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Math

Integrate OUR Curricula into Your Kiddom Digital Platform

I’m a big believer in online web-based curricula that can be accessed from any browser, any digital device, any location. It makes learning organic, part of life rather than something that must happen from a certain book or room. To me, the growing popularity of web-based curricula is no surprise. The problem is trying to blend them effortlessly into a class LMS or learning platform without lots of extra clicks and logins.

Kiddom’s partnership with highly-rated Open Up Resources changes that. It is now possible to deliver curricula lessons and materials directly through the Kiddom platform. This includes:

  • grades 6–8 Math curriculum
  • EL Education K–5 Language Arts
  • Reading with Relevance

Before I get into the details of this new relationship is, let me introduce the two partners–Kiddom and Open Up Resources.

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Categories: Math, Reading | Tags: , | Leave a comment

eSpark–Self-paced Learning for Math and Reading

If you’ve heard the buzz about eSpark this summer at conferences or training sessions, you already know it’s more than “just another math and reading learning platform”. Sure, it is that but what sets it apart is eSpark’s clever blend of learning tools that encourage students to progress at their own pace in their own way, to review when needed and move ahead when they get it. Each targeted quest curates a collection of third-party apps, webtools, videos, games, and other resources that focus on particular math or reading skills identified by the teacher or from the student’s earlier work as an area of academic need.

eSpark works on all devices–desktops, Chromebooks, iPads (with the free app)–pretty much whatever digital device you use in your classroom. In fact, some students can be working on Chromebooks while others use iPads. Because students log in, the program syncs between devices, starting students where they ended on their last visit.

What is eSpark?

Let me dig deeper. eSpark is a student-centered series of self-guided, self-paced PK-5 math and reading lessons that are based on class goals, teacher input, and individual academic need Students work independently, taking the time they need. Teachers monitor individual progress, see what each student completed on their last visit as well as when that was and how long it lasted, view students’ self-described moods, assess their pre- and post-quiz scores, and view their summative synthesis videos that provide evidence of their knowledge as they teach others what they just learned.

Right now, eSpark is only available for schools, not individual sign-ups (such as homeschoolers).

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Categories: Math, Reading, Reviews | Tags: | Leave a comment

Math Webtools to Support Any Curriculum

Math used to be a tedious memorization of facts and formulas. That changed somewhat when online worksheets allowed students to practice until they got it but it didn’t make it any more fun. Then that too changed when rote drills and worksheets were replaced with cerebral challenges and dynamic exercises. Thousands of students found out, to their surprise — and often, their parents — that they loved math. Here are five online math resources that will turn boring math into a favorite subject:

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Pi Day is Easy to Remember–Celebrate With Students

Throwback Day–I’ll republish this Pi Day post from last year, just to remind you of this wonderful mathematical event:

Pi Day is an annual celebration commemorating the mathematical constant π (pi). Pi Day is observed on March 14 since 3, 1, and 4 are the three most significant digits of π in the decimal form.

Daniel Tammet, a high-functioning autistic savant, holds the European record for reciting pi from memory to 22,514 digits in five hours and nine minutes.

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Categories: Holidays, Humor, Math | Leave a comment

Math Games in the Classroom

Math games in the classroom have changed a lot in the last decades. Where they used to be fun ways to drill math concepts (with games like math bingo or math race cars), today’s games focus on higher-order thinking, sharing knowledge about math processes, and understanding concepts.

5 Popular Math Games in the Classroom

And they’re highly effective! Here are five clever approaches to gamifying your math lessons:

Gizmos

A favorite among math games in the classroom is a website called Gizmos. Gizmos offers over 400 math and science Gizmos (like super-charged simulations) that graph, measure, compare, and predict

Math Science Music

The free MathScienceMusic.org teaches STEM through music, using music to show real-world applications of mathematical or scientific concepts. It is designed for kindergarten through college and uses non-traditional methods to help students acquire STEM knowledge and think creatively. Where the content is somewhat limited, it is unique and may be the perfect approach for a diverse group of learners who might not think they like math.

Manga High

Online Manga High is a gamified math-learning ecosystem that teaches and reinforces a wide variety of math fundamentals from counting and number sense to beginning algebra and geometry. Students play the games at their own pace or work on teacher-assigned challenges. Students can earn medals, badges, and rewards, compete against students across the world, and take part in school-wide challenges against other schools. The content is aligned with Common Core Standards and includes not only math games but hundreds of tutorials and quizzes.

Planet Turtle

Planet Turtle teaches math while individualizing content for each student as they play. An advanced algorithm promotes students from one topic to the next as their learning progresses. Students scaffold math learning as the system continually reacts to their performance and provides additional exposure and review on necessary topics. Since the questions are interchangeable in activities, Planet Turtle provides appropriate content while letting students pick their favorite games. It is aligned with many math programs like Everyday Mathematics and Math Connects, as well as national math conventions.

PolyUp

Polyup is a web-based platform (and app) that provides gamified math challenges for all levels of students. With the help of a friendly avatar — Poly — students explore anything from simple operations  to the Fibonacci sequence and the Birthday Problem. As students work, problems get progressively harder while offering a wide range of operations and functions to choose from. Students can even create and submit their own Poly Machines. Included on the website are teacher-oriented guides on how to use Polyup in the classroom.

Summary

These five only scratch the surface of the amazing world of gamified math lessons. What are your favorites?

More Classroom Math

Want more? Try  5 Math Games in the Classroom.


Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, contributor to NEA Today and TeachHUB, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.

Categories: Math, Reviews | Leave a comment

Seven Fun Math Activities for the Summer Break

Summer can be a challenging time not just for parents but kids. They are accustomed to cerebral challenges that keep them motivated and summer arrives with its sports, naps, and vacations. If your kids miss the thrill of problem-solving or if you worry about them sliding backward without the mental exercise that is integral to school, ORIGO has come up with seven fun math activities that use a blend of popular math apps and everyday activities (like cooking) to fill the summer break with the excitement of math:

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Seven Fun Math Activities for the Summer Break

The long weeks of summer break are wonderful for family time and vacations, but not so wonderful at keeping students on a positive learning curve. The Summer Slide is a very real issue, especially in mathematics instruction where students lose about one month of learning during the break and in some cases, 2.6 months of learning.

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Look what’s new at Zapzapmath

You’ve probably read my reviews of Zapzapmath and Zap Zap Kindergarten Math, as well as the constant updates they make to their free (and freemium) app. This gamified math ecosystem is popular with students because it’s fun and teachers because it ties into many national and international standards (like Common Core).  Its format is colorful and engaging, music lively, and layout intuitive.

Now, Zapzapmath has introduced a new option called Zapzapmath Home. These free grade-level apps for iOS and Android are aimed directly at home use to support students who want to learn math at home with fun games, enticing videos, and the same clever interface they experience in school. By gamifying math in a way that wraps personalized learning with real grade-level tools, Zapzapmath helps students change the way they think about math from an activity that occurs within the walls of the schoolhouse to one that can happen anywhere.

Zapzapmath Home includes a scaffolded system of seven apps, one for each grade level from K-6. Each app is free to download and comes with a couple of free games that provide a solid preview of how Zapzapmath teaches math, letting you decide whether it’s right for your child.

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How to Blend Learning with Play for a Kid-friendly Summer

summer learningWith summer fast approaching all over the Northern Hemisphere, kids are eager for time away from teachers, textbooks, and To-do lists. In Ireland, Italy, Greece, Russia, and other Eurasian nations, summer vacation lasts about three months. In Australia, Britain, The Netherlands, Canada, and Germany, it’s six to eight weeks. American students get roughly ten weeks.

While kids celebrate, teachers and parents worry students will lose their academic edge. It turns out that concern is valid. Statistics say over the summer, kids lose over two months of math skills, two months of reading skills, and one month of overall learning. Efforts to prevent summer learning loss propel often-unpopular year-round school initiatives and all manner of summer school and summer camps that focus on cerebral topics.

Worry no more. The cure is much simpler: Disguise learning as play. Using the websites below, kids will think they’re playing games while actually engaging in the leading [mostly] free games and simulations in the education field.

A note: some must be downloaded and a few purchased, so the link provided might take you to a website that provides access rather than play.

General

Here are two gamified options that can be tweaked to address any topic:

  • Digital Breakouts — Players of all ages use teamwork and critical thinking to solve a series of challenging puzzles that ultimately enable them to achieve a goal. Digital Breakouts are an update to the traditional and popular webquests that have students explore the web as they gather content in a particular field — history, math, literacy, or others. A great collection of free, ready-made digital breakouts can be found over at Tom’s Digital Breakouts. These don’t have to be played online; for a fee, students can play unplugged.
  • Flash cards — apps like the free Brainscape provide topical flash cards kids can memorize in between the rest of summer stuff. You might even provide badges for the lists students finish.

Financial Literacy

Summer is a great time to learn topics that require dedicated periods of time — like a financial literacy program. These are important for high schoolers, but often not required for graduation. That means many students transition to that almost-adult point in their life where they need to understand credit cards, bank accounts, paying bills, and other financial concepts but have no real knowledge of how these work.

Here are a few sites that gamify financial literacy topics and can be completed over the summer:

  • Banzai – online free comprehensive financial literacy program
  • You are here – kids learn to be smart consumers

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Categories: Economics, Games/Simulations, History, Math, Problem solving, Science, Social media, Websites | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Celebrate Pi With Your Students

Throwback Pi Day–I’ll republish this post from last year, just to remind you of this wonderful mathematical day:

Pi Day is an annual celebration commemorating the mathematical constant π (pi). Pi Day is observed on March 14 since 3, 1, and 4 are the three most significant digits of π in the decimal form.

Daniel Tammet, a high-functioning autistic savant, holds the European record for reciting pi from memory to 22,514 digits in five hours and nine minutes.

(more…)

Categories: Holidays, Humor, Math | Leave a comment

Quick Review of 7 Popular Math Programs

America’s student math scores continue to drop. Headlines such as “Less than half of Maryland students pass English, math assessments” and “Internationally, U.S. Students Are Falling” have become so common, we are almost immune to the message. The knee-jerk reaction “That’s not my school; that’s someone else’s” has become the excuse for fighting efforts to fix kids’ math aptitude when those fixes are outside the box or difficult.

The problem is, tomorrow’s adults must be math proficient which means our kids must be. A preponderance of jobs today’s kids will get when they join the working world will require technology — and with that, the critical thinking developed by math. It’s no surprise conscientious schools are looking for more effective and reliable ways to teach that math.

If your school has decided that what’s always worked doesn’t and will be evaluating math programs to find one that provides a real solution to the math aptitude problem, here are seven of the most popular you want to include:

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Categories: Math, Reviews | Tags: | 4 Comments