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Math Apprentice

What it is: Math Apprentice is an awesome flash site that shows kids how math is used in the real world, with real world jobs.  Students can explore math through games that feature bicycle designers, biologists, artists, mechanics, inventors, doctors, engineers, astronomers, game designers, programmers, chefs, veterinarians, sportscasters, and meteorologists.  Students can explore the math of these jobs as a math apprentice by selecting a character and cruising around a virtual world where they can visit places of business where math happens.  The character describes how they use math and provides a fun interactive activity that gives students a chance to practice using the math. How to integrate Math Apprentice into the classroom: Math Apprentice is a fantastic site that teaches students about how math is used in the real world.  Students are often asking “where will I use this?” of math.  This site answers those questions through a fun virtual world.  Kids can explore first hand how math is used and then act as an apprentice and solve problems.  Use this website in the computer lab where students can explore the virtual world individually and work through the math at their own pace. Tips: To begin playing the Math Apprentice games, you have to click on “Explore the Math” button on the bottom of the homepage. Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Math Apprentice in your classroom.

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BoomWriter: Collaborative story writing

Posted by admin | Posted in collaboration, Create, Evaluate, Interactive book, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 12-06-2012

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What it is:  I just learned about this fantastic site from fellow edublogger @dkapuler, thanks David!  Boom Writer is a fun site that gives you a new way to engage your students in creative writing, and will have them assessing themselves in a new way.  Using Boom Writer, you (the teacher) choose or produce your own story starter.  Each student follows this prompt letting their imagination take over.  One chapter at a time, student write, read and vote on the submissions they like the most.  The winning chapter gets added to the story and the process continues.  You can determine how many chapters will be completed.  When the collaborative story is finished, the book can be read online or published and turned into a published print copy.

How to integrate BoomWriter into the classroom: BoomWriter is a great tool for creating collaborative stories as a class. I like that BoomWriter has students not only creating, but critically evaluating each other’s work. Students work on their own creative writing while building each other up as writers.  Begin by creating a prompt.  Give it to your students to think about.  They can write their “what happens next” chapter of the book and submit it for approval.  This is your chance to edit or return to a student to continue development of the story or idea. After student writing has been approved, students can read each other’s addition to the story and vote on their favorite (they won’t see who the author was and they won’t be able to vote on their own).  The chapter with the highest votes gets added to the story and the process repeats.  You can choose as many chapters as you would like the finished story to have.

This would be a fun whole-class project, but if you have a large class, you might split your class into smaller groups so that each student has the opportunity to get “published” in the book.  Groups could start with the same prompt or each have a different prompt.  Rather than the group voting on their own story, they could vote on another groups story.

BoomWriter isn’t only for creative story writing, students could share what they know about a specific topic or unit of study.  Each student can add a chapter about what has been learned.  Students can essentially create their own collaborative textbook.

BoomWriter is a great tool to help students understand writing with purpose and audience in mind.  It is also a helpful way to get students to think critically about their own writing and evaluating other’s writing.

Tips: Books can be read online or purchased and added to your classroom library.

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

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