Wednesday, October 31, 2012

This is Halloween

So, how much math do you think was involved in the making of this?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Lattice Multiplication

I taught myself Lattice Multiplication tonight with the help of an awesome tutor at Homework Support (Monday to Thursday night, 6 to 8:45 pm for grades 5 to 12 at Polytech).  Take a look at the Wikipedia page and teach yourself something new.  It was exciting for us to learn something new at our old age!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Multiplication Monsters

Nya:weh to Candy Browatzke for sharing this website that makes multiplication a little more fun, with a little more fur, and maybe even a lot more scarier!!  It is Multiplication Monsters.  Students solve multiplication facts and gain gruesome parts that they can then use to design their own monster!


If you have a website to share with our district, whether it is for Halloween or for anytime in the year, please leave a comment below.  Comments will be reviewed before being posted.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Paperless Classroom

Teq: It's all about learning.

The Paperless Classroom

One New York City teacher, Rachel Fein, is on a quest to rid her classroom of paper –- thousands of pieces per year -- using Google's Chromebooks, and adopting educational-based, social media platform, Edmodo.
"I'm really excited about what’s happening in my classroom this year,” said Fein, who got the idea to explore Chromebooks after Teq's professional development specialists Donna Gobin and Morgan Duffield discussed what a digital classroom could look like. Read more...

Flip Your Classroom for More Time with Your Students

In the flipped classroom, classroom-based teaching time and traditional homework time are reversed. A teacher provides video lessons to be reviewed outside of class, which in turn gives students more time in class to focus on higher-order learning skills. This gives teachers more time to focus on critical thinking skills and expanding the application of inquiry, collaboration, and discussion. Watch our latest webinar Just Flip It for 10 tools to help flip your classroom.

Search 365,000 TV News Broadcasts

The Internet Archive website is a library of archived PDF’s, audio tracks, videos, and articles — anything that exists in digital format. A new feature, TV News, allows you to search and watch television news broadcasts since 2009. Read more...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

OMSK Monster Math Night

Come one, come all to tonight's OMSK Monster Math Night from 5:30 to 6:30 pm.  The cost is free and there will be prizes for the family with the best costumes.  Also, completed passports will win a prize.

If you want to come earlier for dinner, roast beef will be served at 4 pm for $8.00 a plate, less for children.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Lesson Plans Easily Found on BrainPOP

New! Lesson Plans & Teaching Tools

Find What You're Looking for With Less Searching

Remember, this helpful new "Lesson Plans and Teaching Tools" button now appears on all BrainPOP topic pages. Click it and you'll come to a page containing everything you're looking for in one place: lesson plans, graphic organizers, community-created quizzes, and other education resources related to the topic you're exploring in class.   Make sure you are using our DISTRICT subscription by using BrainPOP and BrainPOP Jr. in your classroom and encouraging students to explore it on their own time.

Monday, October 22, 2012

John Hattie's Visible Learning

Visible Learning from St Mary Star of the Sea College

There was a lot of talk at the October 12th OMCA meeting about John Hattie's book Visible Learning.  Though this is no substitute for reading the text itself, or the more easily digested Visible Learning for Teachers, please take a moment to look through the above slide presentation to get a taste of what the book explores in regards to positive or negative correlation of several factors in the learning achievement of students.  Many of the findings may surprise you. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Mathletics Now on iPad/iPod

Here is some very exciting news from the team at Mathletics. The world's most powerful online learning resource has arrived on iPad, with the launch today of Mathletics Student - our brand new dedicated iPad app. Even better news is that the app is completely free, all you need is a Mathletics username & password.

Mathletics Student has been custom-designed and built by our dedicated team of developers, who even invented some groundbreaking new mobile technology in the process! For the first time, students with an iPad can hold Mathletics in their hands and take it with them anywhere. Curriculum activities are downloaded right into the app* with all points and credits automatically syncing with the student's main desktop account. What's more, all of their results will appear (in real-time!) in your Teacher Centre reports in exactly the same way.

Reading this email on your iPad? Click here to head to the App Store and download Mathletics Student now!

PLUS - Mathletics Student also features an exciting update to the famous Live Mathletics game. The hugely popular 60-second mathematical race game returns with a sleek new interface and TEN competition levels - expanded to include word problems, algebra, number patterns and even logarithms! New-look Live Mathletics is also now available in desktop Mathletics too.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

More Financial Literacy Resources

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you will know that I've posted Financial Literacy resources from time to time, as I hear or read about them.  Today's post may be old news to some, and new news to others, but I wanted to post the resources shared recently in Professionally Speaking magazine (September 2012).  As always, the Financial Literacy section of the EduGAINS website (a link is permanently on the right sidebar) would have the most recent, current, up to date materials on Financial Literacy.

Ministry of Education financial literacy portal.

Financial Literacy Scope and Sequence of Expectations for Grades 4 to 8.

Additional resources developed by academic subject and division associations.

Financial literacy programs developed by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada.

Ontario Ministry of Consumer Services portal outlining consumer rights.

The report of the Working Group on Financial Literacy.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Janet Ragan was also kind enough to share her wiki page with us.  You can access it here.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Worksheet Works

This is a site shared by upcoming PD presenter, Janet Ragan.  It offers quick worksheets for student practice generated in a variety of topics.  Though we don't subscribe to the nature of worksheets in general, it is how you use it to teach that truly matters.  Check out the site to see if it sparks some creative use for you.  It is called

Friday, October 12, 2012

Numeracy Inquiry

Check out this website that houses all the important learning material used throughout the two day symposium in July, K-12 Mathematics/Numeracy Inquiry: Learning Together.  I've added a permanent link, on the sidebar of Links for Teachers.  See what other boards are doing and sharing around Inquiry in Mathematics.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Number One Teacher Mistake

Nya:weh to Mr. Freeman for sharing this article with us.  To view the article from its original source, click here, or read it in its entirety below.

The Number One Teacher Mistake

By Bill Page
Former title: If You’re Gonna Be a Camel, YaGotta Have a Hump; But Nobody Says You’ve Gotta Be a Camel.
Discovery of a pivotal mistake in my teaching radically changed my life and lives of my kids.
“Hallelujah! At last, I’m a teacher!”

I felt competent to teach. I was confident I could teach better than those boorish teachers I’d had in my own schooling. I was 27 years old, a Korean War vet, weighed an energetic 270 pounds, and couldn’t imagine anything but success. Wow! Was I wrong! I was a failure—but not in classroom management where new teachers typically fail; I failed in the very essence of my job:

My teaching didn’t get through to kids’ heads!
Teaching Only Part of the Lesson to Part of the Students Is Unacceptable
It was incredible! How could this be? In my head and heart, I knew I was a doggone good teacher. I presented creative, dynamic lessons that students responded to enthusiastically. I was shocked, for no matter what I taught, how I taught, or how simple, logical, and sensible the lessons, the kids understood only a portion of them. And, like so many other teachers, I began expecting kids to fail. Rarely did any but the top two or three students “get” the entire lesson content. Most learned at only a C level, missing significant parts of my lessons. I began to fret: “What is wrong here? All kids can learn, and they all need to!”

Every Kid Can and Should Learn Everything
I expected all of the kids to learn all of the material. Why shouldn’t I expect that? I began questioning myself: When a student gets an 80 on the unit test, which 20 percent of the unit is it okay to miss? How can I take them to the next unit without their having mastered the current unit? I never succeeded in teaching all the necessary content to all the kids, so I had to face the fact that I was a failure. Even though other teachers tried to reassure me that it was okay to have just a few kids get A’s, and for the rest to be strung out all the way to F’s, I couldn’t accept that. Somehow I knew I couldn’t take credit for teaching those who got A’s without also having to take the blame for others who didn’t learn at an A level.

How could I accept students strung out on a continuum? Surely I couldn’t accept F’s…? I was there to teach kids, not flunk them. After all, I was a certified, fully-credentialed graduate with a bachelor of science in secondary education. Listed on the faculty roster and assigned 162 kids in five language-arts classes—I must be a teacher; instead, I was a failure. That is, UNTIL I discovered an astonishing “teaching secret,” a startling “Eureka!” It was a stunning discovery from which I would never recover. Hang on!

A Genuine Aha! Moment
As I continued to struggle without success, the simmering revelation was building. Surprisingly, I had no clue, not even a suspicion, that I was making a fundamental error. . . until that awesome moment I learned I was making the number one teacher mistake. Then, unexpectedly, I experienced a magnificent grand disclosure of my egregious teaching error. My disturbing failure was terminated by an eye-opening revelation. The sudden, surprising “aha moment” grabbed my sensibilities and never let go. These overwhelming feelings were destined to build, intensify, and last through the remaining decades of my teaching. I will reveal that universal error in a moment.

That One Mistake Caused Many Other Errors
Unfortunately, because of the underlying error, I realized that I could be considered among teachers notable for their yelling, threatening, condescending, sarcastic, and negative teaching methods. And, I was part of the dedicated group who sabotaged their best teaching with gestures of approval and non-approval, nonverbal facial expressions, and body language. My students were playing the school game of please the teacher without really learning.

Admittedly, there are mistakes of omission, commission, and inadequacy in teaching. Even so, I now understood how that one basic, bedrock mistake contributes exponentially to countless other teaching mistakes, each only seeming like a stand-alone, correctable problem.

“The Mistake” Caused Other Mistakes
Making mistakes, misjudgments, and misdiagnoses are understandable in light of the abundance of research showing that teachers can make three hundred or more “executive decisions” in a single class period. The wonder is that teachers do as well as they do. But that is all relative because “the number one mistake” supersedes all others by a whopping margin. In addition, “The Mistake” causes other mistakes, which results in a teacher coercing, rewarding, and punishing students. “The Mistake” is responsible for many moment-to-moment difficulties and ineffectiveness, and contributes to student misbehavior and sub-par achievement.

When I uncovered “The Mistake,” I was appalled at the naivety and secrecy attached to it:Education had an embarrassing secret so debilitating and so pervasive that it was unmentionable. This grievous error is destructive to the very premises of education. It is undeniably the greatest and most insidious error teachers make. With feedback, experience, and reflection, many teaching errors can be eliminated. But, an error that is hidden, denied, or unknown cannot be corrected and therefore, must be discovered. I had made a discovery which changed the way I looked at education.

I Discovered THE TRUTH
When the “bolt out of the blue” struck, I knew—absolutely knew—that “The Mistake” was real. Why did I learn the truth, while so many others continued struggling? I have no idea! What I do know is that I am not willing to deny my truth, just because so many other teachers do not see it or accept it.
Thinking that they are teachers is the number one mistake teachers make because it causes them to ACT like teachers. If we think like teachers, we behave like teachers. That’s “The Mistake” I was making.

What is known as “teaching” is really just the various ways of helping kids learn. Since it is not possible to learn for another person, only the learner can know what constitutes “help”; i.e., what makes the difference in increased meaning and understanding. Furthermore, learning requires that the learner is in control of the “help”—actively soliciting, filtering, and clarifying the help being offered.

  “Learning is not the product of teaching. Learning is the product of the activity of learners.” John Holt

Kids learn, but cannot be taught in the usual sense of the word.

Schools control practically every aspect of kid’s school lives. Teachers are charged with student learning and are obsessed with control. The teaching role emphasizes teacher-directed domination. What is labeled as classroom “leadership” is in reality a subtly “masked” relationship involving sublimated coercion and fear. Classroom analyses usually focus on teaching behaviors and test-score outcomes rather than on individual teacher-student relationships.

In every activity, teachers tell students what to do, where to do it, when to do it, and how to do it. Teachers possess a power imbalance with fearsome ability to threaten, demean, embarrass, isolate kids, and even to arbitrarily lower grades if they are of a mind to do so. The power is always present, ever lurking, exercised or not. Additionally, because students “perform” in a “fishbowl,” teaching methods can subject them to potential ridicule, public failure, punishment, competition, and embarrassment.

It Is Impossible to Learn for Someone Else
Actually, there is no such thing as teaching, there is only learning. Teachers do not teach. They can act in ways that enable student learning to be more easily accomplished, increasingly possible, valuable, meaningful, or—conversely—teacher actions can make new learning more difficult, complicated, unlikely, or even impossible. Teachers can help students learn. But, teachers cannot learn for students; no one can learn anything for another.

Students themselves do whatever it takes to learn; each learns for him/herself. There is no such thing as passive learning. The material to be learned does not get poked into kids’ heads while they sit and wait. Each kid comes to a learning situation with prior knowledge, interest, aptitude, and attitude. Students learn by way of their own application, integration and construction of new knowledge from information already existing in their own heads, in their own ways.

“Learning” is making sense, making connections, and generating mental patterns of incoming data. Learning is up to individual learners. Without student’s effort, activity, existing knowledge, and contribution, no learning can take place. Learning is a function independent from “teaching.” Kids learn from people at home and other kids. That’s why books can be their teacher, experiences can be their teacher, erroneous advice can be their teacher, and the world can be their teacher.

Thoughts on the Teaching versus Learning Concept
1. New, proven learning concepts abound, but allowing differing opinions and contrasting perspectives is more difficult to manage than lessons directed toward one right answer.

2. Teachers thinking of students as blank slates, treating them as a group, presenting as an authoritarian, assigning the identical work, and using a singular assessment and grading procedure is just too ingrained.

3. Focusing on teacher-learner relationships, rather than on just teaching, requires a fresh perspective, while familiarity with previous teaching theories provides only for what is best known rather than for what really works or what each kid needs.

4. Teacher training by example is more influential than concepts taught in pre-service and in-service meetings. Professional development activities utilizing leader-learner relationships have a better chance, but are generally rare.

5. Reinforcement of traditional teaching by students, parents, and other educators is most likely an integral part of teachers’ daily experiences. Teachers must have confidence in themselves, and trust in the students, in order to make the transition to learners’ full participation in their own learning.

6. Until teachers have genuine opportunities to reflect on, experiment with, and experience new ways of relating to students, they will think mostly of teaching rather than students’ learning. But with reflection, the learning approach just makes sense.

7. Thinking they are teachers leads to domination of the teacher-student relationship by the teacher, and places emphasis on student obedience, compliance, and conformity. Some manifestations might include the following:
a) kids are dependent and compliant, which is antithetical to meaningful learning;
b) the relationship is built on dominant-submissive roles;
c) the usual one-way control of communication is prevalent and limiting;
d) students being graded are made to feel subjugated, unworthy, and inferior;
e) students, seeking permission, feel demeaned, powerless, and unsure;
f) students feel the need to please more than they feel responsibility for learning;
g) everyone’s expectations are toward a traditional teaching relationship.

8. Students are coerced into compliance, which is the opposite of what is necessary for maximum learning. Without participation in decisions, learning is at best superficial.

9. Productive and satisfying educative relationships cannot be built on fear; yet teachers’ enormous power to reward, punish, and intimidate students, and to create pervasive fear, reduces students’ ability for meaningful learning.

10. First-year teachers are usually about twenty-two years old and eager to make a living. On their first day of teaching, beginners have precisely the same authority and dominance potential as veteran teachers. They are not likely to understand the teaching versus learning dilemma.

11. Some teachers are satisfied with their teaching efforts; consequently, students who do not learn are faulted for not learning.

12. “Teaching” is something teachers do to students; “learning” is something a teacher may be able to help with, if the student, at the deepest level, allows the teacher to be involved.

13. Individual student learning is the key to critical thinking, problem solving, and individual achievement, including those students who are most at risk.

14. Learning takes place inside a kid’s head, and there is no way of telling beforehand which part of a lesson the kid will or will not understand.

Students Risk Making Mistakes
Learners make mistakes; they need to be free to err with impunity. By welcoming mistakes, teachers have an opportunity to facilitate learning and encourage student efforts toward self-initiated learning. Conversely, controlling students’ learning by teaching is achieved through coercion—the opposite of what is required for significant, long-term learning.

Coercion can get students’ attention, but such learning is inefficient, minimal, and short-termed. Coercion leads, at best, to getting students to “act” like they are paying attention. No one can force anyone to learn. That is the reason we have compulsory attendance laws instead of compulsory education laws.

Students Can Either Control Themselves or Be Controlled
With sufficient coercion, student behavior can be controlled so long as teachers have power, or, empowered students can learn to control their own behavior. However, these two procedures are mutually exclusive, leading to entirely different outcomes. The alternative to coercion is encouraging students to participate in decisions regarding their behavior while making conscious choices through self-reflective questions and dialogue.

My goal is not teaching. My goal is partnering with learners to produce learning through individual relationships and shared decisions. I use the terminology produce learning because it connotes students and teachers together creating learning, not just assembling or organizing data. Errors offer teachers information about how to provide help that students actually need. Kids don’t need grades. They need feedback and learning experiences that directly impact and enhance their lives. Kids’ brains are always learning—with or without teachers.

Failure Is a Contrived Concept
The concept of failure, or lack of achievement, is derived from time-scheduled, teacher-imposed content, based upon an assumption that the school’s trivia is of more value than the kid’s trivia. It is not possible to control all of what transpires in the interactive process. The results depend on the interdependent processes. But, whatever is decided can be “undecided and re-decided” by the same democratic processes, if the results do not meet the needs.

The teacher’s task is to provide a climate, a setting, an environment and atmosphere of trust, high morale, belonging, cohesiveness, interpersonal relations, and shared experiences. It’s really easy to know what kids need most—it’s precisely what we adults need most. As we seek that for ourselves, we need only to permit kids to seek it as well.

Kids Are Always Learning
It is ironic—almost like a diabolical joke—that kids are learning continuously, effortlessly, all the time from many sources, but teachers can’t teach them! Science is now certain that learners develop concepts, patterns, and underlying content. They construct and sense meaning through inductive or deductive reasoning. TV and other media, CDs, DVDs, the Internet, ads, sports, games, studying, experiences, reading, observing, playing, traveling, friends, family, self-talk, people, achievements, successes, and classes provide learning opportunities—but only when each kid, individually, is allowed the responsibility for “teaching” him/herself.

If you’re gonna be a teacher, yagotta teach;
but, nobody says yagotta be a teacher.
With joy in sharing,
Bill Page
Comments and questions are welcome and will be answered.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Snapshots of Effective Practice

There are some great video resources on Early Learning in Mathematics from Doug Clement shared at this site, "Snapshots of Effective Practice".  Early Learning is just one of the topics featured there.
Check out the diverse resources by clicking here.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Get Your Gizmos On!

Sign up for Gizmo Refresher Webinars!

Attention Ontario Gizmologists!

Need a refresher to get you back on track using Gizmos?
ExploreLearning has several refresher webinars scheduled to support you throughout the 2012-13 school year! Choose from one of the dates below to attend from the comfort of home or anywhere you have internet and telephone access. Come and join us on any of the following dates:
  • Wednesday, October 10, 2012, 8:00pm EST
  • Thursday, October 11, 2012, 8:00pm EST
  • Wednesday, November 7, 2012, 8:00pm EST
  • Thursday, November 8, 2012, 8:00pm EST
  • Wednesday, December 5, 2012, 8:00pm EST
  • Thursday, December 6, 2012, 8:00pm EST
  • Wednesday, January 9,2013, 8:00pm EST
  • Thursday, January 10, 2013, 8:00pm EST
  • Wednesday, February 6, 2013, 8:00pm EST
  • Thursday, February 7, 2013, 8:00pm EST
  • Wednesday, March 6, 2013, 8:00pm EST
  • Thursday, March 7, 2013, 8:00pm EST
  • Wednesday, April 10, 2013, 8:00pm EST
  • Thursday, April 11, 2013, 8:00pm EST
To register for one of these webinars, visit:

Download the Refresher Webinar flyer to share with your colleagues: Gizmos Refresher Webinars Flyer

Friday, October 5, 2012

Said No Teacher Ever

In case you missed it on Twitter, check out the # (hashtag) "Said No Teacher Ever".  Let's all be thankful for our chosen profession by enjoying a laugh that gets to the heart of why we do our job.

If you aren't on Twitter, you can see some of the funny offerings by googling those four words.  There are Pinterest pages, someeCards and many other outlets along the same lines.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Third Teacher

Following up from yesterday's post of a hot off the press Ministry of Education document, today we are sharing "The Third Teacher" monograph.  This one focuses on Designing the Learning Environment for Mathematics and Literacy in K to 8 classrooms.  Take some time to have a look.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Cube For Teachers

Here's a brief note reminding us about the Cube For Teachers resource.  I checked into this after seeing it in the Ontario College of Teachers' magazine.  They can include us in the "Cube" but we have to send a request directly, since our "board" isn't listed on the site.  If you want to establish your account, let me know and I will assist you.

Below is a message I received from them about a new feature they have to establish an online PLN.

Cube For Teachers Introduces a Groups Feature
As over 1800 teachers across the province have already discovered, Cube for Teachers allows teachers to search for, share, and save links to internet resources which will help them meet the needs of their students.

And now, Cube for Teachers has introduced a powerful new feature: Groups. Teachers across the province can now invite other teachers to form professional learning networks (PLNs) inside Cube for Teachers.

The Group feature within Cube for Teachers can be used:

a) to share resources
b) to share teaching ideas
c) for professional development
d) as a forum for discussions on important educational topics

Reasons Why Educators Will Want to Use the Groups Feature:

1. Ontario teachers can now connect with others throughout the province on specific topics or other areas of interest.
2. School departments can collaborate on resources for various courses.
3. School administrators can invite their staff to form groups for professional development.
4. Subject Council members can share ideas, resource links and next steps.
5. Administrators can form PLNs with other administrators.
6. School Family representatives can support each other and share ideas.
7. Faculties of Education instructors can establish networks for their teacher candidates to share ideas, resource links, and support each other.
8. New teachers (NTIP) can offer support and ideas for each other.
9. Teachers can form groups to continue collaborating after an in-service.
10. The Groups Feature helps make Cube for Teachers the one-stop shop for Ontario teachers to collaborate!

We welcome all Ontario educators to register with Cube For Teachers and try our latest feature! Remember that The Cube is a secure community designed exclusively for Ontario teachers. Teacher can search for, share, and save links based on grade, course, subject, and expectations based on the Ontario Curriculum.

And please, spread the word! Refer a friend. Let others know what a fabulous website has become. The greater the number of teachers who register and contribute to the website, the more valuable it will be to you!

Monday, October 1, 2012

for the love of learning: Testsandgrades are just tools -- it's how they are...

for the love of learning: Testsandgrades are just tools -- it's how they are...: When I make the case that testsandgrades have no place in education, I am often met with a common rebuttal that goes something like this: ...

Click the link to see this brilliant piece of educational thought.  Then come back and leave your own thoughts for us.