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World Math Day 2010

What it is: Hooray!! It is World Math Day time!   This year World Math Day will be held on March 3, 2010.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with World Math Day, it is a day when students from around the world compete in an online environment in live games of mental arithmetic.  Each game lasts for 60 seconds and students can play as many as 500 games, earning points for every correct answer.  The students who answer the most questions show up in the Hall of Fame. This is an absolutely free event to take part in.  Students can train for World Math Day every day leading up to March 3rd by participating in arithmetic competition. For those of you home school readers, World Math Day is also open and free to you!  The competition is designed for students 5-18 years old.  This year has a little bit of a new format (the change is fantastic!) with multi-levels for all groups.  Teachers, parents and media are also invited to participate for the first time.  Last year 2 million students from 204 countries participated and correctly answered more than 4 million questions!! How to integrate World Math Day into the classroom: World Math Day is a fun competition to involve your students in.  It helps build mental arithmetic and numeracy.  Students from around the world compete in this competition to find out which country has the top mathematicians.   Students have a great time working to get their country to the top (nothing like a little National pride!).  My students beg to be involved in World Math Day each year.  We spend extra time in the computer lab and on classroom computers preparing for the day.  Students answer mental math questions appropriate to their age level. This is a phenomenal way to get some fact practice in! We make a big deal out of World Math Day and let students have an extended math period to compete on March 3rd.  You could use World Math Day as a Math Olympics for your class and have and opening and closing ceremony for your class, school, or representing your country. Tie World Math Day into your social studies curriculum.  As students compete against other students from around the world, the other student is represented by a flag.  My students are always very curious to learn more about the other countries and cultures represented. It would also be fun to start a map in Google Earth where you put place markers on the countries that students have competed with. The platform is open, register your students and start training today! Tips: If you would like to find out more about past World Math Day competitions check out my posts 2009 here and 2008 here.  There are rumors of a World Math Day iPod App coming soon, check back with the official site for more information. Please leave a comment and share how you are using World Math Day in your classroom.

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Podcast Summit

Posted by admin | Posted in Language Arts, Phonics, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Spelling, Teacher Resources | Posted on 20-02-2008

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As promised I want to share some of the incredible uses of podcasting in the classroom that I heard at the Colorado Podcast Summit yesterday. One of the keynote speakers was ISTE Primary Teacher of the Year Carol Greig. Her Keynote entitled “Podcasting for the Struggling Reader” was truly inspiring. Carol teaches kindergarten in the Eugene School District in Oregon, here she started a podcasting program for her struggling readers called Reading Buddies. The Reading Buddies program uses several iPod shuffles that are loaded with reading lessons (created and recorded by Carol) that go home with the students. Carol said something that I think rings true with educators everywhere, “No one can teach my students as well as I can.” Reading Buddies allowed Carol to go home with her students every night using the iPod. The goal of the Reading Buddies program was to help struggling readers reach the benchmark. Carol loaded the iPods with reading lessons based on the individual child’s needs, this provided guided learning at home with and extended student learning. In the Reading Buddies packs Carol included vocabulary picture cards which she created, fluency cards, a book or two and the iPod Shuffle. A sample lesson might sound something like this: “Take out the green picture card. What picture do you see first? That’s right, a cat! Cat starts with the letter C. Cat, Cat. What is the next picture?” Carol pauses after a question so that the students have time to think and respond. The Reading Buddies program helps kids with vocabulary, fluency, alphabetic principal, rhyming, phoneme segmentation, and literature. The iPod “buddies” have been a huge success with 99% of students reaching the reading benchmark by the end of the year. Carol started getting calls from parents requesting that their student be a part of the Reading Buddy program, parents and other educators in the district started offering help to create the recordings for the Reading Buddies. At the end of the first year a parent called to thank her for the wonderful program and things it had done for her son, but she also benefited. After her son went to bed, the mother would listen to the reading buddy and follow along, she learned English by listening to her kindergarten son’s Reading Buddy! There are some good rules that were set up for the students who have reading buddies, each child was told that only the child who was given the Reading Buddy was allowed to use it, if a Buddy was lost or broken the students family was responsible for replacing it. It is a privelege that can be taken away if the Buddies were not cared for. They have never had to take a Buddy away or replace one that was lost or broken by a student. The future of the Reading Buddies program includes expansion to other grades, older students could have their anthologies or science text recorded on the Shuffle. The Reading Buddies program won the presidential award for reading and technology…it is easy to see why!

The new iPod Nano would be great to use as a reading buddy because students could have audio and visual presented. The Shuffles are nice because they are so affordable (the 1G just dropped to $49 yesterday!) I am hoping to get a Reading Buddy Program up and running at my school. I will keep you posted with any success stories or lessons learned!

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[...] and help students develop a love for story.  Books Should Be Free is a great way to start a Reading Buddies program at your school with some MP3 players or iPods that can go home with students loaded up with [...]

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