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I wrote about Geni, a genealogy recording website, a while back. Geni asked me to write a post for them describing my experience with Geni. Here it is: Genealogy can be a dry subject for students, the old paper and pencil method of genealogy projects didn’t engage my students or their families to participate further than the obligatory family tree poster. Families were not involved and students were disinterested. Enter Geni.com. Geni excited my students and their parents to collaborate and learn more about their family. Students loved creating their family tree on the website and were eager to learn more about their families. They were excited to come into class to see if any other family members had updated the Geni site with new family information. Students often were surprised at what they learned about family members. One student learned that his grandfather had played minor league baseball. He hadn’t known this before the Geni genealogy project. The student loved baseball himself and now has a deeper connection with his grandfather over their shared love of the sport. Another student told me that his grandparents had never used the Internet before, but after seeing what their grandchild was doing on Geni were enthusiastic to learn. That student taught his grandparents how to get onto Geni.com, login, and add content. Parents were enthusiastic about using Geni; they were able to involve extended family in their child’s learning experiences. Geni brought families closer together through a classroom project. Students learned about their family and created a family tree that can be saved and added to by other family members. The collaboration that Geni brought to the genealogy project was priceless. The project reaches far beyond the walls of my classroom. Families connected in new and meaningful ways. Family genealogy was recorded for future generations. Students began to show real pride in their families history and really understood why genealogy is important. I don’t believe these kinds of results can be achieved with the old family tree poster. The project doesn’t end in my classroom. Students tell me that their families have continued to add to their Geni sites even though the project deadline is past and grades have been given. There is always extra work for the teacher involved in a collaborative project like this one. Instead of just assigning the project and grading what came in I had to plan family collaborations, get permission slips signed, keep track of logins, and make sure I had access to technology when I needed it. The students and families are reaping the benefits of the extra work. Instead of creating a poster that is soon forgotten, students have made important family connections, they have truly gotten the opportunity to learn about their families and have a lasting product that they can continue to add to. I still hear positive comments about the project and younger siblings are already asking if they can do the “Geni project” when they get to 5th grade. Geni can help you implement similar projects in your classroom. Email schools@geni.com for more information. To see the original of this post go to www.blog.geni.com.

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Story Math: Storytelling and Math

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Create, Evaluate, Interactive Whiteboard, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video, Websites | Posted on 02-11-2012

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What it is: Story Math is a portion of the Hey Math! website.  Story Math is a collection of 3 activities that use storytelling to present math in a new way.  Students take part in the interactive stories to discover math in new ways, help them learn new math vocabulary and understand concepts more completely.  There are currently three story activities available on Story Math: Mystery on the Block (students join the Premium Private Investigators and discover that geometry holds the key to the mystery of the missing kittens); The Perfect Arrangement (where students are introduced to permutations and how one clever lady uses math to subdue some squabbling scholars); and A Suitable Partner (where students engage in river-crossing puzzles to help Cammue pass the King’s test and marry Bindu).

How to integrate Story Math into the classroom: Storytelling is powerful!  I believe that we are all wired for story. We yearn for it, it helps us to connect with the world around us.  Story Math takes the power of storytelling and applies it to math.  Through story, students see math concepts unfold and discover connections between math concept and math application.  In addition to the story, Story Math includes games and activities where students can practice putting the math they have learned to the test.

Story Math makes a great introduction into new math concepts.  Story Math can be used whole-class with an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer.  Students can take turns reading (mute it for this option because the text is read automatically).  The story can be paused along the bottom while students discuss the stories and the math in the stories.  Each story invites interaction, provide students with an opportunity to interact with the story.  After the story, discuss what math connections were made.  How can they be applied?  What new vocabulary was learned?  Follow up with the games/activities on classroom computers as a center activity, or again as a whole class on the interactive whiteboard.

Want to do one better?  Show your students Story Math, ask them to explore each of the stories and make notes about the math concept introduced, the vocabulary and the story.  Then have students take a math concept that they are learning, and ask them to create a story of their own.  The first thing they should do is decide on the math concept they want to teach and the vocabulary that is associated.  Next, they should create a storyboard of what will happen in their story.  Finally, they can create the story animation using a tool like GoAnimate, Kerpoof Movie, Zimmer Twins or an app like Sock Puppets or ToonTastic.

Tips: The stories on Story Math take a few minutes to load. They are flash based and require a little patience for the first load.

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

Help me personalize education for EVERY child!  Donate (even just your coffee money!)  and spread the word about the Learning Genome Project.

Comments (3)

I will definitely check out Story Math! Thanks for sharing this, and all the wonderful resources you post. I always open your emails wondering what I will learn about next! :)
I have used GoAnimate and had my students create story problems of their own, they love it!

Thank you Lisa! Hope the kiddos have fun with it!

Story math is a very interesting concept that enhances learning in the students. It can make one of the most dreadful subject appear easy and fun to kids. A similar concept of using Theatre in Education has been adopted for teaching primary students. Farak.net team interviewed this teacher and tried to learn more about this teaching technique. Here is the link to it
http://www.farak.net/pages/FeaturedTeacher.html

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