Today was a quiz and research day, not the most exciting to blog about, but we are starting to have puzzle Wednesdays, where students learn a new Math puzzle. Once we have a few in our repertoire, students will be able to choose one of their own liking. Today was the Ken-Ken. If you have never done a Ken-Ken, you need to change that. They combine the same logic and reasoning of Sudoku with some basic math operations. It also becomes a moderate intro into basic algebra. Can't beat Ken-Ken in my opinion.
Today I had students review for a quiz via a boot camp. It included an aspect of Kate's awesome "Add 'em up." Students had to practice their visual addition and subtraction of integers (right, still working on it), and then run up to me to see if they got the total of their answers correct. If they don't they review their work, to see where it all went wrong. I love this, because they work forward and backward through their reasoning process. It's awesome!
Our school has really taken on learning targets as a professional practice. I was skeptical at first, but I do like how they inform students of the what, and some of the whys behind what we do in the classroom. The place that I see them even more powerful is in students directing their own learning. Here is an example of a students personal learning targets for her writing project. It is a great example, of how to set goals, and to see the value of accomplishing those goals.
Yeah, so last week was crazy! We had cross country running, parent teacher conferences, professional development, and somewhere in all of that I found the chance to meet up with the incredible Geoff Krall, he got to try a Canadian tradition, poutine. In that time I also got the chance to flex my three act muscle in a humanities context. Here is the changing borders of Egypt, what questions does this present. Here is one sample of student questions.
We worked through a questioning technique presented by Quentin Flokstra and it was a glorious struggle for students to develop questions and tweak them. These are now going to be their focus for the coming weeks in researching about Egyptian society.
If you click that image you will be transported to an incredible resource for math assessment and problem solving. We all know I love integers. Like so many things in math I get tired of their not being a context for what we are doing, but integers should definitely have a context. Whether it is debt, temperature, direction, that context is so important. Next year I will probably begin with this, but I am still not so sure. Students really struggled with this though, and it means I have a lot of work to do at unpacking this with them. We will see how it works.
Today we had a lot of students away for soccer. I saw it as a great opportunity to have students learn while still having fun. They did awesome with tangrams! They are so difficult for some of these kids, but it was great to see them persevere through the problem solving. That is a big theme in my class this year. I am so excited that our BC Curriculum is finally including, and acknowledging this branch of the mathematical world into our curriculum. We will be coming back to this!
So much of what I do in a day is making students feel welcome and appreciated. One thing I sorely lacked in over the years was birthdays. I never remembered them, and I never had something ready. I am now very honest with my students that I want to honour them and their birth (which is weird when you say it like that), and yet I forget, and need to do something. When I am told it is someone's birthday we usually sing "Happy Birthday" and it often sounds terrible. I got tired of that quick, so what I have started doing is singing a "version" of Happy Birthday to them in a genre. Any genre of their choosing. So far to date I have don't Elvis, the Biebs, Heavy Metal Opera, Country, and today was Gregorian Chant. I did videotape it, and no you do not get to see it. Not because I am embarassed (I am totes proud of my awesome pipes), BUT it has student names and faces, and I don't feel comfortable with that, but you can just imagine how awesome I am. Just think Boccelli meets Bon Jovi. You got it!
This post does not contain a fun little picture, because I forgot. Forgive me already.
I try to do (to the best of my ability) a good job at a lot of subjects: all of the ones I teach, actually. I leave behind science and art, because I don't teach them, so I feel I don't need to perfect those yet. In all subjects I try to adopt an inquiry approach, and have students do rather than sit and listen. I don't always get it right, but I am constantly moving onward. French has always been that subject that I feel is not a very inquiry based course. You either know words or you don't. That is why I have really attached to the AIM program. I have friends who hate it, but I have loved it, and I feel it is the only way I can truly teach French.
If you are unaware of AIM, it basically teaches students French through gestures (similar to but not sign language), and therefore students stay in the target language (French, but it is also available for Spanish). I love this, because students are listening to and looking for patterns all the time that they are in French class. It takes a lot of effort, and energy, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
This was the amazing sunset I got to see on my way to the great US of A. Our school went to a convention before our great Thanksgiving holiday commences. Instead of writing about it though specifically I felt like creating a list.
Things I don't like at conventions
Things I like at conventions
There is much more to be said, but I'm about to go on the ferry. Happy Thanksgiving.
* if you can't tell that most of these things are facetious, there is nothing I can do for you.
Video edited by my awesome colleague Eric!
I love a good assembly. Don't worry though, I hate a bad one too! I have to give credit to the Earth Rangers, they really engaged the students, and I hope that there were some students who thoroughly encouraged to be stewards of our world. This was a good way to get ready for a long weekend. Time for rest...
If you have never heard of a 180 blog, let me fill you in. #teach180 is all about sharing your daily life in teaching. It is a way of small form blogging, reflecting on what you are doing, and sharing with the world. Check out these...