New Teacher Bootcamp Portfolio for TMCSMATH

Name: Jennifer Hardin
School: The Mountain Community School
Location: Hendersonville, NC
Grade/Subject: Middle School (Grade 6-8) Math, Algebra 1, 6th Grade Social Studies and various Enrichment and Exploratory Courses

July 12, 2011 Wordle

I entered "math" words in to the box and played with the editing tools until I found an arrangement that I liked.

I can see using this with my math students (grades 6-8) as a vocabulary tool, before, during and after learning about a concept or skill. I could make one for them to examine before learning to build background knowledge and to discuss content specific vocabulary. We could use it as a reference during learning, discussing which terms should be more prominent. Then afterwards, students could create their own Wordle to represent what they learned.

For Social Studies (and other classes), I could do the same sort of thing as a pre-lesson warm-up and could could also use this as a quick and easy assessment to see how much students are grasping about the current topic. I could also copy and paste text from documents we study or enter excerpts from our social studies text so they can see main ideas.

I am also feeling a strong desire to print the Wordles poster sized to display in my classroom! (I tend to go a bit overboard with my ideas. Very few actually become reality!)

July 12, 2011 VoiceThread

I found this problem on the MathCounts Facebook page (taken from the 1998 National MathCounts Competition Target Round), captured it with Jing and uploaded it into VoiceThread. As a middle school math teacher (and MathCounts coach) I can envision placing a problem like this on VoiceThread and asking students to share their strategies for solving the problem. Here, I asked some leading quesitons...Where would you start? What do you know? What do you need to know? How would you solve? Can you prove your solution?

I might also use VoiceThread, with the drawing tool, to demonstrate solving a problem step by step and ask students for alternate ways to solve the same problem. An extension of this would be for students to find or create their own problems, perhaps involving a specific skill, and asking them to create a VoiceThread that shows how to solve it. Other students could provide feedback on the explanation and the problem solving method.

Another idea is for students to place a problem they are having trouble with (from homework, maybe?) on a VoiceThread and ask their peers for help getting started.

A MathCounts application might be for me to place practice problems on a VoiceThread so that students can collaborate on solutions from home. In my small school, my team members are also the ones participating in Odyssey of the Mind, Science Olympiad, Science Fair, Chess Club, Basketball as well as outside of school activities and it is often difficult to coordinate times when we can all meet together. Using VoiceThread would allow them to work together at times that fit their individual schedules.

Since I also teach social studies, I could ask students to create poems or stories or comic strips or...about the content we are studying. Then classmates could offer feedback on their peers' work.

July 19, 2011 Storybird

The House That Louis Built on Storybird

My Storybird is about the Palace at Versailles. The French Revolution is part of my sixth grade social studies curriculum. What a great way to get students to show what they have learned! I am still trying to figure out how I will use it in my math classes...

July 19, 2011 Wetoku

I am excited to try out a Wetoku but I don't have access to a webcam right now...and neither do my students at school. Sounds like I need to write a grant to buy one! I will check with others at my school to see if there is one I can try!

August 2, 2011 Blogging

I am excited to be introducing blogging this week to my middle school students. This is a screen capture of my first blog post.

I plan to use the blogs for many things. In math, I will present problems of the week and ask students to comment on their problem solving process. I will also use them as kind of a substitute for written math journals. The moderation feature at will make it easier to check out their ideas and comment on each students individual work. It was very time consuming to read through all 60 math journals and keep track of who had what. I am hoping doing it online will make it smoother and more consistent.

In other subjects, like my 6th grade social studies class, I will use blogs to incorporate more writing into our curriculum. Having students blog in "character" will be fun and interesting. We can also blog about current events. I really like that the other students can comment on each other's work.

I am teaching a Rubik's Cube Challenge class this quarter and hope to use blogging to help students document their journey to learning to solve the Rubik's Cube!