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?

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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!


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Mastermind Game

Hi everyone,

Here is another great game that can be used in class:

Mastermind is an old board game that I used to play when I was younger. It's great to see that it is also available as a flash game that can be easily accessed anywhere. If you aren't familiar with mastermind, the instructions are as follows:

The object of this game is to guess the sequence of four colored pegs the computer has selected at random from the circled colors in the right field. You start filling the holes at the bottom row with pegs, and each time you have completed a guess (i.e. filled all four holes) the computer will respond by giving you one peg for each correct color - white if your guess was also in the right place, otherwise black. (But you will not be informed about which colors were correct. That part you will have to figure out for yourself.) If you haven't managed to guess the sequence by your 10th guess, the computer will reveal it to you and the game ends.

Mastermind proves to be a great way to get students into an algebraic state of mind as they have to use guess and check as well as substitution skills to arrive at the correct answer. This would be a resourceful and fun way to introduce students to algebra or simply guessing and checking.

Hope you find it useful!


Friday, May 12, 2017

3 Act Tasks

As you might already know I am a big Dan Meyer fan as I've already shared some of his videos in the class.  I was introduced to his ideas of picture problems 5 years ago when I participated in something called CLIM or Collaborative Learning in Math. Dan also has something called 3-Act Math Tasks. Here's an example of one that Dan did at Cambridge University.

3-Act tasks have changed my teaching practice. I don't do them everyday but I know when I do them my students super engaged. The purpose of 3-Act tasks are to engage the students in the entire problem solving process and immerse them in rich thinking activities that feel more real to them.  Dan Meyer has written about the how’s and why’s of 3-Act tasks.  He has also deconstructed the process with blog posts that even include video of his methods.  

He has also created a google doc of 3 Act tasks with US Common Core standards so you can sift through and figure out which ones will work for you.

Another educator Andrew Stadel has created this google sheet with some tasks.

Finally Kyle Pearce has some as well.

Try one out and let me know how it goes!


BEDMAS: Defeating a Dragon with Math

Hi everyone!

I was scrolling through the TED-Ed YouTube channel (which has great videos on so many topics!) when I came across this little gem! I've used TED-Ed videos as introductions to new units in my classes before, and the students love them! They get enough information to gain a little insight as to what they will be learning, but with fun animations and short and sweet explanations to keep them interested. I find that they're also a great way to wake up students and give them a chance to settle into class before the lesson actually starts, That way, they're ready to learn by the time the video is done!

This particular video is a cute introduction to BEDMAS (or PEDMAS, p for parentheses, as they use in the video), showing students how the operations work together to take down Puff, the Magic Digit Dragon. Watch it below! 

TED-Ed also has some great logic/math "riddles" in video form that I used with my students for "Fun Friday" every week during placements. They absolutely loved them! And I loved them because it got the wheels turning and their brains working before I got to the meat and potatoes of the lesson.Enjoy the video, and the many ore on this channel!



Sunday, May 7, 2017

Prodigy Math Game

Hi Everyone,

Here's a great little game that is free to use in your class and will help your students learn new concepts:

Prodigy Math Game

I'm a huge fan of this game as both a teacher and someone who loves video games. The game itself plays very similar to Pokemon which sees the players collect monsters that can be used to battle against one another all the while having students complete math equations!

Great for any classroom!

Dante G

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Mathematical Vibes

Sometimes math is hard and people give up... It's that simple.

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When people are asked their favourite subjects in school, they often say: physical education, art or English. On the other hand, many students tend to openly confess that they HATE math.... Math teachers often find this repulsive and don't understand the reasoning behind these students perceptions but let's debrief a little bit...

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  1. Many mathematical instruction has been taught through rote memorization in the past. Students might ask "why" but they are not given straight forward answers. These are the answers that they crave and seek. 
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2. It might also because students have never developed a strong attachment to the language or never saw the importance of math in their daily lives. Maybe they never enjoyed their math classes in the past and have memories of textbook questions and taking notes. BORING. Math is so much more fun and there are so many more exciting new ways that students can be engaged!
3. To top it all off, math is hard! You have to work hard at it in order to be successful and sometimes it is super frustrating when you don't get it! It is something that you have to work continuously hard at to get better. After all practice makes perfect. Therefore, when people start to stress out, they might label it as "hard" and "dumb."
    However, what if students saw the importance of the concepts of the problems that they were learning and their connection to real life problems? What if they were taught interactively and in a way that built off of different learning styles? What if each mathematical class built up their class as a community in order to help, support and celebrate the members of their class?

    Image result for what if clipartThese are a lot of "what ifs", but it is important to know, that teachers have the power to change the perceptions of math amongst their students. Sometimes students just need that extra care and attention in order to be successful. That extra push, the creation of interactive and rewarding mathematical games and the constant reference of the importance of each concept in our daily lives, is important for students in order to develop a stronger connection to the subject. The passion for different mathematical concepts is also important for students to witness. They need to know that the teacher appreciates what she/he is teaching and values the importance of the daily implications of mathematical problems and the success of his/her students.