After a few years of using Kidblog for writing, I knew that I wanted to utilize this program in more ways. But how?
For most of my teaching career there has been a focus on math communication. Both verbal and written communication is something I’ve worked at incorporating daily into my students’ math program. Having students express thoughts, ideas, write their own problems and share how they completed tasks/solved problems, etc. can show a lot about a student’s mathematical understanding.
When having students use “math talk” in the classroom, I wanted to make the written part more interesting while incorporating technology. How could I do this effectively? I decided to use a program I’ve already known, loved and used well: Kidblog.
Here are 5 ways Kidblog opened up the world of math communication for my students.
1) Math Huddle
This idea came from a former colleague of mine. She had her students do math huddles in their math journals. What’s a math huddle? In our version, students view a picture (either on the SmartBoard or glued into their notebook) and write about it – what they see that relates to math.
I loved this idea especially the way it had students note math in the world around them. In using it with my students, I decided to take it to Kidblog.
To do this I took a picture, either my own or found a free image on the Internet, and made a post. The students then commented on my post with what they noticed in regards to math in the picture. While we’ve done this before in their notebooks as well, they really enjoyed using technology and completing this activity in a new format.
2) Math Posts
I’ve taken pictures of the work students have done in class, e.g. showing various multiplication strategies for an equation on a whiteboard. Using a class folder that students can share on our file server, I upload their pictures here. After showing them how to insert photos in Kidblog, they can find their picture and upload it into a new math post. Next, they write about their picture – either explaining the strategy, or telling how they came to a solution. At times I may give them specific instructions for their post, such as “Explain the strategy you used” or I may leave an open-ended prompt: “Discuss your picture.”
Also, if you have access to iPads in your classroom, the Kidblog app makes this process quicker and easier. Students can open the app, take a picture of their work, blog about it and submit it for review all at once.
3) Solve the Problem
With this activity I’ve had students respond to a post of mine, again using the comment section of a post. This time my post may be a translational problem (one step – simple operation) or one that uses more critical thinking skills. Either way, students read the problem and comment with their solution. Students are encouraged to explain their thinking, make connections, and discuss their process.
4) Exit Slips
When we are working on a particular concept and I want to formatively assess students on it I’ve found that Kidblog can help. I’ll post a picture with a specific question relating to the outcome or unit concept we’re working on in class, and have students comment. This gives me a quick check in with the students and they get another way to express their knowledge besides using paper and pencil.
5) Write a Problem
I love having students write their own math problems, and they enjoy solving each other’s. One fun way to do this is to have students publish their word problems on Kidblog. Then they can read and solve each other’s problems not only in class (especially with time limits) but also at home. This also gives our parents a chance to see our work and we can challenge them to solve our problems too.
Blogging is not just for language arts, but math too! The more you try, the more opportunities are opened up for students.
What ways can you combine math and Kidblog in your classroom?