## Story Math: Storytelling and Math

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.

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## Zimmer Twins: New site just for schools!

Read my previous mentions of the Zimmer Twins here
What it is:  The Zimmer Twins movie maker is one of my favorite classroom tools.  Recently, they added a Zimmer Twins at School site that has extra goodies built-in that make it an even sweeter deal for the classroom.  Yesss. I love it when that happens.  On the Zimmer Twin site, students can create really impressive cartoon animations (seriously this is saturday morning cartoon quality). Who are the Zimmer Twins, you might ask?  Edgar and Eva Zimmer are 12-year-old twins who appear normal but have developed psychic powers.  Strange things began to happen when the twins adopted a black cat named 13.  On the Zimmer Twins website, students can create their own cartoon movie endings to a story starter or create their own animated movie from scratch.  Students can create and edit movies solo or “Collab-o-write” and work together creating a collaborative movie.
With the free school account, teachers can add 5 students, make 12 movies, visit a profile page for each student and teacher, and have the ability to moderate content.  Very handy for classroom use!  In the past, I had to create an account for every student, work out how to keep track of everyone’s creations and make sure we could share with each other.  Thanks to the new school account, all of this can be handled easily right within one account!
How to integrate the Zimmer Twins School into the classroom:  Your students are going to love this site!  They can direct and produce their very own animated movies.  The easiest way to start using Zimmer Twins in the classroom, is to use it as a story starter.  Students can watch a “starter” video and finish the story however they would like.  The first time you introduce the site, it might be fun to complete a video as a class.  Then students can take over and create their own ending to a Zimmer Twins movie.  These video clips make excellent story starters for journal writing even if you can’t take the time to make it into an actual video.  To use as a story starter, show the beginning of the short animation to your students on an interactive whiteboard or projector, then let students take over on classroom computers, working together, or writing a journal entry.  After your students are familiar with the Zimmer Twins website, they can start a story from scratch.  Students could direct “screen plays” of their writing, as a way to publish their finished work.  Zimmer Twins would make an excellent alternative to the traditional book report.  Students could create a movie where the main character is being interviewed, the story is being summarized, or retold.  Students could also create movies about historical events, describing a science experiment or concept, in math as a story problem, to demonstrate understanding of character education or for vocabulary practice.  My students have really enjoyed creating movies to show what they have learned on any topic, it is always a sure winner!  Are you looking for new ways to engage your students? Why not create a Zimmer Twins original yourself to introduce a new topic.  If you are looking for more great ideas for using Zimmer Twins in your classroom, be sure to check out the lesson plans on the teacher page, there are some good ones.
Tips: Zimmer Twins School also offers a VIP account with lots of extras including the ability to add 40 students, make unlimited movies, open comments, write blog posts, write polls, enable/disable student comments on videos. Right now a month-long VIP membership is FREE!  You can get a year membership for \$89.95.