Online Maths Activities

We had a numeracy curriculum day at my school today and I was asked to present a workshop on online maths sites. The audience was diverse with teachers from all grade levels as well as CRTs (casual replacement teachers) and student teachers.

I began by giving a few tips for using online maths sites.

1. Think of the learning intention first. When you find a good online activity, it can be tempting to want to just use it in your classroom. It’s important to think of the learning intention and then the resources, not the other way round.

2. Be organised. Have a play around with the site before your lesson (you don’t need to know everything about it). Get your tabs up on the interactive whiteboard or student links ready ahead of time. Have a system to archive your online resources. I would be lost without my Diigo social bookmarking account.

3. Learn with your students. You certainly don’t need to be the expert when using online resources.

4. Think out loud. For example, when you come across a website you could say, “I don’t know how to play this game so I’m going to click on help and read the instructions first”. I have found thinking out loud to be an excellent way to teach incidental ICT skills and troubleshooting.

5. Mix up the way you use online resources. Online maths activities can be used for whole class activities, small group work (don’t underestimate the power of collaboration), and individual work (through a rotation if you don’t have the resources for 1:1). Sometimes online activities are more teacher led, such as when you’re teaching a new concept, however, it’s always a good idea to have the students as actively engaged in their learning as possible.

I shared one or two examples of maths resources that could be used for all four areas of our maths lesson structure.

1. Warm up. This is a quick activity to get the students ready for learning.

  • A + Click: This site has quick activities for all age groups to develop logical reasoning and creative thinking. No sign in required.
  • Oswego: Students love playing these games on the IWB. There are games for all areas of the maths curriculum and many are timed which allows for some friendly competition. No sign in required.

2. Introduction. This is the teaching part of the maths lesson.

  • Virtual Manipulatives: A simple alternative to using the maths tools on the IWB software which I know many teachers find frustrating. No sign in required.
  • Studyladder: I like using the IWB resources and explanation videos as another way to teach a concept. Studyladder also has many other resources for all areas of the curriculum. Free sign up required.
3. Main task. This is the activity that the students complete with enabling and extending tasks to differentiate the curriculum.
  • Sqworl: A great visual way to put together a collection of maths activities for students to use on their computers. Free sign up required.
  • Woodlands: There are many sites that compile links to online activities into subjects. Woodlands is one my students really enjoy with links to many activities to practise maths skills. No sign in required.

4. Reflection. This is the time for sharing strategies and summarising what was learnt.

  • Jenny Eather’s Maths Dictionary: This site has kid-friendly and visual definitions for maths vocabularly. There are also excellent printable charts to use around your classroom on the site. No sign in required.

I compiled all of the links to the examples I gave and many more on a Sqworl http://sqworl.com/vec8xd

Participants were given time to play and find resources that would be useful in their classroom.

What online maths resources do you enjoy?

Do you have any great sites to add that aren’t on the Sqworl?

The Power of ClustrMaps

This post marks another milestone on this blog

50000 visitors

A huge thank you for all your support! More than two years later, I am still enjoying writing this blog more than ever due to the wonderful community of readers and supporters I am a part of.

I use ClustrMaps to keep track of visitors both on this blog and on my class blog. I also use Google Analytics which provides some excellent data but that is another blog post!

ClustrMaps is something we use as a powerful teaching tool in our classroom.

Kelly Jordan and I start every day by looking at our class blog together with our students on the interactive whiteboard. One of the first things we do is check out our ClustrMap. Our grade two students love seeing how our visitor total is progressing.

clustrmap check

Our ClustrMap check offers so many teachable moments.

We have seen our students’ understanding of place value increase by this daily authentic activity. We use a place value chart to keep track of our visitors and every day we talk about how many thousands, hundreds, tens and ones are in our visitor number.

The students are able to apply the strategies we’re learning in maths to make predictions and calculations about our visitor count. It is a great chance for students to be able to share their strategies about how they worked out a problem (eg. how many more visitors will we need to get to 8000?).

DSC07453

Maths isn’t the only focus when we visit our ClustrMap. The red dots on the map and current country totals provide an authentic avenue to teach and discuss geography. We talk about what countries and cities most of our visitors are coming from and theorise why this is the case.

Our seven and eight year old students are becoming familiar with the world map and are developing an understanding of our place in our global society.

How do you use ClustrMaps or other blogging tools to create authentic teachable moments?

Sites for Integration Aides

Monday 9th August is a statewide curriculum day for Ultranet implementation in Victoria.

For readers who are outside of Victoria, Australia, the Ultranet is a  $60.5 million online portal for teachers, students and parents in Victorian government schools. Read my post on my initial thoughts on the Ultranet here.

I am a Lead User at my school, Leopold Primary School and we came online in Cycle One in May.

While I remain somewhat sceptical that the Ultranet will actually work on August 9th, we have come up with a detailed plan for training the staff on this day.

Catering for our integration aides was a consideration in our planning.

While our integration aides will be participating in the basic Ultranet and Web 2.0 workshops, we are also allowing them time to explore useful websites that they could use with their students on classroom computers.

I have prepared the following handout for our integration aides, which may also be useful for primary school teachers.

What do you have planned for August 9th?

Do you have any sites that you think would be particularly useful for integration aides?

Super Teacher Worksheets

super teacher worksheets

Super Teacher Worksheets is a useful site for primary teachers that contains free, printable worksheets.

The worksheets are divided into the categories of

  • maths
  • reading and writing
  • grammar and phonics
  • spelling lists and worksheets
  • puzzles and brainteasers
  • holidays
  • science and social studies
  • teacher helpers

In each of the categories, there are activities suitable for a wide range of ages and abilities.

I have found some great activities for my grade two students especially for place value and reading comprehension.

Check out Super Teacher Worksheets and see what activities may suit your class!

Leave a comment. Do you use Super Teacher Worksheets or any other sites for ready-made resources?

Virtual Maths Manipulatives

I nearly always use my IWB (interactive whiteboard) for Maths whole-class introductions and often small group instruction.  Publisher McGraw Hill and Glencoe have a great maths resource for your IWB that is an alternative to IWB software. It is called Virtual Manipulatives.

Virtual Manipulatives is a Flash based website with interactive manipulatives that students and teachers can use to introduce or reinforce maths concepts. It is suitable for students from Kindergarten to Year Eight.

This site is very simple to use (mostly drag and drop) and requires very little preparation.

You simply choose a background from the collection of Game Boards, Story Boards or Work Mats. Work Mat options include place value mats, tens frames, graph paper, algebra tiles, in and out equation tables, blank calendars, number lines and number charts.

You can then set up or solve a problem by choosing from a set of manipulatives such as base ten blocks, counters, fraction tiles, cubes, spinners, tangrams, calendars, clocks, teddies and number cubes (dice).

You can narrow the choice of backgrounds and manipulatives to your grade level to find the most appropriate resources.

There is a pen tool to draw on the screen and completed work can be printed. There is also a stop watch feature to time the completion of tasks.

virtual manipulatives

Leave a comment. How could you use Virtual Manipulatives in your Maths lessons?

Clasroom Resources: Teachers Pet

I have been using the website SparkleBox for quite a while to find a wide range of printable resources for my primary classroom. I was therefore surprised to discover that the SparkleBox website has been been undergoing a troubled time recently with it’s creator and editor, Samuel King being imprisioned in January 2010 for child pornography offences. Read about it here. As a result of the convictions, many teachers felt compelled to boycott their use of SparkleBox.

sparklebox

This week on Twitter, I found out about an alternative new website called Teacher’s Pet. The site that was launched on April 14th 2010 is the combined work of a teacher, Christina and Flash programmer, Jay. The site contains free printable PDFs and will soon contain IWB resources and music. The website is nicely designed and the resources are clear, colourful and purposeful. While this is a UK site, it looks like it could be useful for primary teachers worldwide. This site is very new, however new resources are being upload regularly and hopefully it will eventually become a site that is as comprehensive as it’s comparable website, SparkleBox. Check it out!

Teachers Pet

Postscript: I have just come across another new similar site called Twinkl. There must be a few SparkleBox alternatives popping up on the web. This is good news for teachers!

Leave a comment if you know any other sites with printable resources for teachers.

Kubbu: Make Education Games

I recently came across the site Kubbu. This is a site where teachers can make games and online activities for students. The activities can be made available to individual students or groups of students and the teacher can view and analyse results.

Kubbu is free for teachers although is limited to using with 30 students and 15 activities at a time. If you wish to use Kubbu with a larger group of students or create more than 15 activities you can purchase a year’s membership.

The types of activities you can create on Kubbu include matching, sorting, crosswords and a range of quizzes. Activities are stored for 30 days and you can print paper copies of the online activities.

This is an example of an online synonym matching activity.

synonyms kubbu

It may seem time consuming to create new activities for students but there are also shared activities available that others have made. I couldn’t find many activities that would be useful for my students in the shared section although hopefully these activities will grow as Kubbu becomes more well known by teachers.

Kubbu could be used with students of all age groups and could be a handy tool for practice, revision and assessment both at school or as homework.

kubbu

Leave a comment if you have tried Kubbu. How did you find it?

Great resources for your IWB by Triptico

Triptico is a UK site that provides eLearning training and support. They also have a fantastic library of classroom tools that can be used on the IWB. I found out about many of these from Kelly Tenkely’s great blog iLearn. I have blogged about Word Magnets in the past. Here are some other great tools that you can find in their library.

SIMPLE COUNTDOWN TIMER and ONE MINUTE TIMER

These timers would be great for classroom games, challenging the children to pack up by a certain time, using as a timer for Show and Tell or oral presentations etc.

Picture 5

      Picture 2

LINK UP

This tool allows you to drag words around and link them into categories. You choose two categories each with six words. This tool is great to organise, categorise and contrast information such as living/non-living, mammal/reptile, noun/verb, sometimes food/everyday food….the possibilities are endless.

 
Picture 4
 

VARIOUS SPINNERS

  • There are spinners that will randomly select from one of four, eight and sixteen options. These spinners would be great for Maths games,  question generators, random name selectors etc. Student names could be added throughout the day for good behaviour and a winner spun at the end of the day.
  • There is also a role selector spinner where you type in names and roles to work out who will take on what responsibility in group work etc.
  • The probability spinner is great for Maths lessons. It can be modified and automatically records results.

    probability

Check out the many more simple tools Triptico has to offer by clicking here.

While you could use some similar tools to these on the software that comes with your IWB (eg ActivInspire, Easiteach etc), these are great quick and easy alternatives as they are all ready to go. Keep checking Triptico’s site as they seem to be adding new resources regularly.

Skwirk – a great resource!

I came across this great site this week and instantly found so many things that I would love to use immediately with my Grade Two class.

Skwirk (an abbreviation of School Work) is an “online education portal” designed for use by teachers and students in both primary and secondary schools. Skwirk covers all core subjects studied in all states and territories including Maths, Science, Technology, English, History, Geography and more.

Skwirk contains curriculum-based content, images, animations and videos, quizzes, podcasts and more. It would be fantastic to use in class on an IWB or projector. 

There are reports that track student progress and Skwirk can be used as a homework resource. For older students, study guides and the highlighting system help students revise and prepare for exams.

You can enter the site as a guest and there are free trials available for schools. Individuals can sign up to Skwirk for $99/year. School registration is from $7 per student a year. Skwirk is currently offering free access to all year 9 students until 2 October 2009.

It would be great to see businesses/government funding schools to use Skwirk in they same way that funding is being provided for Victorian users of SuperClubsPlus so more schools can take advantage of this great resource!

Using an iPod Touch

Note – I updated this post with a more comprehensive guide to using an iPod Touch in the classroom in August, 2011. Click here to find it.

For the past twelve months I’ve been using an iPod Touch in my classroom. My students love using this form of technology and I am finding it is a great tool to enhance their learning.

An headphone splitter purchased for under $20, has allowed the iPod to be used by a group of five students at one time.

As well as accessing the wireless internet on the iPod, we have used many other great features of the iPod. Here are some examples of how it has been used by my Grade Two students.

  • Students have listened to various stories and completed comprehension activities or drawn their interpretation of the story to practise the visualising technique. There are many free story podcasts availble from the iTunes store.
  • How-to videos from the howcast site have been stored on the iPod and students have followed the instructions to complete a task (eg. making an origami swan).
  • Many applications have been added to the iPod to practise spelling, language, maths and logic skills etc. Many of these are free from the iTunes store.
  • Students have listened to songs and sequenced cards containing the lyrics to the song.
  • Students listen to a recording of instructions which they must comprehend to draw something or complete a simple task. The recording can by made by a student to practise oral language skills or a teacher.
  • Students have watched short videos (downloaded off YouTube or TeacherTube) and completed various response and comprehension activities.
  • Student created videos and podcasts have been added to the iPod as a way of sharing student work with the rest of the class.

The iPod allows students to learn at their own pace as stories and videos can be paused and replayed many times. It is a great way to reinforce concepts and encourage independent as well as co-operative group learning. The students are also very engaged when working with the iPod!