Archive for March, 2014

Common Core

subtractionSo here is a common core math sheet from back when Brandon was just learning to subtract 2 digit numbers. The instructions:

“Use the numbers in each jellyfish to  make a subtraction problem.  Check by adding.”

It expected him to work out the logic of knowing that they first needed to start with the largest number at the top, then make sure they subtracted the next largest number in order to make the problem work to get the smallest number last. No instructions on the sheet about even trying to explain the logic. I asked Brandon if they had been doing this type of work in class filling out the boxes or dealing with why the larger numbers would go on top etc. and he said no. Knowing what level of math problems we had been doing at home, it was clear they had pretty much just learned about borrowing for simple double digit subtraction.

Next in the first example they needed to take the last number (presuming they correctly filled in the first three boxes), move it up to the top box of the addition problem and then leave them to try to figure out which number would go into the second box that would equal the last box. Obviously this could be done by trial and error and explained with some help by a parent, but it doesn’t teach them the “why” or reinforce something they have been learning at school. How many kids across this country don’t have a parent who is helping along side nightly at home to help explain this logic? That should be a big factor for these take home sheets. They should primarily reinforce what is being taught in the class.

Had this work sheet been a couple months after learning double digit subtraction I would understand that they should hopefully have enough of an understanding about the logic behind how the numbers relate, but this is what was being used to teach the core principles of how to work a double digit, simple level subtractions problem. From this and the other shared examples I’ve seen being shared online, (see this link for a great example) there seems like there is this overshadowing desire to try to get the kids to think abstractly about how to get their answers. These types of principles should be taught only after they have a primary understanding of the basic “mechanics” of the type of math they are learning. This is really going to mess up their problem solving skills later. When they need to do a type of math to solve a problem, they are sure to find situations where these fluffy abstract visual methods are not going to be able to be applied and it’s going to create a mental hurdle for them to get over. They will have to learn a new way to think about how to do the same problem yet another way instead of the simple basic method that have been used for centuries that can be applied to almost anything. Is the original style of subtraction still being taught. Sure it is, we have seen those worksheets too, but it’s a big gap between those and this sheet.

Don’t hear what I am not saying. I like the idea of common core. Having a national standard of work to be done and learned that we can study the results of and adjust slowly over time as needed to improve learning as a whole is smart. I think is a good idea. And think of all of the indoctrination and history re-writing that could be taught all across the nation with common core 😉 but that’s another battle to be had later.

Current User Paths: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders

System User Folder Paths : HKEY_USERS\(User SID#)\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders\

I am having my first go at getting my son’s iPad setup with LAMP Words For Life  (LWFL) setup. It’s exciting thinking about how this may open up better communication between all of us. I will be posting little bits of info as I come across them and hopefully it will help others who may be digging for the same info I am. I will be updating each post topic as I work thru things.

iPad Icon Size

One of the key factors I was concerned about before getting started was that I knew that this app was displaying a lot of images and that the images that came as part of the default vocabulary files are from an era where HD displays were not even dreamt of yet. The icons are low res, pixelated and often don’t look much like their real world counterparts. I knew I needed to make things as familiar as possible for my son as he is very much a creature of habit and accepts things that are familiar much easier than something he may have not had contact with yet. When picking out our device I knew that loading up detailed images of real world objects might be a issue, not so much because of hardware limitations since I figured the iPad could pump out the horsepower needed, but maybe the software might have some bottlenecks either for being fairly new or bringing legacy issues forward. We picked the iPad Air since it was the fastest unit at the time hoping it’s faster processor would help keep things snappy when switching between pages. LWFL imports images from the iPad’s camera roll. during the import process, it presents your with a crop tool but I didn’t know if the software was simply cropping the image on the fly, or was it actually creating a nice small icon adjusting the resolution and dimensions or what. I started a test vocabulary file to play with, and began replacing images. I used large +900px images and things seems to be running pretty good. I then removed some of the images from the Camera Roll, and the images stayed in the software so I knew it was at least storing the images within the program, which was good so didn’t have to worry about my son deleting images and breaking things. But I had only replace a few test images. Would the speed keep up as I loaded more and more images? I didn’t want to get weeks into setting up Daniel’s core custom vocabulary file only to be hit with a performance issue and have to start all over.  I posted a question over on PRC’s Facebook page [because any company worth it’s salt will respond to someone questioning the quality of their product in an open forum in front of millions of potential customers to keep up their company’s image up 😉 ] and with  PRC’s speedy response, I found out that the internal icon size is 5/8″ x 3/4″ (0.625″ x 0.75″) or a  1:1.2 ratio. “Cool!” I thought, “They are creating their own images and resizing them down so I should be good to go.” So I started to create my son’s custom vocab file. I edited my images on my PC & upload them to my website. Then on the iPad I would refresh the page in Safari, save the image to the Camera Roll and then import the image in LWFL. Using the 1:1.2 ratio though I was getting outlines showing up on the edges of the image. It seems a square image usually works better. I got about 50 images in when things . . started . . . to . . . . slow . . . . . . .down. I though “Ahhh crapo. They are cropping, but not resizing.” I exported a standard 84 full vocab file and my custom vocab file to iTunes and compared their sizes. About 20 MB’s difference. All of my custom jpeg images only added up to about 4MB total. So I am left to deduce that either the image processing on the iPad is creating some larger files or there is some sort of overhead or meta data going on inside.

(I have posted a question on Facebook about this and will update this when I have a answer.)

So after hitting this snag, I have gone thru and tested multiple formats, sizes and resolutions.  I am getting best results using 450X450 px and 600 PPI which results in an image about 30-40kb per image. I am going to go forward now using these sizes, adjust my existing images and go on from here. I know the iPad Air has a screen resolution of 264 PPI, but I compared 264, 528 and 600 (600 just to try a nice round number) and the 600 looked the sharpest. I tried 792 & 800 but didn’t any difference in clarity, so I stuck with 600 PPI.

LAMP Words For Life Key Colors

Color Chart






Getting transparent icons into the iPad app seems like it is going to require building the vocab file/icons using the PASS software and purchasing a license to the iShare account service to sync with. The PASS software is pretty rough (old & clunky like the Vantage Lite units), I am not quite ready to setup a iShare account. Will probably end up needing to sync my son’s personal and school device up using iShare with the teachers, but not ready to do that just yet. These colors match the standard app colors but unfortunately it seems the colors used when editing icons within the app have a gradient so they don’t quite blend in naturally, but these colors will get you pretty darn close. I am going to just color my standard icons and forget about trying to do transparency as I can probably get these color added as fast as trying to convert the vocab PVF files in and out of the PASS software.

Hex Color – Color Name or Color Description
█ FFFFFF – White
█ FFBB92 – Very Light Orange
█ FF9966  –  Atomic Tangerine
█ CC5F00 – Strong Orange
█ FFDCB8 – Pale Orange
CF9F69 – Slightly Desaturated Orange
█ 9D7033 – Dark Moderate Orange
█ 6F4924 – Very Dark Orange
█ FFFFCC – Very Pale Yellow
█ FFFF98 – Very Light Yellow
█ FFFF66 – Unmellow Yellow
█ FFFF00 – Yellow, Electric yellow
█ CCFF99 – Very Light Green
█ 00FF66 – Pure Cyan – Lime Green
█ 009C00 – Dark Lime Green
█ 006600 –  Pakistan Green
█ CCFFFF – Very Pale Cyan
█ 8CFFFF – Very Light Cyan
█ 0CC0C0 – Strong Cyan
█ 088080 – Dark Cyan
█ CCE0FF – Very Pale Blue
█ 99CCFF – Very Light Blue
█ 5588FF – Light Blue
█ 0000FF – Blue
█ E0CCFF – Very Pale Violet
█ CC99FF – Very Light Violet
█ A767FF – Very Light Violet
█ 7F00FF – Pure Violet
█ FFC5EA – Very Pale Pink
█ FF8AD7 – Very Light Pink
█ FF0099 – Pure Pink
█ B00072 – Dark Pink
█ FFCCCC – Very Pale Red
█ FF7777 – Very Light Red
█ EE0000 – Pure Red
█ 993333 – Dark Moderate Red


Color Information Provided by ColorHexa

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