Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Differentiation with Everyday Math Dice Roll and Record Game

Here is another way I differentiate the Everyday Math (3.3) Dice Roll and Record Game. The directions of the game are for the students to roll a die and then record the amount of the die on the grid.

I could give the students all the same grid (1-6, see above) but I know that many of my students are more advanced than the numbers 1-6. I do have two students that are still working on one-to-one correspondence and identification of numbers 1-6 so this activity is perfect for them.

Here is how I differentiated this activity for the variety of students I have.

Here I gave the students 2 dice and they have to roll and record numbers 2-12. The students roll the 2 dice, count up the dice together and then fill in one square of the sum of the dice.

Here I gave students 3 dice and they have to roll and record numbers 3-18. They are working on teen numbers. This grid allows the students to have the opportunity to count the teen numbers. The students roll the 3 dice, count up the dice together and then fill in one square of the sum of the dice.

Here are the variety of dice I use. The big yellow and blue dice are for students that have fine motor issues and holding and rolling small dice is difficult. It is also good for those that need one-to-one counting as the dots are much bigger for little fingers. (I bought these in a dollar store.) They are also foam and so they make little or no sound. The red and white dice are smaller, normal size dice, but they too are foam and so they make little or no sound. This is important for those students that are sensitive to noise. With 24 students rolling dice, it can get quite loud. The two white dice are just normal dice. I have them in different colors so students sitting next to each other can have a different color than their friends at their table. This cuts down on determining what dice belongs to what person. The wood dice are hand-made. I had a local hardware store cut about 100 of these.  (I think it cost about $10.) I use them for a variety of games. In this game, to extend differentiation further I could have a student have one dice with a number and one regular dice. Students have to count on from the wood dice. I could also have larger or smaller numbers on the wood dice depending on the student.

When the students are done rolling the dice, they can share with their partner or the class which column has the most, least, etc. It turns into a graph that they can talk about.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Social Emotional Needs, Part II

This is a follow up to my last post about Calm Counter. Yes, it worked and I was skeptical about it. Was the initial response to this app just because it was new? Here are some examples of what I am seeing in my classroom.

My student that does not do well with confrontation or unstructured activities was trying to get in line for lunch (possibly running) and was confronted by lunchroom personnel about his behavior in line. He got instantly upset. I happen to be nearby when this episode happened. I took him out of line, called down to my classroom for my resident to bring my the calm down ipad. He brought it, I put the headphones on the student and in 30 seconds he was back in line for lunch. Other adults in the area were shocked by the quick transformation.

Another episode was this same student was in art (in our classroom) and was asking for an ipad. The art teacher did not realize that we were using this and asked me (I was outside the classroom working) about an ipad that this student was asking for. I went in, put the headphones on and started the app. She stated he had calmed down quickly. I was very encouraged by him asking for this ipad on his own.

Other students use it as well. Their response is very quick and they are able to get quickly back to work or join the group on the rug. I am still amazed. I hope the newness never runs out but I am always looking for other options just in case.

Monday, October 15, 2012

iPads and social emotional needs

I never thought that an ipad could calm a very upset tantrum throwing kindergartner but I was wrong today! This year one of my students has some difficulty with regulation and calming himself once he is upset. I found this app "Calm counter". I have now set up a calm down corner with an extra ipad. The app count backwards from 10 while there is a visual smiley face changing the expression from angry to happy in the countdown. It was quite amazing when I used it today. The student was crying and very upset. By the time the child got to 8 he had stopped and was starting to calm down. By the time he was at 1 and then told to take a deep breath, he was calm. I was shocked at how quickly that occurred. It was quite amazing. The Calm Counter!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

iPads in Guided Reading

Before a class set of iPads I was differentiating my literacy centers for guided reading. Here were some of literacy centers and how I differentiated them:
1. Word Study--At the beginning of the year, it is beginning sounds. As the year progresses it is ending sounds, short vowel sounds, blends, digraphs, long vowels, irregular verbs. The three students that come to this center listen to their individual tape player and complete their work. These tapes are direct feedback and have the students complete the work and then they check it at the end of the tape.
2. Writing-Differentiate based on ability with different levels of support
3. Computer-just simple phonics games (old computers, little memory)
4. Hot Dots-These are very cool and give students instant feedback (which is so important in kindergarten). You can differentiate these as well by buying different sets and making your own!
5. Rhyming--These are also tapes that give instant feedback and offer a wide range of rhyming activities and skills.

I made copies of the CD's or tapes so I would not use my originals in tape decks (so little hands would not ruin the tape by pushing record). Each child in the rotation had their own sequence of lessons based on where the students were in their word study knowledge. This took a long time for set up (rewinding tapes, switching tapes for each student, etc). The system worked well and the time it took to set up each day decreased with practice.

Now, I use iPads during guided reading. Instead of the students going to different centers, they use their ipad with different apps. They have head sets on and are working quietly. (I couldn't always say that when they were working in their centers.) I call my groups and then the students go back to their tables and go back to work on the ipads. The different apps that I use are also differentiated so students are working at their own pace.

Here are some of the apps I use. Each of the apps have an assessment component:
Teach me (toddler, kindergarten, first grade, second grade)
Smarty Pants

I am working on incorporating Raz-kids where the students will also be assigned leveled books based on their guided reading. I can assign a running record and different assignments as well.

Story Problems

Today I taught story problems to the students. In the past, the students had used white boards with markers on the rug. I remember taking a few minutes to pass out the materials--white boards, markers, and erasers--always having a few children who wanted a different color marker than the one received (though that can be an easy fix with each marker being the same color). This year, each student went to grab their ipad off their table (we had used then earlier) and came and sat on the rug. Less than 20 seconds. Ohhh, I like that timing.

The students opened their educreations app and we began. I had my ipad projected through apple tv on the white board for all students to see. I began telling story problems first introducing the class on how to represent the problems with pictures. I gave examples of how to quickly draw different objects.

I incorporated the students' names in the stories, which the students loved. I was also able to show the class each other's work by projecting their pictures on the screen for all to see. What was really cool is that the students started to use different colors when drawing their pictures demonstrating the different problems and solutions.

Here is are two students' work:
The story problem was "Willie and Sam have to share this 3 scoop ice cream. How many scoops will Willie and Sam get if they share it equally?" You can see how this student used red and orange colors to show who got each scoop.

The story problem was "Nyema had 2 cookies and Taylour had 3 cookies in their lunches. How many cookies did they have in all?" This student labeled the number of cookies and then wrote the number sentence.

I felt like this lesson with ipads allowed students to more easily and quickly learn from each (through projecting on the screen for all students to see and hear the answer from the student themselves). They wanted to share their work and have it projected. It also saved a lot of time with clean up and set up. They students just walked to the rug with their ipad and walked back to their tables when done with the lesson. Even though no instruction was given for the students to use different colors to help draw their picture representation, they used them and really added understanding to their representations. Finally, the attention to this lesson was high. I gave little if any redirection as they were VERY engaged. This is not always true with previous story problem lessons with white boards.