Final Assignment – Estimation Challenge

For our final activity I started the off with this……

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we filled in too high, too low, and best guesses! Then we checked the answer…..

Completing this challenge got the students pumped and hooked into doing some math on our very last days of class (especially with some students exempted from the final exam). Our final assignment is to …

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We got out the iPads and I let the kids work….. here is what a few came up with:

A lot of kids did water filling or post it note covering estimates. Some kids ended up making an all-out 3 Act math problem.


How many caps will fill the marker?

Estimate & Answer



How many cups to fill the shape?
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A 3- act task in Explain Everything:

How many post-its will cover this triangular wall:

Act 1: She put a photo and a small video in Explain Everything to start us off.
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Act 2: She provided us with a little more info after we made some guesses.
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Act 3: Made a time lapse video and provided a screen shot with the answer

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Grab her Explain Everything File here

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How many stickies to fill the door window?

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And hit us up with a time lapse video for the answer:




How many water bottles will fill the hexagonal prism?


and the answer


Watch the water fill up by grabbing her Explain Everything File

[aio_button align=”center” animation=”none” color=”blue” size=”medium” icon=”download-alt” text=”Grab the EE File” relationship=”dofollow” url=””]

A fun last few days….and I’ve got some new estimates for class next year.

Let’s Find a Good Math Lesson Online with #MTBOS

I may be preaching to the choir here….

Planning great math lessons is sometimes pretty hard, but we don’t have to do this alone. Use the power of the #MTbos (Math Twitter Blogosphere) and some tech tips to sweeten lesson creation.

Here’s the process I take when thinking about upcoming lessons:
I start with the lesson goal. For example, I want my students to be able to say after our lesson “I can solve systems of linear equations
So cue up the Internet and jump in.

Twitter & Evernote a Powerful Combo.

I’m on Twitter because a ton of sharing of great math lessons happen there…. Follow #MTBoS and get ready to swipe some of those lessons and save them for the future… Here’s how I do that:
On Twitter if you click a link that leads to a blog post or lesson and you loved it, save it! 
Let’s say while I was looking for a lesson on my Phone I saw this tweet and wanted to save it.

Saving is so important….you don’t want to lose it. I have Evernote, and a sweet feature is that you can email stuff to your Evernote account!
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Save your Evernote email address to your email contacts.
Back on Twitter mail that link you liked to your Evernote email.
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then voila it’s in your Evernote account saved to search for later!
On a desktop you can just copy the link to the tweet then paste in a new Evernote note, add a few keyword tags to help with searching later.
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I have created a folder named Class Ideas… All my emailed and saved links go there. When I’m planning a lesson  I go to that folder first and do a search. Type in a few keywords around your topic and your saved lessons will pop up!

RSS Reader & Blogs

If I don’t already have a lesson saved in my Evernote account I then check blogs.
An RSS reader is a must have! While on Twitter and see that lesson I like, most likely that teacher/blog author will share something in the future. I don’t want to miss it! Get an RSS reader and have all those lessons come directly to you!
I use Feedly. Just copy and paste that blog URL into Feedly and Feedly will save it.
Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 9.40.44 PM Now I can check Feedly and see all the posts from all the blogs I like and I won’t miss a post.
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The searching part is a tad easier now. If I see a post/lesson I like here I can email it out to my Evernote account! Saved again.
Now that that is all set up I should be good! But what if missed a tweet on Twitter or don’t follow the blog with the lesson I’m looking for?
Head on over to the MTBoS Search Engine and type in those keywords for your lesson and you’ll see a ton of great lessons. See a post from a blog? Don’t forget to send that link to Evernote and save that blog to your RSS reader.
Looking for a problem based lesson like a 3- act math task? Search Robert Kaplinsky’s Problem Based Lesson Search Engine.
Want some blogs to add to your RSS reader? Head over to MTBoS Directory add em all! Looking for something To start your lesson or improve a lesson?
If all of that failed to yield something (doubt it) then you’ll be right where you started. I bet some of you have tips and suggestions to improve my workflow. Would love to hear about them!

Ready for round 2?

Second semester is starting tomorrow and I just wanted to get down my ideas on things I will be changing and things I will be keeping…..

New things…

I’ll be using the spreadsheet I modified from @alicekeeler. Although I plan on using Kyle Pearce’s further modified version.

I have slightly modified old my assessment approach (again). I’ll share later.

Kyle and I have been Tweeting back and forth all weekend about spiralling our grade 9 applied classes. We have been teaching using an inquiry based approach (4 part math lesson) and thought that spiralling would fit right in. We’ll keep you posted. Here is my day-to-day plan by topic and task, so far .

I’ll Continue….

a ton of stuff….but here are a few

Keeping my students curious.

Strengthening the connection between algebraic representations and graphical representations using Desmos! 

Documenting my class by taking a picture/tweet for every school day.

Warm ups – To start every class we do a warm up / starter. Most of these starters are math related but for me the most important part is that the starters allow our class to “Gel”. My buddy @Regan_bio is an advocate for always saying we should show our students that we are human and remember they are human too. Take the first 5 minutes of class and be a good human with your kids…..maybe they will be more ready to do some math!

Recently Mary Bourassa has shared her great list of daily warm ups for her grade 10 applied class. Check out her warm ups.

Here’s what we have been doing…

Monday’sEstimation180 – As a class we complete one of these great challenges (10 minutes). We track our progress on Andrew’s / Michael Fenton’s provided handout.

Tuesday’s – Visual Patterns. I choose a pattern for us to determine the equation.

Wednesday’s – Pictionary – Our class is split into two teams. They take turns drawing and guessing objects, sayings, math ideas that I have picked out. Most of the time this is a non math game. (10 minutes)

Thursday’s – Throw Back Thursday — I choose a question / skill that my class has been exposed to in the past and we work on our whiteboards on this as a review question.

Friday’s – 20 Questions. — I pick something and the class has 20 yes or no questions to try and guess what I have picked. We then play a second round where the class together picks something and I try to guess. (10 minutes).

Have an exciting second semester everybody!


Around this time of year we get bogged down. The semester is ending, we’re getting our exams in order, EQAO is here, kids are realizing that this is the end too!, extra help sessions at lunch.
I was feeling the crunch a bit this week and then read this post from @stoodle

I thought I would throw a list of my ten good things from 2014 together. It’s good for my self reflection and to remind myself I did some good this semester. I’m going to tag a few teachers on Twitter and challenge them to put a list together.

Here are my ten good things from 2014

1. I’m adaptable. I try lots of new strategies, tools, tech out in class and when something doesn’t go as planned I make do!

2. Students seem to not hate me

3. I’m not afraid of technology. If I see something that will enhance my students’ learning. I’ll give it a shot! My favourite this last semester: @PearDeck

4. My students now use Desmos as part of their vocabulary.

5. My use of open questions gets kids to think first. They try it first —instead of waiting for me to show them.

6. Because of Twitter and my pln I have grabbed lots of ideas and have tons of strategies for lessons.

7. Using estimation180 is making students see reasonableness in their answers. The estimating we do as warm ups is carriying through to solving problems. They are better are judging whether their answer makes sense or not.

8. I love creating three act lessons like here and here. Vowing to do more in 2015!

9. Changing my assessment practices has been working great this year. Mastery of learning and Standards based assessment is my new norm.

10. I’ve always felt that I’m disorganized but the other day my senior class called me the most organized teacher in the school. Maybe they were being sarcastic?

What are your ten good things?