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Tikatok

    What it is:  Tikatok is a great website to excite your students about writing.  With Tikatok each of your students can become a published author, create, share, and gain an authentic audience for their writing and illustrations, and receive writing support through the StorySparks system.  StorySparks are a framework that gives students prompts at the bottom of their screen as they are writing their story.  They are tips such as “the beginning of the story is where we define a setting, where does your story take place?”  StorySparks come in different levels depending on your student ability.  Using Tikatok, students can build literacy skills such as: writing, story structure, reading, comprehension, imagination, creativity, character development, story development, critical thinking, organization, drafting, and technology skills (typing, uploading pictures, saving, collaboration, and communication).  Students have options when creating a story, they can choose a topic and idea to start a story or they can start from scratch with a blank story.  The first option allows students to get help with the hardest part of story creation, thinking of an idea and beginning a story.  Students fill in blanks about their story and get a basic story that they can embellish and add to.  In the second option, students create a story from scratch.  Teachers can register classes and keep track of the stories their students are creating.  Teachers can also send students messages and comment on stories.  There is also an option for students to work collaboratively on a story.  Students can adjust their stories template, colors, text, and images.  When students are finished, their story can be viewed online, printed out from a PDF file, or published and purchased for $15-20. How to integrate Tikatok into the classroom:  Tikatok is an excellent tool to bring into your writing classroom.  It can be used as a publishing center for finished pieces of writing, as a collaborative writing project, or as a place to keep all written work.  The ability for students to use story starters is outstanding for those kiddos who are forever saying “I don’t know what to write about”.  They absolutely won’t be able to use that excuse here!  Even if you don’t have the ability for all of your students to write stories on Tikatok because of limited computer access, use the story idea starters using a projector as students write in journals.  I love the ability for teachers to keep track of all student writing in one place.  Since Tikatok is online, students can work on their stories from any Internet connected computer making it especially useful for those students who are slow or those students who like to write novels.    When students are finished writing stories, have a reading day where students can read other student stories and leave comments and feedback.  Only have access to one or two classroom computers?  Have the whole class take part in a collaborative story.    I love Tikatok for several reasons but the ability to view ‘published’ work online in book form is handy for the environment (it is green), for families who want to see their childs work, and the sense of authentic audience that it brings students.  Student work is always higher quality when they know their audience base is larger than the teacher!  I also love that the stories can be saved as PDF files and printed for classroom libraries or the school library.  The ability to purchase bound books is motivating for many students and parents love to have their kids work officially published.   In my classroom I will leave the stories online and send home a flier to parents about how to purchase a bound book if they would like to.  So neat!   Tips:  Tikatok has the ability to upload student illustrations, if you don’t have a scanner at your school, students artwork can be sent to Tikatok and will be uploaded within 24 hours.  I like the idea of using a computer based drawing tool like Skitch for illustrations.  Sign up for a teacher account today, it is so simple to get started!   Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Tikatok  in your classroom.

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Yummy Math! Best Math Blog EVER

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Apply, Art, Evaluate, inspiration, Knowledge (remember), Math, Middle/High School, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 18-10-2012

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What it is:  Yummy Math is an absolutely fabulous blog/site dedicated to helping students and teachers understand how math is relevant to the world.  What a great mission!  The blog was started 2 years ago…bummed that I am only JUST discovering it.  Brian Marks and Leslie Lewis are the creators of Yummy Math.  They have worked together to make an easy way for teachers to bring real-world math into the classroom.  Math (like everything else) should be taught within a context.  I believe this is key!  When understood in context, students can make connections to their learning and, as a result, really learn it.  The goal here is to engage students in math so that they yearn to reason, think critically, problem solve, question and communicate…in short: DO math!  Each week, multiple activities and ideas are added to the Yummy Math site.  This means that you are in constant supply of real-world math problems for your students to engage in.

Categories include:

  • Algebra
  • Data and Probability
  • Geometry
  • Number Sense
  • Sports
  • Holidays/annual events
  • Math and Science
  • Math and Food
  • Math and Social Studies
  • Math and Art
  • Movies and Entertainment

How to integrate Yummy Math into the classroom: You know that dry math curriculum that you feel TRAPPED by?  Yummy Math exists to free you (and your students) from the endless memorization and unconnected practice.  This is the perfect supplement to any math program.  Use these activities a few times a week to really get your students thinking outside of the (math) box.  These will stretch your students, and help them grow exponentially in their understanding of math and all of the cool things it makes possible.

These are not your typical “real” world word problems.  None of that, if train a is traveling north at x, and train b is traveling south at y what time will they meet? Garbage.  This is…what is the real cost of owning an iPhone 5?   or  The House of Representatives passed a law in 2007 to increase the efficiency of light bulbs, what is the real energy savings that can be realized with CFL and LED.  Not only relevant, but really interesting!

Tips: You know what is EXTRA helpful?  That Yummy Math has already done all the leg work to tell you which Common Core Standards these project are meeting.  Yes. They are awesome!

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using  Yummy Math  in your classroom.

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