Update your toolbox with three easy ways math technology activities can simplify math workshop and your station rotation.
The fading humdrum of the vacuum cleaner told me the custodians were ready to leave. It was just me . . . my notepad, my favorite Flair pen, and my computer. I stared at my blank paper with an “I’ve got nothing” look. It was late, too late to muster up the strength to think about next week. My brain was blank and my mind was fried.
I remember a lot of lonely Friday nights. It was always after the students went home and my teammates, who always wanted to stop by for an hour-long chat, left for the weekend.
Math stations are one of the most successful tools for the classroom. And, if you read my blog for a while, you know I write about math stations often. ;o) But, scouring through resources to plan station activities is a challenge, especially after a long week when you’re ready to go home.
With an organized station set-up, I only needed to “drag and drop” activities into my math station rotation; however, it’s daunting to look for new practice and challenge activities each and every week.
At the time, my class had access to a small number of computers, so I started plugging-in a fun and engaging online activity for students to complete at one of the stations. Online math games became my go-to resources. Over time, I even created a list of over 100 games the students could play to review our fourth-grade math skills.
Technology offers great opportunities to extend student learning and engage them in a way that paper-and-pencil tasks can’t; however, there is more than one way to integrate technology into the math classroom.
In today’s post, I’m updating your toolbox with three easy ways math technology activities can simplify math workshop and your station rotation.
Three Math Technology Activities
1. Math Games and Applets
Students love to play games on the computer. In fact, they devour them! And, there are hundreds available to use. If you are fortunate to have iPads in your classroom, there are also dozens of math apps, many of them free, to use in the classroom as well.
Need website ideas? Check out some of my students’ favorites below.
Of course, there are many paid resources as well. Try reaching out to your parent-teacher organization to help you fund these investments.
2. Videos and Tutorials
On a recent visit to a super cute all-girls school in Dallas, Texas, a third-grade classroom where all of the students were engaged using different technology applications intrigued me. The class was divided into three groups. The group at the front of the class reviewed a BrainPop lesson with the teacher. Another group was engaged in an online game to review the target skill and the third group watched a math video and completed a follow-up lesson. It was so cool to see! Admittedly, I never thought much about assigning videos during math workshop, but what a great idea!
The growing popularity of flipped classrooms gives students the opportunity to watch videos and complete tutorials during math workshop to learn content at their own pace. Content is then reinforced in a small group setting or as a large group later in the lesson cycle.
Videos are also fantastic springboards into a lesson! In fact, it’s an excellent way to use math ‘n’ literature. For example, record yourself reading a math picture book, such as Pigs will be Pigs by Amy Axelrod, while sharing the pictures via video. Then create a follow-up activity to extend the learning. (Disclaimer: If you use this technique, I recommend making the videos accessible only to you and your students. Posting the video online for the world to see could be a violation of copyright laws.)
Need videos to jumpstart your math workshop? Check out my favorite resources: Khan Academy, BrainPop, and YouTube. Note: Be sure to preview videos, especially YouTube videos before using them with students.
3. Digital Activities
Popular learning platforms, like Google Classroom and Seesaw, give teachers many more ways to integrate math and technology. In fact, digital activities are gaining popularity.
So, what is a digital activity? Digital activities are much like the activities students complete with their hands, but they are on the computer. From task cards and drag and drop activities to online quizzes, students can do the same learning activities they do at their seats with a computer or a tablet.
Click the link below to see a digital learning activity in action.
Plug ‘n’ Play
Many classrooms have regular access to computers and tablets, so let’s take advantage of them. After all, it’s one less activity to create when you’re exhausted after a long week of teaching, grading, and listening to parent
Adding technology activities to my math station rotation helped me fill my station buckets and gave me my Friday nights back. After a while, I even had a “plug ‘n’ play” list of technology activities and resources I could pull from when I sat down to plan my station rotations, simplifying my planning process and putting an end to me staying at school until midnight . . . yes, you read that right . . . digging through all of my resources to find the best learning activities to help students master next week’s target skills.
Need help getting started using technology in math workshop? Check out these management tips and grab the free download!
Ready to Get Started?
Give digital activities a try! Grab a free activity using the form below!
Read more about using digital activities in the classroom using the links below:
What kinds of math technology activities do you use in your classroom? Respond in the comments below.