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Image Chef

What it is: Image Chef is a great little web tool that takes words and transforms them into a graphical image.  Image Chef is similar in look to Wordle but works a little differently.  In Wordle, the size of the word changes based on how frequently the word was used in the text.  In Image Chef, the word size doesn’t change based on how frequently it is used in the text.  Image Chef takes the words typed in a text box, and displays them in a word mosaic.  Image Chef has a variety of shapes and symbols to choose from.  Any text entered will be displayed in the shape selected.  Registered users can also create their own shapes to display text graphically.  Image Chef has the added bonus of graphically displaying text inside letters.  The look of the image can be changed by adjusting font, text color, background color, and symbol or initial.  Individual words can be highlighted by changing the color and clicking on a word in the mosaic.  Word mosaics can be shared on blogs, emailed, printed, or saved on Image Chef. How to integrate Image Chef into the classroom: Image Chef is a fun web tool for displaying words in new and interesting ways.  My favorite feature of Image Chef is the ability to create word mosaics inside letters.  This feature would be a good way for students to practice phonics.  For example, students could create a letter “a” word mosaic filled with short a words (see my example above).  Students could type blends inside of the blend letters, long and short vowel words, r-conrolled words, etc.  These word mosaics could be printed out and bound into a phonics booklet for students, or displayed on a word wall.  Image Chef mosaics would also be a great way for students to explore synonyms.  Students can type synonyms into the text box and find or create an appropriate symbol to represent the words.  Image Chef would make for a fun first week of school activity.  Students could type in their initials as the shape for the word mosaic.  In the text field, they can type in words that represent them.  Print these out and display on a bulletin board next to student pictures.  For older students, Image Chef could be used to create a large periodic table of elements.  Choose the initials that represent the element on the periodic table and type the name of the element in the text box to fill the initials.  Create a large periodic table for the classroom with the printed elements. Tips: I learned about this awesome web tool from a tweet by @njtechteacher, definitely a teacher to follow this #teachertuesday!  When you click on the Image Chef Link you will be taken to the Image Chef homepage (the site contains much more than just the word mosaic)  To create a word mosaic click on “Word Mosaic” under “Create” in the left column of the website. Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Image Chef in your classroom.

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Math Class Needs a Makeover: videos, inquiry, math stories and more

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Apply, Blogs, Create, Download, Evaluate, inspiration, Knowledge (remember), Math, professional development, Teacher Resources, TED Talk Tuesdays, Understand (describe, explain), video, Websites | Posted on 18-06-2013

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What it is:  I’ve had the great fortune of time to go through my Google Reader favorites this week as I prepare for the shutdown (still bitter about that!).  The unexpected benefit I’ve had from Google Reader’s demise? The forced opportunity to go back through and be reminded of some of the truly amazing people and resources in education.  Dan Meyer is one of my all time favorite math geniuses.  He reminds us that math is more than computation, it is a frame of mind and an outlook on the world.  If your math program isn’t that…it is time to change!  As I went back through the resources of Dan’s that I had tagged, I re-watched his TEDx Talk: Math Class Needs a Makeover.  If you haven’t seen this TED Talk, or haven’t watched it in a while…now is the time.  I’ve embedded the talk above for your viewing pleasure…you don’t even have to go anywhere!  If you have watched it recently, be a friend and share it with someone else.

Dan also has some other really useful mathspiration.  His blog, dy/dan, is a source of math prompts and discussions that will have you thinking beyond computation. 101Questions is a project that encourages students to think about math through photo prompts and inquiry.  Graphing Stories is STINKING fantastic, Dan offers a printout for your students, they can then watch any video and graph the story.  AWESOME describes this resource. Three Act Math is a curricula that Dan developed, click on the links within the doc to get to the resources.  Again…AWESOME. Geometry curricula offers you Dan’s handouts, pdfs, powerpoint and keynote presentations.  Algebra curricula offers the same.

THANK YOU Dan for sharing your passion for mathematics, your inspiration for those of us who aren’t as naturally inclined to geek out about math, and for your openness of resources.

How to integrate Dan Meyer’s awesomeness into the classroom:  Dan makes it really easy for you to integrate his methods into your classroom.  Everything you need from inspiration, to mathematical story sets, to curricula materials is available.  If you teach math, the obvious place to start is with the type of math that you teach.  Dan’s resources are mostly intended for high school students use.  However, as I looked through his resources again, I think they could be appropriate for students in elementary school as well.

101Questions is a great way to have your kids enter an inquiry mindset as they approach math.  These are photos that ask your students what the first thing that comes to mind is.  Students can type in their answer and get a new prompt.  These would be a great way to start your class using a projector or interactive whiteboard.  Have your class inquire and come up with questions together.  Students can also do this as an independent activity and then share their questions with other students.

Graphing Stories speaks for itself.  Again, it is geared toward secondary students, but I think that given enough support, primary students would really enjoy engaging math this way too.  (Sometimes we don’t give students enough credit for where an interest can take their thinking.  Case in point: Anastasis 2nd and 3rd graders who know Fibonacci inside and out. Normally you wouldn’t see the concept until high school or later.)

The Three Act Math is also a favorite of mine.  Use Dan’s three acts, or use his as inspiration for creating your own!

Dan’s resources hit on every level of Bloom’s Taxonomy…that alone is good reason to stop reading this and go on your own exploration!

Tips: Dan is great to follow on Twitter...a constant stream of 140 character mathspiration!

How are you using Dan Meyer’s Awesome in your classroom?  Leave a comment below!

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