Focus Area #1: Engagement
On This Day in Math: This is a great blog you and your students can follow for daily updates on what happened in Math (historical listing of significant mathematics-related events and discoveries). You can also send suggestions for additions to the blogger.
Flash Maths!: The Flash Maths! Website has a few whiteboard-friendly activities and games to start your algebra classes and have students walk into class with a problem or game already going on the whiteboard.
Focus Area #2: Critical Thinking
Statistics Exploration: “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” [Aaron Levenstein] Statistics is one venue that offers students possibilities to think critically about information presented to them, about how they might choose to present information, and how this presentation will affect conclusions drawn about the information. One article on how statistics lie to us every day confidently states five different ways statistics are used to lie to us. Have your students read this article and then have them question the author’s conclusions. Do they agree or disagree with the list of 5? More importantly, *why* do they agree or disagree?
Focus Area #3: Connections
Shape & Space Exploration: (MY connection) Though the opening graphics might make some people’s eyes hurt a bit, Don Steward’s latest blog post has an interesting shape and space exploration with angles, triangles, a rhombus or two, and patterns. It’s ready to go for your students.
Shoelaces & Pythagorean Theorem: (SY connection) Ever wondered what the best way was to lace up your shoes? Ever contemplated if there is a mathematical formula to determine the total length of lace for varying lace-up patterns in shoes? Well Ivars Peterson *has* contemplated this, and offers a neat exploration of this. It involves some basic use of the Pythagorean theorem and some algebra, worthy of high school students exploring whether his mathematics is in fact correct.
Focus Area #4: Professional Learning
Mathematica, SystemModeler, & Wolfram: You probably have heard of Wolfram Alpha, a fascinating computation search engine. You’ve probably also heard of Mathematica, the next step in Wolfram’s mathematical computations suite online – lets you include real world data to make interactive lessons with 2D and 3D graphics (see this link for a great overview of what it can do for you). So, if you’re fascinated by the Wolfram suite of mathematics tools or have seen it in use in TedTalks, you might wish to explore their online tutorials in all things Mathematica – from how to create 2D or 3D graphics to how to mesh them into interactive lessons.
#cdnedchat: Last Monday at 7pm CST was the inaugural #cdnedchat on Twitter. Almost 400 educators joined in on the chat about social media use in the classroom. Join this Twitter chat every Monday at 7pm CST for a great way to increase your nation-wide connections, stretch your thinking about various educational topics, and grow your PLN. Tonight’s chat is about student engagement – it’s going to be good! Join us!
Focus Area #5: Current Research
“The best thing [you] can do is to teach children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort, and keep on learning. That way, children don’t have to be slaves of praise. They will have a lifelong way to build and repair their own confidence.” (mindset – the new psychology of success: How We Can Learn to Fulfill our Potential, Carol S. Dweck, Ballantyne Books 2006, p.177)
Dweck’s research is tested and proven in various classrooms across North America. Her writing focuses on moving people from “fixed mindsets” to “growth mindsets”. The book offers some wonderful theory on how we think, and how we can move away from intelligence and ability to effort and perseverance – and ties this into key methods for working with students who struggle.
Focus Area #6: Ressources en Francais
Classes Francophones du Canada sur Twitter: Looking for a way to connect your students with Francophone students across Canada? This Google doc has a collection of teacher names, grades they teach, and (the best part, I think) a column on “projets speciaux/blogue de class”. Cruise this last column in the Google doc to connect with classroom blogs and have students comment in French – or check out some really neat classroom projects that French teachers are using across Canada!