when I saw one teachers blog about apps and came across one of them that led me to an example of her students.  I went to it and saw how it was being used for math.  It looked like the students needed to post assessments and summaries of learning to their blog.  I found it a great way to keep all their learning in one place, that was not random sheets of paper that they through away after the test or notebook that is hard to follow.  The assessments went from pictures of assessment tests and  quizzes to explanation videos of their learning for a specific concept.

This blog post if looking more for your input…

Questions I have:

1)  How is checked by the teacher if you have 110 students?

2)  What sites seem to work best?  The one I saw had a password protected for students.

3)  Did the students find it worth it and use it to for their advantage?  Did they have one for each subject or one blog that has all subjects in it?

I am sure I will have more questions, but let’s start there…

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July 8 – How did I end up in teaching?:  I actually started in TV/Radio Production so my path is different.  I finally knew I wanted to be a teacher after I started coaching and realized I had the patience to teach young people how to do things.  I then tested the waters by becoming a teachers aide while going back to finish off some endorsement credit hours at a community college.  I then got into a program that was specifically designed for students who had a bachelors degree in something else and wanted to change careers.  I think it has always been a part of me because I could distinctly remember playing school at home with my little easel.

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Math Apps

Just a few apps I have either used or found recently for Math…

Photo Measures:  Just read about this app and I am excited to use this in the coming year!  It allows students to take pictures of different objects and then the app will help them measure it and then they can label the type of angle it is!  Hands on and seems easy to use!

Oh No! Fractions:  This is a great app for fraction practice.  The free version really only lets them compare fractions, but I feel that is the most valuable anyway.  I teach 7th and 8th and they struggle to see which fraction is bigger than another.  If they are not sure, there is a visual component that they can use to compare and if they are wrong they can see why they got it wrong.  I have used it as a warm-up in class!

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Questimate: Just found this and think it could be amazing!  An engaging way to practice estimation.  I know my students really struggle with estimating anything and this could be the perfect app to help them!

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Dragon Box Algebra 5+: Just saw this and am intrigued.  Not sure it will work or if it is worth the cost ($6), but I wonder if it can help tech algebra without teaching algebra. Would be another great way for students to practice logical thinking that will help solving complex algebra problems.

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July 7 – Favorite books as a child or adult:  As a kid my favorite book was The Giver, as a HS student I enjoyed reading The Jungle, The Scarlet Letter, To Kill a Mockingbird. As an adult, just out of college, I finally read the Harry Potter books and they are my passion!  I love them, probably a little obsessed! 🙂

Explain Everything

This was supposed to post yesterday – but didn’t 😦 Sorry!

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This is THE app I use when making videos for my flipped classroom units.  I love this app for making videos because I can make them on my iPad, which means I can write on the iPad in real time for my students as I work through an example and notes.

(I have seen Camtasia in action and also really like this program.  I think it has great features, but not the flexibility of using the iPad to record so unless you have a slate you can’t write in real time.  )

Explain Everything can also be useful for students.  I could present a short problem and have them record themselves solving it and explaining what they did.  This could work for other subjects as well.  They could explain the definition of a word in their own words and draw a picture/use it in a sentence.  They could respond to a question posed in SS or Science and draw pictures when needed to help their explanation.

Click Here for more info on this App!

 

July 6 – Summer Vacation Plans: Now that we have our little girl, which was the only plan in the books (haha), we have looked at what is going on the rest of the summer.  I think the only thing we will be doing is my families annual Illinois State Fair trip in August.  That is all for….yesterday!

Dropbox

So, I have been participating in the Big Time Blogging Challenge through a coworker in my district and we have been given certain prompts for each day this month.  I have not really been following that calendar, so I will answer some of those questions today after I discuss Dropbox…

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Dropbox is a great tool that I use for personal and professional use.  Having a team of 110 iPads for my students has presented some challenges at times.  I love the iPads, but when certain files are too big or certain things like printers are not working with the iPads – Dropbox has saved me and my students!  I would have a student Air Drop it to me from their iPad to mine and then I would make sure it went to my Dropbox account.  From there I could access it on my computer and print or do whatever I needed to it!

I also love that I can link it to my Galaxy Phone as well as my Mac products!  My photos and any files I want are all connected and I can access them wherever I need them!  If you want to try it out – CLICK HERE!  By doing it this way I will earn more space and you will get an account! (Thanks!)

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So now here are some of the questions from this week:

July 1 – Reason I Blog:  I wanted to use it as a way to share what I have been doing in my classroom.  It started when a co-worker encouraged me to blog about a big Flipped Classroom unit we planned went into action! (my first posts are all about my Bivariate Unit for 8th graders)  Here is a link to my first post about the project and here is a link to my co-workers first blog on the same topic.

July 2 – How long/capacity been teaching:  I just finished my 6th year teaching 7th and 8th grade math.  We loop with our students so last year was 7th grade and this year will be 8th grade – same students!  I am also a Team Leader and Coach basketball!

July 3 – My family – I am an only child, and very close to my family!  I am the oldest and only girl grandchild on one side and the only grandchild on the other.  I am married to my high school sweetheart, Steve – we met my junior year/his senior year at Nazareth Academy in La Grange Park, IL.  We dated for 10 years before getting married in 2009 and we recently added our beautiful and amazing daughter, Nora on June 5th!

July 4 – Favorite thing to teach – I love teaching almost everything in math!  Some of the favorite topics include similar figures, solving equations, ratios in the real world, and so much more!

July 5 – What teams do I cheer for? – I am a huge sports fan!  I love to play basketball, but don’t always follow the NBA/Bulls.  I enjoy watching my Cubbies!  I LOVE watching football!  I am in 3 Fantasy Football Leagues and I will always cheer on the Bears, but my husband and I have a second team – New Orleans Saints that we cheer!  (we got engaged in New Orleans)

I will try to answer these questions everyday as I also talk about teaching stuff!  Have a great night! 🙂

 

Current Tech Tools

This past school year I started with iPads which led to a whole new set of trial and error.  I was excited and ready to try anything that might make this process easier.  There are people who wondered – LOUDLY – why I would want iPads over laptops and I felt this need to prove I could make students life easier and more creative with the iPads.  The frustrating part is that since I did not got them until after the school year had started – it took me longer to get my bearings and to help the rest of the staff get acquainted with the new processes.  In the end – I am so happy with how things worked out and can’t wait to use them again!

SHOWBIE: 

This is a great website and app.  Students can turn in work and you can grade it right on your iPad without downloading each students assignment.  This was the best feature!  Students can submit short videos (1min) and you can have one on one conversations with students – for example:  you check a students work and see they did not complete it, you can send them a note saying to finish it or fix it and they can see it and respond.  This works with both iPads and laptops.

BLENDSPACE

This is the site I now use for flipping!  I love that I can incorporate many things in one place!  You can attach PDF’s, link videos from You Tube/EDUcreations, google docs, put quizzes built in that can be graded within the program, etc.  I flip with self-paced learning and this site allows me to build everything smoothly and easily.  They now have an app if you have the school version.  I think this app is extremely helpful for building lessons!

When I say self-paced flipped learning, I think of it as a way for students to encounter math at their own progression while I am able to check in with students one on one.  It also allows for small groups to be pulled so that students can TALK math while I can truly observe and listen.  When a whole class is discussing a problem it is difficult to hear and understand each pair or group.  But one group at a time allows for the conversation to happen while I hear their process.

eCHALK

Our district uses this site as our organizational tool for students/parents to see what is happening in all classes and to get all of their resources.  I love that this is our system and that parents have access.  I do wish more of our parent population would use it, but I think the system itself is great!

MATHLETICS

This is the math tool I love most!  This allows students to work on assigned tasks and have the option to play live with students from all over the world!  Check it out!

NOTABILITY

This is the app I use for all note-taking!  Students can download notes from eChalk or Blendspace or Showbie and then use a stylus or the keyboard to complete their notes or practice sheets!  I think it is versatile and user friendly!

 

I am willing to give more info and probably will over the course of this blog – but this is my starter list!

Check back tomorrow as I will pick something new to me that I am thinking of using and discuss!

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