Monday, April 20, 2009

Simply Everything You Need to Know About Numbers

What's Special About This Number? is an interesting webpage that starts with the number 1 and counts up to the number 10,000 highlighting something mathematically special about many of the numbers along the way. You can learn all sorts of strange and advanced things about numbers. When a definition is given, you can click on the link to learn more about that subject. For example: I learned that "70 is the smallest weird number". When you click on "weird number" you are taken to a page that gives an explanation. The explanation start with, "A "weird number" is a number that is abundant without being pseudoperfect. " Fortunatley there are new links and examples to explain those terms. The website is like a "math dictionary" of numbers and facts for the mathematically curious. It sort of makes my head spin, but if you memorize all of this information, I am sure you will be a hit at any social function you attend!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

VoiceThread: an Audio Visual Show and Tell

My class has been playing around with making VoiceThreads. We publish pictures and then record comments to tell about the pictures. It is a very useful software although it has a bit of a learning curve. Fortunately my students are getting adept at troubleshooting when the microphone doesn't work or the program gets a glitch. Here is a VoiceThread we made after having a visitor explain the Industrial Revolution in mill cities like Lowell, Ma. and Nashua, NH. We learned how people made everything by hand on a farm until the factories came and things could be made by machine.
I have started putting some of my class projects on a different blog: Simple Show and Tell.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Things I Can Fix/ Things I Can't Fix

I was inpired by Jim McGuire on his The Reading Workshop blog post entitled What Can Be Fixed. A good blog post like this gets you thinking before you even finish reading the whole post. He recalls someone saying, "If it can't be fixed in five minutes, with what's on hand, then don't mention it." Then he challenges us to think about what we can control about our jobs, selves, and students and what we can't.

Here is a five minute song to help you think about things you can fix in a short period of time.

Here is my quick list:

Things I Can Fix in 5 Minutes

1)my messy desk
2)putting a smile on my face
3)I can say encouraging words to someone who needs them
4)mistakes in my writing by reading it outloud as I edit
5)the grand "rush" through the curriculum by slowing things down so students have time to think and process what is being taught
6)allowing more time for students to share
7)cutting down on things that clutter
9)greeting each student every morning
10)taking time to go over a problem when a student doesn't get it

Things I Can't Fix

1)a student's home situation
2)the economy
3)getting older
4)my bad jokes
5)traffic on the way to school
6)the amount of television watched, video games played, or types of movies that parents allow
7)the language a family uses or allows at home
8)the current emphasis on testing in the schools
9)lack of modern and up to date technology in my classroom
10)teacher pay

I have to think more about this. It could be used as an interesting lesson in my class.

UPDATE: Here are some of the ideas generated by my students. Some were serious. Some were humorous.

A Nice Evening at the Boys and Girls Club of Nashua

Last week I attended a function honoring local teachers at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Nashua. One of my current students had nominated me for an award which I was honored to accept. I had a nice dinner with this student and his mom and older brother and sister. We watched staff members from the Club (including a former student of mine) dance with high school club members in a sort of "Dancing with the Stars" performance of dances they had been practicing. Then teachers were honored with their awards. It was a very nice evening. I even saw a student from my class last year recieve an award for excellence. It was gratifying to see him continue to do the right things to better himself. Unfortunately he left before I could congratulate him and since he is at a different school this year I would have very much liked to talk with him. I very much enjoyed this event put on by the Boys and Girls Club.