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Buzz Math: Middle school math practice for proficiency

What it is:  Buzz Math is not a completely free to use tool, but they do have a free option that makes it worth checking out! Right now, you can subscribe one class for free for the school edition of Buzz Math.  Buzz Math is intended for students in Middle School math.  All of the activities are directly tied to Common Core Standards.  You can assign activities based on a specific standard for the whole class, or just assign the activity to individual students.  You get feedback immediately as students complete an activity so that you can plan instruction accordingly.  These are not your typical math site activities (online multiple choice).  Instead, each activity is a little different, highly engaging, and provides students with great feedback. Students can choose to do an activity of interest or complete the specific activities assigned by their teacher.  When students complete a set number of activities within a topic, a special mission is unlocked that is related to math history.  Students are challenged to help mathematicians to recover “lost” knowledge.  Students also have access to Buzzlab which connects the theme of the missions to the storyline. Each activity is made up of 10 pages of practice question that cover a specific concept to help students practice and improve their skills.  Activities include both direct practice and interactive components.  Students must complete an activity with 100% accuracy (mastery) before they can unlock a mission.  The mission that follows is a more challenging problem solving activity.  Students can get example problems with each activity to help them solve problems. I am really impressed with Buzz Math.  The entire program is really well thought out, great for students and teachers.  This is one I would pay for additional students/classes. How to integrate Buzz Math into the classroom: Buzz Math is ideal in a one to one or computer lab setting.  I love that you can tailor Buzz Math for an individual student.  Instead of just giving a whole class an activity/assignment (which you can also do), Buzz Math lets you choose which students to assign a standards based activity to.  Duh! I can’t believe more programs aren’t set up this way.  It makes sense to use technology to customize learning to the student this way.  There is no reason not to! Buzz Math would be great for in-class practice or for additional home practice.  Students can login to their individual account anywhere for anytime learning. Buzz Math could be used in the one or two computer classroom as a learning center.  Students can filter through the computer one at a time throughout the week so that each week each student gets the opportunity to login to their account. Tips: The teacher portal has a great breakdown of student progress including student session lengths, you can see exactly how long students practiced.  Detailed reports can be printed out for parents. Please leave a comment and share how you are using Buzz Math in  your classroom!

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PlanbookEdu: Lesson Plans in the Cloud

Posted by admin | Posted in Classroom Management, iPod, professional development, Teacher Resources, web tools | Posted on 06-07-2011

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What it is: Planbook EDU is a great cloud-based (a.k.a online) lesson plan book.  Because Planbook EDU is hosted in the cloud, all you need is an Internet connection, your plans travel with you.   Planbook EDU is listed in the Google Apps Marketplace and is a natural fit for schools already using Google apps for education (email, calendar, documents, etc.).  The free version of Planbook EDU has nothing to install, let’s teachers access their planbook from any internet connection, is easy to use with word processor like editing, is fully customizable, works in all major web browser and is iPad/iPhone supported (word processor editing doesn’t work on these devices).

How to integrate Planbook EDU into the classroom: I am a big fan of organizational tools, they let me organize my thoughts so that in the fire hose of ideas what is important (the learning goal) doesn’t get lost. Planbook EDU is a simple way to organize and plan units and your school year.  I love that it is cloud-based so that I can access my plans from anywhere and any time.  The basic features are robust enough to get your planning in place and the extras that can be added on make it VERY useful.

The premium version allows you to embed your planbook directly in your classroom website…very handy for keeping students and parents up to date with what is coming!

Tips: For $25/year, you get all of the free features plus- attach files to lesson plans, assign Common Core Standards, embed your planbook on any website, share lesson plans with anyone, print from your browser, export to Microsoft Word or PDF, built-in spell check and enjoy access to unlimited planbooks each school year.  EVERY user gets a free 14 day trial of all the premium options from Planbook EDU.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using PlanbookEDU  in your classroom!

 

Comments (8)

Thanks for the great post.

If anyone has any questions or comments about PlanbookEdu feel free to contact me directly.

Matt Curry
Founder, PlanbookEdu
matt@planbookedu.com

I have been using this tool for over a year and love it. I have the premium version and it has been a life saver. Don’t know how I did it without it.

[…] Planbook EDU by clicking here!!For a more detailed review be sure to check out the award nominated iLearn Technology!! Posted by dkapuler at 7/06/2011 Labels: lesson […]

Thanks! As someone who hates writing lesson plans, this makes my life so much easier! I love the fact that I can add files. Will let you know how it works out when the new school year begins.

Thanks for the input from someone who has been using it Kathleen. We could all use more of those tools that make life easier!

I’ve always liked PlanbookEDU.

It is one of the best of its kind, but a few more options can be seen here…

http://www.brighthub.com/education/k-12/articles/103054.aspx

Third-year teacher and first time user of both Planbookedu and Edublogs. I am going to try to convert as many people as possible to both services, as they add value, are efficient, and affordable. My real curiosity is how well my entire year’s planbook will copy to next year with slightly different start dates and holidays. If it goes smooth, this thing could be a must-have for every teacher.

Best thing I ever bought for my classroom!

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