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festisite text layout: Valentine’s word art

What it is: Tomorrow is Valentine’s day! While I’m not a big celebrator of this holiday at home, I do enjoy making a big deal of it at school.  It is a fun day to build community and culture within a school!  Our Valentine’s day plans include jump rope and hoops for heart, the Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, a read-in, book exchange and some fun games/art projects!  I am excited!  One of the sites I am looking forward to introducing tomorrow is festisite Text Layout. The site is easy to use and yields some impressive results.  Students type a bit of text into the text box.  Then they click “Layout text” and get their text written as a shape poem inside a heart.  The image is delivered as a PDF which makes it easy for students to print and save their creations.  Cute and easy! How to integrate festisite text layout into the classroom: festisite text layout is a neat way for students to play with text.  Students can use festisite text layout to write a shape poem about Valentine’s day or a non-fiction poem about the heart.  Use the site to create fun Valentine wishes for friends. Turn the heart text layouts into a game by writing heart-related vocabulary definitions.  Students can cut out the heart shape and write the vocabulary word on the back.  Students can see how fast their team can get through the deck of cards they have created. We will be using the heart layout to write a reflection about what we “love” about a book we are reading during our read-in tomorrow.  This shape poem can be taped to the inside cover of the book so that when we do our book exchange, it has a personalized message about the book from the giver. Tips:  festisite has other fun text layouts to try including money, card games, logos, iPhones, poems, and text layouts.  You can even create spirals, mazes, banners and rebus puzzles out of your text.  Way cool! Please leave a comment and share how you are using festisite text layout  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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