Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Blendspace & Math in a 1:1 Classroom

I observed an above the line math lesson with Ms. F, 5th grade teacher, this morning. I WISH every student in the world could experience this learning environment. Engagement was 100%, technology was being used to ENHANCE the learning, and the teacher was acting as a facilitator or a coach guiding students through the learning.

I walked in the room with students working quietly at their tables, eying up and down between the laptop screen and a dry erase board or spiral notebook. During the observation I noticed the following resources in use: Envision Math Quizes, Keynote, Photo Booth, iMovie, Khan Academy, IXL, and Blendspace. Students were learning about Order of Operations. The goals of the lesson were to understand how to use a variable in an equation and to solve an equation using order of operations.

Blendspace is a website where the teacher posts all his/her resources into one place with directions included as they move about at their own pace. Students login with their student Google Apps account. As the 5th graders watched the Order of Operations Khan Academy video, they were commenting within Blendspace. (All comments were MATH related, see picture.)

There were 15 activities included in the Blendspace. One of the activities included students working through practice problems in a Keynote Ms. F created (goal 2). Students worked a problem on their dry erase board or notebook, took a picture of their work using Photo Booth, and added the picture into the Keynote. A student told me they will turn in the Keynote (via eChalk) to their teacher when their done, and Ms. F will correct it/provide feedback.
Another activity within the Blendspace was for students to record themselves in iMovie walking through a problem with variables. Students had to explain their steps in answering the problem using Order of Operations. This explaining piece demonstrates the student's work flow and forces them to talk though the problem. 

Ms F. spent a lot of time curating all her resources in Blendspace, but as the students work at their own pace, she is using her time to help her students. She's not taking ANY time to talk about the directions, how or where to turn something in, etc. She's not explaining Order of Operations again and again to the whole class. Students have taken learning into their own hands in 5F. They are being accountable for their work, and they LOVE learning math this way. I'd like to close by saying Ms. F is in her 1st year teaching; she is AMAZING and as her mentor, I'm so proud of her. Oh, and one more thing. Ms. F learned about Blendspace from a D100 4th grade teacher, Mrs. S on our iLearn Institute Day 2 weeks ago! 

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