Visualizing Fractions at Viscount Montgomery

I always try to have my posts revolve around anything innovative that could support student math learning.

I had the pleasure of working in Ms. Weston’s 6/7 room during which she was helping them to visualize fractions and use models to show their thinking.  I worked with a group that used erasable markers on the desk top.  I loved this as they felt comfortable taking risks and making alterations to their work.  What seems like such a small measure actually contributes to an environment that is inviting and safe for students.

In addition to this, I witnessed the textbook being used in an effective manner.  Ms. Weston used one problem from the textbook to reinforce the learning and consolidate student understanding.  I could see from my work with the students that they had a good understanding of the lesson from the day by observing and listening as they worked on only ONE question.  Do you need to have students do pages and pages of the same types of questions?  Thoughts?


ETFO OT Workshops

I’m really excited to be back at work after a lengthy absence with a terribly awkwardly broken leg!  I’m happy to report that I’m feeling about 80% recovered.  Despite this, I’m hitting the ground running (well figuratively).  I will be travelling all over the province over the course of the next few months to deliver workshops to Occasional Teachers.  I did this last school year as well.  While the previous workshops were very well received, I want to make certain that I’m bringing current and relevant content to the teachers that I will work with.  That being said, what is it that OT’s need?  What can I bring to them to ensure that they are getting the best bang for their buck on their day of PD?  I’d love to hear from you.

Number Talks

If you are part of HWDSB, and haven’t already heard, you’ll begin hearing rumblings about Number Talks by Sherry Parrish.  It’s not a new concept if you are familiar with Strings by Cathy Fosnot or Cluster Problems by Van de Walle.  It is, however, a very teacher friendly resource that maps out the process beautifully and simply.  The focus of such a program is mental math skills which is something that teachers frequently voice as being an area of student weakness.  The beauty of such a concept is that it requires 10 minutes a day and has proven to be very engaging for students.  With the new mandate of 60 minutes of math per day (previously 300 week, but didn’t specify that had to be 60 minutes each day), I got to thinking.  Most of us have 50 minute periods on balanced day.  My idea is that a teacher use a Number Talk outside of the 50 minute math period.  For example, teachers may wish to begin each day with their Number Talk for 10 minutes, or maybe after nutrition break each day, or whenever it fits in their schedule.  The regular math program can still exist within the regular time slot and voila, there’s your 60 minutes and it’s 60 minutes of real, meaningful math.  Doing a Number Talk will give you far more bang for your buck than having your students do calendar or drill sheets.  To read more about this amazing resource, see below:

It must be love!

Here I am, on summer vacation, 12:39 a.m. on a Monday night, and I find myself working on a math workshop that I am doing next week.  I don’t need to be doing this now, but I got lost in it.  I started digging up some good problems to use, watching clips, reading articles, and actually solving some math problems (the most fun).  The minutes turned into hours, and frankly, if common sense wasn’t sending me to bed shortly, I’d happily do this all night.  I was concerned at one point that I didn’t have hobbies like many of my friends, no real interests or passions.  It has occurred to me recently that math is my hobby.  I am always happy to do it, learn about it, read about it, talk about it, promote it (shamelessly at times), just bask in it.  So, I’m off to bed, but only because I want to get up in the morning and start at it again.  It is true love.

Math in the World

In light of two separate, but tragic events of the past few days in Florida, I could see how this map could lend itself to some great thought provoking discussions in our older students.  So much math potential here.image

Data Driven Instruction

This is a link from a site that I have subscribed to called Math Coach Corner.  Each time I read something from this site, I have one of those moments (I’m not going to use the annoying term).  I love the concise nature of this post for explaining, in simplest terms, the process and purpose of assessment.  It really looks at task analysis and defining specific gaps.  Have a read.


Another Great Talk by Dan Meyer

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It’s no secret to anyone who knows me – I’m a fan.  I know, it may seem strange to be a fan of a math teacher, but Dan Meyer has really made me consider the intrigue and beauty of math in a nice guy, down to earth kind of way.  He’s taken the stodgy “academicness” out of math learning.  It’s light yet deep, fun yet meaningful.  Check out his latest talk and please share your thoughts.  A question to ponder is, “What do we mean when we say ‘real world’?”