Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Hall of Fame

Last week another whiteboard challenge launched on the Teachers Love SMART Board blog. I love a challenge! Who would have known I would win? But then, I have a pretty good track record of winning when it comes to SMART things. Who knows - that might be another blog post.
Allow me to encourage you join the Challenge. Jim has just posted a new challenge for week #2. See you in the Hall of Fame!

Monday, September 22, 2008

IWB Challenge #3 - Transparency

Before I begin this latest post, I thought I'd give an update on how well my students have remembered how to create fact families after doing the lesson using the infinite cloning technique. Unlike last year, not even one student has forgotten how to make them when it's paper and pencil time. I think that's amazing!
I've always been a fan of cool SMART Board tips and tricks, so using transparency to make the lesson come to life was no exception. As the protractor was introduced last week, I thought it would be a good example of transparency. Here's how I did it. First, I found a picture that had obvious angles. I chose a red stop sign to insert on my Notebook page. Next, I pulled in the interactive protractor found in the Gallery. After the student found the angle with the protractor, I then instructed him/her to make the background image transparent, so that the remainder of the class could easily see. They thought that was a great trick! "Let's do that again, Mrs. Reed!" was the common echo within the class. As you can see by the two pictures included here, this boy had no trouble making the stop sign totally disappear! No doubt he wishes he could do the same to those real life stop signs in his driving future!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Classroom Cloning Challenge #2

Conquering the bimonthly iwb challenges ignites the spark that contributes to more engaging lesson activities for my students.. The current challenge is to use the infinite cloner tool to create engaging learning opportunities. It does just that and more.
As I assemble my thoughts for this post, many lessons come to mind. One of the ways I've used it the past two weeks in my third grade class has been to have students illustrate equal groups story problems using gallery clipart. For example, on the Notebook page, I inserted text: 3 groups of 4 and made 3 large circles with the shape maker. I inserted the first group of 4 objects in the first circle. Next the student was directed to turn on the infinite cloner and drag a group to each of the other 2 circles to complete the picture. The next student came to the Board and wrote the matching number sentence: 3 x 4 = 12. More pages were set up with other multiplication facts so that each learner had an opportunity to participate. Using pictures helps the multiplication concept come to life in the students' mind. Of course, they'd love to be able to do the same type pictures to create their own equal groups back at their desks. They have to satisfied with drawing their own sticks, circles and squares to create their picture. I plan to have students make their own presentation using Notebook software with the computers in my classroom in the near future when the larger facts (6,7,8,9s) are introduced.
Another math lesson found us reviewing "some and some more" and "some and some went away" type story problems. What better way to add a little fun to the lesson than to drag out some clip art and use the infinite cloner to set up the picture for solving. Much collaboration and many suggestions came from the students themselves as they directed their classmate at the SMART Board. They wanted each other to succeed. Once the picture is made, the matching number sentence was written on the page. After a bit, instead of cloning one object at a time, I showed the students how to group several at a time and then use the infinite cloner to create sets of 2,3,4, etc. They loved to skip count as a group as the student at the Board does the work. Here's where knowledge of the skip counting songs came in handy as they actively constructed their learning.
Last week the math lesson covered fact families. For those who may be unfamiliar with the term, it's simply creating 2 addition facts and 2 subtration facts from 3 different numbers. Before the lesson, I inserted a 3,4, and 7 and changed the font to 72 before turning on the infinite cloner. Students would then drag out each of the numbers and write in the proper signs on the Board. For example, they would have completed
3 + 4 = 7
4 + 3 = 7
7 - 3 = 4
7 - 4 = 3
Many other opportunities were provided using several different numbers so that several students could participate in the lesson either by themselves or with a partner. Using the infinite cloner in this manner reinforced the pattern by allowing them to use only the designated numbers. I plan to use the same strategy when we cover multiplication and division Fact Families after Thanksgiving.
When we created pictographs after this week's Math test, individual clip art was used to record responses. Students could then drag the correct number of pictures up to the table to record the responses. I used this same technique with creating a table activity in SMART's Back to School contest entry, Great Beginnings. Unfortunately, I didn't win the giveaway but I have the satisfaction of knowing my lesson activity has been downloaded nearly 3,000 times and hopefully has helped many teachers with the first day of school.
The infinite cloner was used over and over again and will continue to be a favorite of mine as math patterns are learned. I can't wait to figure out how to use it in the other subjects I teach each day. To everyone who is participating in the challenge, keep those ideas coming.