Saturday, November 2, 2013

Are the Zeros T00 Visual?

My wonderful 8th graders were recently studying scientific notation, and I noticed a few of them with the same misconception.  They looked confident in their knowledge (from past years' lessons) of how to do the usual "count" and put the decimal, then add "multiply by 10 with an exponent".  But, they were counting the zeros, not the places.  This does work in a few cases, but not always.  So I wondered why they were doing this....(I like to wonder about many things).

Looking at many lesson plans and activities that teachers use to teach scientific notation, there are always numbers with lots of zeros.  Visually, the zeros are very prominent in the numbers, whether they are very large or very small numbers.  Is this emphasis why my students were counting only the zeros?


Also, of course, the students had forgotten or did not realize that there should be a one-digit whole number (and only one, not two or three).  So, we had discussions about why exactly we should count the places and not just the zeros.  Plus some analysis of if you actually think about how the 10 to the exponent will result in the standard notation.

Just a thought, but the "visualness" of the zeros might trip some kids be on the lookout for students counting zeros.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Let's Convene at a Convention!

Looking for something to do on your summer vacation? (other than rest up for the fall, but let's not think about that now).   There will be a CAID conference, June 26-28, in Rochester NY at NTID/RIT (National Technical Institute for the Deaf/Rochester Institute of Technology).

If you are not familiar with CAID, and you teach deaf and hard-of-hearing students, you might want to learn more!  CAID is the "Convention of American Instructors of the Deaf".  This organization has been serving teachers of students who are deaf or hard-of-hearing for over 160 years.  At the conference in June there will be sessions on various topics of interest to teachers of deaf/hh students, as well as exhibits, keynote speakers, etc.  What a great way to meet other teachers and get new ideas!

And even more exciting (OK, not more exciting, but it is about math, so I had to say that) - there will be a pre-conference before the conference (yeah I know) and the pre-conference is about mathematics!  There will be two days of sessions regarding best practices in mathematics teacher for deaf/hh students, including some cool ideas for language/vocabulary instruction, on-line mathematics videos, and active learning ideas in a mainstream (or other) setting.

So, if you are a teacher, and you teach any deaf/hh students, consider coming to this informative professional conference.  Have a look at  for more information.  I'll be there, and I look forward to meeting you!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Manipulating Your Mind

Introducing my first guest blogger - Joey Vaughan!  She is a curriculum specialist at the Texas School for the Deaf.  Thanks Joey!  Way to REPRESENT!
A few months ago, I went to a workshop called "Manipulating Your Teaching Practices" where we focused on the use of manipulatives to enhance math instruction.

The training emphasized the importance of multiple representations of mathematical concepts.  Instruction needs move from the concrete to the visual to the abstract.

We were provided with a problem that we were tasked with solving without any paper or pencils, but we had a variety of manipulatives at our disposal.  (I chose to use linking cubes.) 

Once we solved the problem using whichever concrete models we preferred, we created a pictorial representation.  After that, we explained the process verbally and then numerically.

Here are some pictures showing the process:

Friday, March 8, 2013

Tickle Me Elmo

Ok, number one piece of educational equipment needed in a classroom for maximum visual access is.....a document camera!  If you do not already have one of these babies, please beg, borrow, or steal one as soon as you can.  But really, explain to your principal/administrator of choice how vital it is to have a document camera, especially if you have a deaf student in your class (but any student will do).

These cameras are sometimes known by the brand name "Elmo' (hence the title of this blog post), but the actual item is called a document camera.  Kind of like how we call tissue "Kleenex", or call the copy machine the "Xerox" machine...but I digress.  A document camera can cost anywhere from $300 upwards; oh yeah, you will need a projector as well, which involves more money, but is very worth it.

Why so worth it? you say....well, basically anything, and I do mean anything, you want to show to your students you can slap up on the Elmo and there it is for the world to see.  This could be documents, or math manipulatives, magazine articles, blueprints, cereal boxes, real-world items, or, or, creative.  Whatever your math lesson is for the day, you can present it visually.  And visual access is one of the keys to providing good math instruction.

Students discussing a math problem using a document camera & projector.

Good luck in your quest....after you get those items we can discuss getting an interactive display board such as an ActivBoard or SmartBoard, but we'll take it slowly...

50 Plus Ideas for Using Document Cameras in the Classroom

Friday, February 8, 2013

Welcome to EDeafMath

[Content presented in ASL following English text.]

Teachers:  Do you have a deaf student in your math class?  Or maybe all of the students in your class are deaf.  Do you teach middle school math?  High school?  College?  If you teach math, and you teach at least one deaf or hard of hearing student, then this vlog is for you!
This vlog will emphasize:
- Accessibility:  this vlog about mathematics education for deaf students will be presented in sign language and English text.
- Practical ideas:  lessons and resources that real teachers can use in their classrooms the next day.
- Interaction:  teachers are encouraged to make comments and send questions; we can all learn from each other.
I am Dawn Kidd, and I teach middle school mathematics at the Texas School for the Deaf in Austin, TX.  But this is not about is about you and your students.  Let's start the conversation about mathematics and our deaf students...I am looking forward to it.