Saturday, March 29, 2014

Guided Math Made Easy: Computer Cabin

Welcome back to my Guided Math Made Easy series!  

Today's post is all about my Computer Cabin station!

This station can take as much or as little time and thought as you'd like.  If you are just starting out, I would do the bare minimum and come back to it after you are comfortable with the other stations.  Technology can be overwhelming because there is so much you can do with it!  You can't worry about everything at once so don't! 

Set Up: 
You will need computers or iPads (or some other technology) for this station.  Once you have that, I suggest finding a program that has students practicing their facts that they can do every day.  My district uses Reflex Math but this costs money.  
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With Reflex Math, students can choose from a variety of games.  There is a little green light that comes on after they have been playing for an optimal amount of time.  Reflex keeps track of everything for you!  I really like this program!  Xtra math is free and people seem to like it (I've never used it).   
Set up your class and teach them how to use it. 

The next thing you will want to do is find apps and/or a list of websites that your students can visit to play math games.  Show your students how to get to the websites.

If you are using an iPad, you can add website links to your homepage: 

Here are the apps in my math folder: 

You can also lock students into apps using guided access.  You will need to turn it on in settings (under accessibility).  It needs a pass code (don't forget it!).  Then open the app you want students to use that day and triple click the home button.  A little thing will come up for you to turn guided access on.  This locks students into that app.  When they hit the home button, they will be prompted to put in the pass code to get out of the app...without the code, they are stuck :)  *Please know your students before using this!  I have some behavior students who would (and have) throw the iPad because they are mad.

Using it:
This station is pretty self explanatory.  Students use computers or iPads to play games online.  How do I keep my students playing math games?
With my red basket! 
If a student is not playing a math game, they are not allowed to use the iPads.  Instead, they sit and do flash cards.  I have ELA and Math flashcards in here because I use the iPads for both station times.  Call me mean, but I do not give warnings with this.  We discuss it a lot before we start math stations and I tell them up front, there are no warnings here! 

The first time a student was caught, he did flashcards.  They learned fast.  The whole class looked mortified and nobody ever made that mistake again.

Organize it: 
Here is the tricky part for me.  I have 3 grade levels with kids who need to work on a ton of different skills so how should I organize my math apps?!  You can organize them by topic and assign students a folder to work from.  Some apps cover many topics though...Currently, I have all math apps in a math app folder.  It's really not the best but with apps covering k-3rd grade material, I'm not really sure how to organize it a different way.  If you have ideas, please share!  

Also, share your favorite math apps in the comments!

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