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  • Melissa's Progress Log

    Posted by Melissa Tom on September 20, 2019 at 7:31 pm

    New to teaching math, my goals include using the academy and the 6 week workshop to create and implement a Grade 7 math program that encourages my students to problem solve through the struggles, to develop the ability to determine if their answers and ideas make sense and to think flexibly about math concepts.  If I can build some spiraling into my program, that will be a bonus!

    Kyle Pearce replied 2 years, 11 months ago 8 Members · 12 Replies
  • 12 Replies
  • Kate Nielsen

    Member
    October 26, 2019 at 9:25 am

    For spiraling, I would suggest using your assessments. I put 1-2 questions on each of my weekly quizzes from previous units. I have seen improvement in some of my students on concepts they didn’t quite understand when we were studying those units.

    • Melissa Tom

      Member
      October 26, 2019 at 5:33 pm

      Thank you for this suggestion, Kate.  It’s simple to incorporate while I get my footing.  ๐Ÿ™‚Thumbsup

      • Kyle Pearce

        Administrator
        October 27, 2019 at 3:23 pm

        Agreed! That is a great way to start!

        Also, if you use learning centres at all to pull small groups, you could have the centres focused on content from across the school year to keep it fresh.

  • Jennifer L’Arrivee

    Member
    October 26, 2019 at 9:45 am

    Hi Melissa,

    I have just begun to spiral my workplace math 10 & 11 courses. I made google doc spreadsheet with my big ideas and then added in the activities, tracking how often I return to the big ideas. I  used the provincial curricular competencies as a guide. I havenโ€™t yet incorporated these into my google doc format. Baby steps! I have also added questions from previous content on my quizzes and tests. 

    I am going to incorporate spiraling into my Chemistry and Biology classes too as I really feel this technique is going to be very effective for student learning. I hope this helps. 

    • Melissa Tom

      Member
      October 26, 2019 at 5:35 pm

      Thank you for replying, Jennifer.  I think you are absolutely correct when you say, ‘baby steps’!  I like the idea or tracking on a google doc or spreadsheet (I love using spreadsheets).  As I become more comfortable with my program, I think I’d like to give this a try.  I like the organization and the ability to sort. Footprints

  • Shelly Roberts

    Member
    October 26, 2019 at 1:06 pm

    To build flexibility to their thinking, use manipulatives so that they can see how they are put together. I did this with fractions and now my students get fractions a lot better. They needed the hands-on to be able to picture things in their minds.

    • Melissa Tom

      Member
      October 26, 2019 at 5:46 pm

      I totally agree with you, Shelly.  We have talked a lot about the use of manipulatives at our school.   I have set up our students with mathies.ca, TVOmathify.com and brainingcamp.com for online support.  I pulled out some games last week that offered practice with some of the foundational skills, but, not only do they have moderate to significant gaps in their learning, many look for the algorithm they know they learned, but cannot remember or apply.  ๐Ÿ™

      I plan to spend time daily, throughout the year, modelling and having students use manipulatives to extend their understanding of the concepts.  I believe that when they understand the concepts, they’ll be able to recall the algorithms more effectively.  I’ll use these as minds-on activities.  I’ll also incorporate questions into my assessments, quizzes and evaluations, so they have multiple opportunities to show what they know.

      Thanks very much! Open Hands 

      • Kyle Pearce

        Administrator
        October 27, 2019 at 3:25 pm

        Once that algorithm is out there in the open, we humans tend to want to use it without meaning :(.

        I’ve found that Cathy Fosnot’s Minilessons are really helpful to build number fluency and avoid the rush (or return) to the algorithm.

  • Shannon Coombs

    Member
    October 26, 2019 at 5:30 pm

    Hi Melissa! Try not to get discouraged or feel overwhelmed! That’s what held me back for so long. I kept thinking it had to be all in or nothing! Once I started to just try things out, one small change at a time, it became more manageable. Enjoy!

    • Melissa Tom

      Member
      October 26, 2019 at 5:48 pm

      Hi Shannon,

      Thank you so much for your words of understanding and encouragement.  I’m often very hard on myself and want everything done, yesterday.  LOL

      This is an overwhelming year, in general, so I do appreciate your taking the time to offer your support, especially going into progress report season. Hugging

  • Elisha Horbay

    Member
    October 26, 2019 at 7:39 pm

    Hi Melissa, 

    You’ve got this! Being new to any subject is not easy, but you are off to an incredible start.  I would suggest a class set of individual white boards – I use them ALL. THE. TIME. Works brilliantly for students to work on problems independently, allows for quick changes, and easily allows for collaboration. I started with the Curiosity Path part way through last year, while taking the Spring session of the workshop and have only begun to spiral this year – definitely one step at a time. 

  • Sarah Merrylees

    Member
    October 27, 2019 at 10:00 am

    Hi Melissa.  Great advice from Elisha about using mini whiteboards. Prof Peter Liljedahl of Simon Fraser University has shown that using vertical non-permanent surfaces, in particular, have a marked effect in encouraging students to tackle problem solving far more so than a permanent surface like a notebook, poster paper or horizontal surface.  There is apparently something about the ability to erase it with a single swipe that gives them courage to put a thought down and get started. Jennifer’s “baby steps” advice is also brilliant.  Rome wasn’t built in a day. My advice is try not to reinvent the wheel on your own, seek those wise mentors who are out there and learn their little hacks Grinning  I hope you have some serious fun in your classroom this year. Best wishes.