My class are a wonderful group of individuals, all with their own gifts and challenges. They range in ability from p5/6 to p8. The area of study for this lesson… The vocabulary of shape.
We have, in previous lessons, experienced using 2d and 3d shapes and the children were to work both digitally and non digitally.
As a lesson opener I made a presentation reminding the children what they knew already, explaining the learning objective for the lesson and linking it to the eclipse we had all just witnessed. A rich tea biscuit and giant chocolate button helped here!
The children working at p5/6 we’re learning to match shapes and put shapes in a shape sorter. In readiness for the lesson I used the iPad’s camera to take screen shots then used Pic Collage to create a visual learning objective and reminder of the app they were to be using.
They had 2 activities to complete. The first involving the app Sorting 3 by Tiny Hands.
The game they were to play involved matching shapes to holes in a virtual shape sorter. The game creates errorless learning as it bounces incorrect shapes back. The adult working with the group talked through each selection using the relevant vocabulary.. Is it big or small? What shape? Is it a circle? Etc. the extension to this task was then to use a traditional wooden shape sorter to try to fit the shapes in. This too was carefully chosen.. A plain wooden shape sorter with 3 shapes per side. In previous weeks we had used a brightly coloured shape sorter. Some children were able to complete this well, but it was not clear if they were matching the colours or truly the shapes. One ingenious child put her shapes in the large hole in the side! The plain wooden shape sorter proved much more challenging and as these children range from year 4 to year 6, more age appropriate.
Their efforts were photographed on their own iPads and they were then able to put their photographs into their Maths journal, using Book Creator, annotated by the adult and saved to iBooks.
They were able to complete much of this independently.
The pupils working within p6 were learning to match and draw shapes.
Some of these children have very poor motor skills. The first app I chose to use with them was Tiggly Safari, using Tiggly Shapes.
This is a fantastic app which allows the use of shapes that the children can manipulate to complete the pictures on the screen. Again, the adult working with each child noted down the language the children could use and understand.
The second task for this group was to trace shapes.. Circle, square and rectangle. Given the needs regarding fine motor skills of the group the best app for this was Writing Wizard.
As well as letters, numbers and words, this app has a section for practising shapes and patterns. A starting point is indicated and the child has to keep constant pressure, in the correct direction around the shape to complete it. Again the adult guides the child to the correct starting point and checks the vocabulary each child can use and understand.
The final group of children working at p8 had a greater challenge. They were learning to identify shapes within objects and patterns. This was a test of their understanding of vocabulary describing shapes and their use of this vocabulary. The first app I used with this group was Shape Quest.
Their first task was to play Hide and Seek. The children being directed to find particular shapes within the picture on screen. When the correct shapes are touched creature appear… highly motivating for our children.
As a reward they were then allowed to play Patch the Path.
This uses augmented reality and a gameboard that you print off. For our children it is pure magic! Those with fine motor difficulties do not notice that their fingers are being strengthened and they are learning to use their hands and thumbs independently. They use their iPad to catch escaped puppies and manipulate the correct shapes to mend the path allowing the truck to move on. This game proved to be such a good motivator I had children asking to come to do their work. Keen to be independent some refused help, preferring to work it out for themselves… And as for that “awe and wonder” we had it in spades.
The other task this group were given used Osmo.
We used Tangram. This utilises the front camera on the iPad and gives pupils a picture, made using shapes from the Tangram set.
The child has to match the picture. Exactly. The camera detects the shape and “bings” when each portion is correct.
Colour, shape and orientation are all vital. Again, the adult talks through the activity, checking the use and understanding of vocabulary.
All of the children were highly independent, motivated and engaged. The use of each app was carefully matched to each child’s learning objective. Adults play a key role in assessing the children and extending their use and understanding of mathematical vocabulary.
The only down side of the lesson…it went too quickly!