Digital Resource Reviews
The MVP: Google for Education Suite
When our school first adopted the G-Suite, we were told that Google Classroom was really just a helpful tool for turning in essays/humanities classes. I wondered why not math?
Our math department had already adopted an investigation-based math program. Lessons were designed around problems, not notes! So why shouldn’t we take advantage of digital tools that allow for easy collaboration and subsequent access to work in and out of school?
Google is continuously upgrading Classroom to meet the needs of teachers. Gone are the days of needing the photocopier. Gone are the days of checking notebooks! Classroom is the new "math notebook"
Recycle your paper graphic organizers now!
For years my students spent precious classroom minutes completing tables and graphic organizers to show repetitive multiplication for geometric transformations, or spent too much valuable class time hand-writing repetitive formulas. In a world where most careers utilize spreadsheets (Excel/Sheets/Numbers), it seemed silly to make students use paper and pencil. By teaching an understanding of Sheets, students are combining important math skills with computational skills they will use well beyond the classroom.
A cloud-based collaborative whiteboard where students can share just about anything!
Google Jamboard is the new "smartboard" hardware, and "padlet" software. It offers an opportunity for students to work together on cloud-based "whiteboards" that can be accessed from the web, an iPad, or a covted Jamboard. While many online whiteboards are competing for the top spot, Jamboard is seamless, adless, and easy to sync with the rest of the G-Suite.
The Supporting Trifecta
PearDeck, an add-on to Google Slides, is a must for any 1-to-1 math classroom.
Formative assessment is made easy with PearDeck. PearDeck offers an opportunity for all student voices to be heard - anonymous to peers, but visible to you by adding layers of interactivity to your Google Slideshows. PearDeck offers teacher-led and “Student-Paced” options, so differentiation is possible. The Student-Paced Option has been a saving grace through Distance Learning! See a sample screencast below!
Great news! PearDeck Premium is currently free for all educators during the current pandemic.
Buzzmath has been a game-changing digital platform for independent practice . I have used it for the last six years and can't imagine not using it!
Buzzmath is subscription-only, but is the best online math program available for Grades 3-8 (Grades 1-2 rolling out this fall). While most programs offer rote, quick fact drills and easy-cheesy-timed games, Buzzmath offers a combination of problem solving, scaffolded learning, and quick recall skills. It also offers immediate feedback and step by step hints for struggling learners. Finally, it provides great data & individualized assignments, so you can really target learning for your diverse classroom! See a sample screencast below!
Great News! Right now Buzzmath is entirely free for the rest of the 2019-2020 SY.
Desmos is a wonderful graphing tool, but offers much much more!
The Desmos graphing calculator is a wonderful tool for math classes to explore functions and relationships without having to spend a dime on a pricey calculator!
Beyond this, Desmos has put together fantastic interactive lessons which allow for individualized and anonymous pacing. Fan favorites in grade seven include Click Battle and Marcellus the Giant - both explore proportional relationships in a fun way! See a sample screencast below!
Interested in learning some of the cool features PearDeck has to offer? Check out the Screencast at left. This is the first of a few screencasts which focus on some of the more 'fun features'. I'll be doing more shortly (and definitely more math-related with PearDeck!)
Here's a quick walkthrough of a lesson adapted from Connected Math's 'Kingdom of Montarek" introduction to solving linear equations. This is shown through a student perspective and teacher perspective.
Here's a sample of some of the great content Buzzmath has to offer. This video does not focus on the great data that Buzzmath provides, but is more focused on the interactivity and question types that are on offer.
Here's a sample of what Desmos Teacher Activities have to offer - interactive lessons that really hook students!