PD: Project, Problem, and Inquiry Based Learning.

Well today I gave my FIRST presentation outside of the district.

As usual, I was more nervous to present in front of adults than students.

Sometimes I fear I might go too fast in a presentation or use terminology that people are not that familiar with. I know I am also opinionated about certain strategies (TAKE NOTES! NOTES ARE THE BEST! NOTE TAKING!). Well, I hope I did a good presentation, a lot of people were taking photos and notes during the presentation, I think they really liked parts of it, but I hope it helped.

I started the presentation with games (download some here for free) and candy, although hardly any of the candy was eaten. It was one of the last sessions on the last day of CAMT 2014, and I know everyone's brain was fried like my own with all this knowledge.

My presentation was on Problems Based on Learning, basically incorporating Project, Problem, and Inquiry based learning techniques to have successful, yet purposeful projects in the math classroom. My main goal was to show them how you can create an Open-Ended project based on the TEKS, and with repetitive instructional strategies and flexibility in student presentation, have students create higher level projects and actually learn the content. And I mean, all the content you wanted them to, not just the parts they found interesting. Below is a link to the presentation, although some slides were removed and the font may appear different on your computer.

Introduction: DIY GAMES

Many people ask me what are good games to play and how do I come up with them.
For the most part, I don't come up with them, I'm sure really good at searching the internet.
I started playing games to review for math club. Then, students who were coming in for tutoring became jealous and wanted to play. Wouldn't you know it! Games are good for all ability levels!
However, lately I have found what works best (for me):

Rules for SUCCESSFUL Small Group Games:

  1. Games should take 5-20 minutes to play
  2. Differentiate between 1 -4 players*
  3. Most should be done mentally or with minimal scratch paper
  4. Games should always review learned material
  5. They can have more than one answer, but usually best to have one
  6. Self correcting puzzles are the best, but be wary of cheaters
  7. Best if done in stations (centers), so that the entire class is not playing it all at once
*Some games are designed to be an entire class game, that is more of a direct teach/ large group strategy.

With that said, my favorite types of games tend to be matching games (dominoes, tarisa, clothespin, etc.), but I also love some good higher level dice games (that actually deal with the content and are not merely a mental wake up). I've bought a lot of games in my time, had students make many, and designed some myself. I prefer to design them myself, so that I can make them print in Verdana (my favorite font for math, with it's equal width and height thickness) and at a reasonable size. I also like to print them on cardstock (or laminate), but can deal with pieces getting lost more than if I actually buy a game and the students misplace those pieces. 

I hope this helps! Let me know how you handle games in your room or some of your favorites.