QUICK READ: 3 Reasons to Use Flocabulary in your Math Class.. or any class really!

So my last post talked about engaging students in six easy websites, and Flocabulary was at the top of the list! Let me tell you – it’s one of the best websites I was told about. My students love it & I’m not going to lie to you – I find myself humming along while it’s on! I’m sharing with you today 3 reasons why I love using Flocabulary in my classroom!

Reason 1: Students Love it

That is an understatement. Every day students as me to put on a song. So far their favorite one is the Long Division song. It’s super catchy and although it doesn’t address the conceptual understanding, it’s so helpful for them to remember the standard algorithm and promotes fluency for math facts!

Reason 2: Google Classroom Compatible

The ability to assign videos and aligned activities on Google Classroom is such a great way to keep students practicing skills that they are struggling with in an engaging way. During center time, I group students by level, so I assign one whole group a video of a skill that they need to work on with one of the activities Flocabulary provides. There are 5 activities you can assign students: the video, vocabulary cards, vocabulary game, read and respond, quiz, and lyric lab. My students favorite is the lyric lab they love any opportunity that they can be creative and I love reading their rhymes!

Reason 3: Great for English Language Learners

Music connects us all, and having Flocabulary for ELLs helps to promote fluency in English as they are learning it. When I taught AIS with ELLs, I used Flocabulary all the time to help them to remember steps to solve problems, promote fluency in reading, and even for parts of speech. You can change the speed of the video to give ELLs time to listen and comprehend what they are listening to. Flocabulary has videos in all subject areas, not just math, so students who are learning to speak English can start by learning a few songs to help them!

So basically, this website is another gem to help keep up that student engagement. And of course, videos are CCLS aligned, so we can be sure we are showing the right video for the right standard! Try it out with your class today and see their faces light up when they hear the beats!

As always, don’t forget to subscribe to get exclusive access to my resources in Google Drive, for FREE! I will be sharing more specific videos for Flocabulary on there!

Enjoy!

☆Alexandra☆

How To Boost Student Engagement in 6 Easy Websites

1: Flocabulary

My students absolutely love Flocabulary and so do I! It’s a great way to boost engagement through hip hop music. Videos are aligned to CCLS standards for ELA and Math AND they have activities for students to do with the topics. Did I mention you can assign these videos and activities to kids on Google Classroom? One more reason to lovelovelove this website!

My students favorite video is the Long Division song and ask me to play it on a daily basis – even when division isn’t the topic we’re focusing on! They also have a Lyric Lab for students to become creators and make their own raps. It’s one of my students (and mine!) favorite activities to do and it really helps to boost their understanding of the material, which is an added bonus. I love reading and listening to their songs and raps of the topic we are working on!

2: Code.org

So I am new to the coding world, but my students seem to be pros already! I started using code.org in Saturday School and my students are absolutely loving it! The best thing about code.org is that all the lessons are there for you! All you have to do is set up the roster for your class and it’s completely self-paced, which helps for differentiation. There are courses based on each grade and there are even non-tech lessons that just help students with the basics of coding and what coding essentially is.

I only just started it with my students, but I am already loving it! Lessons are aligned the CCLS for ELA and Math, and I have been noticing significant improvement in teamwork. Students are helping each other out when they get stuck, and sharing their work with each other, which is amazing!

3: Quizizz

Quizizz is one of my favorite interactive ways to gather data on students. There are three ways to play a live game – classic, team, or test. I have a lot of experience with the classic version. Students compete to answer questions the quickest and most accurate, and the report is generated and you can save it. I love this because it gives me easy data to read and students are having fun while practicing topics. You can find assignments already made, or create your own. The possibilities are endless!

Oh and did I mention the memes? Students love seeing the memes that are in between each question! You can even add some of your own custom memes! This will definitely boost engagement in your classroom for sure!

4: Kahoot

Kahoot is very similar to Quizizz in that it’s like a game show way to review. The major difference is that it’s not self-paced and all the questions are timed, which can make or break the game. Some of my students shut down when they have to move quickly, while others rise to the challenge. You really need to know your students and what will really engage them. I love how excited students get when they see we are using Kahoot because they want to get to the top of the leaderboard. There is a paid option for Kahoot, but I stick to the free version because we all know us teachers are on a budget!

5: Quizlet

The last website that I love using in my classroom is Quizlet. Quizlet also has a paid option, but again I stick to the free one. What I love about Quizlet is the focus on vocabulary. I can create decks of cards with our vocabulary words, or find pre-made ones. I post the link of the sets that I create to Class Dojo so that parents can see and help their child with the vocabulary. Kids love playing the games and practicing vocabulary.

6: Prodigy Game

Last, but definitely not least, there is Prodigy. This is 100% my students favorite game to play. I did a complete write up of this website here, but I will give you the basics now. It’s a role playing game where students are a wizard and they have to battle to get pets and gems. Their battles consist of math problems that they have to answer and teachers get a full report of what each student is working on. It is a favorite center of my students and they even play at home for 20 minutes each night! That’s another report you get as a teacher – the time each student is spending on Prodigy and how many questions they’re answer in that time. It’s a great tool for teachers and it really is a fun game for students. I created my own student account to see what the hype was, and I can see why students love it!

I’ve only skimmed the surface with these websites – and I will be doing a complete write up of most of them (if I didn’t do so already). There are so many opportunities to keep students engaged, while giving you the data you need to plan your curriculum. I love these websites because they are a great way to check for understanding, or give as an anticipatory set to see what students already know. Personally, I use them for a centers and mid-chapter checks. Kids are so excited when it’s time to review and cheer when they’re assigned the digital center for the day!

Something about most of these websites that I love is the fact that they can all be assigned through Google Classroom. This gives the opportunity for teachers to differentiate instruction without having to worry about creating different material for each student. The websites definitely will boost engagement for students, which in turn will enhance their understanding. Students love to play video games, why not use that to our benefit when teaching?

What other websites do you use to boost engagement? Comment below to let me know!

☆Alexandra☆

Tech-less Tuesday: Study Guides 101

Hello Everyone!

 So I know this blog is mainly about technology and math, but let’s be honest, sometimes good ol’ pen and paper gets the job done! Today I am going to share with you the study guides I give to my kids to help them prepare for chapter tests. At my school, we use the GoMath curriculum, so my study guides are loosely based off each chapter. At the end of this post there is a study guide freebie waiting for you! Let’s start with the basics…

What is a study guide?

 A study guide is a tool that I typically give to my students towards the end of each chapter to help them review for the post-test. There are so many ways you can use the study guides though – in centers, before the chapter to assess for prior knowledge, and as a mid-chapter check.

Why give a study guide?

 I know some of you are probably thinking – why give the students a study guide? I’ll let you in on a secret – it’s for the parents. Think about it, most parents know how to do the math, but breaking it down step by step can be difficult. I create these study guides to help parents be more involved in their child’s learning. They also give parents a heads-up as to when a test will be to help get their child ready.

 How do you create a study guide?

 When I am creating a study guide, I think about each lesson in the chapter and how I can explain it in a different way if needed. I use PowerPoint to create most of my worksheets, and then save them as a PDF to upload. I like to work with PowerPoint instead of Word because the text boxes snap nicely into place and you have more leeway with object placement. I set up my study guides in four quadrants. This helps me to put more information on the one-page front to back. The front of the study guide usually has the conceptual understanding of the content. The back has the algorithms and an example or two for students to try on their own.

When do you give a study guide?

I used to give the study guides at the end of the chapter, with a few days to look it over and ask me questions before the test, however I am going to start giving them in the beginning of the unit. I’m hoping it will motivate students and keep them engaged by gaining a sneak preview of the chapter. This will also help parents be more involved in their child’s school work because they will have guidance as to how to help them.

 What are your thoughts about study guides? What other ways do you use them in your classroom? Drop a comment below!

As promised, heres a free study guide aligned to Grade 5 Go Math Chapter 5.

You can find more in my TpT store!

Enjoy!

☆Alexandra☆

Google + Jigsaw = Engaging

Happy Sunday Everyone! 

Oh my goodness it’s been a while since I posted. I got so caught up with my online courses, grading, planning, and life that I put this on the back-burner, but I am back & ready to write all summer long! This is my favorite time of the year, not only because it’s Summer, but because I get to start planning and thinking about next year! It is a time of reflection and adjusting based on what worked and what didn’t work throughout this past school year and I can be creative and take my time planning for the upcoming school year! Since I have been absent for the last couple of months, there is a freebie waiting for you at the end of this post!

One of the online courses I took was about creating a more student-centered classroom. As a teacher I want to show them all of the amazing things that I love about math, but honestly, it’s much better when they discover the concepts and get excited about it all on their own, am I right? One thing I read up on was the Jigsaw method. I know this is usually used in the other content areas, and you’re probably wondering how the Jigsaw method works in Math – fear not my friends, I will share this with you!

The first thing I want to clarify is – what is the Jigsaw strategy? Well, it is a collaborative learning technique that gives students the chance to become masters of one specific concept or skill to teach to their home group. Here’s a visual I created to help you see what I mean:

As a math teacher, this may be difficult to picture doing. One way I plan to use this strategy in my classroom is to do a Resource Roundup in the beginning of the school year. Students are assigned a “Home Group” and then within the group, each student is assigned some classroom tools and resources to become the masters of. They look at the manipulatives and resources we are going to use in the fifth-grade and evaluate and compare them. This includes the digital resources involving the iPads and computers that we are fortunate enough to have (see my post on virtual manipulatives for an overview of what I use). Once they have mastered their resources, they return to their home group to share what they found. I plan to teach this activity over the course of two days – the first day giving students a chance to work with their master group and the second they share with their home group. Home groups will create a poster to advertise at least five classroom resources they look forward to using in the fifth grade. Once the posters are complete, I will hang them throughout the room as a reminder of the great tools we have to help us.

So now that you see how we can use Jigsaw in a math classroom, how does this relate to technology? Well, the G Suite is one of the greatest educational tools, and I have written about it in this postBesides having one of the master groups looking at technology resources, when students are with their home groups creating the poster, they can make it digital! Google Drawings is a great app from the G Suite that students pick up on in a snap! Nowadays, students are so tech savvy that most don’t even need direct instruction on how to use certain apps. Once students create their digital posters as a group, you can print them and hang them around the room to refer throughout the year.

One thing I noticed this past year is as students get older, they are more reluctant to use manipulatives and resources. Students see a word problem and immediately start scribbling down an equation to help them solve – the equation usually dealing with the current unit. Students don’t take the time to break out the resources we have in the classroom such as fraction bars, base ten blocks, graphic organizers, and even a problem-solving folder they have right at their tables! Reflecting on my own teaching, I realize I seldom used the resources and I hope that this activity will help students to recognize what we have in the room and when it can be useful to them. I also hope that the posters will be a reminder for myself to refer to the tools and resources as I am teaching my lessons.

What other ways are you thinking about using the Jigsaw method in your math classroom?

Enjoy!

☆Alexandra☆

PS – Here is a Freebie for you to do a Resource Roundup! in your classroom!

Find the full lesson plan at my TpT store here!

@TechAboutMath

G Suite Part 1: Google Docs & Slides

Hi Everyone!

So I started this blog to talk about must-have-tech in my classroom and let me tell you – G Suite is the go-to for my students and myself in my classroom. I love how the G Suite has so many tools and apps all together, and the extensions are endless! With each program in the G Suite, students and teachers can collaborate with each other in real time. Today I am going to share with you just two of the many apps with G Suite: Google Docs and Google Slides.

Google Docs

Google Docs is an online collaborating software to create and edit documents. The greatest feature is the collaborative part. Students and teachers can share documents with each other and edit them together. Most people understand that Google Docs is a great tool for students in ELA where they have to write, edit, and publish essays, but many people don’t realize how it can be used in a Math classroom. Here are some ways I use Google Docs in my classroom:

Have students create a “How To” for a specific topic. For instance – if we are doing a unit on fractions, I would have students create a poster or a “How To” with a specific operation of fractions. Teach students how to use the Math Type Add-On. It allows students to create their own mathematical equations. It’s easy and you can have students create their own questions for each other to answer.

Teachers can use Google Docs to create and edit lesson plans together as well.

Google Slides

Google Slides is a collaborative presentation program that has endless possibilities! The obvious task is to have students create presentations to demonstrate mastery of a skill. Something you can also do with Google Slides is create task cards for students to complete digitally or with paper and pencil. This will save you so much paper and time because you can assign the Google Slide right through Google Classroom, so students will get a read only copy. I also have students create their own vocabulary flash cards with Google Slides.

How else do you use Google Docs and Google Slides in your classroom? Drop a comment below to share!

☆Alexandra☆

Prodigy Game – Engagement & Data Goldmine!

Hi Everyone!

My first official post was about the five tech tools I use in my classroom regularly. One of the programs I use daily is Prodigy Game. This game is a great way to assess how students are doing in skills and standards and it shows the data in a clear and concise way. It’s not your typical math online assessment – it’s disguised as a Role Playing Game where students have a character, collect gems, and battle each other. My students are always so excited when it’s their turn to use Prodigy on the computers during center time.

First, when students login or create an account, they take a placement test. The test is the game, so they are still battling each other as they are answering questions, but it’s the placement test in disguise. When this is done you’ll get a report emailed to you. This is a great way to get a baseline to help you group your students based on the skills they are strong in and skills they need to work on. The placement test is given a few times throughout year – The skills are broken down by standard strand and the baseline report will look like this:

This is a good way to get a general overview of the class. When you scroll over the bubbles you will see the list of students who were that grade level in the domain row, or overall placement. From this page, you can go into the individual student reports to determine the skills they need to work on.

From this, if you click on the “Reports” tab on the left side, you will see the various reports from the data and it will look like this:

The reports that I use most often are the progress and student usage reports. I have a “Prodigy Player of the Week” in each of my classes and choose a student who uses it the most at home and answers the most questions. This gives students an incentive to play at home and make proper use of the time they have to play in class.

The best part about this game is that it’s completely free! Parents can buy a membership for their child for added bonuses such as a membership box, but there is no extra cost for the teacher! Several of my students have memberships, but it doesn’t effect the questions they answer and how many battles they see. Members receive a membership box monthly in the game that gives students gems and various items for the game.

What games do you play in your classroom to boost student engagement?

Alexandra