Student Blogs for Math Communication

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.

Math Communication 1

 

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.

Math Communication 2

 

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.

Example:

Math Communication 4Write the number pattern and describe the rule.

 

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?

 

About the Author
Randeen is a 3rd grade teacher from Saskatchewan, Canada who's currently overseas teaching at an International School. She's been teaching for 10 years and always looks for new and exciting ways to incorporate technology into her students' lives. Randeen loves that her classroom community can share their thoughts, passion and writing safely with those in their world.

8 comments

  1. Christina Rodriguez

    Hello Randeen,

    I loved reading your blog about blogging about math. I too am a 3rd grade teacher and I just started using Kidblog with my 3rd graders and love the idea. I would love to get my kids using Kidblog for math as well. We get computer time 3 times a week for 45-60 minutes and I have six computers in my classroom. I also love the Math Huddle idea; I had never heard that before and would love to start incorporating it into my class. Do you have more example blogs for Math or ones that you started out with that you could send me? Some of my kids are slower at posting then others and I am trying to balance that out, do you have any suggestions for that? I can definitely see who needs more practice with typing. I also taught overseas, but for two years as a fourth grade teacher in Bratislava, Slovakia and loved it! I look forward to hearing back from you. -Christina Rodriguez crodriguez1@hemetusd.org

  2. Lillian Uhler

    HI Randeen,
    Your blogging suggestions for math communication are very good and timely! The new Common Core Standards in Illinois require that students communicate how they solve math problems. This skill can be very challenging for students at the primary grades. They may know how to solve the math problem, but explaining the process can be a bit daunting. I’ve used sentence starters with math vocabulary to help support the oral explanation of the process. I think having students write the process in a blog will help internalize the math discourse in a very engaging manner. I also like how you incorporate images that support the math thinking. Thank you for sharing these wonderful suggesting for using a blog to support the development of math communication.

  3. Natalie

    I love your ideas on how to have kids blog in math. I am a 1st grade teacher with a huge passion for teaching math. This will be my first year using Kidblog. I can defnitely see using your Math Huddle idea, along with the students posting photos of their own work & writing/solving each other’s word problems. Kidblog and your ideas will really help my kids develop their “Math Talk” and thinking skills. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Amy Allen

    Randeen, your ideas for bringing communication skills into the math classroom are fantastic. I teach middle school science and see the benefit of these same blogging projects for my classroom as well. I especially like the math huddle idea as it connects your subject area to student life in a real and meaningful way. Thanks!

  5. Rodney Little

    Hello Randeen,

    I just read your blog, and I must say that I am liking the ideas that you discussed. I’m a full-time math tutor, and your methods have given me some ideas about how I can tutor my students from a visual standpoint.

    Using a math blog to post pictures and to discuss how each relates to math gives a child another perspective in learning math in general. Thanks for the blog. I will start incorporating some ideas on how I can help my students get a better feel for math.

  6. Angela

    Hello Randeen
    I just read your blog and I must say the ideas of yours about maths are superb. I am a student myself and your ideas has given me an ideal knowledge about math.
    I’ll conclude by saying keep up and continue.

Leave a Reply to Lillian Uhler Cancel reply

For individual teachers, memberships are $54/year or $12/month

Enroll your grade level/school/district, priced per student. Discounts may apply.