Category Archives: Math

Apps for Learning


The volume of apps for learning and productivity continue to expand at an exponential pace.  Trying to keep up is overwhelming.  So, here are a few resources to help you stay current and save you time as well as some favorite apps.

  • Teachers With Apps – I frequently visit this website as these two teachers do an excellent job reviewing apps.  They always focus on the learning objectives, have a good sense of usability, and involve student-testing.  Plus, they review a variety of apps for students of all ages.  One of their favorites (and mine too) is Motion Math (developed out of the Stanford School of Education) that helps students “feel” a number line.  Students must move the phone or iPad just so that the star falling from space hits the number line to represent a specific fraction.  The app connects physical movement with abstract concepts, building students understanding of fractions.  Be sure to also check out the other apps in the Motion Math family – Motion Math Zoom (counting, place value) and Motion Math:  Hungry Fish (mental addition and subtraction).  Slice It is another great app to help students understand parts to whole.  With over 200 levels, students must slice shapes into pieces of equal size.
  • Moms With Apps is an app that offers a catalog of educational apps, making it easier to sift through the volume of “educational” apps on the market.
  • eSchool News article “10 of the best apps for education” highlights some interesting apps.
  • Stick Pick is the “high tech” version of your “random selection” tools (sticks in the can).  By simply shaking or taping the device, a student’s name is selected and, if desired, a question (organized by Bloom’s Taxonomy) is suggested to the student.  A great tool to support differentiated instruction, the teacher can configure the app so that it links question stems to the cognitive or linguistic needs of a learner.  Plus, while the student is answering the teacher can “assess” the response within the app, capturing formative assessment data.
  • Apps organized by Blooms Taxonomy – there are quite a few resources that use Blooms Taxonomy as an organizing framework.  These are great places to visit to start understanding how apps can be used to support various levels of thinking.  So, instead of just reviewing individual apps for their appeal, usability, and educational objectives, thinking about 1) the level of thinking required to achieve success in the app and 2) how a suite of apps can be used to support students as they move through Bloom’s levels of thinking.  Here are two good resources:  Bloomsapps and Teach with your iPad.
  • Groups or networks or your PLC are also great ways to learn about high-quality apps.  Josh Reppun started the Facebook group iPad Education Dreams which now has 148 members and a wealth of knowledge.  If you’re interested in joining, look Josh up on Facebook and send him a request.


Common Core State Standards Summer Institutes for Oahu and East Hawaii

Title: Common Core State Standards Summer Institute Oahu and East Hawaii

The training sessions are designed to help teachers successfully implement the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in English Language Arts and Mathematics. Sessions will include research papers and readings related to building deeper understanding of the CCSS, deconstruction of the CCSS, lesson planning and lesson revisions tied to the CCSS.

The training sessions will focus on: Goal 1: Assure all students graduate college-and-career-ready through effective use of standards-based education. In addition, the training sessions will link to the following Literacy for Learning principles: Guiding Principle #1: Assessment of and for learning drives instruction, Guiding Principle #2: Evidence-based instructional strategies, and Guiding Principle #4: Instructional Leadership and Professional Learning.

Oahu: July 9-13, 2012
East Hawaii: July 16-20, 2012

8:00-3:00 pm

Oahu: Japanese Cultural Center (July 9, 11-13) and Ala Moana Hotel (July 10)
East Hawaii: Imiloa Astrology Center

Facilitators: The Common Core Institute; Mr. Kevin Baird and senior faculty team

Registration: Pre-registration deadline: Friday May 18, 2012 (registration fees to be sponsored for eligible school teams).
For registration details, email or call (808) 237-5567.

Everyday math – Dan Meyer

We’re all Dan Meyer fans.  Just in case you missed it, here is an EducationWeek article that provides more insight into his perspectives and current projects.  I did not know that he was homeschooled through eighth grade.  You’ll also find a short video (four minutes long) in which Meyers shares a few examples of how to ‘hook’ students with a real-world question or problem and then step aside and “… let the math serve the conversation”.  I blogged about Meyer’s Ted Talk in December.  You can find that post here.

Developing ‘Patient problem-solvers’

I stumbled upon Dan Meyer’s TED Talk about teaching math.  It is the perfect complement to my last post about Wolfram’s TED Talk.  Meyer (a great presenter – wow, what a difference presentation and humor make) builds the case for re-defining math and developing students who are “patient problem-solvers”.  He, like Wolfram, believes that more emphasis needs to be place on formulating problems based on real world scenarios.  He shows how textbooks do the exact opposite.  In textbooks, math is served up, step by step, in neat little slices so students really don’t need to do any higher-level thinking but instead just complete computations.  Watch his TED Talk.  It will not disappoint.

A couple of great quotes from Meyer:

  • “I teach high school math. I sell a product to a market that doesn’t want it but is forced by law to buy it.”
  •  “Be less helpful.”

Check out his blog, too.  Cool stuff!

It’s All About Numbers… today

Math is on the brain this morning… first, I read an Education Week article sharing that U.S. significantly lags behind nations in producing high-achieving math students.  In fact, 16 countries had at least twice the percentage of high-achievers in math.  What’s particularly interesting about this study is the focus on advanced math level – many studies focus on the average performing group of students. Then, I read an interesting article about the importance of parents talking to their toddlers about numbers and how that effects a child’s numeracy.  So much emphasis is placed on building toddlers’ vocabulary for reading readiness, while not much emphasis is placed on talking about numbers.  The study, “What Counts in the Development of Young Children’s Number Knowledge?” found that “…parents who used more number words in discussions when the child was 14 to 30 months old were more likely at 46 months old, or just at preschool age, to be able to answer accurately when shown two sets of four and five blocks and asked to point out the set of five.”  It’s not rocket science but as a mom of a toddler I appreciate the findings – especially as my daughter has just taken a huge developmental leap in numeracy and is counting with brilliant accuracy!