Math Storytime App: Talking Math with Your Kids

When I started this blog, I had no children of my own but spent lots of time talking math with the children of my friends. This talk began to pop up more frequently on my twitter feed as well in posts. Now that I have children of my own, I am wholly invested in the project of talking mathematics with them (whether they notice it or not). This has resulted in many moments of surprise and delight, and continues to fuel my interest in the roots of mathematical learning (far before I get to see them in secondary school).  About …

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Desmos Art Project

This semester I gave my Grade 12s a term project to practice function transformations. I began by sourcing the #MTBoS to see who had ventured down this road before. Luckily, several had and they had great advice regarding how to structure the task. I use Desmos regularly in class, so it was not a huge stretch for them to pick up the tool. I did show them how to restrict domain and range (although most of them stuck exclusively to domain). I gave them the project as we began to talk about function transformations, and they had 3.5 months to …

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Desmosification: Building Custom Parabolas

After an emoji was named 2015 Oxford Dictionary word of the year, I am holding out hope for next years’ candidate:des-mo-si-fy/dez-MOH-suh-fahy/verb1.   to transform the condition, nature, or character of a classroom activity using Desmos.Starting with a Dan Meyer post, the art of infusing dynamic software into student activities changes the ways that students encounter abstract, functional relationships in mathematics. Desmos’ activity builder gives teachers an extremely user friendly platform to create tasks that move students through semi-structured lines of inquiry. I decided to start with a task that I already liked.Before:I like to spend a few days at the beginning of …

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Teacher Hack: iPads in Exams

My department has a set of 10 iPads for mathematics instruction. I use them primarily for the powers of Desmos. When I introduce teachers to the program, they get excited about the possibilities, but are immediately worried about one thing: How is it used in exams? While this may be a tad short-sighted, it is a legitimate concern. Teachers simply don’t have the resources to constantly be monitoring a class of students to be sure that they are not accessing the internet or communicating with each other (which is fairly easily fixed in settings). The greatest part of iPad technology is …

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Digitizing Exit Slips

I’ve tried many forms of student written reflection in my classroom. No matter the format, I have always phased them out due to the administrative details and increased time burden. I liked the idea of having students reflecting on their learning, and believe in the benefits of writing across all curricular areas. What I needed was an easy way to orchestrate the process.  It needed to be easy for me to access and for students to complete. Here is what I’ve come up with, and the results have been great: I used my google account to set up a Google …

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Ambiguous Case Vines

We all live in a consumer’s world, and we do an amazing job at acting entitled. These two factors have culminated in the invention of Vine–an app used to create six second, looping video clips.Yet another way in which students can create, share, and network around media. Unfortunately, I feel like my students don’t often have an attention span longer than a Vine video.In my opinion, Vine has two qualities that make it an interesting tool for math education. Stop motion video capabilities allows students to quickly see what might otherwise be acted out or verbally described by the teacher. …

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YouTube Relations

My goal this semester was to continue to improve my use of formative assessment (largely through the use of whiteboarding) and expand the role of Project-Based Learning in my classroom. Up to this point, I have developed a wide-scale PBL framework for an applied stream of math we have in the province called Workplace and Apprenticeship Math. Those specific topics lend themselves very well to the methodology; they are a natural fit for PBL. I am still looking for ways to branch the intangibles from PBL into a more abstract strand of mathematics–one that includes relations, exponents, functions, trig, etc. I …

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Project-Based Pitfalls

Those of you who follow me on twitter or read this blog regularly know I have been struggling to implement wide scale Project-based Learning (PBL) into my Workplace and Apprenticeship mathematics courses. This strand of classes is probably unfamiliar to those outside of Western Canada. I have included a link to our provincial curriculum below. You can skip to the outcomes and indicators to view which topics need to be addressed. (Page 33) http://www.education.gov.sk.ca/CURR/workplace-apprenticeship-math-10 Let me start out by saying that I think this is an excellent direction for high school mathematics. Some powers-that-be in Saskatchewan would like to see …

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Polling in Math Class

This past Monday I attended a professional development focused around technological infusion into our teaching. I will be the first to admit that this topic is not often tailored toward the math teachers in the building. In the morning, virtual classrooms and movie making dominated the discussions. I didn’t see the implications for my mathematics classroom, until the afternoon. A facilitator introduced me to the SMS text messaging technology of polling.I had first heard of the idea in university when certain classes included a “clicker” in the required materials. In my case, a biology professor could ask a question and …

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Linear Functions With a Bang

Many teachers tell me that it is their creativity that limits their ability to be adaptive in the classroom. Somehow the “reform” movement (or should I say re-movement) has pigeon-holed itself into a connotation where high-energy teachers give vague tasks to groups of interested students. Out of all this, curricular outcomes explode in no particular order. This can’t be further from the truth. In my view, the biggest steps toward changing student learning is changing teacher perception.When presented with a topic to cover, there are two dominant ends of the Math-Ed spectrum. First, you have the transmission approach which carefully …

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