Last week, I had the privilege of working with educators from the Dayton area through Communicate Institute in conjunction with Walsh University. The class is titled "The Future of Learning and Technology." The course covers many concepts such as classroom design, technology in the next 50 years and implementing technology within a classroom setting. The focus of this class is a passion of mine as I see firsthand the difference technology can make in the lives of students. There are many aspects of this course that spark interest and motivation, but my favorite activity has to be the opportunity to put technology in the hands of educators. One of the days we focused on coding in the classroom. Coding has become the most discussed technological advancement as there is great demand for coding in the work force. Some of the hands-on tools that we used were Sphero, Osmo, Bloxels and Makey Makey. We also discussed Scratch, Scratch Jr. and Code.org. We had a great discussion about coding and how it could be implemented within the classroom, but the true learning and collaboration did not occur until I stepped away as an instructor. After the discussion, I went to each group of educators and handed them a Makey Makey kit. Makey Makey is an invention kit that turns everyday items such as bananas into touchpads that can be combined with the internet. I then stood in front of the educators and said something that we don't say enough as instructors, "You have to figure this one out on your own." At that point, some of the educators looked at me in disbelief. The previous day we discussed strategies to figure out new technologies that they were not familiar with, so it was interesting to observe the problem solving techniques implemented. Some of them went straight to the Makey Makey website. Others chose a different route by going to Twitter, YouTube or just plain Google. Stepping away from the students can be very difficult at times, but at the same time can be very rewarding. I have learned from teaching my fourth graders that being "a guide on the side" is very important for learning to occur. Also "play" is a very important aspect of learning. As I watched the educators with their Makey Makey sets, learning and collaboration was occurring. Even the less tech savy educators were becoming the leaders in their group. They were taking accountability for their learning, and they were enjoying it. Creativity was flowing through the room! The educators that did not feel they had anything to contribute were the ones that were stepping up in their group. Authentic learning was occurring! By the end of activity, it was very evident that the educators were more confident and willing to take a chance with technology. They were encouraged to take the driver's seat in regards to their learning which in turn helped to promote problem solving skills. They were also very proud to share their creations and projects. It definitely was a great week of learning and discovery!
There are many ways in which TenMarks Premium has benefitted
my students this year, but the ability to differentiate instruction and the
opportunity for students to self-reflect has made a major impact within my
classroom.Before having Premium, I was
only able to provide students with assignments.When providing assignments, the students were unable to see their
progress within each standard.Now with Premium, my students can scroll over
each standard, monster, and can track their progress with each concept.This has been very motivating for my
students.Now the students are asking me
for certain standards that they want to complete.They are starting to take responsibility for
their own learning.The motivation has
been contagious within my classroom this year.When students are seeing other classmates putting forth their best
effort and seeing results, the other students want to do the same thing.I teach fourth grade and some of my students
have already completed the fourth and fifth grade standards on TenMarks.
I feel that
differentiation has been the key to success this year.We use iPads or Chromebooks throughout the
week, and the students are unaware of what assignments their classmates are
assigned.The feature on TenMarks
Premium that I feel is the most powerful aspect is the ability to create
assessments by the standards.After the
students complete the assessments, it gives me instant data on how well the
students understood the standards.I
also have the ability to monitor the amount of time the students have spent on
the assessment.I definitely make sure
to let the students know that I have that ability.Another great feature is the automated
recommendations that are given to the students when they have completed the assessments.A student may be given a recommendation at
grade level or a student may need a refresher of a standard from the previous
year.If the students have successfully
completed all of the standards in the assessment, recommendation will be made
to extend the students’ learning for the up in coming year.By giving the students assessments, I have
been able to hone in on strengths and weaknesses of each of my students.I feel that TenMarks is definitely preparing
my students for the standardized testing and the up incoming school year!
We teachers are inundated with choice when it comes to tech tools. I started using TenMarks Math 2 years ago and have not looked back since. Here are the top 10 reasons I use TenMarks Math in my classroom:
1. Curriculum Aligned
TenMarks Math has aligned content standards by grade level, which makes it easy to provide whole class, blended, or small group instruction. TenMarks Math Assignments provide standards-aligned, rigorous math practice, which can be used to introduce or review concepts. TenMarks Math Lessons provides teachers with a comprehensive set of resources to guide effective instruction for each math standard - contextual overview, learning trajectory, ideas to assess readiness, and lessons for foundation, core instruction and enrichment – for use before and during class, accessible on any device, anytime.
2. Immediate Feedback
As a teacher, I feel that immediate feedback is extremely important. One of the best features of TenMarks Math is that it gives instant feedback to students regarding their correct or incorrect responses. It also gives an explanation using pictorial representations, which are great for those visual learners.
3. Embedded Videos to Reinforce Concepts
If a student does not understand a certain topic while doing a TenMarks Math assignment, there is a video that explains the math concepts with many visuals. These videos help to review or reinforce content material. Throughout the year, I noticed many students watching the videos to grasp a better understanding of the concept that was presented to them.
4. Real-Time Guidance with Hints
If a student has difficulty with a concept while doing their TenMarks Math assignment, they have the option of clicking on a hint on the right side of the screen. A student can use up to three hints per question. The hints are scaffolded. So, the first hint starts out very basic. Then, the second and third hints gradually become more detailed. The hints do not give away the entire answer. So, this feature is great for those students who need more assistance or remediation.
5. Similar to State-Testing Format
Many states have opted for computerized state testing. So, it is important for the students to be more tech savvy. By using TenMarks Math, I noticed that the students felt more comfortable completing math problems on the computer. TenMarks Math gives students the opportunity to see different types of math problems. In addition to basic types of problems, like multiple choice, constructed response, and checkboxes for multiple answers, the assignments also offer interactive questions, such as drag and drop, graphs for plotting geometric figures, and classification tables for sorting different objects. So, using TenMarks Math is a great way to familiarize students with a computer-based test.
As the students complete assignments, they earn coins that they can later use at TenMarket. In TenMarket, students can play 10 games. Some of these games include Bounce Prediction, Taxi Pickup, Sky High, Cheese n Mouse, and many more. Students can also view the certificates that they have earned by completing different assignments. This is a terrific way to motivate students!
TenMarks Math has a free mobile app that works well on iPads and other mobile devices. This year, I used the mobile app more than the desktop version. The students enjoyed using their iPads because they were able to move around and collaborate in an effective manner.
8. Student Engagement
Throughout the year, I have used TenMarks Math in a variety of ways. At the beginning of the year, I used it mostly as review. As the year progressed, I used TenMarks Math to introduce new concepts and to challenge students with new concepts. I also held contests with Jam Sessions. The students absolutely loved this! I set the timer and allowed the students to pick a math concept. The students then completed as many problems as they could within the allotted time. The students were rewarded based on how many questions they answered correctly within the allotted time.
9. Up-to-Date Data on Dashboard
The Report tab in TenMarks Math dashboard provides access to instant data. Teachers can easily locate percentages on assignments and jam sessions. The data is color coded and separated by content standards and dates completed.
10. It is completely free!
TenMarks Math is free to all teachers. TenMarks Math Premium can be purchased for extra features including standards-based and grade level assessments, one-click differentiation, and real-time interventions. Visit the website to learn more about TenMarks Math Premium.
Overall, I feel that TenMarks Math made a major impact on my students’ math achievement this year! Sign up for free at TenMarks Math!
As I write this post, I am sitting at Firestone getting my
tire fixed.While waiting, I think to myself
that if I didn’t have bad luck, I would have no luck at all.I am on my way to the beach to soak up the
sun and celebrate my 15th anniversary with my wife.The problem is that this is the second flat
tire I have gotten in two weeks.This is
definitely not the best way to celebrate my 15th anniversary!
Also on my
mind is school, because it starts at the beginning of August. Most of you know that technology is a big part
of my classroom.I feel as though many
teachers get “technological flat tires”.What I mean by this, is that most teachers start with an open mind with
using technology within their classroom, but many give up very easily when
something goes wrong or doesn’t work quite right.Then they proceed to share their thoughts of
disbelief with their students and coworkers.This starts a bad cycle of negativity.
I have learned throughout my years of teaching is that my students have
achieved more with the infusion of technology into my classroom. When I first started using technology within
my classroom, it didn’t always work the way that I wanted it to. In fact, it still does not always work the way I would like it to. At times it can be frustrating, but I always embrace the
opportunities the technologies will create for my students. As comparing this to a metaphorical tire, you
can either simply mend the puncture in the tire or get a new tire
altogether. This goes right along with
our mindset on technology. We can either
find a quick easy fix or grasp a new mindset altogether. If we do not take the time to grant students the opportunity to use technology, we will not allow them the opportunity to reach their full potential. Now that I am sitting in the sand and listening to the crashing waves, I realize that maybe that flat tire was not such a big deal after all. The end result was well worth the inconvenience.
Looking for ways to increase student engagement in your
classroom? Try these game-based educational apps that make math a whole lot of
1.Operation Math (Spinlight
Studio) - James Bond meets math facts. With this app, students will travel
around the world, trying to defeat Dr. Odd. Students will complete timed
missions in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. When
completing these missions, students can earn different types of watches and
uniforms. Operation Math has over 100 different missions that
the students can complete.
2.Quick Math and Quick Math+ (Shiny
Things) - Students really enjoy Quick Math and Quick
Math+because they can use their finger as a stylus and just write the
answers on the screen. In Quick Math, students are given the option
of doing addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Quick
Math+offers more challenging activities that test memorization, estimation,
Mountain (Spinlight Studio) - This app, reminiscent
of The Price is Right game show, takes place in the Alps. The
objective is to answer as many fast facts as possible before falling off the
mountain. If a student answers a problem correctly, they move closer to the
summit of the mountain. As the students are completing math problems, they also
have to watch for sheep trying to knock them off the mountain. This fast-paced,
interactive game holds student interest by putting a twist on the memorization
of fast facts.
4.Factor Samurai (Third
Rail, LLC) - This app helps students decipher between prime and composite
numbers. Factor Samurai puts a different spin on the
game Fruit Ninja, but instead of slicing fruit, the students must
slice composite numbers into prime numbers. Students can earn different colored
swords by slicing only composite numbers. This app also challenges students by
giving them three different levels to choose from: grasshopper, apprentice, and
Bingo (ABCYa!) - Math Bingo uses all math
operations: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Students can
get a bingo by correctly answering math facts presented vertically,
horizontally, or diagonally on a grid. When a student completes a bingo, the app
unlocks games such as “Bingo Bug Bungee,” “Math Stack,” and “Math Fling.” All
of these games help students learn math facts in a unique way.
Planet (Playpower Labs, LLC) - Math Planet offers
math apps for first through fifth grade while also providing a middle school
app. Students can explore different planets and solve problems related to
number sense, fractions, decimals, geometry, and all of the math
operations. Math Planet is a fun way for students to learn
Slicer (Thumbstorm, LLC) - Math Slicer is
a great way for students to learn their math facts. Students slice the answers
to addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division problems. As a math
problem appears on the screen, two answers fly though the air and a student
must "slice" the correct answer with their finger.
Math (eduPad) - iTooch is based on the
Common Core standards and covers mathematics, science and language arts for
grade 1-5. With this app, students can take practice tests and earn grades for
each of the content standards. This app offers a multitude of visuals to help
students gain understanding of the content.
Innovations, Inc.) - This app creates a digital geoboard. Students can create
geometric shapes with different colored rubber bands. The boards are shaped in
squares, rectangles, and circles. This app can be used to illustrate polygons,
to identify types of angles, and to create congruent figures.
Fractions (Ululab) - If you are looking for a fun way to learn or
teach fractions, then Slice Fractions is for you. Slice
Fractions involves a world-traveling mammoth trying to solve different
math problems related to fractions while collecting interesting hats along the
way. This app includes puzzles that incorporate fraction symbols, fraction
parts, comparing fractions, problem solving, and adding fractions. This is a
well-constructed app that's perfect for 5- to 12-year-olds.
Try these apps to keep students engaged and motivated in
math through the last weeks of school. Be sure to let us know how it goes in
the TenMarks teacher communities on Facebook and Twitter!