The Trouble with Fractions
Fractions can be the most frustrating concept to teach!
I struggled with making sure my students understood that in order to do anything with fractions (compare, add, subtract, etc), the fractions themselves had to have equal-sized parts. Can’t compare fractions with a fraction bar that is two times larger than another fraction bar, all of the parts are different sizes. Can you say, “CONFUSION?” Even paper folding and using rulers to show equal parts could sometimes lead to more questions (not every child can fold a sheet of paper into eight equal parts, no matter how many times you tell them “Fold hamburger”, or “Fold hot dog”). But, the OKTOPUS Fraction Tool can make equal size parts, and better yet, does it consistently! Students will be able to identify, compare, and calculate with fractions much easier with this learning widget. Doubting its wonders?
Do you want to learn more about this and other subject-specific tools that can help change a frustrating teaching activity into a smooth, focused one? Go to www.qwizdomoktopus.com.
Learn Using Games for Interactive Whiteboards
Teachers, you are visionaries of learning in your classrooms.
You work hard to develop lesson plans that will create learning pathways for each of your students, making modifications according to need (i.e. English Language Learners, students with special needs, highly capable students, etc), and ensuring that your students have opportunities to collaborate. You envision that by the end of a strong lesson, or series of lessons (unit), there are positive outcomes for each of your students and the potential for increased progress. By incorporating technology, a strong lesson can become a dynamic one. When that technology is in the form of games, that lesson becomes a dynamic, motivational, and memorable lesson. Learn more about how OKTOPUS Game Zones can be incorporated into your traditional lesson plan using your interactive board.
Essential Parts of a Lesson Plan
Introduce the lesson with a “hook” that will grab hold of the students’ attention. For example, if the lesson focuses on Parts of Speech, play a quick game of “Parts of Speech” where students can sort adjectives and nouns or adverbs and verbs. Students can come to the interactive board as partners and work together, or one student can act as the “sorter” while the class tells where each of the words go.
- Direct Instruction
This is the heart of the lesson where explicit teaching of the concept or skill takes place. For example, if the direct instruction focuses on comparing large numbers close this part with a game of “Comparing” where the greater than and less than symbols are dragged to correctly describe the inequalities. Use the “Think Aloud” method to work through a few of the inequalities, then invite students to complete the others, encouraging them to explain their process as they complete each inequality.
- Guided Practice
Students are expected to practice what they learn, with your assistance. In this part of the lesson, direct students to work with a partner or in small groups as you walk around and observe their collaboration and understanding, providing guidance as needed. For example, to help students through understanding government, have teams work together to play “Branches of Government”. Students will place descriptions in the appropriate boxes for the branch of government, its members, and their responsibilities. You can clarify misunderstandings as students work together.
- Independent Practice
This is the time that your students will show how much and how well they have learned a concept or skill. They will complete activities independently, with limited assistance from you. As a motivator and “sponge” for when students complete independent work, they can start a game focusing on the target skill. For instance, after a student has completed a math workbook page on finding the area of shapes, they can play “Area” and work on their own or with a friend to calculate the areas of different rectangles.
- Whole class wrap-up
Conclude the lesson by briefly summarizing the concept or skill learned and ask students what they have gleaned from the instruction and activities. Encourage them to share what helped them learn the skill. Play a game together to reinforce the learning. To wrap up a lesson on the human skeleton, play “Skeletal” where parts of the skeletal system are identified. Once labels are in their correct places, a new blank diagram is loaded for additional practice. Game Zones has a number of games to support Social Studies, Math, Language Arts, and Science concepts and skills.
- Extension Activities
Extension activities can help students build on the objectives of a lesson or series of lessons (unit). With Game Zones, students can work on one game together or split the screen to play up to four games independently. Touch panels can be set to table top mode so teams or individual students can play games you have chosen. This is a great way to extend four different concepts and skills in one area!
Click here to watch a video for more on Game Zones.
Yes, games can help children learn! Integrated into a traditional lesson plan, games can help create a positive learning experience. Besides the obvious motivation factor, games focused on specific concepts and skills can reinforce what students have learned and provide a scaffold to the next concept or skill. Games can also keep a class focused, providing you with the opportunity to engage the class in a different way. Reflect when you were a student and games were used in the class. Didn’t you look forward to the weekly spelling bee, Heads-up 7-up on rainy days, or board games for indoor recess? Instead of games for only rainy days or as a “special treat”, incorporate gaming into the instructional landscape of your classroom.
Technology can take gaming to another level and Game Zones includes over 90 educational games to engage even the most reticent learner in your class. Try OKTOPUS Game Zones for free in your class, comment on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram on how you used a Game Zones game, and you might win a $50 Amazon gift card for that comment!
*Please see Game Zones (Social Media) Comment Terms for rules. Contest runs between February 5, 2019 to February 7, 2019.
OKTOPUS Lessons for Preschool, Kindergarten and more
OKTOPUS Preschool, Kindergarten Lessons and More
For this month’s blog I wanted to give you some ideas on how you can use Qwizdom OKTOPUS with your Preschool – 4 Grade students. Did you know that there are free activities available online? I will walk you through how to download and edit these premade lessons. I also created a couple of fun, sample lessons for Kindergarten and Preschool students that include songs, counting and reading practice. Last but not least, I created a 4th Grade Math Lesson that lets students practice identifying triangles.
Download Free Lessons and Add Interactive Widgets
There are free Math, Science and Language Arts lessons available online. The majority of activities are geared towards Kindergarten – 5 but some can be used for Preschool, too. To access these lessons, follow the instructions below.
Step 1: Create a free online account.
- Open OKTOPUS, go to the Settings / Login To My Account.
- Click ‘Not Registered.’
- Complete the form, including choice of state, district and school.
- If you have a product key, click Yes and enter your key, if not, click No.
- Agree to terms and click ‘Submit.’
- Click ‘activate account’ link in the verification email.
- Re-open OKTOPUS, go to Settings / Login To My Account. Enter username (email) and password setup in registration.
- Check the ‘Save Credentials box.
Step 2: Search for Lessons
Now that you created an account and are logged in, go to the ‘Lessons’ tab and select the Lessons Search icon.
Type a keyword into the search field. If you would like to refine your search, click on Advanced Search, select
Grade, Subject and then click ‘Go’.
Here are some helpful search terms for free content:
Counting, Alphabet, Greater Than, Ordinal Numbers, Measurement, Patterns, Classifying, Basic Shapes, Calendar, Telling Time, Fractions, Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division, Capitals, Consonants, Vowels, Parts of Speech, Nouns, Vocabulary, Comprehension, Plants, Trees, Seasons, Animals, Temperature, Earth, Electricity and Dinosaurs
There are 2 types of content: Free Content (available to anyone with an OKTOPUS license in the US) and
Premium Content (which requires a Blend subscription).
Use the page numbers to scroll to the free content.
Step 3: Preview and Download Lessons
Click Preview to quickly view all instruction and question slides. Answer slides are not available for preview.
Click ‘Download’ and the activity will be downloaded to your computer. In OKTOPUS, go to the File menu, select Open and
browse to the newly downloaded activity (.qap).
I downloaded an Alphabet lesson and then added some interactive slides to the end of the activity so students can practice their ABCs. Such activities include building words and matching.
Preschool Circle Time Activities
For preschool, you could use OKTOPUS to bring your circle-time songs to life or create simple interactive games. I created a short lesson that includes ‘There Was an Old Lady, 5 Little Monkeys, Frog Counting Game’ and more. Click on the link below to download the activity and add your favorite circle time songs and activities.
Download Preschool Games Lesson
Calendar, Attendance, Weather and More
You could use OKTOPUS as a way to start the day. You could have students check in, add dates, report the weather, practice the days of the week and learn about seasons. Here is a lesson that you can download and modify to work with your morning routine.
Here is a fun lesson where students can measure angles and sides of a triangle using a protractor and ruler to identify the triangle.
Download Classify Triangles Lesson
What types of activities have you created? Do you want to share your work? Email email@example.com your favorite OKTOPUS activity or share it on Facebook or Twitter. Don’t forget to tag #Qwizdom #QwizdomOKTOPUS. Happy teaching everyone!