Sunday, November 23, 2014

Attending to Precision & Second Chances

Every now and then we all need a second chance!  Wait til you see the difference another chance made!

We recently finished a Unit on Place Value in Math.  While students are exposed to Place Value in earlier grades, they make a giant leap in fourth grade.  They need to be able to read, write, compare, order and round numbers to the nearest 100,000.  This is the first time students are working regularly with such large numbers. 

One of the most difficult concepts (CCSS 4.NBT.1; 4.NBT.2) asks students to "recognize that in a multi-digit whole number, a digit in one place represents ten times what it represents in the place to its right."  To examine this concept, I worked with students in small groups using Base Ten Blocks. Using the place value blocks, students could clearly see the relationship.  Students worked very hard to understand this concept. 

Before the actual test day there were Quick Checks along the way including a Review Day.  When I corrected the tests I was SHOCKED at the results.  I couldn't understand how the majority of students scored between 63-76!

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The numbers incorrect certainly didn't match the formative assessments that were done throughout the unit.   My colleagues shared how they gave the tests back to their students to correct only those answers that were incorrect - no reteaching - just a second chance and suggested I do the same.  So I passed back the test and asked students to correct their answers and write the new answers in colored pencil.  EVERY student did better.  The results below show the drastic difference.

The students were thrilled to have the second chance and were pleased with the results as well.  While I love the idea of letting students review their work, somewhere in the back of my mind I hear my dad saying "Measure twice, Cut once!".   The Common Core Mathematical Practice #6 states that students attend to precision:

But how do we instill the "measure twice, cut once" habit the first time around?  Is it through more practice?  Is it through showing the difference between "try #1" and "try #2"?   Would love to learn how you teach 'Attending to Precision?'

Practicing what I preach: "We all learn from our mistakes" means I'll continue to give my students their "Second Chance!"    


Sunday, November 9, 2014

ChatterPix in the Elementary Classroom

At the 2014 MassCUE conference held at Gillette Stadium in October, I attended a session presented by +Greg Kulowiec  on "Advanced iPad Video Creation." He immediately caught my attention by talking about "app smashing" (the idea of mixing apps to create content!).

Well, one of the apps Greg shared is called ChatterPix, which is an app that "can make anything talk"! ChatterPix is so easy to use, just take a picture, draw a line to create a mouth, decorate the picture & add your voice! Share it through email or upload it to Youtube. It's quick and fun!  (Of course there is one catch:  You only have 30 seconds!)  (There is an app called ChatterPix Kids but the drawback is the inability to 'share' the creation.)

Something I especially liked about this app is that students can create content (across the curriculum) which can be shared globally via Social Media but doesn't necessarily contain their image.

In ELA this week the skill we were practicing was around 'Main Idea and Details'.  Students read various text and completed graphic organizers by identifying the main idea and three supporting details.  Students could then create a ChatterPix to share that information.

There are so many ways to use this app.  Students could:
  • share a poem
  • tell or retell a story
  • tell a story from a different point of view
  • solve a math problem
  • share a science hypothesis
  • highlight important information about a state
The possibilities are diverse and endless!

My next challenge will be to "app smash".  Greg shared how students can create content on ChatterPix then upload it to iMovie - thus using more than one app.  I'd like to collect all related student work in one place and have students create an iMovie using their "ChatterPix" creations.

What are some other ways we can incorporate this into the classroom?