Scholastic’s Math@Work

Two words: Tim. Gunn. If that isn’t enough to entice you to watch this video on how math is used in fashion design, I don’t know what will.

Math@Work is Scholastic’s brand new video series on how math is used every day, in different situations, by normal people. The above video is just a clip from the series debut episode. In addition  to the video episode, the site also features lesson plans that are aligned with the Common Core standards.

FYI: I don’t advise showing the above clip in class. The suggested video thumbnails that appear at the end are a bit… racy. You’re much better off going directly to the Math@Work site and viewing from there. They have their own video player (not YouTube) that is completely school-appropriate. I wanted to embed their video, but sadly WordPress wouldn’t let me.

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14 Toys That Will Make Your Kids Smarter

I know it’s not quite Thanksgiving yet, but the holiday train has left the station in terms of media content. I stumbled across this great article and just HAD to share it with you all before we get sucked into Black Friday and holiday shopping and all that other madness. It’s a list, compiled by Time magazine, of 14 toys that encourage problem solving, imagination, and creativity in kids.

One of the toys on the list, Goldie Blox, is behind the awesome viral video that somehow successfully mashes Rube Goldberg with the Beastie Boys:

I have to admit- I may want some of these toys for myself!

Update: Apparently, the Beastie Boys didn’t care for Goldie Blox’s (perfectly legal– satire and parody fall under Fair Use) satire of their song, and have asked for this video to be taken down. There’s a new version available, featuring instrumental music, but it just doesn’t have the same charm. Oh well.

What Tech Am I Using Today: Padlet

I thought it might be fun for me to share with you what I’m using today in my classes, and how. That way, you can not only learn about a cool website, but you can see how it can be used to enhance your lessons.

In a recent #EdTechChat on Twitter, teachers were asked what their favorite Web 2.0 sites were. Listed in the top 30 or so was Padlet, a site that functions a bit like an online whiteboard/bulletin board. A teacher can create a wall, and students can sign in and add postings to it. It could not be easier to use, and allows for a fun way to collaborate and comment. Even better, the comments show up as boxes on the wall, and can be moved and organized. Posts can also be Tweeted, Pinned, Tumbled, and posted on several other forms of social media.

How can a teacher use it? Well, a teacher could post a discussion question and ask students to leave comments for homework. Or, a teacher could create their own “magnetic poetry” and students could rearrange words into poems. It could be a very simple project guide site, with each box containing a photo, file, or link to a helpful website.

I decided to use it today on a whim. My second graders have been learning all about alphabetical order, and as we approach Thanksgiving, we’re reading the book I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Pie by Allison Jackson. In order to tie the two together, I thought it would be fun to have the kids work together to put in alphabetical order all the food the old lady swallowed!

For older kids (3rd or 4th grade), this would be a center where they work independently or in pairs, but for 2nd grade, it seemed like a good idea to work together as a class. That means that I needed a way to move words around on a screen, and Padlet fit the bill perfectly. Its flexibility means that, once all the words from the book have been put in order, we can add our own favorite foods to the list, and alphabetize those as well. The possibilities really are endless.

Want to play with my Padlet wall and put the food in alphabetical order? Give it a try here.