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Websites with a Cause

What it is: I have posted before about a website called Free Rice.  This vocabulary game has the added benefit of donating rice to help end world hunger.  For each correct answer, Free Rice donates 20 grains of rice on your behalf.  This isn’t the only website with a cause.  Aid to Children is a vocabulary game like Free Rice, for every correct answer $.25 are donated to children in need through World Vision.  Free Poverty is a world geography game.  See how many cups of water you can donate by testing your knowledge about the world.  Each correct answer means that 10 cups of clean water have been donated on your behalf.  Free Corn is another vocabulary game like Free Rice, for every 25 visits to the website, 1 kernel of corn is donated.  Free Kibble is a trivia game.  Every day your students play Bow Wow Trivia 20 pieces of kibble are donated to Animal shelters to help feed their hungry dogs.  Free Kibble Kat also donates 20 pieces of kibble per player each day…this time students are raising kibble for cats.   How to integrate Websites with a cause into the classroom: Each of the above websites offers a wonderful opportunity to teach students to look outside their own needs to the needs of others.  Use these websites to teach your students compassion, about other cultures, and about helping those less fortunate.  The websites will also be a great way for your students to practice vocabulary or geography.  Encourage your students to play these games from home when they are “bored” or just for fun.  See how much rice, money, corn, water, or kibble you can raise as a class.  Use these figures to teach graphing and charting.  You can also use the sites to teach persuasive writing.  Students can create a “commercial” for the site, a poster advertising the site, etc.  (I found a commercial that I made as an example for my students on Free Corn…small world!)  Using these websites with my class taught me just how compassionate and concerned my students are.  It was wonderful to see my students come together around a common goal. Using these websites with a cause in your classroom is a real life character education lesson! Tips: Bookmark these sites on classroom computers, kids who finish their work early can sit and play one of the games while they wait for the next activity. Leave a comment and share how you are using Websites with a cause 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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