Focus Area #1: Engagement
It’s Monday!: Wake up! Welcome back! Start your day with a spoof video! (Spoof of Rebecca Black’s Friday)
The New Scentsation: Teach your students cyber-awareness as well as try out some new Google BETA technology! Google Nose (Beta version) is available online now, letting you “go beyond type, talk and touch…to offer the sharpest olfactory experience available”. Incorporate it into your math-related research projects! Or just introduce it in honour of April Fool’s Day today.
Focus Area #2: Critical Thinking
Imbalance Problems: There’s a great collection of very visual (and sneaky algebra skill building) imbalance puzzles. The blogger has over a dozen pictures there of examples of how to draw these types of puzzles, and mentions that his 5th graders came up with some great examples they created themselves. He’s even got a prize for the best example submitted to him online – great idea for students in middle and senior years to think beyond the numbers and symbols in mathematics and play with the idea of balance in a different way than with equations.
The Set Game Online: The game of SETs is simple, yet it hides so many critical thinking skills within it! Have students play this during transition times or as a full-on class activity! The New York Times has a daily SET puzzle online. Offer gifted students the challenge of a timed online SET game. Want your own set of cards for the classroom? Purchase the game online … or create your own set of cards.
Focus Area #3: Connections
Books, Books, Books: Did you know that incorporating literacy into mathematics improves both numeracy and literacy skills? There are so many wonderful books out there to incorporate reading and mathematics, so I’ll list only a few as a start (and this is by no means a comprehensive list!):
The Librarian Who Measured The Earth (by Kathryn Lasky) – I love this book for its historical connections. Definitely one for stronger readers in middle and senior years!
Sir Cumference and the First Round Table (by Cindy Neuschwander and Wayne Geehan) – all of the books in the Sir Cumference series are wonderful resources. This book focuses on many geometrical shapes and promotes discussions of sides, vertices, and spatial visualization in middle years.
G is for Googol: A Math Alphabet Book (by David M. Schwartz) – I love this book for its many mathematical concepts tied into the letters of the alphabet. Lots trapped within it, great for having each student pick one letter to focus on and add to the list of mathematical concepts! (MY & SY)
One Grain of Rice (by Demi) – many versions of this book are out there, but the concept highlighted is exponential patterns. Wonderful drawings, great visuals for students to grasp the concept of exponents! (middle years)
Thirteen Moons on Turtle’s Back (by Joseph Bruchac and Jonathan London) – though this book focuses on Native American legends, it’s a lovely way to incorporate the mathematics of nature into math class. (middle years)
Focus Area #4: Professional Learning
Edcamp Winnipeg: June 1st in Winnipeg, the first ever EdCamp! What an awesome opportunity to experience unique, (un)conference-style professional development! EdCamp is a very specific style of PD, with all sorts of tech involvement. Registration for EdCamp Winnipeg opens today!
Focus Area #5: Current Research
“The human brain comprehends numerals as quantities, not as words. This reflex action is deeply rooted in our brains and results in an immediate attribution of meaning to numbers.” (How the Brain Learns Mathematics, David A. Sousa, Corwin Press 2008, p.24)
David A. Sousa is a researcher and educational consultant, with a background in K-12 teaching and a doctorate degree from Rutgers University. His research focuses on the brain and cognition, and he is a member of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society. This book offers a great summary of the latest neuroscience, cognitive mechanisms for learning mathematics, how environment and developmental factors contribute to mathematical difficulties, and key ways to differentiate mathematics instruction to support struggling learners.
Focus Area #6: Ressources en Francais
Les Problemes DUDU: Here’s a great one minute video to use in math class when discussing measurement and geometry! Doesn’t give answers, but provokes and promotes discussion!
Les Palindromes: Another (2.5 minute) video usable en francais is about numerical palindromes.
Twitter: Need a great person on Twitter to follow for more ressources en francais pour les classes mathematiques? Try Durand Arnaud!