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Math Class Needs a Makeover: videos, inquiry, math stories and more

  What it is:  I’ve had the great fortune of time to go through my Google Reader favorites this week as I prepare for the shutdown (still bitter about that!).  The unexpected benefit I’ve had from Google Reader’s demise? The forced opportunity to go back through and be reminded of some of the truly amazing people and resources in education.  Dan Meyer is one of my all time favorite math geniuses.  He reminds us that math is more than computation, it is a frame of mind and an outlook on the world.  If your math program isn’t that…it is time to change!  As I went back through the resources of Dan’s that I had tagged, I re-watched his TEDx Talk: Math Class Needs a Makeover.  If you haven’t seen this TED Talk, or haven’t watched it in a while…now is the time.  I’ve embedded the talk above for your viewing pleasure…you don’t even have to go anywhere!  If you have watched it recently, be a friend and share it with someone else. Dan also has some other really useful mathspiration.  His blog, dy/dan, is a source of math prompts and discussions that will have you thinking beyond computation. 101Questions is a project that encourages students to think about math through photo prompts and inquiry.  Graphing Stories is STINKING fantastic, Dan offers a printout for your students, they can then watch any video and graph the story.  AWESOME describes this resource. Three Act Math is a curricula that Dan developed, click on the links within the doc to get to the resources.  Again…AWESOME. Geometry curricula offers you Dan’s handouts, pdfs, powerpoint and keynote presentations.  Algebra curricula offers the same. THANK YOU Dan for sharing your passion for mathematics, your inspiration for those of us who aren’t as naturally inclined to geek out about math, and for your openness of resources. How to integrate Dan Meyer’s awesomeness into the classroom:  Dan makes it really easy for you to integrate his methods into your classroom.  Everything you need from inspiration, to mathematical story sets, to curricula materials is available.  If you teach math, the obvious place to start is with the type of math that you teach.  Dan’s resources are mostly intended for high school students use.  However, as I looked through his resources again, I think they could be appropriate for students in elementary school as well. 101Questions is a great way to have your kids enter an inquiry mindset as they approach math.  These are photos that ask your students what the first thing that comes to mind is.  Students can type in their answer and get a new prompt.  These would be a great way to start your class using a projector or interactive whiteboard.  Have your class inquire and come up with questions together.  Students can also do this as an independent activity and then share their questions with other students. Graphing Stories speaks for itself.  Again, it is geared toward secondary students, but I think that given enough support, primary students would really enjoy engaging math this way too.  (Sometimes we don’t give students enough credit for where an interest can take their thinking.  Case in point: Anastasis 2nd and 3rd graders who know Fibonacci inside and out. Normally you wouldn’t see the concept until high school or later.) The Three Act Math is also a favorite of mine.  Use Dan’s three acts, or use his as inspiration for creating your own! Dan’s resources hit on every level of Bloom’s Taxonomy…that alone is good reason to stop reading this and go on your own exploration! Tips: Dan is great to follow on Twitter...a constant stream of 140 character mathspiration! How are you using Dan Meyer’s Awesome in your classroom?  Leave a comment below!

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Dr. Seuss Inspired Classroom Theme

Posted by admin | Posted in inspiration, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources | Posted on 20-08-2010

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Since I don’t have a classroom of my own to set up this year, I dropped into a friends classroom to offer my bulletin board expertise (I LOVE decorating for the year and begged for her to let me help).  She is teaching first grade for the first time this year and wanted a fun theme.  Dr. Seuss is perfect!  I hunted down some good Dr. Seuss quotes that would tie in with what she wanted to display on the bulletin boards and we set to work pulling it all together.  I think it looks great!

This is right next to the clock, it says "How did it get late so soon?"

Above the door to the classroom it says: Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.

This is the classroom jobs board and morning message board.

Over the jobs board it says: This mess is too big and too deep and too tall. But, we can clean it up! We can clean it up all!

Kings Kid is like a Star Student or VIP, they make a poster all about them to hang up for the week. This quote says: Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.

This is the reading corner, it turned out so cozy!

Another angle of the reading center with the Cat in the Hat on the back of a bookshelf.

On the closet door is Thing 2.

Horton is on the girls bathroom door.

Two fish is on the boys bathroom door.

The backside of two bookcases in the reading center.

This is where student work will be displayed. The quote above says: Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh the Thinks you can think up if only you try!

Front of the classroom with the Promethean board.

Back of the classroom.

Toward the reading center.

Teacher desk

The room turned out so cute!  Right now the calendar has purchased numbers on it, I suggested that she take pictures of all of the kids holding up their class number and using those as numbers on the calendar.  She only has 19 students this year so for the additional numbers she is going to have specialist teachers and admin hold up numbers.  To tie in with the Dr. Seuss theme, she is going to use Photo Booth’s green screen background to insert a Dr. Seuss background for the kids.  The kids will wear a Cat in the Hat hat for the pictures.  :)  It is going to be cute!

My favorite touches in the room are that each bulletin board is designed for student interaction or to display student work or accomplishments.  I can’t wait to see it when all of the student work is up!

Comments (29)

It looks awesome!

VERY cute pictures! LOVE the quotes used for the bulletin boards. The students will love them!~

So you’re going to come to Iowa and decorate my room next year, right?

This classroom looks awesome!

Thank you! This is perfect. I just bought some Cat in the Hat supplies today at Michaels Craft Store. I have a big welcome for outside the door, a simple rules poster which works great for the lab and borders. Now with your inspiration I’ll add some quotes. I hate to admit this but since I moved into the lab I don’t spend much time on decorating. The kids come in and out so quickly I don’t think they have much time to notice the details. However, I decided I needed to change things up a little bit this year.
You did a great job. How nice that she had a creative and willing helper.

This is a wonderful looking classroom! Nice job! The students will love walking into such a fun environment.

You should both be so proud of the room. It looks inviting, fun and like learning is about to happen there! Thanks for sharing it with us.

I love it! Dr. Seuss is a favorite of mine, and I think the room turned out great!

I want to be a student in this room!

The use of Dr. Seuss quotations throughout the room was a fantastic feature. I especially like the one over the VIP area: There is no one alive who is youer than you.

Thanks for sharing the fabulous ideas and especially the photos!

:-)

[...] Kathy Schrock's Guide for Educators – Bulletin Board Ideas and … Bee-autiful Bulletin Board IdeBulletin Board Ideas – CHILDREN LOVE TO THINK THAT THEY ARE GETTING BIGGER, AND THAT THEY WILL BE ABLE TO DO THINGS LIKE [...]

Isn’t it fun? We kept saying the same thing, the kids are going to love it! I’m glad you like the pictures!

Thanks, we were really happy with the finished product too!

Thank you! The goal was to make it a fun and encouraging place to be.

Nedra, have you seen my Oh the Places You Will Go on the Internet Super Highway bulletin board from my computer lab? It was a fun one that listed a lot of the websites we visited regularly. Here is the link: http://ilearntechnology.com/?p=1126

Becky I would love to! Classroom decoration is one of my favorite parts of a new school year. I was glad that she was looking for help!

Thanks Melissa, I think they will too!

Awesome room decorations! Your kids should love it and other kids will want to be in your room. However, if that Promethean board is covered to hold student work instead of being in direct student use, you will certainly garner some negative criticism.

:) The Promethean board has to be covered because the room is shared space on the weekends. The goal is to keep it covered when school is out so that it doesn’t get marked up by others that use the room.

Thanks for the additional link.

I have these photos from the Dr. Seuss Memorial Garden in Springfield, MA- http://www.flickr.com/photos/nedrai/sets/72157608156407280/ I think I’ll use them along with some quotes for posters.

What an absolutely FABULOUS classroom! Thanks so much for sharing!

Great idea Nedra! You’ll have to post pictures of your classroom when you are finished!

You are so welcome!

What a fantastic room and what a dedicated teacher! Those students sure are lucky kids.

[...] how to get the best from not only your classroom, but the areas outside it too. Take a look at this creative post from the iLearn Technology which shows how Dr Seuss can be used as the basis for your classroom [...]

This is superb and will look even better once the work is added. I wonder if you use flickr at all? It would be great to have these in the Classroom Displays flickr group

I do use flickr! I’ll see about adding them to the Classroom Displays group.

[...] iLearn Technology » Blog Archive » Dr. Seuss Inspired Classroom Theme I don't always have time to sit down and give mini lessons, having these cheat sheets on hand could be a big help for those times. Tips: Even though the Mac Custom Guides are a bit outdated, the guides they do have are very handy. When you sign up for a free account, Since I don't have a classroom of my own to set up this year, I dropped into a friends classroom to offer my bulletin board expertise (I LOVE decorating for the year and begged for her to let me help). [...]

When it comes to classroom decoration, there is nothing better than decorating with book characters. I also really like the book corner. Very cozy!

Thanks Cara!

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