Sunday, January 10, 2010

Weapons of Math Instruction

I thought I would share some of my favorite math teaching websites. These are my "go to" resources that I rely heavily on. In addition to my duties as the TSA for Technology, I have been teaching the 6th grade math classes at Yokomi. Which is why you see so many math sites referred to in my blog thus far. Never fear, I also taught Science Literacy and multiple-subject and have numerous resources for those as well (just take a peak at my classroom website Remember, all these resources are FREE!

I have probably used this site more than other. I find it very versatile for both instruction and practice. Since I have a Smartboard it works great for putting problems up on the board and working through them together or having students come to the board. It has math practice problems from basic math all the way to calculus and you can change the level of difficulty to suit all age groups from primary on up. Even better, you can set up a FREE account and enroll your class and create tests for them to take online. You can see how to set up a That Quiz account and create classroom tests in a presentation I gave at the spring  2009 CV-CUE Conference (Also included in the presentation is how to set up a classroom website using Protopage) That Quiz also offers language, geography, and science resources as well as the ability to create your own tests on any topic. A hidden resource is found by clicking on "Search ThatQuiz" and you can search through thousands of teacher created activities on a wide variety of topics.

Next is a group of websites from Learn Alberta.
Spy Guys - MG-6
Math 5 Live
Jr. High Math Interactives
If you like BrainPop, but don't have a subscription, these work great. I have BrainPop and I still use these. My hands down favorite is Spy Guys. Just try it out and you will be hooked. When you \go to a lesson, be sure to click on the "Activity" button on the bottom for printable worksheets. Check them all out (make sure your speakers are on).

Math Snacks
This is a very recent discovery and has a limited number of animated videos and activities so far, but they are great. Looking forward to more from them. Also available on the iPhone and iPod Touch.

Quia is a subscription resource, but the shared resources (and there are thousands of them) are FREE. Use the advanced search feature to find resources for your topic. The activities are great warm-ups and practice. They come in many forms like Jeopardy, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Fascination, etc.

NLVM - National Library of Virtual Manipulatives
NLVM is another resource for instruction and practice. It is searchable by grade level and topic and has online Java versions of Geoboards and Pattern Blocks among many others.

Math Open Reference - Geometry
This was one of my early discoveries and is absolutely phenomenal for demonstrating geometry concepts!

Geogebra can be used online by clicking on Webstart or downloaded and installed. As is name implies, it covers Geometry and Algebra and is probably one of the most powerful math applications out there - and, unlike Geometer's Sketchpad, its FREE! I had a chance to meet the inventor, Markus Hohenwarter, recently and was very impressed how helpful he is. He just received the Tech Award 2009 in the Silicon Valley and is slated to receive the National Technology Leadership Award 2010 in Washington DC. There is a huge international community of GeoGebra users and tons of educational resources for Geogebra at and workshops held around the world.

Real Math
Markus' friend, Andreas Meier, uses Geogebra to create the interactives on Real Math. These too are great for both instruction and practice. I discovered Andreas' site after meeting Markus and started using them in my classroom. His fraction interactives are some of the best out there. If you are familiar with the TIMSS studies and the current direction that math instruction is heading (or should be IMHO), these go hand-in-glove. If you watch the video of my Channel 30 interview at the bottom of my blog you will see my students using it in the classroom. Andreas was kind enough to email me after seeing the video and solicited input on the site. There are quite a few resources already available and he is in the process for translating them from German to English, so I am expecting it to continue to improve on what is one of the best sites out there.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Math Videos Online

Here are two great sites for free, online math videos.

The first is Math On Call produced by the Fresno County Office of Education designed primarily for elementary through high school students. They do a great job of demonstrating how to solve various math problems and even have a help hotline available during typical homework times and a web and cable show. Their video archives are available to watch online.

The second is Math TV produced by college math textbook author Charles McKeague. It covers basic math algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus in succinct, short video segments. It is very easy to locate particular topics in their archives, I use it with my 6th graders and they love it. One of the things they like is seeing the same set of problems worked through by the different instructors and college students at Math TV.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

My Classroom website

This is my classroom website. It contains many of the links I have collected. At least those that apply to my 6th grade classroom. since it will probably take me a while to get everything on the blog up and running I thought I would post this link to whet your appetite for what is to come and give you access to at least part of my collection.

Math Facts Practice - Math Two and Cyber Challenge

Nice math facts practice site from ktenkely and 2sparkley at
The setup looks like math flash cards, but students enter the answer and get immediate feedback on their answer. The only thing I didn't like in my brief trial of it was that you have to manually click the mouse in the answer box every time you want to enter an answer. 

The math facts practice site I have used for the few years is Math Mastery Cyber Challenge at
You get 60 seconds, with timer and ticking sound effect, to answer as many questions as you can in each of the four basic math operations. They offer two different levels of difficulty and give feedback on answers at the end of the time. You don't have to manually click the mouse to type your answer in the box, but you do have to manually click on the "next problem" button to enter the answer. It also allows students to post their score at the end of each run to allow them to compare between multiple tries and show progress. As far as I know it only saves the scores as long as the students are on the page, so there would be no progress comparison between days. I solve this by having students record their daily top scores in their agenda. I have also used wall posters to track top scores for classroom contests.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Teach Interactive

Since before I got into education I loved sharing things I learned and discovered - books, music, news, recipes, places to go...and the list goes on. In fact, it was that realization that helped me decide to enter the field of education when I finally reached a point in life where I could complete college. During my initial student teaching assignment, I integrated technology into my teaching in a classroom still equipped with chalkboards. We did have an old television mounted up in one corner, so I brought in my laptop and managed to dig up some cables and hook it up. Then I discovered the school did have a computer lab, so I set up my first webquest and soon had those third graders researching the history of Fresno county online. I found out later that my master teacher thought I was crazy, but it worked. I was extremely fortunate to then be assigned to Yokomi Science and Technology Elementary School with Smartboards in every room, laptops, document cameras, etc. Soon I was setting up a website for my master teacher and collecting links to online interactive resources for use on the laptops and the Smartboard. I was having more fun than I had ever had in my life. I remember the day a TV news crew was brought into the classroom to show off our new school and its technology. We put up an interactive volcano that I had found on the internet on the Smartboard and I was amazed as one of the most quiet, shy girls in the class was confidently up there using the interactive and demonstrating how a volcano worked. I decided then and there that interactive technology would always play an integral part in my teaching.

I went on to my first teaching position opening another technology filled school where I continued to collect and use interactive teaching resources before being invited back to Yokomi as a teacher on special assignment for technology. I have continued to share my discoveries (as well as those I have stolen from others) with other teaching professionals through various (mostly disorganized) means and now I have decided to try to coalesce these links into a blog where I can continue to promote my philosophy to Teach Interactive.