Who dares to teach must never cease to learn. ~ John Cotton Dana

 

It has been awhile since I have blogged.  A long while.  So much has changed for me since I last blogged.  I could give the excuse that I have been busy with my family…which I have, but that is not it.  I could say it has been awhile because I switched careers and moved from consultant to vice principal at an inner city school, but that is not it.  I could say it is because I am back teaching grade two after four years out of the classroom, but that is not it.  I could say it is because I was finishing my master’s degree…which I did (yay!), but that is not it either.  I have not blogged because I could not get my thoughts together in a way that is coherent, organized and what I thought would be “blog worthy”.  So much has changed for me.  So much has been new and I honestly have been treading water, barely keeping my head afloat with so much change.  The learning curve has been straight up.

What’s different now, after 6 months in a school that brought me back to my blog?  I’m not sure to be honest but I can say that for the first time this weekend I had a moment to think, to feel centered, feel at peace with where I am, and in that moment it occurred to me that I am no longer treading…I am swimming! So in this moment of swimming I reflect on what I have learned during these last few months as I have transitioned from a consultant to a vice principal.

  1. There is absolutely a theory/ practice gap and this is NOT because teachers don’t want to implement the theory.  For me the gap exists in my practice when the needs of my students trump the theory I am trying to implement.  Every day I work and learn with children ages 4-13.  They are amazing individuals who are just that…individuals.  Each and every one of them comes to school each day with needs that they look to us to help them with and sometimes these needs are not the same as the lesson I have planned.  This does not mean that I don’t teach, in fact I do everyday.  What it does mean is that I sometimes have to change my plans to meet the needs of my students, and I don’t apologize for this.
  2. Learning in my classroom takes longer than I think it should and that is okay…in fact that should be celebrated!!   I spent 6 months coming to this important realization.  I felt defeated every time the lesson I planned took a week instead of a period.  My timing was off and I was down on myself for it. Prior to becoming a consultant I had great timing.  I could plan a lesson for a period and it would be completed within that period.  What was I doing wrong?  My ah ha moment came when I realized that I am a different teacher than I used to be.  I assess more in the moment than ever before and in those moments I make changes, shift ideas, and adapt to meet the needs of the students in front of me.  I embrace every teachable moment as it comes my way which means that I don’t always complete my lesson but I DO support my students reach the learning goals.  I am no longer driven by the lesson plan.  I am now driven by the needs of the students.  Instead of beating myself up for not achieving the plan I need to celebrate helping my students meet the goal.
  3.  Being a VP means I now have 153 kids.  I have always thought of the students in my class as my kids.  I spend my day with them, come to know them, and love them.  I laugh with them, cry with them, and learn with them.   My students consume my thoughts, keep me up at night, and always make me so proud.  What I have come to realize of myself as a VP is that each kid in the school is now mine too.  I now have a class of 153 students which at times is very overwhelming.  There are so many needs to meet and like a class some of my kids take more of my time and energy but each of them is mine to care for, love, and teach.
  4. I can’t implement everything at once and I am going to have to be okay with that.  I had 4 years to learn so much when I was a consultant.  4 years of stock piling ideas, taking pictures and dreaming about being back in a school.  At first I thought I could jump in and implement everything I had waited so long to try.  I wanted to do it all at once and was upset with myself when I couldn’t find the time to make it all happen.  I’m over this!  One idea at a time, one day at a time.  That is my new motto.
  5. I don’t always know what to do (and am now not afraid to admit it).  As a new school based leader I believed it was important for me to know what to do.  I felt I should have the answers to the questions, the solutions to the problems, the next steps at my fingertips.  I felt that the teachers, students, and parents were looking to me for this, and I felt the pressure of this self-imposed expectation.  I now know that I don’t have all of the answers and can freely admit this to others.  What I can also do is give myself the freedom that comes from not reacting with instant “solutions” but from taking some time to think, ask questions, and invite other perspectives.  In the end my actions are more informed and successful.
  6. I am so very happy to be back in a school as a teacher and as an administrator.  It is by far the toughest job I have ever had but it is also the most rewarding.   I see every day the impact I am having.  Daily, I am energized by the laughter, smiles, and learning of children.   I am blessed to spend my days with some truly amazing people.

 

Concept- Equality

Three Act MathVideo Design by Jennifer Brokofsky and Ryan Banow

Possible Curriculum Connections

Grade 2- P2.3 Demonstrate understanding of equality and inequality concretely and pictorially (0 to 100) by:

• relating equality and inequality to balance
• comparing sets
• recording equalities with an equal sign
• recording inequalities with a not equal sign
• solving problems involving equality and inequality.

[C, CN, R, V]

Indicators

b. Construct two unequal sets using identical objects and verify orally and concretely that the sets are not equal.
c. Analyze the impact of changing one of two equal sets upon the equality of the two sets.
d. Analyze the impact of making changes (equal and unequal) to both of two equal sets upon the equality of the sets.
e. Analyze and sort sets according to equality and explain the reasoning.

Grade 2- N2.2 Demonstrate understanding of addition (limited to 1 and 2-digit numerals) with answers to 100 and the corresponding subtraction by:

• representing strategies for adding and subtracting concretely, pictorially, and symbolically
• creating and solving problems involving addition and subtraction
• estimating
• using personal strategies for adding and subtracting with and without the support of manipulatives
• analyzing the effect of adding or subtracting zero
• analyzing the effect of the ordering of the quantities (addends, minuends, and subtrahends) in addition and subtraction statements.

[C, CN, ME, PS, R, V]

Indicators
c. Model concretely, pictorially, or physically situations that involve the addition or subtraction of 1 and 2-digit numbers (with answers to 100) and explain how to record the process shown in the model symbolically.
d. Generalize and apply strategies for adding and subtracting 1 and 2-digit numbers (with answers to 100).
e. Create, model symbolically (and concretely, pictorially, or physically if desired), and solve addition and subtraction problems related to situations relevant to one’s self, family, or community.

Grade 4- P4.2 Demonstrate an understanding of equations involving symbols to represent an unknown value by:

• writing an equation to represent a problem
• solving one step equations.

[C, ME, PS, R]

Indicators
c. Identify the unknown in a story problem, represent the problem with an equation, and solve the problem concretely, pictorially, or symbolically.

f. Solve a one-step equation using guess and test.

Grade 5- P5.2 Write, solve, and verify solutions of single-variable, one-step equations with whole number coefficients and whole number solutions.

[C, CN, PS, R]

Indicators

a. Identify aspects of experiences from one’s life, family, and community that could be represented by a variable (e.g., temperature, cost of a DVD, size of a plant, colour of shirts, or performance of a team goalie).
c. Solve single-variable equations with the variable on either side of the equation, explain the strategies used, and verify the solution.

Act One- The Problem- Video

Two children are trying to share candies equally. However, they only like to eat certain colours.

Part 1

Part 2

The key questions that arise are:

  • How many bags need to be opened so that the children get an equal amount of candies?
  • How many candies will each child get when they are equal? (The video assumes that each bag contains the same candies as the first bag).

Act Two- Classroom Connections

Key questions that the video will inspire are:

  • How many bags need to be opened so that the children get an equal amount of candies?
  • How many candies will each child get when they are equal? (The video assumes that each bag contains the same amount of candies as the first bag).

What might the students need to acquire as they work to solve this problem?

  • Number and Colours of candies in 1 bag:
    • Red- 10
    • Yellow- 8
    • Purple- 7
    • Orange- 8
    • Green- 8
  • Number of bags in the bowl: 6
  • Possible Equations:

Girl- Red + Yellow + some Green = x
Number of Bags(10 + 8) + some green = x

Boy- Purple + Orange + some Green = x
Number of Bags( 7+ 8) + some Green= x

Act Three- The Solution- Video

The children need to open a second bag to reach equality. Equality is achieved when they each have a total of 41 candies.

Teachers’ Guide

Candy Colours

Concept- Fractions

Three Act Math Video Design by Jennifer Brokofsky and Ryan Banow

Possible Curriculum Connections

Grade 3- N3.4 Demonstrate understanding of fractions concretely, pictorially, physically, and orally including:

• representing
• observing and describing situations
• comparing
• relating to quantity.

[C, CN, R]

Indicators:
a) Identify and observe situations relevant to self, family, or community in which fractional quantities would be measured or used and explain what the fraction quantifies.

d) Divide a whole, group, region, or length into equal parts (concretely, physically, or pictorially), demonstrate that the parts are equal in quantity, and name the quantity represented by each part.

i) Demonstrate how a fraction can represent a different amount if a different size of whole, group, region, or length is used.

k) Divide a whole, group, region, or length into equal parts (concretely, physically, or pictorially), demonstrate that the parts are equal in quantity, and name the quantity represented by each part.

Grade 4- N4.6 Demonstrate an understanding of fractions less than or equal to one by using concrete and pictorial representations to:

• name and record fractions for the parts of a whole or a set
• compare and order fractions
• model and explain that for different wholes, two identical fractions may not represent the same quantity
• provide examples of where fractions are used.

[C, CN, PS, R, V]

Indicators
a) Represent a fraction using concrete materials.

b) Represent a fraction based on a symbolically concrete representation (e.g., circles for cookies).

c) Name and record the fraction for the included and not included parts of a set.

e) Represent a fraction pictorially by indicating parts of a given set.

f) Represent a fraction pictorially by indicating parts of a whole.

g) Provide an example of a fraction that represents part of a set, a fraction that represents part of a whole, or a fraction that represents part of a length from everyday contexts.

Grade 5- N5.5 Demonstrate an understanding of fractions by using concrete and pictorial representations to:

• create sets of equivalent fractions
• compare fractions with like and unlike denominators.

[C, CN, PS, R, V]

Indicators:

a) Create concrete, pictorial, or physical models of equivalent fractions and explain why the fractions are equivalent.

b) Model and explain how equivalent fractions represent the same quantity

c) Verify whether or not two given fractions are equivalent using concrete materials, pictorial representations, or symbolic manipulation.

i) Determine equivalent fractions for a fraction found in a situation relevant to self, family, or community.

Act One- The Problem- Video

Two children are ready to eat but unsure how to cut the pizza so that they can enjoy equal amounts.

The key questions that the video will inspire are:

  • How can we cut the pizza?
  • How many pieces can we make?
  • What are the fractions equivalent to ½? (Grade 5)

Act Two- Classroom Connections

Key questions that the video will inspire are:

  • How can we cut the pizza?
  • How many pieces can we make?
  • What are the fractions equivalent to ½? (Grade 5)

Act Three- A Possible Solution

Here is one potential way the pizza can be divided to ensure that both children get the same amount and that the size of the pieces is reasonable.

IMG_1391

Sequel-Extending the Learning

  • Three people- Video

  • The pizza already cut  for two people and the third person shows up.- Video

  • A different shape of pizza (rectangle)

IMG_5441

Teachers’ Guide

Sharing Pizza

Concepts Time and Logical Reasoning

Three Act Math Movies Video Design by Jennifer Brokofsky and Ryan Banow

Possible Curriculum Connections

Grade 3- SS3.1 Demonstrate understanding of the passage of time including:

  • relating common activities to standard and non-standard units
  • describing relationships between units
  • solving situational questions.

[C, CN, PS, R]

Indicator

a. Observe and describe activities relevant to self, family, and community that would involve the measurement of time.

Grade 4- SS4.1 Demonstrate an understanding of time by:

  • reading and recording time using digital and analog clocks (including 24 hour clocks)
  • reading and recording calendar dates in a variety of formats.

[C, CN, V]

Indicator

a. Express the time orally shown on a 12-hour digital clock.

Grade 5- N5.2 Analyze models of, develop strategies for, and carry out multiplication of whole numbers.

[C, CN,ME, PS, R, V]

Indicator

h. Pose a problem which requires the multiplication of 2-digit numbers and explain the strategies used to multiply the numbers.

Act One- The Problem- Video

A man is waiting in line to buy tickets to a movie. The movie is about to start.

Key question:

  • Will he get his tickets before the movie starts?

Act Two- Classroom Connections

Key questions that the video will inspire are:

  • Will he get his tickets before the movie starts?

What might the students need to acquire as they work to solve this problem?

  • Time it takes for one person to purchase tickets- 51 seconds
  • Number of people in the line in front of the man at 5:11- 6

Act Three- The Solution- Video

The man gets to the front of the line after the movie has already started.

Sequels-Extending the Learning

  • What if one person buys tickets for multiple people in the line?
  • What time should have the man have arrived at the theatre in order to make it into the movie before it starts?

Teachers’ Guide

Movie Line

IMG_5405

Concept- Volume

Three Act MathVideo Design by Jennifer Brokofsky and Ryan Banow

Possible Curriculum Connections

Grade 5- SS5.3 Demonstrate an understanding of volume by:

• selecting and justifying referents for cm³ or m³ units
• estimating volume by using referents for cm³ or m³
• measuring and recording volume (cm³ or m³)
• constructing rectangular prisms for a given volume.

[C, CN, ME, PS, R, V]

Indicators

a) Provide referents for cm³ and m³ and explain the choice.
b) Describe strategies developed for selecting and using referents to determine approximate volume measurements in situations relevant to self, family, or community.
c) Estimate the volume of 3-D objects using personal referents.
d) Decide what standard cubic unit is represented by a specific referent, and verify.
e) Determine the volume of a 3-D object using manipulatives, describe the strategy used, and explain whether the volume is exact or an estimate.
f) Construct possible rectangular prisms for a given volume, identify the dimensions of each prism, and explain which prism would be most appropriate for a particular situation.

Grade 8- SS8.3 Demonstrate understanding of volume limited to right prisms and cylinders (concretely, pictorially, or symbolically) by:

• relating area to volume
• generalizing strategies and formulae
• analyzing the effect of orientation
• solving problems.

[CN, PS, R, V]

Indicators

a) Identify situations from one’s home, school, or community in which the volume of right prism or right cylinder would need to be determined.

b) Describe the relationship between the area of the base of a right prism or right cylinder and the volume of the 3-D object.

c) Generalize and apply formulas for determining the area of a right prism and right cylinder.

d) Explain the effect of changing the orientation of a right prism or right cylinder on the volume of the 3-D object.

e) Create and solve personally relevant problems involving the volume of right prisms and right cylinders.

Act One- The Problem- Video

A child has to choose which bowl will hold the most ice cream a cylinder or a rectangular prism.

The key question that arises from this clip is:

  • Which bowl will give the child more ice cream?

Act Two- Classroom Connections

Key question that arises from this clip is:

  • Which bowl will give the child more ice cream?

What might the students need to acquire as they work to solve this problem?

Dimensions of the Bowls:

 

cylinder diameter cylinder side

\

prisim

Act Three- The Solution- Video

The child fills each bowl with water and pours the water into two transparent glass measuring cups. This indicates that the rectangular prism holds more ice cream.

Sequel-Extending the Learning

Regular Shaped Bowl:

bowl

Teachers’ Guide

Bowl Full of Ice Cream

Assignment 4 of my Video Design for Learning Class saw my partner and I creating scripts for our Three Act Math Movies.  We tried to carefully plan out the sequence of the problems we were trying to create and the shots needed to convey the message.  With our scripts in hand we headed into filming with a plan which proved invaluable.

Here are the scripts we came up with:

Movie Line

Skittle Colours

Bowl Full of Ice Cream

Sharing Pizza

 

 

It’s that time of year again.  The time where I start thinking that I may actually soon have time to read a book….or 20.  So I have created a stack of books that will go home with me and become a part of my summer vacation.  This years stack of books is reflective of my change of roles for the fall which will include returning to teaching in a primary classroom and vice principal.  I have so much to learn.  I am hoping that the books I have chosen will provide me with a great kick off to the learning to come.

shelfari

Here is a link to my to read shelf in Shelfari.

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