Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Travelling Science Teacher

 scienceDue to the pandemic restrictions, intermediate students are not allowed to rotate to the different classes and must stay in one room at my school.  So my homeroom is in my room, where all of my science materials are located.  

I must now travel with whatever I happen to need for the block. 

This is a learning process.  Especially for experiments and build projects.  

I was doing an experiment today and realized, once class had started that I had forgotten one of the materials! Argghh.  I was on the upper level and could not just pop into my room to find it as I cannot just leave the students unattended for that long.  

Frustrated but we adjusted and got the experiment done anyway.  

Two classes are on the upper level and two on the lower level where my room is located.  

Trying to ensure that all things needed, including any materials for projects is another level of planning to do.  

At this point my technology room (power equipment like drill press also not being used - a disappointment but I will find a way to do building and design.

The added pain, literally, is that my clavicle and shoulder are still healing - slower than we'd like - so lugging stuff up and down the stairs is not pleasant. 

Just a quick post.

Thanks to all the PLN out there (real and digital) who help keep me motivated, entertained and inspired.

To my US friends, Happy Thanksgiving!  Stay safe everyone!

Friday, 31 July 2020


Hello friends,

I see I haven't written in quite some time.  It is difficult to do so now as, you see, I fell off my bike and broke some bones a few weeks back.  3 ribs and a clavicle to be precise.  It has not been a pleasant experience all the way around.  I honestly do not know how I could function without my loving spouse to help me as I cannot use my right arm above the elbow.

So amidst a pandemic and worrying about going back to school - I also have to deal with healing my broken bones, rehabilitation in order to regain movement and not do things I normally love to do in the summer like walk Indy, ride my bike, drive places, and chores (well I might not love to do these but it is the time to get them done so they aren't getting done). 

I can type for a certain amount of time but even that is stressing on the whole musculature of the shoulder and upper arm which no doubt, is also damaged.

I will persevere.  I will survive but it is not fun.  

At least I can still read and I can do a certain amount of computer time.  I am taking a Data Science course through Stanford with Jo Boaler, and doing some online conferences like the Hive Summit and Building Math Minds and the Pear Fair.  I will get through.  

Take care all. 

Thursday, 2 January 2020

Math is Visual

Math is thought of by many people as a numbers thing - whole, fractions, integers with maybe some geometry thrown in there.  

Bitmoji ImageBut math is really about patterns and visual representations.  Seeing the visual for a mathematical concept connects different parts of the brain and can create real understanding.  

I love Jon Orr and Kyle Pearce for the way they go about this visual interpretation of math. I refer to all of their websites a great deal.  A great website created by Jon Orr is http://mathisvisual.com/ which shows the evolution of a concept visually.  And there are concepts from all the strands available.  

I, of course, like many in my age bracket did not learn math this way.  I learned the rote, memorization and algorithm way.  Mind you, I've got a very good memory so it worked for me.  But until I read Jo Boaler's Mathematical Mindsets and started really exploring the concepts in a visual manner, I truly did not understand exactly why some of the concepts worked at a basic level in a way I could use to explain it to my students.  

There is a ton of great resources available to use to bring the visual into your math class: OpenMiddle, YummyMath, Desmos, visualpatterns.org, fractiontalks.com, youcubed.org, Tap into Teen Minds - just to name a few.  

Everyone is a math person.  I truly believe it to be true.  So if you think you aren't, well, you are wrong.   
Math is not about getting the right answer, it is not about speed, it is full of mistakes and is a journey towards understanding things in our world.  

“But mathematics, real mathematics, is a subject full of uncertainty; it is about explorations, conjectures, and interpretations, not definitive answers.” 
~Jo Boaler

Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Happy New Year!

Bitmoji Image

As 2019, and a decade, recede into memory I look back at my many decades on this beautiful planet and think about where I've come from and then forward to where I am going. 

My #oneword2019 was KINDNESS.  I always try to be kind but sometimes, like any human, my need to put me first overrides and I might not be as kind as I like.  This includes my time in the classroom.  I have been grumpy and short tempered at times.  There have always been challenging students, and as I get older, I seem to be a little less patient.  I had my students create #oneword goals for the year and explain them on Flipgrid in September as a way to get to know them.  Perhaps we should revisit them next week.  

After listening to Jam Gamble yesterday, I have come up with my #oneword2020.  It is VOLUME.   I am a talkative and loud person.  Sometimes loud is needed and sometimes it isn't.  I am working on my volume control.   

Connected to it is CALM.  I get quite animated and loud when excited/agitated/irritated and realize I need to be more calm.  Elsa, I think (I haven't actually seen the movie but have heard a number of clips) said it best....

So here's to 2020.  A year of calm and controlled volume! 

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Off to Bring IT Together!

Making Math Fun!

Bitmoji ImageI like to use gamification in my class - especially Breakouts and Scavenger Hunts.  
Tomorrow I am off to Niagara Falls to present at the Bring IT Together conference about my passion. 

I will explain a little then we will build a breakout together so attendees can go back to class with something to try. 

If you are at the conference, hope to say Hi in person!