It begins! [Day 1]

So….let’s do this! Day 1 is done!

This semester I’m teaching grade 9 applied period 1, MEL3E (grade 11 workplace) period 2, and MHF4U (Advanced Functions) period 3. I haven’t decided yet which course yet to blog about consistently, but I’m planning on picking either MEL3E or MHF4U; which would you like to read about more? I will be spiralling both of these courses for the first time and I’m pretty excited about it. Here’s how day 1 looked:


After grabbing a playing card to determine who their partner and where their seat would be… I did a 5 min talk on my strong beliefs around curiosity, growth and team work we did a couple activities — No talk on course outline, marks, or rules:
Activity 1: Math is Like…. 

I ask students to fill in the statement “Math is like…” I love the variety of statements that come out of this. Backgrounds and experiences play a huge part and they shine here. I have them read their statement to their partner and then take volunteers to read to the big group! I also read some of the grade 9 responses out loud to the seniors….which they find hilarious!

Activity 2: Graph Your Subjects

I saw this tweet a few weeks ago from Jen McAleer.

Here are a few of our pictures:




Activity 3: Pyramid of Pennies
I showed them the Pyramid of Pennies 3-act math problem from Dan Meyer. They wrote noticings and wonderings.

Then using the vertical non-permanent surfaces (VNPS) around the room they worked on solving the problem of How much money is that?




After taking this problem up and discussing that a they’ll be working together vertically to solve problems daily I assigned some review questions for homework.

You can follow my day to day on this spread sheet which I’ll update as we go through the course.


This class ran through the same activities as MHF4U except for some minor differences: In activity 2 they did a warm up graph with placing Dad, Daughter, and Granny on Height vs. age graph. We reviewed what a point would look like for a baby, and for Michael Jordan. After getting the hang of placing points on the graph they graphed their subjects just like the grade 12s.


In activity 3 they noticed and wondered about the Pennies. They made estimates on too high, too low for the number of pennies. I then revealed the answer.
You can follow my day to day on that course here.

Which would you rather read about in the future? The grade 11 workplace? or the grade 12 advanced functions? Help me make a decision!

Math is Like…. [first day]

An activity I have done every semester since I started teaching is one I call “Math is Like….”

After going through all the course mumbo-jumbo, we talk about creativity!

Then the activity starts like this….

Here is your chance to get creative!! Take your Post-It and write Math is like….”

I then give the students some examples from previous years. The idea is that they are to complete the statement with their own thoughts.


Some students write funny things, some negative things, some insightful things! I let them know they are allowed to write whatever comes to mind as long as its school appropriate.

I have found that this gives students an “airing- out” of past experiences and we get a fresh start!! My grade 9 students have all come from different backgrounds in math….some great…..some not so great! So I tell them that if you have had a negative experience in math in the past, part of my goal this year is to help them change those beliefs about math

Here are some of this years Math is Like ….. statements. [I’ve got my work cut out for me!!!]