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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Two Good Mathematics Glossaries for Students - One in English and Spanish

Like a lot of kids, when I was a middle school and high school student the vocabulary of math often tripped me up. Once I wrapped my head around the meaning of terms I had an easier time understanding and solving the problems. Having a glossary of terms often helped me out. Here are couple of excellent mathematics glossaries for kids.

Math Vocabulary Cards is a free iPad app designed for elementary school students. The app offers exactly what its name implies, a series of flashcards of mathematics vocabulary terms. Each card contains a term, a diagram, and a definition. By default the term is hidden and students have to guess the term based on the definition and diagram. Students can also use the cards with the definitions hidden and the terms revealed. Math Vocabulary Cards can be used in Spanish or English. Simply select a language at the bottom of each card. Students can browse through the entire gallery of flashcards or choose a specific category of terms to study.

Jenny Eather's A Maths Dictionary for Kids has been around for years now. Every year it is updated with more great content for kids. The dictionary provides simple and clear definitions of math terms. Each definition includes a small diagram or simple activity to illustrate the term's definition. A Maths Dictionary for Kids does not have a search option, but it doesn't need one as all definitions appear alphabetically just like in a physical dictionary. Nearly all of the content in the dictionary can be printed.

Parts of this post originally appeared on one of my other blogs, iPadApps4Sschool.com.

Socializing School Events With Social Media

Last week I received a copy of Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick's book The Art of Social Media. It's a quick read that is full of actionable items. One of the chapters of the book is about incorporating social media into physical events like conferences. As I read the chapter I thought, "this could apply to school events."

Here's the general outline of how this could work:
1. Let's say your school's music program is having a fundraiser event like an auction or a costume contest.
2. Pick a hashtag for the event and let people know about it. Print it out and plaster it on posters with prompts like, "remember to tag your pictures, #myschoolrocks."
3.  Use a tool like Tagboard to monitor the hashtag and reTweet, Pin, reGram, tag, and otherwise help the event's hashtag grow.
4. After the event is over go through and choose a bunch of pictures and or Tweets to create a collage of highlights of the events. Tools like Pic-Collage and PicMonkey make it easy to build collages. (Remember to ask for permission to re-use another person's pictures). Post the collages on your school's Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts. Of course, you'll also want to use the collages in your school newsletter too.

Why do this?
1. Your students and their parents are already likely to be using social media during after-school events.
2. By encouraging the use of and tracking a hashtag you can have a better sense of what is being said about the event.
3. People love to see pictures of themselves (the selfie stick is the new symbol of narcissism) so by including their pictures in news about the event they're more likely to share news about the event.
4. If the event went well, people had fun, and money was raised (or whatever the event's goal was), you now have a small army of people who have positive feelings about the school that they are sharing throughout their communities. Sharing good feelings and comments about your school is always a good thing.