Monday, April 15, 2013

Make Sure you Redownload Updated Files!

Hello Math Friends!

I want to send you a note to let you know literally EVERY file in my store has been updated. Everything has been aligned to the Common Core Standards. Lots of tables have been adjusted. Files have been improved. Lots of nips and tucks have been made. Be sure to revisit TPT to download new files to replace your old ones.

To do this…

You can download the updates by clicking on your My Purchases Tab.  There is a pull down bar and you can select "Recently Revised". Right below the Download Button “Newly Revised Re-Download"  will be blinking.  You will be able to download it again for free with the updates by clicking on the words “newly revised re-download".

I like to tinker and tweak so thing may get updated every once in a while.

Thank you so much for supporting my work and I hope the projects have been helpful!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Cool Website Spotlight -- New Global Citizens

To conclude my series of cool websites with an emphasis on global connections, I end with one that encourages students to put their knowledge to use and take action on an issue. New Global Citizens.

New Global Citizens is a United States based non-profit that aims to give middle school and high school students a global perspective and provide avenues to take action on an issue. They believe that through empowering students to become agents of change that they are in fact equipping a New Global Citizen. New Global Citizens serves as a middleman to facilitate global partnership with service agencies on the ground around the world. As opposed to seeking out a direct partnership with an international organization (which is difficult) that line of communication is open and ready for a classroom to engage in the work. For instance, New Global Citizens have a partnership with the Nyaka AIDS Orphan Project which serves children in Uganda. Teachers and student leaders, would “lead a team” to educate others about the issue, increase global awareness and raise money for a cause that helps others around the world. 
How would I use this in my math classroom? I suppose whenever fundraising occurs money and accounting are not far behind. Asking students to keep cost and revenue records lends to systems of equations and projecting future costs or revenue connects with modeling, patterns and regression. Whenever money is involved, math is not far behind. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Cool Website Spotlight -- Skype in the Classroom

Skype in the Classroom is an extension of the popular mainstream internet based communication tool. Currently nearly 50,000 teachers and 2,400 lessons are available on Skype and with a little something for all content areas. Collaborations can connect a classroom from St. Louis to Hong Kong with little effort. A testimonial of third grade teacher shares who she has brought her classroom to China, Italy, New Zealand, Brazil, England, Albania, Israel and India with a few clicks and messages between international teachers. Famous people from the Secretary of State to famed basketball player Shaquille O’Neal have also taken part in Skype in the Classroom lessons.

In addition their catalogue of teaching resources, teachers can arrange “Mystery Skypes” with a classroom around the world. Through interacting, asking and answering questions students are asked to figure out where in the world they are and learn about another culture.

How would I use this in the math classroom? There is a wonderful collection of resources for each content area. With more careful exploration, perhaps I can find a lesson that fits into what I'm doing. The idea of connecting with a "sister" classroom across the world that is doing similar things is also very intriguing and can better connect students to the world around them!

Monday, April 8, 2013

The 21st Century Math Project Philosophy

Many people have asked for some advice to develop their own 21st Century Math Projects so I thought I'd
Check out some stuff!
try to articulate what I try to do to help with your own project planning!

I believe that three key elements need to be in place for a super strong math project or lesson. Real World Authenticity, Mathematical Rigor and 21st Century Swagg. If there is a hearty balance of these three things in my experience that's when I bring the learning to the next level. A traditional classroom would fall into the Mathematical Rigor category, but lacks Real World Relevancy or 21st Century Swagg. 

Having students design a car on a computer, without a solid math foundation (or for an appropriate grade level) is a prime example of Real World Authenticity absent Mathematical Rigor or 21st Century Swagg. 
21st Century Swagg Personified!

A lack of 21st Century Swagg may be the product of using a blurry ditto from 1981. Presentation matters. The look of the assignment matters. Humor, if possible, matters. Student interest matters! I can't count how many problems I use from textbooks that start with "In 1991". Most of my students this year were born in 1998. While what happened in 1991 may be important, there are also important things that happened in 2011 that textbook companies just can't keep up with.

Of course there is not necessarily an Authentic Real World project for each math topic you teach. That doesn't mean it's impossible to make one. You just may need to up the dosage of Mathematical Rigor or 21st Century Swagg. My popular CSI projects are examples of this. With the engaging CSI puzzle solving framework (extra 21st Century Swagg) and Mathematical Rigor, a project for any topic is possible. Of course there are Authentic Real World problems in these puzzles, but perhaps nothing meaty enough to expand to a full-blown project. 

I would argue you can't do without any of these ideas. Many might say you can cut out the 21st Century Swagg. Perhaps that's possible, but if student interest isn't there, student engagement may not be. 

Real World Authenticity -- Mathematical Rigor -- 21st Century Swagg. Your might be your new bff. Or it might not be. Go make cool stuff for your kids!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

21st Century Math Projects 2013 Collection Now Live!

A money saving 10 project bundle!
A brand-new collection of 10 engaging, student approved 21st Century Math Projects that provide rigor, relevance, and cross-curricular content altogether. These are primarily aimed at Algebra 1 Geometry, Algebra II and PreCalculus content, but provide opportunities for enrichment and remediation at all levels!


I have each of these projects advertised separately. You can save time and money, and get them all in one order. Feel free to ask me any questions.

Included in this set:

Carbon Footprint: Environment-Focused STEM Project

Correlation All-Star: Sports-Based Statistic Project

CSI: Geometry – Unit 4 – Proportions & Similarity: STEM Project

Design a Zoo – Integrated Area & Perimeter Geometry Project

The Election: Political Science Math Project

The Game of Life: Financial Literacy Real World Project

Grade Point Average: Integrated Math Project

Silence the Violence: Take Action Math Project

Superhero Transformations: Hands-On STEM Project

Toothpick Bridge: Geometry STEM Project

So if you enjoy saving some money, this might be for you. It's over 50% off to get the bundle instead of purchasing each separately!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Cool Website Spotlight -- ePals Global Community

To continue with the theme of globally connected learning opportunities, today I highlight another interesting site, ePals Global Community.

ePals Global Community is a site to help build connections across the globe. Teachers are able to post ads for the type of partnership they are interested in and what age-level they serve. While most collaboration efforts have specific goals (such as a student art exchange), many teachers are looking to develop pen pal relationships for their students. These interactions are also safely housed through the ePals site as opposed to direct communication to ensure safety and privacy. ePals also boasts a catalogue of engaging, globally relevant classroom resources that teachers can use for free.

How would I use this in the math classroom? This one may be more literacy focused, but if students develop relationships across the globe, perhaps they share similar math experiences.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Cool Website Spotlight -- Flat Stanley Project

In a previous entry, I highlighted iEARN as a useful tool to connect your students to the world. Online collaboration networks are not just for high school students, but many sites exist for elementary aged student collaboration. Although the type of collaboration does look different than the high school, students are able to interact in a meaningful way. For example, the Flat Stanley Project focuses on literacy and intercultural interactions. 

After reading the book, Flat Stanley, students are asked to make their own versions of the character Flat Stanley. Students are then required to keep a journal detailing his adventures. As opposed to a first person interaction, early educators believe that the third person focus improves the quality of the writing and encourages the creative of their students as opposed to the traditional first person approach. The student’s Flat Stanley character and journal will then be sent to a pen pal or classroom somewhere around the world where another student will receive it. This student is asked to treat Flat Stanley and similarly document his travels. On the Flat Stanley Project website, students can track the travels of their own Flat Stanley. A similar project, Monster Exchange features a comparable theme and focus on reading and literacy.
How would I use this in a math classroom? If you are going to do it, tracking Flat Stanley's journey and calculating miles traveled could be interesting. Perhaps extending it to suppose that the student was going to take the trip themselves... how much would it cost? This is more geared toward late elementary grades / early middle grades, but could be an interesting cross curricular, cross cultural collaboration.