Saturday, August 12, 2017

Class Summary

I have to be completely honest and say that what I learned in this course is more that I learned during Teacher's College. We looked at resources, practices, pedagogy, teaching strategies, assessment methods and more which were all geared towards the math curriculum, but most certainly does not limit us to the math curriculum. There is nothing we won't be able to use in our careers as teachers that we didn't learn in this course. I have never bookmarked so many pages in my Chrome browser as I have over the last 2 months. Everything we covered is transferable throughout the subjects and I am so grateful for that. I am excited to use the information I learned in this course in my science teachables and I am looking forward to the next course I take!

Friday, August 11, 2017


I saw this awhile back and thought it was quite relevant to this course and teaching. Millennials do get a bad rep and whether that is fair or not is up for debate. Simon brings up a lot of interesting points about this generation and why they act like they do. I have to admit that even though I am not technically considered a millennial I can be guilty of some of the things he talks about on occasion. As teachers it is important to understand our students, and since we will be teaching this generation we may as well educate ourselves more! Let me know what you guys think.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Mental Math

I work part time in retail during the year and I'm always finding new ways to calculate math in my head. It's a shame that students have resorted to using calculators all the time rather than challenging themselves to do simple math in their heads. I don't know about the rest of the world, but I certainly do believe that simple mental math needs to be a requirement in our schools. It's not very often that people in everyday jobs need to bust out their scientific calculator to do a calculation. The basic mathematical operations are really all we need to know for most jobs. If mental math becomes part of the curriculum again I know students will be far better off in their first jobs.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Collaboration in High School

I write this Blog as a question to my fellow educators asking for your knowledge on how much collaborating occurs in the average high school math class. But first, a bit of background information.

In the school I have spent my brief teaching career in thus far the teachers and principal love the idea of collaborating. This occurs as an entire school community, through team teaching, and in the individual class itself. I have grown to love this concept and have fully embraced it. For example, I love throwing in random problems of the week and have my students work in pairs to solve them. I love incorporating real world tasks for my students to solve, as I believe this will be beneficial in the workforce.

For those who enjoy throwing problems at their students in order to see teamwork and cooperation, here is the link to the university of waterloo's POW.

However, I recently heard one of my colleagues saying that we should put our intermediate students back into rows as this is how classrooms are set-up in high school. He also mentioned how high school is much more independent than elementary school (this was one of our resource teachers by the way). Because I don't teach high school and can't really recall accurately how we learned on a  day to day basis I was hoping to hear some feedback from any of the high school teachers associated with this AQ

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Asking Effective Questions and Problem Solving

Blog Post Two:
Asking Effective Questions and Problem Solving

In my experience teaching Grade 7/8 homeroom math this year, it was a constant challenge to have my students become effective problem solvers. I found the reasoning for this to be two fold. Many of my students lacked the decoding strategies that were necessary to deconstruct multi-step and comprehensive mathematical problems. In spite of obvious connections made to a specific skill or unit, and an considerable knowledge and understanding of mathematical processes, many students did not know how to determine what they were looking for and accordingly had to be walked through the process of determining what information was important to parse out from the task.

I was deeply committed to helping my students build these skills because I could empathaize with the frustration and confusion they were feeling when they were trying to solve a nuanced mathematical problem. Growth mindset is something that is extremely important to me and my relationship with math was far from ideal throughout high school. Only later in my involvement in education did I realize how FUN math can be.

Rich tasks allow students to ask rich questions and use an inquiry based model to develop mathematical strategies. One of the best tools that I have found to help students learn to approach problems with confidence is one that is question focused rather than problem focused. When students have the opportunity to develop their line of mathematical inquiry and through guided teaching, determine the  type of questions that should be asked, they are not only more engaged with the material, but are more aware of the process that they need to determine the most accurate answer.  Three Act Math actively encourages students to become conversant with mathematical questioning.  It uses positive reinforcement to help the students learn the types of questions that should be asked, how to communicate their mathematical thinking and how to achieve the desirable end result. This type of instruction brings real world problems to the forefront of math learning and encourages students to approach new tasks with a positive attitude and a questioning mind.

Blog Post One: Math Talks

Math Talks

Math talks help students actively develop new ways of thinking about numbers. Math talks encourage students to use their prior knowledge about math, make meaningful connections to mathematical problems and communicate their mathematical understanding in a clear and concise way.

Math talks are extremely accessible, help develop growth mindset, and allow for the participation of learners of all ability levels. One of my favourite Number Talk websites was developed by educator and mathematician, Mary Bourassa. The number talks she, and other collaborators have developed ask students to use their knowledge of number sense to determine which of four numbers does not belong.  What is amazing about this exercise is that ALL students, regardless and ability can engage in this type of rich and open discussion. Answers can be incredibly simple or more comprehensive and nuanced.

These talks are a great way of determining a students level of comfort with different curriculum strands, encourages class discussion and helps a teacher determine a students depth of mathematical understanding.

My "go-to" websites for Gr 7/8 Math

My "go-to" websites

This year, I have relied on a few amazing websites that help me to teach math in a more meaningful and interesting way. I thought I would share these sites with you! - If you haven't heard of this website already, you are missing out! This is a great place for teachers because they make math lessons that apply to real life! They supply you with lesson plans, iPad apps, book reviews and more! - This website provides you with virtual math manipulatives. Again, it is nicely organized by Grade and Topic, so it is easy for you to find what you are looking for. If you students are hesitant to use manipulatives, you can try using these virtual manipulatives! We know that students are always more engaged when technology is involved! - This website is great because it is organized by Grade and Topic. Your students can visit this website and practice a specific skill you are working on in class.

Youtube channels

Youtube channels for the 7/8 Math class

Today I would like to share a few Youtube channels that I have found to be useful in Grade 7 and 8 Math classes. I incorporate videos into my math lessons a lot and my students love them! Some of them are a bit cheesy but the kids really respond to them and the ideas in the videos stick with them! 

Check out the following channels:

If there are some other channels that you love, please let me know! 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Illuminations and Inquiry Maths

As we've already discovered throughout the course, there are many different websites that are very beneficial in the math classroom. When browsing the Internet, I cam across a website called Illuminations that offers many different math resources to teachers. There is library of virtual manipulatives : and these are resources that can be used in the classroom or for individual student purposes depending on the student's needs. This resources spans from kindergarten to grade 12 and there are many fantastic lessons, brain teasers (which provide great warm ups and hooks for math lessons), and many different games offered to each different curriculum big idea. 

Inquiry Maths is also another site that is perfect when teaching math in high school The site contains different question prompts that allow students to think critically and use their higher order thinking skills with mathematical concepts. The different prompts stem from Number prompts, algebra prompts, geometry prompts and statistic prompts. Teachers can also create their own prompts and use the assessment framework to guide their evaluation process. Ultimately, students are able to explore diverse paths related to mathematical concepts and the students takes responsibility of their learning. 

Math Drills!

Hi Everyone,

Here’s another great resource that can be integrated into the classroom:

This website contains lessons, worksheets and other useful tools all presented with a clean layout that is easy to navigate. What I like most about it is how organized the content is. Apart from each topic and unit of study being neatly divided, it also has a variety of extras that are incredibly useful in the classroom.

The Interactive Math section provides utilities such as flash cards, games and converters that can prove useful in the classroom. They also have a sections for accommodations such as the large print worksheets to help students who are visually impaired. What is also fun is they have a holiday section with worksheets that have various holiday themes for those festive times of year.

I hope everyone finds it helpful!


Monday, June 5, 2017

Mathematical Quotes

I'm a big believer in quotes helping to inspire students to always do their best. Sometimes students need that positive reinforcement or that extra "push", especially if they start to daydream in math class or get frustrated with their performance. Here are some quotes that I cam across that are some awesome math quotes that allow students to think about math in a different light or mathematical concepts in real life applications.

Grade 12 - Advanced Functions Connection (with limits)

Mathematics and Relationships

The Relationship with Math and other subjects (ex. science)

Positive and Open Mindsets in Math

Using humour in math

I am a huge fan of puns and jokes, I also believe humour is a great way to make connections with your students. I will see different math jokes pop up on Twitter, Instagram,
and Facebook and it got me thinking...

Image result for math humor

First it would be a fun Minds On activity to show them and ask them to explain the humour. Another activity that could be effective would be having students try to create their own jokes or puns based on learning in the classroom. Anyway here are a couple of my favourites and let me know if you think this idea would work!

Image result for math humorImage result for math humorImage result for math humor

Monday, May 29, 2017

Riddles to Start Your Day!

Hi Everyone,

Here’s a fun little website that can come in handy as a great starter to a class lesson:

The Math Riddle Section of the Math Warehouse provides a good selection of riddles that can be used in a class to kick start your students’ thinking. Riddle are always fun and are really helpful in getting all of your students focused, thinking and collaborating in class. Hope everyone enjoys the link and is able to integrate it into their lessons!



Sunday, May 28, 2017

Explain Everything the app

I came across this app when I was teaching a grade 1/2 split. We were using Educreations but it  just seemed limited in it could do. Here's a brief tutorial video of how to use Explain Everything:

Here is a video of it being used in a math classroom:

What I find amazing about his app is that often times they can be a struggle to explain mathematical thinking using a pencil and paper. This apps allows students to do this orally and use visuals as well. In terms of assessment this app is great because you can watch the videos later and even show the class someones thinking. But what really clinched it for me is student engagement. One of my grade 1s wasn't always engaged in learning activities blew my mind. We were studying 3D solids and their attributes, he took a picture of a square based pyramid and went on to describe the faces, vertices, and edges (including those hidden from view). When I showed the class his video his smile was so rewarding, he was so proud of what he did. Anyway if you haven't tried this app, give it a shot and let me know what you think of it.


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Another Great Math Game!

HI Everyone,

Here is another one of my favourite games that helps to encourage algebraic thinking:

This is a simple game that is a Windows staple that I have always really enjoyed. When you click on a square it will display a number underneath telling you how many mines that square is touching. Using the process of elimination, you are able to identify which spaces are mines and right-click on them to flag them. Continue doing this until the board is clear and you’ll win. Having the students go through this game is a great jump start to any class as it will encourage a way of thinking that is conducive with mathematics.

Hope you all enjoy it!


Monday, May 22, 2017

Showing the Importance of Math to our Students

As educators of math I think it’s very important to show our students daily the usefulness and purpose of math. Many of our students ask us, “Why do I need to know math? How will this ever help me in my future?” These questions are super important and demand a full explanation to our students rather than “because it’s important.” We need to give our students the answers to these questions and these can be done through multiple ways.  For example, we can get guest speakers to come in and talk to our students about the role math plays in their lives and job, we can stress the importance of every new concept before teaching it and the different cases the students will encounter this in their future. Another way is to show students TED talks and math clips!

As we know, math is only mandatory until grade 11. Afterwards, students have the choice if they are going to pursue it again. This is a video that I would show students in grade 11 in order to emphasize the importance math has in the world as they start to decide if this is something they are going to pursue next year.

Students need to know that the world is changing and mathematics has an important role in the changing world.  Math gives you the basis to do new things, make new discoveries and allows you to open yourself up to many different jobs such as a video game developer, research analyst, investment banker, physicist, foreign exchange trader, electrical engineer… Lots of companies want math majors because math provides a foundation for many sciences and other subjects. Therefore, as students are watching the clip they are able to see real people with real jobs and how they use math in their daily lives. Furthermore, the people talk about the realities of math and that math is hard! However, we shouldn’t shy away from the difficulties but rather approach them with an open mindset.

This is also another video that I like that highlights some of the fears and struggles of students in the math class. With Math I Can:

Students learn that math is everywhere and is a basic life skill and with hard work and the right mindset, they can grow and change the world.

Therefore, it is important to know that as educators, we will help form the impressions students have towards math. The best way is to promote the daily real-life applications of math, the opportunities it holds in our twenty-first century world and the success stories of individuals who have used their math to help others and themselves.


Sunday, May 21, 2017

Fidget Spinners in Math?

Fidget spinners, while initially designed to help students focus, are becoming such a distraction in classrooms that schools are beginning them unless a doctor's note is provided! But what if we could use this recent fad to help students with probability?

Image result for fidget spinner pngImage result for fidget spinner pngImage result for fidget spinner png

I was browsing Pinterest, and came across this pin. It is from another blog (erin*tegration, check it out!), but I loved this idea so I had to share it!

Fidget Spinners in the classroom driving you crazy? Try these high-interest activities, STEM challenges, and learn how to take a trend and turn it into a math and science lesson students will love. Includes a FREE download activity and printables for using fidget spinners in the classroom.:

Students each get a pie chart which they colour in. Then, they attach a little sticky arrow (from a post it note, paper and tape, etc) to one part of the spinner. They put the spinner in the center of the pie chart, and spin away, recording where the arrow is when it stops spinning! They can be asked to graph their final results, and compare with a partner.

This connects with the Grade 7 curriculum in Probability and Statistics:

  • select an appropriate type of graph to represent a set of data, graph the data using technology, and justify the choice of graph (i.e., from types of graphs already studied);
It could also be used as an extension to the following curriculum expectation if the students are excelling in this unit. Or, you could change the pie chart to be in two halves, and it fits this expectation perfectly!
  • perform a simple probability experiment involving two independent events, and compare the experimental probability with the theoretical probability of a specific outcome 
In all, fidget spinners don't have to be a negative thing in the classroom! Use something students are interested in to assist their learning, and everyone will be happy!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Different Assessments in High School Math

When looking at Assessment of learning more in-depth in the math classroom, many of us can probably say that we use the traditional “test” to assess our students learning. However, we have many diverse learning needs amongst our students in the classroom and we should offer different learning options for them in order to assess their learning. Here are a few ideas I’ve brainstormed below:

Have students start with a basic math problem where students can demonstrate what they’ve learned throughout the unit. The student can have 60-75 minutes to complete this task in which they will use their Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) in order to demonstrate a limited, some, considerable or exceptional knowledge on the material. This can also be transferred to the different categories depending on the question.

Students can also have the option to create their own poster, collage or scrapbook based of the important terms that were discussed this unit. Great opportunity for visual and hands-on learners!

Students could even get creative be creating a video or a song to depict a certain element in the unit. They could be asked to explain what they learned in a creative way that someone who doesn’t know about the concept, will have a more in-depth concept after listening or watching it.

Open questions!! Provide students with an open question that can extend into the different areas studied throughout the unit. Students will then be able to answer the open question by touching on these different areas. They can show this through multiple ways including a written answer, a mathematical solution, a diagram, chart, graph or drawing.

Students could also create a presentation including the big themes that they learned from the different lessons in the unit and one slide for each concept. They can explain the concepts giving their own real-life applications and examples that are different from their notes.

Students could also create their own concept map based on a unit and have the elements of the unit all connected in some way in order to provide a visual of the importance of all of these elements and how they connect.

As you can see, the options are limitless! Take a chance and assess differently, I’m sure your students will enjoy it!