Sunday, December 18, 2016

Math is fun for Kids

Math is fun for Kids

          From my childhood I love math. To find the solutions of math problems and think about it was my hobby and challenge. I can remember that I spent a lots of time to get the solutions of different complex math and also I liked it. Most of the people all over the world especially for the women think that math is a very hard and complex subject for them. But as an OCT certified teacher my goal is to prove that math is fun for kids/children/students. As for my target, I always try to use many different activities in the math class as per that grade level and also as per the topics.

        For example, in my practice teaching in a grade 5/6 class I asked the students to choose one number in their mind, and I can tell their exact number without asking them. So, all the students' were surprised how do I do it? Then I told them this is not a magic trick just have to do some calculation.

        So, students picked their own number in their mind. Then I gave the instructions like “Multiply your number by 2, then add my number 6, then divide the number again with 2 and tell me the quotient.

        When they told me the quotient, I just subtracted half of my number what I asked them to add earlier and then I can tell what their number is.
 
        If one student chooses 12 as his number, then as per the rules
        12 X 2= 24, then add my number is 6, is 30, then divide by 2 is 15.
So, student's told me the quotient is 15. Then I subtracted 3 as per half of my number, then I get 12 which is the student's number.

        After I told all the students’ numbers separately as per their different quotients, they wondered how I did it. Then I explained to them that this is nothing but only some mental calculation.

        This is one example of how the students were engaging them-self in the math activity with fun.

        As a math teacher, in the last few years I have been engaging myself with different age groups of children with numerous kinds of math activities and math games as per their grade level. In my blog, I want to add one fabulous website which I have been using most with the students and which I believe will be more acceptable and benefiting for others.   


The website address is: http://www.mathsisfun.com/




MATH IS FUN! This website provides a lots of math activities and games which covered all the students for different grade levels interacted with the curriculum expectations. They convinced millions of people how fun and enjoyable math activities are. 

Discovery Education, TECHBOOK

Discovery Education is a great resource of Math Learning for all levels of students. It also has available services for Science and Social Studies. Once anyone visit this blog they will be benefited and learn a diverse lesson from one canopy. 



Discovery Education partners with school districts, dioceses and charters around the world to transform teaching & learning and improve students’ achievement. Digital textbooks, standards-aligned curricular resources, and transformative professional development support schools as they make their digital transition and conversion.


            As per research 50% of U. S. schools, 1 million educators and 35 million students, and formed of the creative energy that brought the world Discovery Channel, they are proud to help transform schools one classroom, one educator, and one child at a time.  

What do school districts that are raising the bar for student achievement all have in common? A clear vision, a strong plan with buy-in from all stakeholders, supported teachers and great instructional content.

In a sea of crowdsourced content and OER, finding the right, high-quality resources continues to be a daunting and time-consuming task. But ask some of the country's most respected curriculum leaders and classroom teachers what resource they trust most, and they'll tell you Discovery Education Techbook™. Standards-based with content that is relevant, dynamic, and carefully vetted, Techbook:
  • Is available in mathscience, and social studies.
  • Saves teachers time with its comprehensive design that includes model lessons, student activities, assessments, and data dashboards embedded at point-of-use.
  • Makes differentiation easier through a blend of text and media, different reading levels and languages, and text-to-speech feature.
  • Can be used in any technology setting—in one-to-one and one-to-many classrooms.
  • Is updated regularly at no additional cost.
  • To open the site just click here Discovery Education or use the URL below: http://www.discoveryeducation.com/what-we-offer/techbook-digital-textbooks/








Thursday, December 8, 2016

This website has great ideas for using estimation to find the answers of different questions.

http://www.estimation180.com

I really like this one. They can try and look at things like the doors or the height of the light switch to be able to prove their thinking.

How tall is his son?

Picture


My Favourite No

An interesting way to ensure your students understand the material. By looking at what someone has done well, but also how they may be wrong.

My Favourite No

Sunday, December 4, 2016

3D Printers making Math and Science Projects real

3D Printers

An extension to Mechanical Devices and 3D is to move towards practical applications of 3D geometry to make your design come to life.  3D printers are becoming ever more popular in schools across the country turning ones creativity into a creation. 3D printing goes beyond the build of a geometrical design, 3D printing allows for cross curricular applications. Business, technology, literacy, science and math can all be integrated in a classroom with the 3D printed model as the corner stone within the project. As for the math classroom one can create physical examples of anything that can be described mathematically with algebraic, boolean and trigonometric functions. 

Here's a link to an article by George Hart who is mentoring teachers in the use of 3D printing for Mathematics
http://georgehart.com/rp/3D-printing-for-math-classroom.html

"3D printing is a valuable tool for engaging mathematics students and providing them with motivation to master many technical topics in the math classroom. As the technology becomes less expensive and more ubiquitous, teachers in K-12 and college environments are gaining easy access to 3D printers which can be used for education. Most teachers are not familiar with this technology and its possible uses, so I have been leading hands-on workshops for mathematics teachers across the US and internationally, introducing them to the techniques needed to use consumer-level 3D printers (such as the Makerbot Replicator) to enrich a math classroom.
Software packages such as Mathematica can translate algebraic expressions into 3D forms that are then created as tangible, low-cost, plastic objects that students can hold in their hands, take home, and/or pass around the class. Workshop participants are given a series of progressively more complex design challenges and are also asked to come up with their own individual objects of interest to create. Each class ends with something that has never existed before printing on the 3D printer.  They introduce students to the creative side of mathematics and provide a powerful motivation for learning the details." 


Another example of 3D printers used for math and science is the following.
From a white paper from the corporation Stratasys
THE SCIENCE OF AERODYNAMICS
The forces of aerodynamics that act on an airplane in flight — lift, gravity, thrust and drag — can be difficult concepts for students to follow through plain lecture or text and images. But if they design and build gliders for themselves, they’ll begin to see how opposing forces balance and act on each other. Stratasys® created an online lesson guide available for teachers that will help them walk students through designing gliders and building them with a 3D printer. The curriculum includes leading questions to help students explore the most effective wing designs, determine the correct balance between strength for launching (and crashing the plane) and weight for gaining optimal flight time, and how to design the glider to minimize material waste. The lesson also includes design tips for printing glider parts. For example, the minimal wall thickness that can be reliably printed is 0.6 mm. For load-bearing parts, such as the connectors to which the wings are attached, the thickness should be over 2 mm. A four-minute video shows how the basic design of the glider works and walks the student through the use of wing covering material and adhesives to finish off the project. A downloadable zip file contains STL files that can be used as templates to help students kick off their computer-aided design efforts. Find this four-minute video (labeled as Episode 3) and other resources at www.stratasys.com/industries/education/resources.
file:///C:/Users/Benjamin/Downloads/White%20Paper%20-%20Seven%203D%20Printing%20Stem%20Projects%20to%20do%20with%20your%20class.pdf


Making Math an Art Form


Most people think Art and Math are polar opposites, and why is it that students love Art class and “hate” math?  Art is considered creative where math is concrete right?  We need to change the mindset and show math for the art form that it is, both subjects use symbolism to create a desired result. Just like art, there are also many different ways to do math.  We need to make math equally as fun and beautiful in order to engage more students.
Take a look at the following site where high school students created mosaics to represent mathematical concepts found in nature.  Patterns and symmetry, symbolism and geometry. The possibilities are endless!


https://kirstingreen.com/math-in-nature/

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Ontario's new math initiatives

I recently read an article from OECTA’s October publication regarding Ontario’s funding for new math initiatives for addressing continued poor performance in math scores.  Overall the article does a nice job of outlining all of the aspects of these initiatives and it sounds like the Ontario government is taking some major steps in this direction.  We can only hope they have the desired outcome of improving math performance in students.

What interested me in particular were the comments regarding the training of lead math teachers for each school.  In response, the author underlined that all teachers in the elementary level are ‘qualified’ to teach math up to grade 8, and so OECTA will work with the ministry to ensure proper protocol is followed.  While all of this is true on paper, how many elementary teachers (who for the most part are generalists) actually feel ‘qualified’ to teach math?  As an occasional teacher I come in contact with many teachers in different schools, and so often these teachers express their concerns and anxieties about their math teaching.

I guess what struck me is the defensiveness with which the OECTA article was coming up against the idea of training math specialist teachers.  I do not believe the point is to question teachers’ current qualifications or professionalism, but for the benefit of students.  If this is how these initiatives are being received, I doubt they will yield the desired outcomes.  Coupled with many teachers’ existing math anxieties, it may be no wonder that many are reluctant to engage in such professional development programs.

Maybe the solution here is to create an environment whereby teachers are encouraged to become more familiar with and better prepared to teach math, but not by being coerced through aggressive tactics and the fears of poor EQAO results…  
  

The link to the OECTA magazine  is here https://issuu.com/oecta/docs/atoecta_oct2016 and the article is located on pg 26.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Connections with Terry Fox

Making Connections

Making connections to personal life can help in math. Terry Fox lessons for any subject always are great when the school is participating in his fundraiser or walk. Terry Fox was a true hero. In this lesson, students will take a closer look at these numbers and use their prior knowledge to create math equations using actual numbers from this amazing story.

http://www.terryfox.org/SchoolRun/_Library/2012_Intermediate_Lesson_Plans_NATIONAL/N_-_Mathematics_-_Patterning_and_Algebra.pdf

Number Sense and Numeration: Solve multi-step problems arising from real-life contexts and involving whole numbers and decimals, using a variety of tools (e.g., graphs, calculators) and strategies (e.g., estimation, algorithms)

Patterning/Algebra:  Represent linear patterns using a variety of tools  Determine a term, given its term number, in a linear pattern that is represented by a graph or an algebraic equation  Describe different ways in which algebra can be used in real-life situations

Image result for terry fox

Friday, November 11, 2016

Let your fingers do the walking!

Have you ever been in the staff room and heard teachers complaining about their students counting on their fingers? Have you ever told your kids not stop doing it because they need to outgrow it? We all (or a lot of us) have these preconceived notions that using your fingers for math is “babyish” or denotes a lack of mathematical prowess.  Well, after reading this article written by Jo Boaler (ok to me a math guru) my eyes were opened and hopefully yours will be as well.


The article states that there is a “finger-representation” area in their brain where we actually “see” fingers even if we don’t use our actual fingers. The study showed that the better students used their fingers at a young age, the easier it was for them to solve complex problems later.  The researchers go as far as saying that preventing students to use their fingers could “halt their mathematical development”. Visual aids make math meaningful so why not their fingers? Allowing students to use WHATEVER tool they need could quite possibly move math from abstract to “cool” wouldn’t that be awesome?  I give this article a thumbs-up! (pun intended)

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Math of the Future

I recently read an article by Laszlo Lovasz describing some of the trends that have been taking place in modern mathematics and how they might impact math education.  The article is available at the following link: http://www.cs.elte.hu/~lovasz/lisbon.pdf.  Despite being published in 2008, I found it to be very relevant even eight years later.

The biggest eye-opener for me is how wrong I have been in considering 'mathematics' a closed area of research.  That all of the mathematical concepts and theories have been already discovered and that there is nowhere new to go.  Lovasz (2008) explains how the technological advances of the past 50 years, in combination with the increased ability to communicate and collaborate, have hugely increased the work and areas for future work in mathematics.

The author makes another interesting observation that so many of the mathematical advances of the last 200 years are not even being taught, as there is simply too much to learn in our current, traditional math curriculum.  He goes on to say that math is playing a larger role in fields outside of engineering and physics such as in biology and genetics.  This is so relevant given the push in recent years for integration of subjects and cross-curricular teaching initiatives.

I guess the implementation of what the article discusses could only be done with radical shifts and restructuring of our current approach to teaching math.  Naturally, this is unrealistic (at least in the short term), but maybe some of these trends and/or suggestions are worth considering in our modern age of technological advancement.

Lovasz, L. (2008).  Trends in Mathematics: How they could change education?  Retrieved on Nov 1, 2016 from http://www.cs.elte.hu/~lovasz/lisbon.pdf.      


Sunday, October 30, 2016

Financial Literacy

Financial Literacy is very important and the Ministry of Education has many resources outlining it's importance to all curriculum especially math. Math skills can be used in many real life financial decisions the students will be making in their lives.  Please check it out.

http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/surveyliteracy.html

Monday, October 24, 2016

Mechanical Devices and Geometry

Mechanical Devices and Geometry



If you've ever considered where to find real life examples to be used in your geometry lessons you have to look no further than the companies who develop Mechanical CAD or Computer Added Design software. These websites are filled with several video and image examples of how geometry is used in design to build devices that are used in everyday life. Simply by going to google and typing in Mechanical CAD provides links to limitless examples.

Here are a few;


Examples of their use in a classroom could be at the beginning of a lesson as a hook or breaking down the image to define the various solids, cube, cylinder, sphere, triangular prism, cone, cuboid etc. You could use images and make a game of "finding the solids" and then relate that back how it is used in real life.  
Other opportunities to involve these images into your lessons is to underline how important language is involved in communicating the information presented. Some of the images show dimensions and relationships between parts., units of measure and scale.
With so many various images you can differentiate what is shown by providing more and less complex images.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Scratch

My son is very into Scratch Jr. right now. I think coding is very important skill for all students to learn. ( I am new and learning just like the students) Scratch Jr. is a great start and even students in Grade 7 and 8 can use their integers, transformations, and spatial reasoning skills while having fun. Scratch is amazing and students can use so many math skills while they learn to code. 

https://www.scratchjr.org/


Here is a gallery of scratch projects that teach math concepts. Check it out!


https://scratch.mit.edu/studios/6423/





Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Math with Context: Resources for Grade 8/9 First Nations Students



As some may know, much of my experience teaching the last two years has been with First Nation students. I arrived at my teaching assignment with some knowledge of First Nation themes and curriculum, but in my mind I thought, "I'm teaching a Math curriculum, how different could that look from what I learned growing up and in teacher's college?" I admit that I had little conception as to how much context can affect our students in every subject, including math. 

I'd like to share a resource that I found very helpful when ensuring that what I was teaching reflected the realities of my students. Although this is a document developed in British Columbia, many First Nations in Ontario share similar themes and connections. A few examples of overarching themes and how they can be integrated culturally with math are:
  • Hunting/Fishing: Statistics, Rates and Ratios, Percentages
  • Food and Nutrition: Percentage, Fractions
  • Mapping/Directions/Travel: Pythagoreon Thereom, Proportional Reasoning, Surface Area, Volume
  • Traditional Games: Data Presentation, Chance and Probability
http://www.fnesc.ca/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/PUB-LFP-Math-First-Peoples-8-9-for-Web.pdf

There are worksheets and lesson plans in the above document. These documents can be wonderful additions to our current units, not only for First Nation students, but for all Canadian students looking to broaden their knowledge of Aboriginal culture and themes. Often we teach math as a "standalone" subject, but I think any opportunity to reach all students is valuable and should be utilized.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Twitter for Education

For some time now, I've been really into browsing Twitter for educational purposes. My experience exploring Twitter has definitely been beneficial. I was able to gain knowledge on many diverse areas of education. I had followed five sites in particular, that I believed I gained the most insight from regarding different aspects of education - all of which could be incorporated into the math classroom. A lot of the accounts I followed taught me about the various ways I can incorporate technology into the classroom. Below, I have listed my top five favourite Twitter accounts and a brief explanation of each:


1.     LEARN STYLE LTD. www.twitter.com/Learn_Style
the first account I decided to follow was Learn Style. Learn Style’s purpose is to revitalize education with interactive, multimedia learning opportunities for anyone, anywhere, at anytime.

2.     GOOGLE FOR EDUCATION. www.twitter.com/GoogleForEdu
the next account I decided to follow was Google for Education. Google for Education’s purpose is to transform learning for students. They consistently keep their followers updated with product announcements, industry news, and program updates. 

3.     KRISTEN WIDEEN. www.twitter.com/mrswideen
the next account I decided to follow was Kristen Wideen. Kristen Wideen is an Apple Distinguished Education who collaborates with other teachers using technology in the classroom. She is consistently sharing her many fantastic ideas that takes place in her school.

4.     GEORGE COUROS. www.twitter.com/gcouros
the next account I decided to follow was George Couros. George Couros is a division principal of Innovative Teaching and Learning of a K-9 school. He constantly updates his followers with new ways for innovative teaching. He provides many links and sites for educators to browse.

5.     PULSE. www.twitter.com/PULSElearnstyle
the last account I decided to follow was Pulse. Pulse is collaborated with Learn Style LTD. This site provides students and teachers find different ways to excel using technology in the classroom. The account consistently posts new and exciting ideas for incorporating technology. 

Nearpod

 Using Nearpod in the Classroom

Nearpod is an interactive presentation and assessment tool that can be very beneficial in the classroom. The app allows teachers create polls, quizzes, videos, drawing boards etc. The process of using Nearpod is simple; students can access the teacher’s presentation by typing in a specific code given by the teacher. The teacher can then use his/her device to move through the presentation. Below, I have listed several ways Nearpod can be used in the classroom:

  • Presentation: Nearpod can be used to replace other presentation tools such as PowerPoint. The presentation can be streamed to every students tablet or computer in the classroom
  • Live and Formative Assessment: Teachers can use Nearpod to create quizzes that can be used for assessment. Each student types in his or her name before taking the quiz, this allows the teacher to keep track of every students understanding.
  • Ongoing Assessment: Once students complete a quiz, Nearpod automatically creates a report on the data. Teachers are then able to access this report and download it. This makes marking simple (aka, Nearpod marks for you)!
  •  Self-Assessment: Children are able to assess themselves. Teachers can create a poll with self-evaluating questions for each student to answer and submit. Once again, the results are saved for the teacher to view and download.
  • Modeling: The app has a feature called ‘Draw It’ that can be used during presentations. This app turns the students’ tablets into an interactive whiteboard. Once all of the students have completed their drawings, the drawings are all displayed on the teacher’s iPad where he or she can then share the drawings with the rest of the class (on their tablets).
  • Homework: Students can also use Nearpod on their own time. Teachers can provide a homework code that allows them to access pre-made presentations outside of school.

    The video below is a short Nearpod testimonial, enjoy!



References: 10 ways of using Nearpod in the Classroom. (2014). Retrieved June 08, 2016, from http://www.learninginspired.com/10-ways-of-using-nearpod-in-the-classroom.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Designing in the math classroom (Coding with Arduino)

Coding in the classroom:

After attending a PD session for Science in the US, I have a new passion to learn about arduinos (maybe raspberry pi in the future) as a tool in the classroom. I’ve hear so much about Hour of Code (Code.org) and genius hour (slightly different but the idea still stands that students need time to tinker and process their own projects). In light of this, Senior School Computer Science class held a hackfest with the middle school a few weeks ago which was a great success for all involved. With this movement of MakerSpaces and creative solutions, there is a lot of discussion of bringing coding into the mathematics classroom (or any classroom really). I am still just learning the basics of the coding world but have come across sites such as sparkfun.com and http://playground.arduino.cc/Projects/Ideas which have project ideas and coding help (there are also a plethora of resources online through simple google searches.

In relation to math specifically:
http://makezine.com/2013/08/26/arduino-in-math-class/ is a well known maker magazine which examined the use and potential connections for a microcontroller in the math classroom. The author of this article in particular discusses one example of using code in the math classroom and some of the successes and hiccups within the process. The article posted on https://www.theedublogger.com/2014/02/06/forget-coding-lets-change-up-how-we-teach-math/ by Ronnie Burt also examines the use of technology in the math classroom and how we may want to adjust the way we teach. One of his main points towards the end is that many teachers say there aren’t enough Computer Science teachers in the school but yet we have a lot of math teachers who are looking for new and innovative ways to deliver the curriculum. With some highly specific/geared PD sessions on programming, we could integrate these two disciplines and bring a new perspective to the discipline of mathematics.

Here is an intriguing Youtube video which may spark your interest in getting your math class using the Arduino ONE (aprox. $26 +$10 for supplies) to hear what your function sounds like. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCSLD3qD75c. And if interested, here is a course to learn about Raspberry Pi (FREE for a limited time) https://www.udemy.com/hands-on-internet-of-things-raspberry-pi/?couponCode=BESTBLACKHATFORUM.

Thanks for reading,
Chris


The Giant Cookie Dilemma - Gr 6 to 8 Mathematics


The Giant Cookie Dilemma:

https://illuminations.nctm.org/Lesson.aspx?id=2816 – This website does a fantastic job of breaking each step down, providing sample questions, and motivating students to complete the challenge. Three things which may be suggested for change include:
  1. Make the handouts more open  ended to deepen the discussions. The handouts provided here are too specific and may not allow the students to experience some struggle
  2.  Bring in a giant cookie (big success and gave students something to work towards.)
  3. After learning about the 3act lesson made popular by Dan Meyers, I would think that this activity lends itself very well. The hook would be the giant cookie at the front of the class with the generic questions (questions you have, question(s) to answer and highest/lowest guess) Then moving into the Work where the students are given several questions to generate further discussions (and create teahcing moments) and then the reveal will demonstrate that it is possible and the students can all enjoy the cookie!

This activity was done at my school at the Grade 8 level as a fun yearend task. It was run during a single period but could be extended into two lessons (if you so wish).
The Problem: It’s the farewell celebrations at the school but your teacher wants you to do a little math to get the reward of the cookie. How could you cut the cookie so that each student in the class gets their fair share? (Yes – the cookie is baked the night before and brought in)
Concepts being tested
  1. Finding the area of a circle 
  2. Finding radius of circles
  3. Using ratios

 In the end, the students thoroughly enjoyed the cookie and  went through some great reasoning and problem solving skills along the way.

Thanks for reading,
Chris

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Grade 9 Applied and Academic Curriculum and EQAO

This week I got called into emergency supply as an EA. While I was at the school I got to sit in on a grade 9 academic math class. The teacher had been going over information for EQAO and was starting to do review packets. The first thing she told the class she wanted to start with. She talked about how it wasn't in the curriculum but that it always seemed to be on the test, maybe because the ministry expected them to remember it. I thought this was strange as I had just completed an assignment for my math ABQ course and used rates and percent ratios as a grade 9 expectation. I went home and looked at the curriculum document and was surprised to see that this expectation was only in the applied curriculum. How is this fair for students who haven't seen the material on over a year? Are there other expectations that are tested on but not in both curriculums?

Nothing Wrong with a Little Humour :)

When looking for a TED talk last week, I came across this video and thought it was both hilarious and true, especially since we are coming close to the end of the course.  IF you have time, feel free to watch this, it WILL make you smile.



And since we are still in class, why not an educational tie in about the effects of Humor in the Classroom.  Enjoy!  :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Change of Heart!

Change of heart!

I have to admit, I used to get annoyed when students would arrive in my grade 8 class and still count on their fingers.  I have never disallowed my students to use their fingers but it annoyed me for some reason. I am totally pro-manipulatives in the classroom and I encourage my students to use them but the fingers got under my skin and I’m not entirely sure why.   I have many a discussion about why we no longer practice the multiplication tables in the junior grade. (I know some still do)  After reading this article by Jo Boaler 

http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2016/04/why-kids-should-use-their-fingers-in-math-class/478053/

I have definitely had a change of heart!  In the article, it states that “research shows that we actually see a representation of our fingers in our brains, even when we don’t use fingers in our calculations” WOW that was amazing to me!  Brian Butterworths findings that students aren’t learning numbers through thinking about their fingers, those “numbers will never have a normal representation in the brain” shocked me!  Oh the guilt!  I knew that visual math was important but finger representation? Who knew? I actually explained a math problem to one of my students today using both of our hands and all of our fingers, and she got it immediately!  Time to let our fingers do the talking! J  


Monday, June 6, 2016

John Hattie's Golden Rules for Teachers

There is a lot of research out there indicating what's best for our students.  John Hattie sums up his research by providing his Golden Rules for Teachers in this video:


3 Act Math Tasks - Robert Kaplinsky

3 Act Math should have a place in every math classroom.  The toughest part is getting started.  Thanks to educators like Dan Meyers there are growing resources that are readily available to use.  Another educator that I would like to highlight is Robert Kaplinsky (@RobertKaplinsky). Robert has been in education since 2003 and has a very impressive resume including instructing at UCLA.  Robert has his own website where he offers a number of lessons that follow a 3 Act Math Task format.  The lessons do follow the United States math curriculum, but are easily filtered by either grade level or math strand.  Each lesson comes complete with images or videos and a script to follow.  Enjoy!

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Math with Matthew

Dr. Matthew Beyranevand is the K-12 Mathematics and Science Coordinator for the Chelmsford Public Schools. Through his website (Math with Matthew), Matthew provides visitors with podcasts, music videos, educational resources, and a video blog. Matthew is currently an active user of Twitter, Facebook, Periscope, and Instagram to get his message out to help improve student interest and engagement in mathematics.

I came across his website when looking I was looking for content to post for a previous discussion and felt that his site would be an excellent resource to share with everyone.  I originally was on his site listening to his podcasts about strategies for stronger student engagement but it doesn't end there.  There are a number of useful videos that could be used as a hook in classes ranging from elementary school to high school.  From what I've seen, he is active with his blog posts (May 18, 2016), his videos (latest April 3 2016), and is a member/supporter of the Global Math Project.  If that was not enough, Matthew is currently in his fourth season producing and hosting his public access television show "Math with Matthew" and recently completed a 16-month project for a pilot project of a "Bill Nye the Science Guy" style show featuring the Pythagorean theorem.

It's hard not to get motivated by this guy.  I hope you enjoy his stuff as much as I did!

In every mistake there is a potential for growth!


I personally am a big believer in productive failure. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s very important to co-construct learning goals and success criteria with our students.  They need a framework in order to show them where they are going academically. Goals and criteria paint a clear picture for the students of the teacher’s intended outcome.  They provide them with clear directions and examples (or rubrics) of what is expected, thus enabling students to feel more successful in their tasks and allows them to feel more in control.

BUT…don’t most of us learn by DOING?  Everybody makes mistakes and most successful people learn from those mistakes.  When all of the criteria are laid out for students, some of them may achieve the intended outcomes but many of them may not know how they got there.  In allowing for productive failure, students may not necessarily achieve the set learning goal initially but they do gain knowledge and understanding that may allow for them to reach that goal on their next try.

I read the following article which solidifies by point exactly.


We must help our students change their mathematical mindsets. Manu Kapur, a professor of psychological studies in Hong Kong has studied productive failure for years.  He says as teachers, we must provide students with tasks they won’t be able to solve but aren’t too difficult that they give up.  During and after their struggles is where the real teaching/learning occurs.  (His lesson design is outlined in the article)

I love Kapur’s quote “No matter how engaging, entertaining or logically structured the new information is, the novice by definition is not going to see the same thing as the expert in the presentation.” In letting the students explore, question and converse with each other on mathematical problems, not only does everyone have an opportunity to participate irrespective of their mathematical ability, but the students increase their knowledge and understanding as a whole. In every mistake there is the potential for growth!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Making Math Happen Workshop

I attended a math workshop today in our district entitled Making Math Happen presented by Vera Teschow.  We had such an interesting day thanks to Vera.  I learned a lot of new ideas that I could bring into the classroom as an OT or for a longer term capacity.  Here was one of my favourite activities.

We were given an 8.5x8.5 sheet of blank paper and an instruction sheet (below).


We were asked to fold the blank piece of paper into different sized shapes, for example, make a square that is half the size of the original piece of paper.  We had to take pictures of each step along the way using our phones.  Then when we had everything finished we used an app called Flipagram and were able to post and showcase our work - take a look!  https://flipagram.com/f/qHnEuO0lqk

This was the first time I had used Flipagram and it was very easy and intuitive to use.  I could see this being a great activity to use as an OT because it requires little set up (instruction sheet, and photocopy paper, tablets or phones).  Students could show their work using flipagram and email it to you or post it on a Padlet.  Should the tablets or computers not be available in the class, you could still do this activity but just create booklets out of the "scrap" pieces of paper that were cut off to make the 8.5x8.5 sheets initially.  Great activity, thank you so much for sharing Vera Teschow!

Monday, May 30, 2016

A Pintermediate Classroom


A Pintermediate Classroom:

(Pinterest in the Intermediate Classroom)

Coming from an elementary school background, I have come to rely on fun and engaging ways to teach and have students 'do' math. Having hands-on and active math classes has worked tremendously well in my elementary and junior classrooms. One particular source for finding engaging and relevant activities, colourful and meaningful chart ideas, as well as many other teacher resources, has been Pinterest.

At first, I thought that students in an intermediate classroom were too old for this colourful, hands-on learning. Were they still interested in playing with manipulatives and having interesting colourful posters on their walls? Well, just today in the staff room a coworker noted that her son’s grade ten classroom was very ‘grey’ - the walls, the charts, the blackboard with white chalk, everything was monotone. She said he feels "tired" in class and that it's all just so "boring" - his words, not mine. This got me thinking, and the more I think about it, and the more I search Pinterest, the more I come to know that intermediate students need this splash of colour on the walls and fun in their math classes too!

I resolved right then that I would find at least five fun things on Pinterest that I could use in my intermediate classroom that would be relevant, engaging, colourful, and useful :)

Here are my five picks. Have you found any great posts on Pinterest??


Stained Glass Windows for Linear Relations!
I might add colour, but the idea is great!
Students already know which number goes where on the clock.
This just reinforces it :)


Who doesn't love a good #hashtag?

I will forever think of Selfie's differently now!

I don't think interactive notebooks ever go out of style ;)