Sunday, December 4, 2011

Powerful Anit-Bullying Video

Anti-Bullying messages are everywhere... some have a bigger impact than others - this one touched me.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pumpkin Pi!!!

Solving Equations BINGO on the SmartBoard

Download the Linear Equations BINGO SmartBoard file here.
Print off the BINGO card here.

BINGO Instructions:
1. Give each student a blank BINGO card.
2. The notebook file will instruct them to fill up their card with any 24 of the answers listed.
3. Solve linear equations with the students.  You can do this in groups, as a class, or go row by row.  Your choice!
4. If the answer is on their BINGO card, they can check it off (or colour the box in if they are only playing once). 
5. I play one line, two lines, then full card.

The questions start with solving one-step linear equations, then gradually get harder (two-step and multi-step).

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Trig Ratio Foldable

Here's a Trig Ratio Foldable your students can make! 

1. Fold your paper lengthwise leaving 3/4" at the bottom for your title "Trig Ratios" (optional).  I prefold these for each student and hole punch them beforehand.
2. Have students fold their sheet so they have three sections (as pictured).
3. Make 2 cuts along their fold lines so they now have 3 book flaps.
4. Have students put the titles on the front.  I usually demonstrate on the SMARTBoard.
5. Distribute the Trig Ratio Triangles sheet.  I have made a pdf that has two sets of triangles per sheet.  You can download it below!
6. Students will cut out each triangle.  The "Finding a Side" triangles will go along the top while the "Finding an Angle" triangles will go along the bottom.  Students will need to determine which triangles can be solved using each of the Sine, Cosine, and Tangent Ratios and glue them on the appropriate flap.  Move around the room making sure each student has glued the triangles in the appropriate spot.
7. Give the students time to solve each triangle and take up as a class.

Download your free Trig Ratio Triangles here!

Assessment FOR, AS, and OF Learning

Assessment FOR, AS, and OF Learning is outlined in the Ontario Ministry of Education's document titled "Growing Success".

Here is a summary of the initiative:
Assessment FOR Learning
  • The ongoing process of gathering and interpreting evidence about student learning for the purpose of determining where students are in the learning, where they need to go, and how best to get there.
  • EXAMPLES - Assignments, descriptive feedback, quizzes, observations, four corner activities, checklists, using whiteboards, etc.
Assessment AS Learning
  • The process of developing and supporting student metacognition.  Students are actively engaged in the assessment process: that is, they monitor their own learning, use assessment feedback from the teacher, self and peers to determine next steps, and set individual learning goals.
  • EXAMPLES - Students looking at exemplars, thumbs up thumbs down, reflecting on how they worked in their group.
  • The GOAL of assessment as learning is to help students become independent learners with individual goals.  It is a way for them to monitor and reflect on their own progress.
Assessment OF Learning
  • The process of collecting and interpreting evidence for the purpose of summarizing learning at a given point in time, to make judgments about the quality of student learning on the basis of established criteria, and to assign a value to represent that quality.  The information gathered may be used to communicate the students' achievement to parents, other teachers, students themselves, and others.  It occurs at or near the end of a learning cycle.
  • EXAMPLES - Chapter tests or assignments, culminating tasks, and/or examinations.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Why Our Kids Fall Behind in Math

Check out this article written by Anna Stokkes in the Winnipeg Free Press addressing some concerns about mathematics in today's classroom!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Introduction to Imperial Units Cut & Paste

This is a great introduction to the Imperial Measurement System. 

Students will cut out various units of Imperial Measure (teaspoon, tablespoon, fluid ounce, cup, pint, quart, gallon, inch, foot, yard, mile, ounce, pound & Fahrenheit) and paste them under the appropriate headings (Length, weight, capacity, temperature).

They are also asked to provide an example of when each unit is used.

Download the worksheet free here!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Fraction Review Cut & Paste Activity

A fun review of fractions!
I give students 6 fractions to work with.  Students work in pairs to complete the worksheet.

They are asked to order the fractions from least to greatest by pasting them on their worksheet.
Then they will add two of the fractions, multiply two of the fractions, and finally divide the last two fractions.

Here is the link for the worksheet AND the fractions that I cut up and distribute.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Fraction Review Sheet

The first day of school is quickly approaching and a review of fractions is always beneficial to students after a long break.  I will be going over this sheet with them and then give them some practice during the first week of school.

This review covers:
  • Converting Mixed Fractions to Improper Fractions
  • Converting Improper Fractions to Mixed Fractions
  • Adding Fractions
  • Subtracting Fraction
  • Multiplying Fractions
  • Dividing Fractions

You can download this fraction review sheet here  :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Math T-Shirt

I have a new math t-shirt design out!  I am having WAY TOO MUCH fun creating these t-shirts  :)
Click here to see my other designs.

Google Doodle remembers Pierre de Fermat

Happy 410th Birthday Pierre de Fermat!

Fermat's Last Theorem states that an + bn  cn     ,when n > 2.  Fermat's fame grew because he had scribbled the theorem in a book margin and never provided the proof (stating it was too large to fit on the page).  After 4 centuries, the proof was eventually published in 1995 by Sir Andrew Wiles.

Kudos to Google for spotlighting Pierre de Fermat, however it would be great to introduce the world to some current mathematicians and their research.  How 'bout it Google?    :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Joke of the Day!

Exponential Graphs - Bouncing Ball Investigation

MBF 3C - Grade 11 College Math

Lesson Objective: Students will cooperatively explore exponential relations during an experiment with a bouncy ball. 

What you'll need:
  • Bouncy Balls
  • Recording Sheet
  • Measuring tape, metre sticks
  • Pencils, calculator, graph paper, graphing calculator
  • small post-it (sticky) markers or note
 Lesson Outline:

  • In groups, students will complete the bouncing ball experiment.  This activity would appeal to students with an Interpersonal (connection & cooperative learning) and students with a Self-Expressive learning style (visualization, exploration).   
  • Students will compare their graphs with those of both linear and quadratic equations. 
  • Class discussion on the results of the experiment

  • To download the Exponential Graph Bouncing Ball Investigation Click here!

What is Formative Assessment?

There is currently a huge focus on formative assessment in schools across Ontario.  Instructional strategies for formative assessment include pretests, observations, feedback, questioning strategies, self and peer assessment, and student record keeping.

Formative assessment can be used to:
  • Enhance Motivation to learn
  • Help students identify gaps in knowledge
  • Foster self-study
  • Clarify desired outcomes
  • Diagnose specific misunderstandings
  • Allow students to make adjustments to what and how they are learning
The Teaching Doctor (2008)
            Formative assessment is important because we, as teachers, need to know how our students are progressing or what they are having difficulties with so that we can adapt our lessons and teaching strategies appropriately (Black & Wiliam, 1998).  We cannot wait for the summative assessment at the end of the unit because by then we will be moving on to a new topic. 

Black and Wiliam, 1998, suggest the following ways of improving formative assessment:
  • Self esteem of pupils (providing feedback, advice)
  • Self and peer assessment by pupils (understanding the main purpose of their learning thereby grasping what they need to do in order to achieve)
  • Evolution of effective teaching (justifiable tasks, discussions, observations, listening)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Monday, August 8, 2011

The day I discovered Math Foldables ....

.... and this is what my table looks like.  I'M HOOKED!!!!

Question 1 - WHY have I never seen these before?
Question 2 - WHY have I never heard of these before?

I discovered math foldables by stumbling across Mr. Surti's website.    The activities and Resources he has listed for MFM 2P (Grade 10 math applied) drew me in immediately.  His ideas on incorporating differentiated Instruction into this course are amazing.

As I investigated further into math foldables I discovered a woman named Dinah Zike who has published many books on topic.  You can view Dinah Zike's Teaching Mathematics With Foldables here!

I ordered Dinah Zike's Big Book Of Math (Middle School & High School) from Amazon and am anxiously awaiting it's arrival.  

I will start posting instructions on how to make these foldables periodically.  If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

MPM1D Exam Review 3: Geometric Relations, Measurement Relationships, Optimization

This Review Covers:
Geometric Relations
Solving for angles in a triangle/quadrilateral
Measurement Relationships
Pythagorean Theorem
Permimeter and Area of Composite Figures
Surface Area
Maximizing Area
Minimizing Surface Area
Maximizing Volume

Download the Geometric Relations, Measurement Relationships, and Optimization Review Worksheet here.

MPM1D Exam Review 2: Relations, Linear Relations

This Review Covers:
Linear Relations
Modeling With Graphs
Determining the equation of a line using slope and intercepts.

Download the Relations, Linear Relations Review Worksheet here.

MPM1D Exam Review 1: Exponent Rules, Polynomials, Solving Equations

This Review covers:
Product Rule
Quotient Rule
Power of a Power Rule
Distributive Property
Solving Simple Equations
Solving Multi-Step Equations
Solving Equations Involving Fractions

Download the Exponent Rules, Polynomials, and Solving Equations Review Worksheet here.

Why was the math book so sad?

Because it had SO many problems!

And the best free math app is...........

....... according to my 7 year old..... (drumroll)........

Rocket Math Free - Dan Russel-Pinson

Rocket Math combines fun and learning elements in a unique way.  The player builds a rocket and blasts it off solving problems before the rocket comes crashing down.  My son laughed hysterically each time the rocket would bounce and fly around.  You can choose to solve problems related to time, money, and shapes as well as the usual add/sub/mult/div.

From a parent's perspective, it is one of the few free math apps that really incorporates a fun game into learning.  Most of the apps were basic number sense practice with graphics which is great for kids looking to practice their math skills.  Our goal however, was to find an app children would want to play without realizing how much learning was taking place.

Our second favourite app was Pop Math Lite.  My son didn't get into it as much as Rocket Math BUT the graphics are great and it's an excellent app if you're looking to practice number skills.

Puppy Math Bingo was another app with a game concept, however, the only Bingo you can play with the free version is subtraction.

I'm going to assume that most of the math apps will be deleted from my son's IPod, but I'm hoping a couple of them make the cut!  Seeing him turn on Rocket Math in a couple of weeks without me asking him to, would definitely make my day   :)

We might have to try some of the 99 cent apps next time!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Free Kids Math App Review Part I

My 7 year old son saved up his money and recently bought his very own IPod Touch.  He is an excellent reader and right away was drawn to word apps such as Scrabble, Words With Friends, and now Hanging with Friends.  He is learning SO many new words and having a great time playing these games with other family members (It is almost embarrassing when he beats me in a game).

He likes the word apps because they are fun.  He has no idea how much learning is taking place during these "games" which amazes me.  This is what learning is all about at his age  :)

I am however, a little surprised at his lack of interest in any other type of app.  Yes, like most kids, he did have an Angry Bird addiction for a few weeks but these word apps seem to have staying power.  Today I realized that he's never asked me to install any type of math app.  I'm left wondering if there are any fun math apps out there that kids can play and enjoy - so here starts the experiment.

I have installed 9 free math apps on his IPod tonight.  I'm going to give him a week to test them out and I'll report back here.  I'm looking for an app with staying power.  One he will want to play for more than a few days before deleting it.  One that focuses on not only number sense but thinking and problem solving as well.  At first glance I see a lot of flash-card type apps but we shall see if any of them have successfully mixed fun with learning!

The apps I installed are (in no particular order)......

MathTappers: ClockMaster - HeavyLifters Network Ltd.
Clockmaster is a game to help children make the connection between hours and minutes and to help them become fluent in both reading and setting time on digital and analog clocks.

 Farmers Market - TabTale Ltd.
A rich and colorful upbeat children's game which introduces Numbers, Colors, Fruits and Vegetables in a fun and educational process.
Kids Math Fun - Kindergarten - NSC Partners LLC
This application encourages Kindergarten children to practice the addition of two single digit numbers, and the subtraction of two single digit numbers.

Mad Math Lite - Lunchbox Apps
Mad Math is perfect for kids to practice their addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts.  Students can even draw right on the flashcard!

Math Puppy Bingo Challenge - Kids Games Club
Math Puppy is designed with 3 difficulty levels and 5 game types that provide complete coverage of basic math skills for pre-school, elementary school, grade school and more.
Pop Math Lite - PopSoft
It is a fun way for kids to practice basic math:6 pairs of bubbles with numbers float on the screen above beautiful backgrounds.  Pop the right pairs that add to a specific sum.

Rocket Math Free - Dan Russel-Pinson
Math can be fun!  Build your very own rockets and fly them to the stars with Rocket Math!

Simple Math for Kids - iTech Developers
Easier than ever, children learn simple math such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

ArithmeTick Math Flash Cards - Pomegranate Software
How fast can you add and multiply?  Solve math problems against the clock!

Tune in next week for our review of these apps!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Assessment: Learning Skills and Work Habits

I know there are a few of these bouncing around the net somewhere but do you think I could find one when I was looking today?  I ended up making my own and thought I'd share just in case anyone else would like to use it  :)

You can download the pdf here. 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Grade 9 Optimization Review Sheet

This review / formula sheet covers:

  • Maximizing a rectangular area given its perimeter
  • Minimizing the surface area of a square-based prism
  • Maximizing the volume of a square-based prism
  • Maximizing the volume of a cylinder
  • Minimizing the surface area of a cylinder    
Click here to download (for free of course)

MAT1L Review Sheets

I thought I'd share my Grade 9 locally developed math work sheets.
I reviewed for 2 days before they started their culminating activity in lieu of exam.

The first day looks at: ( Click here)
Linear Measurements
Area and Volume

The second day reviews: ( Click here)
Ratio, Rate & Proportion

Saturday, June 4, 2011

I forgot my pencil!

What do you do with the students who come to class without a pencil?

I cannot count the number of students that come to class without anything to write with.  There are lots excuses for this including:
1. They simply forget.
2. They don't want to complete any work.
3. They want an excuse to leave class and go back to their locker.
4. They can't afford to buy supplies or have no way to get to a store.

Whatever their excuse is, we as teachers need to do our best to make sure that the "I don't have a pencil" disruption does not occur in the middle of our lesson.

Here are a few things you may want to try:

1. If the student cannot borrow one from someone, then they will have to copy their note out at lunch of after school.

2. Buy pencils in bulk or ask parents to send in a package of 10 pencils with their child at the beginning of the year.

3. Have a can on your desk where students can deposit $0.25 to buy a pencil from you.

4. Allow students to borrow pencils, but they must loan you something of theirs to ensure you get your pencil back.  (a shoe, Ipod, backpack, etc)

5. Check with the school janitors and custodians.  Some have a stash of pencils they've collected off of the floor that you could loan to your students.

6. Buy a large box of golf pencils... you know the ones!  They are cheap and students usually don't walk away with them.  I found a teacher that recommended this site to buy golf pencils for only $0.01 each! 

I find different solutions work in different classrooms.  Try a few out and see what works best with yours  :)

What do you do in your class?  I'd love to hear from you!

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Stumped Parents

I love this comic.  There are so many parents sitting with their child at the table this very minute who are shaking their heads at their child's homework.  As a parent, I know what it feels like to want your child to succeed and I can understand how frustrating it must be when they come to you with a math question that you don't know the answer to.

Don't feel bad parents!!!  There are many reasons why your head may be spinning at the site of something like parabolic transformations.  You may not be able to work out the solution with your child yourself, but here's what you CAN do:

1. If you just need to brush up on your math skills, take a look through the textbook, odds are there are some examples of the types of questions your child is working on and you may be able to learn together.  What a confidence builder for you both!

2. Hire a tutor or seek the help of a peer tutor.  A lot of students now need volunteer hours in order to graduate and this may be an opportunity students would love to take advantage of!

And here's my favourite 'goto' source.....

Technology has come A LONG way since I went to school.  The amount of information out there is absolutely astonishing.  I got my first computer when I was in grade 12.  We had dial up internet and my computer had a 500 mb Hard Drive.  It is unbelievable how far we've come since then and it can be a savior for parents trying to help their children with their math homework.

Here are a few places you can check out on the world wide web

YOUTUBE and TEACHERTUBE- Youtube and teachertube math lessons/tutorials are become increasingly popular with teachers, parents, and students. 
As of today, the youtube channel kahnacademy has 2346 videos posted with over 55 million views while another channel yourteachermathhelp has 677 videos posted with over 16 million views.  I do not endorse one channel over another but these are excellent examples of the online tutorials out there that you and your child can view and learn from together.

If I simply do a search on youtube for '"parabolic transformations" math lesson',
you will find the following videos
Transformation of Parabola  
Graphing Transformations of parabolas/quadratics  
Review Part 3: Quadratic Function: Tranformations of Functions 
Graphing Quadratic Functions - - Algebra Help

There are many websites where you can find math lessons and tutorials but here's a few links!

GOOGLE - Simply google the subject matter you are looking for help with.  If the question is about parabola transformations..... google "parabolic transformations help".  Yes, it's that easy!  If you aren't sure what to google, just take a look at the lesson title in their textbook or notes.

A final note to parents:
DO - Seek help whether it be from their teacher, a tutor, or online tutorial.

DON'T - Proclaim that your child's homework is 'stupid' and they will never have to use this in 'real' life.  You will only be increasing their math anxiety and creating a negative attitude about math in your child that they may in turn pass on to their children.

Leave a comment below if you have any links or resources you'd like to share about the topic and I'll add them into my post  :)

Here are a couple of Nintendo DS Games that can make learning fun for those avid video gamers.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Define Inspire


in·spire verb, -spired, -spir·ing.

–verb (used with object)
1. to fill with an animating, quickening, or exalting influence: His courage inspired his followers.
2. to produce or arouse (a feeling, thought, etc.): to inspire confidence in others.

Synonyms: affect, animate, arouse, be responsible for, carry, cause, commove, elate, embolden, endue, enkindle, enliven, exalt, excite, exhilarate, fire up, galvanize, get*, give impetus, give one an idea, give rise to, hearten, imbue, impress, infect, inflame, influence, inform, infuse, inspirit, instill, invigorate, motivate, occasion, produce, provoke, quicken, reassure, set up, spark, spur, start off, stir, strike, sway, touch, trigger, urge, work up 
Take a look at the synonyms for inspire.  Those words seems to encompass so much of what teaching is all about.  But how do we inspire out students?  Students that come from all walks of life.  Students who all have their preconceived notions of what life is about and how hard they have to work to achieve their goals.  Do they have goals?  dreams?  aspirations?  
I have spoken with students who have no desire to graduate and it truly pains me.  I have to wonder what events could lead any child to not aspire to finish school.  To not care.  Maybe it has just been ingrained in my mind that finishing school equals a greater chance of succeeding in a career, which in turn equals a better lifestyle and future.  Surely someone has informed these students of this undeniable fact.  Why are they choosing not to listen?
How can we as teachers inspire these students?  The ones that have never dared to dream or have just given up.  I'm hoping to find the answer to that question myself as I continue to grow and learn as a teacher.  I hope to learn from my readers through their shared experiences, just as much as I learn from my own.  To be continued......

Monday, May 16, 2011

TIPS for Success

Below I've listed 14 TIPS for success in mathematics.  You do not have to follow all of these tips, they just seemed important in my success.  I love organization and I think my organization in math drove my desire to learn.  Do note that different strategies may work for different people.  We all learn in our own way.
In Your Notebook

1. Print neatly and legibly.

2. Underline titles and dates with a ruler.

3. Use a pen for notes and teacher given examples and pencil for your practice work.  It will make looking back for specific notes and examples much easier.

4. Use a different coloured pen or pencil for the question numbers so they don't get lost in your work.

For example:   
                                                                                    pg. 28 # 1, 2, 4 & 7
        Simple Addition and Subtraction                                  Oct 22, 2009

        1.a)  2+3=5                1.b)  6+6=12

        1.c)  9-7=2                 1.d)  4-1=3

5. Take your time and do not skip steps.

6. Keep a page in the back of your notebook for important formulas and things to remember.  This will come in handy when studying for tests and your final exam. 

Studying for a Test

7. Review your notes

8. Complete the review using your text and notes

9. If you are having any difficulties, discuss them with your teacher.  Contrary to popular belief, your teacher wants you to do well on the test!

10. Try to complete the chapter test without your text and notes.  If you're stumped, look back in your notes and do an extra few questions of this type.

Taking a Test
11. Be prepared  Make sure you have a pencil, eraser, ruler, calculator, etc.

12. Review the test before beginning.

13. Write down all steps for each question.  Even if your final answer is wrong, you may get part marks for the correct work you’ve done.

14. Review and double check each question before handing in your test.   There is no prize for the person who hands in his/her test first. 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Make Your Own Counting Beads

Step by Step instructions on how to make your own counting beads!
You can also use this as an art project to make a class set.

What you'll need for each string of beads:
- 100 pony beads from a craft or department store (the holes inside the beads need to be big enough to string on 1/4" thick elastic)
- 3 feet of 1/4" thick elastic from a craft or fabric store
- scissors to cut the elastic

1. Tie a knot in one end of the elastic so the beads don't slip off.

2. Start stringing beads onto the elastic.  I chose to string the beads on in groups of ten, changing colours with each group.  You may choose to use all of the same colour.
3. Leave approximately 8 inches of elastic at the end before tying your second knot so that the beads have room to slide back and forth along the elastic.

Examples of their use:
Children can use the counting beads to practice counting and addition.  In this picture, students were asked to use their beads to show 5 + 2

When they push the beads together, they can now count the 7 beads to discover 5 + 2 = 7.

Students can also experiment with division (and multiplication).  In this example we are going to ask the student to divide these 12 beads in 4 equal groups.  They have now discovered that 12/4 = 3.

Try to look for beads similar to these.  Easy to string (even with little fingers)  ;)