Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Day Three Chlorine and Math

Ok I've been on this exercise kick this week. I can think of better things to do with my time, but I need to get ride of this spare tire. Well this morning I thought I would do some swimming. Big mistake. I brought swimming trunks, but no goggles. After half an hour in the pool I ruined my day. I spent the entire day in a chlorine fog and righting a headache.

In between moaning and complaining I tried to listen to the keynote at the blogger cafe, Why don't they have coffee? I couldn't hear much especially at the end as the conversation got louder so ask someone else for a synopsis, but get one cuz I think what I did hear was very good. Try Budtheteacher I think I saw him in the bloggercafe.

I went to one public BYOL session “Beyond Graphing Calculators: Technology in the Mathematics Classroom” presented by (husband and wife team by the name of cross not the bad guys to be known as DC for the rest of this blog)

In my district I find a lot of teachers worry about passing the Illinois State Achievement Test (ISAT). For some reason this translates into spending an inordinate of time practicing ISAT questions. This isn't limited to Illinois, I know teachers around the country who feel it's necessary to use class time to practice for their specific state test.

Ok so one of the first things DC did was to take their state standards an put it into a Wordle. Yes you guessed it Technology was one of the biggest words. Yo, teach! Technology is important in your classroom. Not in my state, but that is a different problem.

Wordle: 8th grade Illinois learning standards

How do we incorporate technology into the classroom? Let's set some prerequisites. We want:

  • free

  • simple

  • student-centered

First some video presentation teachers or student can create easily. (DC used Prezi but didn't explain it)

  • Powerpoint / Photostory

Create a simple presentation in Powerpoint - save the slides as pictures - import them into Photostory - add voice to each slide.

Free because just about everyone has Powerpoint already and Photostory is a free download for Windows machines. I know you can replace PowerPoint with Presentation in OpenOffice if you don't have Word. I'm not sure about alternatives to Photostory.

This is something teachers and students can use in the classroom. Why not have students explain the steps to solving a cube root using a presentation?

Second suggestion – Create your own common craft type video

DC suggest a flip video type camera, but I think this is also the opportunity to show the usefulness of cell phones in the classroom. If you want to go there. Considering they suggest 3 X 5 cards and a steady cam perhaps a document camera might work for this also. (I don't know if they record or not)

Third Suggestion Geogebra

I love Geogebra, but I think I said it yesterday, I'm more of a give me your idea and I will expand on that in my classroom rather than I want to spend hours of my time exploring. Exploring is great if I want to learn about Geogebra, but I want to learn how to use it in my classroom and that means I need to know how to use the program first then I can explore the possibilities for my classroom.

The great think about Geogebra, besides being free and being either a download or a web app, is the amount of documentation found on the web. I've seen the wiki and the help files at and they are great, but I didn't know about the youtube channel. I should have known because I tell my teachers all the time, if you don't know how to do it look for a video on youtube.

DC gave us a quick demonstration of a use in the classroom. input an equation into the input bar at the bottom such as y=mx+b or y=Asin(x). Geogebra doesn't know what to do with the extra variables so you have to do two things.

  1. enter the equations with the * to signify multiplication

  2. add a slider for the extra variables

The slider allows you to define the variable over a range giving you the opportunity to change the variable and watch what happens to the line, or you can set the slider to automate (right click) and watch the line move back and forth on it's own. The linear equation has two variables so you can animate one or both at the same time. It is fun I suggest trying it right now, I'll wait.

The last suggestion from DC was Glogster, make sure you use the site.

Glogster makes a nice poster with embedded video, sound, and pictures. A great way to introduce a new topic or for student to show what they know. Glogster seems pretty self explanatory, make sure you embed the videos, not link them. and the background is called the wall.

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