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?

Learning to Type

Over the years, the need for my students to be able to type has become increasingly important.

Being able to type with reasonable speed and accuracy helps students to better cope with the technological world they live in. Students are increasingly going to be held back in their school work, everyday life and future career if they don’t have adequate typing skills.

Of course, we still write with pencil and paper daily in our grade two class and have formal handwriting lesson,s but I find typing lessons and practice is often neglected in the primary curriculum.

Throughout the course of each year, I see a big improvement in students’ typing skills just from the regular practice they have with blogging, however we try to do typing practice where we can. This has become easier with the 20 netbooks and 10 classroom computers we now have in our class of 43 students. Typing practice is now a regular activity in 2KM and 2KJ.

Typing Test

Last week, I had the students take a typing test.

Thanks to @rebeccacarr87 for suggesting 10 Fast Fingers Speed Test which, despite the ads, was perfect for my grade two students. It contained high frequency words and no punctuation. It also gives a simple “words per minute” (wpm) score.

typing2

I wrote the students’ best wpm score on a class list and told them we’ll retest again with the goal of improving by the end of the year. The score range was 4 to 21 with an average score of 9.5 wpm. It will be interesting to see how they improve. I only wish I had thought to test them at the beginning of the year!

Teachers of older students might find this Typing Speed Test more useful as it contains more complex paragraphs including punctuation. This test gives a speed and accuracy score.

Typing1

Online Typing Activities

I have put together a collection of free, online typing games for my students into this Sqworl.

The link is http://sqworl.com/9r5u8p

Typing sqworl

Feel free to use it with your students too!

Lessons Vs Practice

I like to give my students a mix of formal tuition in typing as well as practice time.

How people get to the point of being able to touch type is something that interests me. I learnt “by doing” while my colleague, Kelly Jordan learnt through formal lessons, however we both got to the same place as proficient touch typists.

If you consider yourself a touch typist, I am interested to hear how you learnt to type. Did you learn by doing or did you learn through formal touch typing lessons?  Please complete this quick poll!


How do you approach typing lessons and practice with your students?


Do you know of any other good typing websites?

StoryIt: Word Games

StoryIt is a website that doesn’t look amazing with its simple layout and advertisements but has some great resources for the junior primary classroom.

While there are stories to read and print, seasonal resources, printable shapes and more – the resources I’ve found most useful are the word games.

There are about fifteen word games available to play online that involve making sentences, making words, spelling, changing words etc.

In the Wiz Game, the goal is to make as many words as you can from the letter tiles. Get the question mark tile to the bottom and a vocabulary question appears. Select the best meaning of the word and earn extra points.

storyit2

The Odd One Out: Word Family game involves choosing the word that doesn’t belong.

storyit

There are games on the StoryIt site that would be suitable for students in at all levels of primary school.

These games could be used as a lesson introduction or closure on the IWB, with a small focus group or individual students could use the games on classroom computers.

Have you used the StoryIt Word Games?

How could you use these games in your classroom?

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?

Christmas Sites for Primary Classrooms

As we’re now getting into “Christmas mode” at school, here are some sites that might be useful in the primary classroom.

Primary Games has a wide range of flash style Christmas games for kids. Great to use on an IWB or classroom computer.

primary games christmas

North Pole is a great site for kids and teachers. There are stories, games and all sorts of interactive activities. Children can even write a letter to Santa and he will reply.

north pole

Kelly Tenkely has written a post on interactive Advent calendars which would be great to use with children on an IWB on the countdown to Christmas.

advent

Fanpop has a collection of links to 100 classic Christmas videos. Great to watch on an IWB at the end of the school year (be warned, I have found a couple that have been dubbed in foreign languages!).

fanpop

Origami Club has some step-by-step animations and printable instructions for Christmas origami such as santas, reindeer, stars etc.

origami christmas

Leave a comment if you have any other good Christmas links.