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Kim Dinsmore Edtech. 506 Dr. Hsu Time and Money Unit
This unit focuses on part of a core strand from the National Common Core Standards for Second Grade Math. Time and money fall under the measurement strand and these concepts can be extremely difficult for students in second grade and even beyond as they are concrete operational thinkers with varying degrees of ability to think abstractly(Piaget, 1951).
This unit is intended for second grade math students of all levels including special needs students. The unit also takes into consideration differing backgrounds including highly enriched homes, economic hardships, and substance abuse environments. The different circumstances of each student will lend itself to providing different resources to meet their needs. Math levels range from simple concrete operational (using blocks to show a number) to abstract representation (mental addition using modifications from reasoning).
Design Process Rationale
I have used many concrete graphics to help the students in the concrete operational thinking. Money is portrayed realistically, instruction provides many visual clues, and manipulatives are used in the lesson process to give students as much hands on learning as
possible. Below are the rationales of how I designed each page. Much of my justification came from the book Creating Graphics for Learning and Performance by Linda L. Lohr. In this book, the design process is intentional and the outcome should be increased learning for the user of the product. I created this unit for one of my graduate classes as well as my own classroom. Each page and corresponding graphics used different principles from the book. Below is a synthesis of several papers I wrote as justifications for my designs. The text that is bolded relates to the many strategies from the book used to create instruction that assists the learner in processing the information on the page.
I used chunking a great deal to show hierarchy. Second graders need to have information divided into smaller parts to help them process the instruction (Lohr, 2008, p. 89). I did this by the use of bullets, white space, and horizontal rules between each concept. I also used signal words (first, second, third) to show the progression of the unit (Lohr, 2008, p. 89). In my second graphic of the analog and digital clock, I used arrows to convey direction and meaning. Each clock read three o'clock. One gestalt principle I used was similarity. My second graphic used yellow on each clock and both were the same time. Instructional text is all the same font and size. The repetition of color and size gives a feel of relatedness (“Gestalt Principles: How Are Your Designs Perceived? | Van SEO Design,” n.d.). Another principle I used was contiguity that urges the reader to follow a path downward to continue reading. The top graphic was used to tie into my students' experience. I used a picture of a child of similar age displaying a concentrated look to relay this will be at their level but will need some concentration.
Time is Money Page
I used Georgia font for my page because it has a tall x-height that makes for easier reading (Lohr, 2008, p. 230). For my large block of text at the top, I made larger margins to create shorter line lengths. This makes it easier to read because it gives your eyes a break (Lohr, 2008, p. 239). I created a div tag called small box and included a green border like the background color and padding around the text so it was away from the left edge and therefore easier to read (Williams& Tollett, 2006, p.114). For my graphic, I used green to represent money and yellow for a calming background for my somewhat busy graphics inside. The arrows convey motion and connection (from time to the activities costing money) and are engaging and fun (Lohr, 2008, p. 250). The smaller graphics in the instructions serve a two-fold purpose: support for my low readers and making the text fun and engaging. I have large green columns on the left and right to unify the instructions.
Telling Time Page
I kept everything left aligned. The Non-Designer's Web Book says to keep the same alignment when it comes to text (Williams& Tollett, 2006, p.114), and I thought it would work as well for the graphics. I had a padding so that the text did not bump against the left edge (Williams& Tollett, 2006, p.114). I used contrast to have items stand out on the page. My main contrast was the yellow on the white and the white against the green. I kept it fairly simple with no extraneous design which is recommended for designers (Lohr, 2008, p. 89). I wanted the clocks to stand out more, so I made them yellow and put them on a white background. I
also used contrast in the text by color coding hour hand and minute hand. The headings were all larger and bolded. I used repetition in the clock visuals and the color coded text. This creates a sense of unity throughout the page (Lohr, 2008, p. 203). I also centered my main content container with the green background that spanned the entire page. I repeated the light green color from my "time is Money" page for additional repetition between pages in the unit. I used close proximity on this page to make clear the relation between graphics and labels (Williams& Tollett, 2006, p.118). Headings were also directly above related text as well as bordered by a horizontal rule to contain each specific aspect of the instruction.
Counting Money Page
I used color a great deal to represent reality (Lohr, 2008, p. 89). I used actually pictures of coins so that the student will see the real color of the coins. It was not as clear as a drawing would have been, but it transfers better to real world skills of identifying coins. The other main color on this page was the yellow bar that unified the skip counting. The text on the bar stands out and provides good contrast for ease in reading (Williams& Tollett, 2006, p.168). I also used a warm color (yellow) with a cool color (green) to provide contrast (Lohr, 2008, p. 89). I used scale by creating larger text for headings and hyperlinks which draws attention to them (Lohr, 2008, p. 89). I used white space a great deal on this page to help with the processing of counting coins. Students often have a hard time attending to counting coins, especially when shown as a mass like a bunch of coins in a hand. The white space helped chunk and separate the coins for ease in counting (Lohr, 2008, p. 89).
My focus for these web pages has been to create a unit that is both extremely concise and potentially limitless when combined with the exponential factors of Internet hyperlinks. I designed it for my own classroom purposes, but I also hope it could be a resource for other elementary teachers. I have learned designing instruction is a time consuming process regardless of the simplicity of the lesson. It requires religious attention to detail, informed decisions on absolutely everything that goes into the instruction, and much help from peers and friends as you refine your instruction. As I look back at the last couple months, it was certainly an extremely worthwhile endeavor.
Gestalt Principles: How are your designs perceived? | Van SEO Design. (n.d.). Retrieved July 15, 2011, from http://www.vanseodesign.com/web-design/gestalt-principles-of-perception/ Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance: lessons in visual literacy (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River N.J.: Pearson/Merrill/Prentice Hall. Williams, R., &.Tollett, J. (2006). The non-designer's web book (3rd ed.). Berkeley, California: Peachpit Press. Piaget, J. (1951). The child’s conception of the world. Rowman & Littlefield.
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