## Wednesday, August 6, 2014

### Multi-Square Multiplication Worksheets

During my practicum within a grade 8 classroom, my associate teacher spent many lessons at the beginning of the year going over the process of multiplication and times tables with the class. She would say that students are so used to having a calculator to complete math questions that they simply do not know their multiplication tables. She was teaching them a variety of tricks and showing them many videos to try and teach them basic multiplication techniques and rules. In order for the students to practice multiplication she would print off “Multi-Square Multiplication Worksheets”. Each worksheet contains 15 square puzzles and students must fill in each square with correct numbers that when multiplied together give the products on the right side and bottom. Worksheets are available to practices the multiplications of ones up to the multiplication of nines in order to cater to each student’s current level. In this class, students were able to complete the worksheet and then give it to a friend in order to determine if the answers were correct. As students must  know and be confident in their multiplication skills in order to succeed in the intermediate levels of mathematics, these worksheets serve as a great resource to ensure students are able to practice these basic skills before continuing on with more complex math concepts.

### Runde's Room

A teacher of a grade 7 class that I was volunteering with introduced me to a blog website called Runde’s Room. Runde’s room is created by a teacher, Jen, who has been teaching grades 5-8 for the past 13 years. She creates engaging, fun, and rigorous activities for her students in order to keep learning fun. Jen continuously posts resources, some that are free and some that are available to purchase, for a variety of subjects. Jen has created a math-specific link that enables users to gain access to only math content and resources. The following link brings you directly to her blog!

## Tuesday, August 5, 2014

### Math Worksheets

Many educators are trying to stay away from the old work sheet math lessons. I would completely agree that math lessons need a makeover, however, sometimes we need a worksheet for our class. I found this website while running a math club in one school, the website is called worksheet works.

http://www.worksheetworks.com/

The students I had in this club loved to every couple of weeks do a mad minute math facts sheet. Yes that's right, they ASKED for them. They liked to challenge themselves each time to see if they had improved their mental math facts. Having students over ranging grades and abilities it was time consuming to make up several sheets at different levels and content. That is when I came across this website.

It allows you to make many different types of worksheets such as math facts, word searches, maps and more. So it is handy for much more than math. I love it for math because I can specify what types of operations I want on the worksheet, the range of numbers it will include as well as what style the questions will be written in. Now, in a matter of a few minutes I can have multiple sheets at different levels and operations to be available for the students.

### SMART Exchange

For everyone who has a SMART board in their room, I think that it is essential that they know about SMART Exchange. SMART Exchange is a collection of SMART board files made by various people that are free to download and use in your own classroom.

The website is:
http://exchange.smarttech.com/

This site allows you to specify which country you are from in order to choose files made for your curriculum. You can then narrow down your search by subject, grade, and file type. You are also able to search key words to find the topics you are looking for.

I find this site great because I don't have to start from scratch when creating SMART board files if I don't want to. It is nice to be able to use bits of already created files, add your own content and quickly have a SMART board file prepared for class. This also allows you to see the different features of SMART notebook that others have utilized or used differently than you have thought of.

### Exit Ticket Idea

Exploring Pinterest, I found this great idea for an Exit Ticket.
http://www.pinterest.com/pin/16325617374484798/
The link, shows the image of an Exit Ticket Board.
It would be ideal to have a bristol board poster in the classroom, and post different questions on the bristol board. The teacher could write an equation or question on a piece of paper and stick it to the top of the bristol board throughout the school year. Students would then be directed to create a response to the given question and record their answer on a post-it note and post it on the board before they leave class.
This could be used after implementing a new concept to see if students understand the new content.
I think this is a great idea, and an easy way to ensure students understand what is going on.

I would like to hear the opinions of others, does anyone do something like this in their class?

### Pinterest and Math

I have recently been exploring Pinterest for new ideas with regards to teaching math.
I typed in the search engine "math and art" and came across this great idea.
http://mathcraft.wonderhowto.com/how-to/welcome-math-craft-world-bonus-make-your-own-paper-polyhedra-0130467/
I think it is beneficial for students to teach math through different concepts. Linda mentioned teaching math through music, I think teaching math through art is also a good idea.
The link above shows how to create colourful 3-D shapes. This would be a great way for students to create their own shapes and then explore angles, side lengths etc.
Implementing math into other subjects is a great way to make math connections to the real world as well. For instance, the teacher could address how being an designer for buildings uses math because dimensions need to be accurate.

I am interested in hearing your ideas!

### National Library of Virtual Manipulatives

The National Library of Virtual Manipulatives (NLVM) is a collection of virtual manipulatives for teachers.  This is a fantastic to engage students in math and contains collections of manipulatives for each math strand with categories for Pre K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12.  This NLVM, if you haven't used it before, is a resource from which teachers can freely collect resources to enrich our math programs.  You can find manipulatives for whatever you are teaching and incorporate these into lessons, use it as an exit card, or use it to differentiate for IEP students.

If you have used this before, check it out!  It's a great resource!
I hope you like it!  Here is a link:

National Library of Virtual Manipulatives
Katie Chiasson

### Math: an Enriching Experience

As math teachers we interact with many types of students with many different talents. In a busy classroom of 30+ students, I admit at times those students struggling with concepts receive a good portion of my attention. However, there is another group of students that are often overlooked and require just as much nurturing and care.

Known as gifted or enriched students, these students often excel at math and find the daily classroom a mundane experience. They have understand the lesson, helped their peers and master the unit concept with ease. So how can we accommodate them as we might accommodate others?

One way is introducing enrichment problems in the classroom. I find the Problem of the Week questions from the University of Waterloo an excellent launching point for these young minds. All students should be asked to participate in enrichment activities and one way to do this is assigning a word or logic problem for the week. It is delivered to you weekly and the solution provided the following week.

This is a fun activity that students and teacher can try to solve together as we can not default to the "teacher answer key". The problems are in line with ministry curriculum and are a great lead into the Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing (CEMC) Annual Math Contests.

For students have easily mastered require concepts these problems and math contests provide challenges and are a great way to further develop reasoning and analytic math skills.

I require all my students to complete these enrichment activities periodically throughout the semester. Some students may feel intimidated and this is an opportunity to create Math Circles (much like literacy circles) and use peer coaching to guide students through the problems. Many times those students that have average to low marks in the math course excel with problem solving and this provides them an opportunity to shine.

Challenge your students and yourself by checking out what the CEMC has to offer!

Enjoy!

## Monday, August 4, 2014

### Math + Music = Awesome

Unless you have been living under a rock you have seen a musical math video. Teachers from all over the world who possess even the slightest bit of musical fines have posted a mathematical parody to various pop hits. Here are a short list of some of my favourites:
Math is fun
Solve me Maybe  ( this is a cool collaboration between a few different high schools, on their youtube page they have so many different songs WSHSMath)
Colin Dodds- Pythagorean Theorem

I personally think that these math videos are great, not only do the students get a real kick out of seeing their teachers performing like they are on Canadian Idol, students are learning key pieces of information. Especially if the tunes of the songs are taken from popular music that the students are interested in.

Some teachers have even created assessments where students are asked to create their own songs based on a curriculum topic. This is a great differentiated instruction strategy that students will love!

So what do you think, would you incorporate music into your classrooms? Have you used music before? I am interested to hear everyone's opinion on this.

## Sunday, August 3, 2014

### App Review: Fluidmath

Fluidmath is one of the most innovative applications that I have seen yet. This easy to use and engaging application allows you to take your hand written notes and create graphs, table of contents and much more. This application can be used by teachers, no longer are the days of hand written graphs and spending way to much time ensuring things look perfect. Students will be wowed with its speed and accuracy. Students can even utilize the app to help save time creating the graph and focus more of their time on the actual analysis. At \$1.99 it is extremely affordable for both students and teachers. Still not sure if you are ready to buy the app you can try the free version which does everything but just doesn't let you save your work.

The app is optimal for: