Using Blogs and Snapchat in Math Class

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One of the things that are most difficult as a math teacher is breaking the mold of the same old same old.  I want desperately to be the type of teacher that uses innovative methods to help propel students to higher levels of success.  Still, I find myself teaching in quite the traditional manner.

Therefore, I want to share a day that I was able to break the mold.  I gave students a protractor, ruler, and asked them to measure the height of our school.  The results were pretty awesome.  This is one student who shared her thoughts: Student Blog

The coolest part of that blog is the fact that she used Snapchat to take a picture and measure the angle.  If it wasn’t clear in the student’s blog they took a picture of a student standing a certain distance away, drew a line connecting the student’s feet to the top of the building, then laid a protractor on top to measure the angle.

Teachers spend so much time searching for apps that will make lessons better, but we seldom think about the things we have right in front of us.  Snapchat, Twitter, Vine, Instagram, 2048, and the many others that students use every day.  The challenge I have for myself is to find more uses of these in the classroom. It will save the time needed to teach students how to use the app and as an added benefit most of these are social apps and it is easy to share work.

2015, the year of snapchat in the classroom?

Pre-Thanksgiving Thoughts for Post-Thanksgiving

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Recently I attended the Midwest Google Summit and was inspired by the energy, creativity, and truly innovative thinking that defined the conference.  Back in the classroom for a week, I am frustrated that I cannot instantly reach the level of so many of those innovators.  Nonetheless, I aspire to use technology to make learning as effective and engaging as possible.  I sit here days before Thanksgiving and I have thoughts jumbled in my head about how I can revamp my teaching upon return.  Here are my thoughts:

Have students reflect on their learning openly and online

Why?
I want students to reflect on their learning as I reflect on my practice.  I want students to understand, like teaching, learning is a continuous process that changes over time.  To steal a quote from the conference “education’s biggest measure of success is change”.  We look for student progress but never ask them to reflect on the process.

How?
I am considering the students begin a blog or a website.  I want students to share their learning openly to a community outside of themselves.  This way students are not only being reflective, but they are able to receive and learn to deal with feedback from others.

Post & Organize Course Material Effectively Online

Why?

I am not the most organized person.  It just happens to be a fact and there are plenty of people that can vouch for that.  If I can find an effective way to manage and post course material for students I believe they will benefit greatly.

How?

 The first change I am making is turning all of my notes into a google presentation.  I previously used Smart Notebook but now realize that without using all of the interactive gadgets it really is not any more special than power point.  The added benefit google presentation offers is the ease in sharing it with students.  No more printing off notes of the lecture.  No more “slow down” or “can you go back?”.  If students are gone… the notes are there!

The second change is that I want to utilize my google site in a more effective way.  I want to make sure that the day’s lesson is clear and obvious for students, and if they need past material it is simple enough to find.  Finding the right pieces to the site is essential moving forward.

Moving forward…

Those are two of the biggies that are on my mind.  Other concepts that I have thought about and need more insight on are:

1. How can I use google forms on a more consistent basis to help our class reach the learning goal?

2. How can I post our class progress that will be beneficial to student learning?

3) How do I create a website that parents feel comfortable using?

4) At what point am I just trying to hard… just shut up and teach math…