Last week a challenge was offered to SMART Exemplary Educators to create a lesson using a specific part of the the software, SMART Learning Suite Online (SLSO). The winner would recieve a prize pack that could contain one of the stuffed plush monsters. This was music to my very competitive ears.! Who doesn’t love winning?
I march down to the Kindergarten room where I am part of their center rotation. One day a week I work with students on a technology based lesson connected to their curriculum. Sharing this idea with the teacher, she says “I’m introducing fractions. They will be new to this, can you create something for them?” “Sure!”, I say knowing this concept will be a challenge. Only a whole, 1/2 and 1/4 is expected to be taught at this level.
Work began on creating a Rank Order activity that will teach the 5/6 year old students how to connect their number knowledge to fractions and pictures. They understand numbers and pictures and know I need to connect the two so they can take prior knowledge to new knowledge. Using Notebook software, images were created that showed the numerical form of fractions as well as their picture. After comparing the fractions to sharing cake, it began to make more sense. Using the Rank Order game, the students needed to sort the fractions from biggest to smallest. Once all all the images were placed and clicked the ‘check responses’ box, a green or red check was shown marking their answers. Any images with a red check could be adjusted, checked again until mastery was achieved.
Leaving the room, the continuation of the lesson was left in the teacher’s hands. Later on that day it was connected to a Fraction Monkey website that was completed as a whole group activity. Working as a team, they shared their answers and referred to the Rank Order activity earlier in the day. The concept was making sense and the teacher was pushing them to take their newfound knowledge one step further. Paper folding activities were next on the agenda and now the technology based activities were connecting as AHA moments continued to spread like wildflower.
The final success was the individual activity. Up until this point, the students were working in a communicative and collaborative fashion on the devices and as a whole group in front of their interactive white board. The
teacher wanted one final test. She assigned them the worksheet to the left and was blown away. The students were able to successfully complete it understanding the concept. Many shared how playing the ‘game with Mrs. Kuzma’ this morning help them alot.
Later on in the day the teacher and myself discussed how the challenge evolved into so much more. “Where do I get this software? Does our county have it?” This all sounds like a typical lesson, something that effective teachers do every day. From start to finish, it was a total of 24 hours from initial game to independent worksheet.