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
NOW Classrooms, Grades 3-5: Lessons for Enhancing Teaching and Learning Through Technology (Supporting ISTE Standards for Students and Digital Citizenship) Released September 29, 2017
Order yours today!
“NOW Classrooms, Grades 3-5 is a simplistic tool for all elementary educators wanting meaningful and relevant strategies of engaging students in their learning through the use of technology. Rather than organizing and sharing ideas of how to use a tool, NOW Classrooms, Grades 3-5 authors share effective strategies to learn how to focus on the skills and content of the lesson and how technology will enhance that learning. Having examples of model lessons, NOW Classrooms, Grades 3-5 is a valuable tool for any elementary technology specialist coaching educators in the school.” —Nichole Allmann, Technology Integration Specialist, Columbia, South Carolina
“The text provides readers and coaches with practical, ready-to-implement technology integration ideas that emphasize instructional decisions rather than technology tools. In addition to sample lessons, teacher tips and tech tips sidebars prepare teachers to consider common stumbling blocks before presenting a lesson, making first-time implementation more successful and meaningful. In addition to providing sample lessons and applicable integration tips, the text sets a standard of student empowerment with a positive urgency to create a more authentic learning environment for students today. The lessons in the text are appropriately differentiated for both student and teacher comfort levels regarding technology integration and are device and content neutral. Any content-area teacher working with any devices will benefit from the examples shared in the text. The book provides supports to ensure teachers consider instructional goals first and technology integration second. By emphasizing data-informed instruction with an emphasis on instructional practice, student learning outcomes always remain at the center.” —Brady Venables, Technology Integration Specialist, Columbia, South Carolina
“I believe NOW Classrooms, Grades 3-5 can be an invaluable resource for teachers of many levels of technological ability. It provides great guidance as well as inspiration for how to integrate technology into their lessons. I believe that these lessons embrace the SAMR model and help to move the integration of technology and tools forward for our students. Additionally, the sidebar tips would be very helpful for adapting the lessons if the devices or programs varied by classroom.” —Amy Tong, Instructional Technologist, Azle, Texas
NOW Classrooms, Leader’s Guide: Enhancing Teaching and Learning Through Technology (A School Improvement Plan for the 21st Century) Released October 13, 2017
Order yours today!
“I found this book incredibly timely and practical to help schools and districts move from deploying technology to developing a plan to transform student learning. The Why, What, How, and Then What are critically important to creating a growth mindset for educators as well as students.” —Eric Ferguson, Director of Instructional Technology, Bellevue School District, Bellevue, WA
“Leveraging relevant K-12 advice and intuitive frameworks to build on, NOW Classrooms, Leader’s Guide is a must-read for anyone in classroom technology leadership. This book can easily become a foundational guide in any institution looking for innovative approaches to teaching and learning.” —Chris Cummings, Director of Information Technology, Klein Independent School District, Klein, TX