We had a numeracy curriculum day at my school today and I was asked to present a workshop on online maths sites. The audience was diverse with teachers from all grade levels as well as CRTs (casual replacement teachers) and student teachers.
I began by giving a few tips for using online maths sites.
1. Think of the learning intention first. When you find a good online activity, it can be tempting to want to just use it in your classroom. It’s important to think of the learning intention and then the resources, not the other way round.
2. Be organised. Have a play around with the site before your lesson (you don’t need to know everything about it). Get your tabs up on the interactive whiteboard or student links ready ahead of time. Have a system to archive your online resources. I would be lost without my Diigo social bookmarking account.
3. Learn with your students. You certainly don’t need to be the expert when using online resources.
4. Think out loud. For example, when you come across a website you could say, “I don’t know how to play this game so I’m going to click on help and read the instructions first”. I have found thinking out loud to be an excellent way to teach incidental ICT skills and troubleshooting.
5. Mix up the way you use online resources. Online maths activities can be used for whole class activities, small group work (don’t underestimate the power of collaboration), and individual work (through a rotation if you don’t have the resources for 1:1). Sometimes online activities are more teacher led, such as when you’re teaching a new concept, however, it’s always a good idea to have the students as actively engaged in their learning as possible.
I shared one or two examples of maths resources that could be used for all four areas of our maths lesson structure.
1. Warm up. This is a quick activity to get the students ready for learning.
- A + Click: This site has quick activities for all age groups to develop logical reasoning and creative thinking. No sign in required.
- Oswego: Students love playing these games on the IWB. There are games for all areas of the maths curriculum and many are timed which allows for some friendly competition. No sign in required.
2. Introduction. This is the teaching part of the maths lesson.
- Virtual Manipulatives: A simple alternative to using the maths tools on the IWB software which I know many teachers find frustrating. No sign in required.
- Studyladder: I like using the IWB resources and explanation videos as another way to teach a concept. Studyladder also has many other resources for all areas of the curriculum. Free sign up required.
- Sqworl: A great visual way to put together a collection of maths activities for students to use on their computers. Free sign up required.
- Woodlands: There are many sites that compile links to online activities into subjects. Woodlands is one my students really enjoy with links to many activities to practise maths skills. No sign in required.
4. Reflection. This is the time for sharing strategies and summarising what was learnt.
- Jenny Eather’s Maths Dictionary: This site has kid-friendly and visual definitions for maths vocabularly. There are also excellent printable charts to use around your classroom on the site. No sign in required.
I compiled all of the links to the examples I gave and many more on a Sqworl http://sqworl.com/vec8xd
Participants were given time to play and find resources that would be useful in their classroom.