Monday, August 17, 2015

Hitting the Math Trails

Math trails are math field trips, and they make math fun and relevant for students. Math trails allow students to realize that math is everywhere around them, in their life and their surroundings. Math trails do not require travelling to a distant location by bus, since they can easily take place at a local landmark. This is an example of a math trail I created for grade 9 math students, set in a Community Centre within walking distance from their secondary school in Oakville (Ontario). This is my first attempt at a math trail and I do not claim to be an expert. This link provides some excellent resources if you would like more information and examples of math trails.

Elementary students can also enjoy the fun of math trails. I found this excellent article on math trails for elementary students. They provide an example of math trail set up within the school grounds. Teachers can design simple math trails by creating tasks that involve finding shapes, patterns, counting, estimating, measuring, etc. that are based on their physical environment. Math trail are all about making math relevant and exciting to students. Please share your math trail experiences in the comment section below, and feel free to try my math trail with your students.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

How to flip lessons in a Junior Class

You cannot really have a flipped classroom with elementary students for various practical reasons. However, teachers can a do flipped lesson. During a flipped lesson, students have a “lesson” at home instead of homework. The flipped lesson is usually in the form of a video, but it can also be a text to read or a podcast to listen to. Following the flipped lesson, during school time, students work on enrichment activities based on the lesson. In a Junior class, many students will not have easy computer access at home, so teachers could set up a station in the classroom where students can watch the video at some point during the day. Sending i-pads home may be tricky if parents do not want their kids using the internet. It would help if teachers post the video link on their teacher's website so that parents can access it more easily. Teachers should ensure that the Junior students have ample time to do the flipped lesson before the classroom follow-up, at least several days.

I wanted to share this blog resource from Jon Bergman, one of the founders of the flipped movement, that I found useful for my attempt at a flipped Junior lesson: The link to my flipped junior lesson is here. It is a Ontario grade 6 science lesson on electricity generation in Canada. As usual, feel free to try it with your students, and I would be happy to know how it went and/or if you have suggestions to improve it.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Thank you, Zoe!

Zoe Branigan-Pipe

I just finished taking a Junior ABQ course online with Brock University, and I would like honor our course instructor, Zoe Branigan-Pipe. I have have many courses and workshops throughout my career, and this was hands-down one of the best courses I have ever had. Zoe had planned an exceptionally engaging and technology-oriented course. Early on in the course, she introduced us to the benefits of a personal learning network and had us create a blog, sign up for a twitter account, and try different tech tools such as Delicious and  Livebinders, among others. Everything you see on this blog is the result of many assignments in this particular course (although we did not post all our assignments). The take-away benefits of such a resource-full blog for a teacher are an incredible gift. I plan to slowly morph this "practice" blog into a more permanent professional blog, but in the meantime I will take a few days off and enjoy the summer. Thank you for everything, Zoe, and I hope you enjoy the rest of your summer too! - Muriel.