Student Generated Tutorials

My vision, which coincides beautifully with the direction of my school board, is to provide opportunities that are innovative and creative in order to deepen student understanding of mathematical concepts.  I recognize the power of using technology to engage students – my ongoing inquiry is how to harness this engagement to enhance and deepen learning rather than simply replace paper/pencil tasks with an electronic twin.  I attended a conference once where a speaker said, “A worksheet on a tablet is still a worksheet.”  That really stuck with me.  I have been experimenting with Explain Everything which is an interactive white board app.  The beauty of this is that it allows for students to demonstrate their thinking both visually and orally.

My most recent adventure into this learning is having some grade 6 students create tutorials that their peers can access if they are absent or would like to review a math concept.  This allows these students to share their thinking with a creative spin on it.  It deepens their own understanding while enriching their communication skills.  A huge bang for your buck indeed!

Stay tuned for a sample tutorial…..



Growth Mindset

At our latest PD Day, we spent some time investigating Growth Mindset.  It’s so interesting for me to personally reflect on life experiences and consider my own mindset – both as a student and a teacher.  As a math fanatic, it saddens me when I hear things like “I’m not a math person” or “I was never good at math” or “Math wasn’t my thing, so I get why my child doesn’t like it either”.  There is not a math gene.  We are all mathematicians.  It is not only “super smart” kids who are good at math.  We need to emphasize math learning in the same way that we place importance on learning to read and write.  We need to foster a growth mindset in our students and our teachers to ensure we are not closing door that needn’t be closed for our students.

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Finding Common Denominators

First of all, I know how to find a common denominator; however, what I did not realize was why I was multiplying the top and the bottom by the same number.  I was always just told to do the same thing to the top as you do to the bottom and it just works.  Why?

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Well folks, here it is!  Turns out that you are simply rewriting the fraction after multiplying it by one.  We all know that any number multiplied by 1 is equal to the original number.  In the example above, my multiplier of one could be written as 5 over 5.  Growing up, it would likely have been more helpful if the notation matched the concept – why not write it as that instead of little arrows with multiplication?