Monday, October 19, 2015

APP of the WEEK: Prodigy Math Game

Prodigy is a game that I have been using with my own kids for about a year now and I have been super pleased with, but up until now it has only been accessible through the website.  Prodigy has now come out with an App for the iPad that works both online and off, which is a huge bonus.  

The game itself has the student create an avatar and traverse a magical land, meeting different guides who give them various tasks to complete.  During these adventures, the students have to complete math problems to battle the creatures they encounter.  

As a teacher I can set up my class view their progress and any areas of difficulty.  I can assign "homework" for my students to "complete".  What's great about this is that the students don't even realize that they are doing an assignment.  The math content that I assign, say "addition of three digit numbers with carrying over", is woven directly into the game.  Once they have completed the specific math problems assigned Prodigy gives them problems from other areas of math at their level.  

They game is very engaging and kids, as far as I've seen, play much more after their assigned "homework".

Friday, October 9, 2015

APP of the Week: Wonder Box

What I love about this app is the basis on the design/creative process.  When kids start a project they first are provided with a wealth of resources from which they can develop their ideas.  My four year old daughter was working on the project of drawing a butterfly and was given all of these resources for inspiration.
As can be seen some of the inspiration comes in the form of actual photos, some of other student's drawings, and some instructional videos.  After watching the videos and looking at the pictures, gathering ideas, she moved to the creation stage and made this.
She even added my wife's name Elizabeth (Lzbf).  

From the creation stage she went on to "publish", by sending me the photo of her work along with all of the process leading up to her creation.  

There are loads of projects found within the app, like "make a penguin talk" where they learn about Antartica and penguins lives then report what they learned through recording their voice and inserting it as the penguin speaking.  More projects come through daily with links to articles to pique kids interest in newsfeed like way.
(Yes, it is an interesting place to put the mouth)

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Totally Inspired by Students Today: Minecraft for Reading Comprehension

Yesterday I was completely blown away by the students in PYP 8.  I introduced the project that I am doing for my Masters research using Minecraft to recreate the settings and retell the story of the book they have just completed as a class, and they by far over took my expectations.  Every student, even the ones that forgot their device, was thoroughly engaged in their work.  The ones who didn't have Minecraft to be building on were going through the book looking for details that the others in their group could then build.
The amount and quality of communication within the groups was excellent.  I heard one girl say to the other, "Don't make the road perfect, it was a really rough road."  All I did was explain to them what the project goal was and put them into mixed Minecraft ability groups and away they went. There was no need for anymore instruction.  They were engaged.

The book they have read is called Journey to Jo'Burg: A South African Story.  Immediately after I set them off onto Minecraft, one of the boys got on Google and searched for images of Johannesburg so that he knew what to build.  He found a picture of a distinctive tower and set out creating it.  Even if their reading comprehension does not show any statistically significant growth, the amount of other skills and contextual understanding that they are intuitively gathering is clearly beneficial.