Mirroring Early Math Concepts

Exploring and playing with manipulatives is one way that our students start to develop an understanding of shapes, counting, patterning, sorting, and other early math concepts. At the beginning of the year each year, I give my students time to just play with the manipulatives we have and I observe.  You can learn so much from seeing how they build, organize, and communicate about their work.  Some kids like to sort objects, some like to make patterns, and some stack things high into the sky. All of these are valuable experiences for both the student and his/her peers.

Fast forward to mid-year, when we break out the manipulatives again, this time to be used with our iPads.  We work in partner centers to design with tangrams and mirror those designs on our iPads.  Partners design patterns with tangrams on the table and then use the tangram objects on the iPad to mirror their designs.  This helps the kids with motor planning, creativity, and communication. They make larger shapes and designs form smaller shapes. They manipulate the objects and challenge themselves.  Most importantly, the students communicate with each other, describing what they made and how to mirror the image on the tangram app.

We complete a similar activity with our rubber bands and geoboards. I just love watching my kids problem solve and figure out the app without my explicit instruction.  So much of kids learning to work with technology and make it applicable to their learning is allowing them time for play.  When they play, they make connections and their learning can expand, allowing many students to innovate beyond our expectations.

How do your students connect and collaborate over tech use in your classroom?  Do you mesh hands-on activities and tech?

Post by former kindergarten teacher turned instructional coach Kirstin McGinnis


Math Writing Prompt Leads to iMotion Video

Video Link

How to make an iMotion video (With iMotion)…

  1. The first step to create your project is Download the free app iMotion.
  2. Open iMotion and select the button labeled “new movie”. (You will see two buttons underneath labeled “help” and “iMotion gallery”. The button “help” contains help and tips, while “iMotion gallery” contains videos and movies from others.)
  3. After clicking on the “new movie” button, then select “manual”, and then “start”.
  4. Please Note: iMotioncan also be used to make voice notes, remote videos, and time-lapse projects.
  5. Once you have selected the “start” button, choose your topic/theme. For my project, it was a Super Mario BrosTM -like setting.
  6. Get your props ready. For me, it was paper and a utensil to draw with.  Also, scissors to cut the designs and something to prop up the camera.
  7. Please Note: You will want a substantially sturdy object to hold it. This can include a custom case, stand, or even just a stack of thick books. However, make certain your holder doesn’t cover or block your main camera.
  8. Position your camera in a way so it will not move. Or in a way so it is easy to move.
  9. The following video shown above uses movement intentionallyto mimic the movement of the Super Mario BrosTM Game. However, this example project requires a still camera.
  • Near the top rightmost corner, there is a “capture” button. Once you have positioned your props, press this to take your first video. Move your props about a quarter-centimeter, and then take the second “capture”.
  • Please Note: The span of your screen for the normal model iPad Miniis a 720×720 base. This may vary in devices updates, and otherwise development. Also, you can see the total number of “captures” you have taken by looking at the total middle label titled “Images”.
  • If you have finished your video, select the “display button at the bottom leftmost corner. Then the “stop capture” one.
  • Move your object a half-centimeter in between every “stop capture”.
  • Please Note: When you hit the “stop capture” button, you will see several options. One of these, “onion skin” will allow you to see the previous screen overlaying the new one. I would recommend using this for the smoothest possible transitions.
  • When you are finished with your section, hit the “stop capture” button. It will ask you to confirm, so simply tap the screen to continue.
  • Once you are at this point, the lower scroll bar will allow you to change your FPS, or Frames per Second.
  • To delete a frame, simply slow your FPS down and pause on the frame you’d like to delete.
  • Save your project.
  • You’re done!

Janice Conboy @Mrs_Conboy

and Whitney Cavanagh @WhitneyCavanagh

6th Grade Teachers

Guest Blogger: Clarissa, 6th Grade Student

We Are Going On an iPad Shape Hunt… and I Am Assessing You!

My Kinders have been learning a lot about shapes and how to describe them.  My Kinders love to use their iPads in any way possible so all through our shape lessons we have been drawing, identifying and describing shapes on our ipads.   I decided it was time to assess my kiddos and see where they were at with all of their shapes and what better way to do it than on a shape hunt!

Each student was given a shape hunt recording form so they knew what shapes they were looking for around our room.

They were to find each shape around our room and take a picture.

Then edit the picture to isolate the shape.


Finally, the students used Puppet Edu to create a mini book  They selected each picture they took and then describe their shapes using the recording option in the app!




After modeling the process for my students


once, they were off! I did leave the directions on the board for my students to see in case they needed reminders but they did great! It’s amazing that 5 and 6-year-olds can complete all these steps independently!

After they finished their project in Puppet Edu they saved to their Seesaw portfolio. I was able to listen to all of my students recordings and see the shapes they took pictures of in about 15 minutes after school and I didn’t have to find time during our already busy day to individually assess each student.  I love saving time….there is just never enough of it in the day.  Now the other great thing about Seesaw is not only do I know if each student can identify and describe shapes but so do their parents!   No more waiting for report cards or parent-teacher conferences to give them updates.   Who knew that assessing for common core math standards could be so easy and so fun! There will definitely be more “hunts” in our classroom!

Kindergarten teacher Kristy Hopkins @HopkinsKinder

Voice and Choice in Math Assessment

Our class took a geometry assessment today on 3D shapes. Students demonstrated their knowledge on the app called Educreation. In the assessment they were able to choose the shapes they were working with and then they had to record their understanding. This aligns to the standard 7G.A.2

To Get Started Open EduCreations App on your iPad. Hit record.

  1. Drawone of the following shapes and explain verbally (with your speech) the number of vertices the shape has. Then draw line of symmetry through the shape.
  • Cylinder
  • Cube
  • Rectangular Prism
  • Sphere
  1. Drawanother shape from the list and explain verbally (with your speech) the number of vertices the shape has. Then draw a line of symmetry through the shape.
  2. Describe verbally the relationship between the two figures you have chosen.

Stop recording and save your video.

Educreation offers a free “classroom” to share and organize projects.

Janice Conboy & Whitney Cavanagh sixth grade teachers