Sunday, April 5, 2015

Using Socrative with Collaborative Teams to Elicit Team Discussion and Math Discourse

It's been a while since I have had time to blog about my iPads and Math lessons, so I thought I would take some time to share some of my new ideas.

In my Math Support classes I have created a self-paced learning environment with 1:1 iPads.  I have previously blogged about this and my iPads and Math lessons.  I am experimenting with effective ways to use iPads with my regular Math 8 classes. I know the key to this is structure and clear expectations and my goal is to keep the Collaborative Team Structure.

Using one of my favorite apps SocrativeI have created "Team Tasks" using iPads that require the students to work collaboratively.  The Socrative "Team Tasks" that I have created are self-paced lessons that the students complete as a "Team".  These "Team Tasks" include the Team Roles that are already a part of my classroom structure.   

For my Socrative "Team Tasks" there is a Task Manager that facilitates the "Team Task" and a Team Mathematician.  Here is a copy of what the Task Manager reads to the Team when they start one of my Socrative "Team Tasks". 

As you can see I give clear expectations and create a collaborative environment using the iPads.  My students understand that the focus should not be on the iPads but on the collaborative discussion and learning.   

Here is an example of my students working collaboratively on a Socrative "Team Task". 

I have used iPads in various ways with my Math 8 classes.  I have used one iPad per team and one iPad for each Team Member.  I choose the method depending on the concept they are reviewing in that lesson.  

Using One iPad for Each Team

I have done my Socrative "Team Tasks" with one iPad per Team in which the Team Mathematician is the one with the iPad.  The iPad then rotates around the Team and each Team Member is Team Mathematician.  This repeats throughout the period.

One strategy I have used with one iPad per team is one Team whiteboard and the Team Mathematician is also the Recorder/Reporter.   This requires the Team to discuss and problem solve together.

And another strategy is all Team members have a whiteboard and the Team Mathematician guides the discussion and problem solving while all Team Members solve the problem on their whiteboard.

1:1 iPads for Each Team Member
I have also done my Socrative "Team Tasks" where each Team member has an iPad.  The focus is still on the collaboration and solving the problem as a Team.  

The Teacher as a "Facilitator"

While my students are working I am walking around "facilitating" and checking for understanding and misconceptions.  When I do my Socrative "Team Tasks", I use the Space Race option.  My students love the competition aspect.  I disable the feedback so they have to look to see if their Spaceship moves when they put in their answer to see if they got it correct.  If their Spaceship doesn't move, they have to go back and figure out their mistake before they move on.  

I hope you have enjoyed my blog about how I creatively use Socrative in my classroom. I have put all of my Socrative Codes on my Free Resources Page.  :o)

Thanks for stopping by my blog... :o)

Friday, April 3, 2015

Successful Students and Reading, Thinking, Reasoning and Writing in Math Class

I can't believe it is already the 4th Quarter. I have been super busy and way bummed that I haven't had time to blog for a while.  A lot has been going on in my room and I am so excited about the progress my students have made this year in the first three quarters of this school year.

All of my "out of the box" ideas have been truly effective in helping my students with the rigorous concepts they are facing this year in 8th Grade Common Core Math.   I have made great progress with my Collaborative Teams idea, and in getting the students to read, think and write in Math.  There is no better feeling than to see your students embrace challenge and enjoy learning in a math classroom... :o)

This year I have put a lot of time and thought into everything that I do in my classroom. And one of the most important things is how I structure my class.  Our Math periods are only 50 minutes and I have such a short amount of time to get in a lot of curriculum and teaching.  So it was imperative that I structured my lessons to maximize the learning of all my students.  The key to this is my Collaborative Teams.  I have been tweaking my vision of effective "Collaborative Teams" for the last 4 years, and I finally made enough tweaks that they are extremely effective. This is a strategy that I could never do without. :o)

This year my Students are not afraid of "Reading" and "Thinking" in math.  All of the math problems I give my students require them to Read and Think. My students do not have a problem with Math Word Problems, in fact they actually like them.  Everything my students do in my class requires them to read and think.

 My Solve It! PROVE It! daily warm-up problems require my students to read and think.
My Team Tasks require my students to read and think.

My Recorder/Reporter Collaborative Team problems require my students to read and think.

My Worthwhile Wednesday Task require my students to read and think.

and ... My Concept Quizzes require my students to read and think.

My Students are not afraid to work in "Collaborative Teams".  One thing that makes this super effective is that my Collaborative Teams are randomly selected every week.  The students love the random selection, because every week they work with different people.  This has taught my students to be willing and able to work with anybody.  This has also helped my students to be open and to not be afraid of discussing the math.

Another reason that my Collaborative Teams are so effective is the consistency in my expectations and procedures from day one.  I am clear about my expectations.  My Collaborative Teams have structures and procedures that the students understand and use.  This year I have also incorporated the Math Practices into my teaching methodology and refer to them throughout the day. This has helped the students understand why I put an emphasis on attention to precision and justifying their reasoning.
Here are some examples of my students working together in Collaborative Teams; discussing, solving and justifying in Math.

There is still work to be done to get my students to have better math discussions, but I know that next year I can take my students to the next level in math discourse.  I have a foundation of what really works and next year I can take it to the next level from Day One.

My Students are not afraid of writing in Math.  My students write a lot in my math class.  They write in the Solve It! PROVE It!  They write on all of their Team Tasks. They write on of their Concept Quizzes to support their answers and justify their reasoning.  They write on the Worthwhile Wednesday TASKS. And they write a lot on their Benchmark Performance Tasks.  :o)

My students write to justify their reasoning...

My students write to reflect on their learning....

They also write digitally to justify and explain their reasoning using my favorite app Showbie.

All of these classroom structures were created with the intent to help prepare my students for the new Common Core way of testing and the CAASPP Summative Test that they will be taking in a few weeks....  I am hoping that my student's willingness to read, think and write in math class will help them be successful on Californias Summative Test. :o)

Thanks for stopping by and checking out my blog... Be sure to follow me on Twitter and get even more new ideas... :o)