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Friday Recap: TGIF (especially a 3 day weekend TGIF!!)

You know it has been one of those weeks when I only manage ONE post here all week long.  I think that is an all time low since I started iLearn Technology in 2007.  Just wow. Between starting a school and working out details for the Learning Genome it has been a busy week where I feel like life is moving at turtle speed.  Let’s get these shows on the road already! This is just a post to let you know that more useful tech tools WILL be coming your way, it just may take me a 3 day weekend to get back on top of life. In the mean time…if you aren’t yet part of an online personal learning network, I can’t SHOUT it enough- you need one.  All you have to do is sign up for Twitter, engage in conversation with other educators from around the world and BAM- your own personal learning network is born.  It is brilliant, I can’t tell you how much I learn from my PLN every day.  This week was particularly wonderful because I got to follow all the happenings of the ISTE conference.  Even though I couldn’t be there, I could keep up with all the fun and learning.  If you are so inclined to jump into Twitter and give it a try, be sure to drop me a hello (@ktenkely). I haven’t been great about tracking new followers lately but I always respond to @messages. A ginormous thank you to all of you who wished me a happy birthday yesterday on Twitter, Facebook or by helping with this custom birthday present.  Tears when I saw this beauty.  Thank you! Today I entered the Learning Genome (if you don’t know what in the world that is, feel free to click here and learn about it) in a grant contest to raise some funds.  I would be grateful if you could vote and help spread the word like crazy.  It is easy, just click the banner below To all my friends in the US, Happy Independence Day!

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Algebra Lab

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, Knowledge (remember), Math, Middle/High School, Science, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 01-10-2012

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What it is:  Algebra Lab may not be much to look at graphically speaking, but the resources here are pretty stupendous!  Algebra Lab was created by Mainland High School teachers in partnership with Georgia Southern University and a host of student assistance.  The site includes really well done lessons, activities, practice pages (online), study aids, glossary, and word problems.  Algebra Lab is like a free, living textbook.  It has enough substance to help students work their way through algebra, while understanding the connections to how that algebra is used in a practical sense.  I didn’t appreciate Algebra until I took physics and chemistry.  When I saw what those equations I learned were actually used for, I could appreciate the learning requirements in algebra.  Algebra Lab does a beautiful job of helping students learn algebra within a context so that they really get a grasp of what these numbers are doing.

How to integrate Algebra Lab into your curriculum: I have enjoyed watching the debate over Algebra unfold in the last year or so.  One side of the argument asks if it is really necessary that EVERY child be required to take algebra.  The other side argues that algebra has great thinking skills that it develops, it gives students additional tools to understand the world through math.  I’m not sure where I land on this debate.  I don’t know that I believe that algebra should be a requirement for every child, and yet I think that my exposure to algebra was valuable.  Maybe the debate just needs to be reframed…HOW should algebra be taught?  I’m all for things being taught within context.  If you can teach any subject in a way that sheds light on other learning it is valuable.  I love when students make the connections between something like ratios and a site like Miniature Earth.  They not only get excited about the math (yes, really) they see a purpose for wanting to learn more about how it works.  Sometimes I think our job of teachers is really to help students see the overlaps that occur in learning so that they can make connections and have a cause to want to dig deeper.

I digress…

Algebra Lab is a great resource for math (and non-math) teachers.  Here you will find lessons, activities, word problems and practice opportunities for students.  Students can directly access the site, or you (the teacher) can pull ideas out to use within any other teaching you are doing.  The site is great for students to explore on their own (blended learning algebra style) or with guidance from a teacher.  As a non-math teacher, I appreciate the way the site helps me think like a math teacher.  It reminds me how all of these pieces connect to other learning.

Tips: If you have a one-to-one setting, students can practice directly on the website for immediate feedback.  Very helpful!

***Want to do your part as a CHANGE MAKER in personalized education?  Check out, support and spread the word about the Learning Genome Project!

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

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