Updating the MFM1P Spiral

“Have you taught for 25 years? Or have you taught one year 25 times?”

I don’t think I’ve taught the same course the same way ever. Why would we? We don’t have the same kids in front of us. And especially with the resources at our finger tips from our colleagues inside and outside of our schools. I’ve wrote before about the power of #mtbos and it changes the way you teach.

I started spiralling the MFM1P course a few years ago with Kyle Pearce. Since then I’ve taught that course 3 or 4 semesters in row…..and never the same way. New amazing lessons and tools are springing up. For past lessons I wasn’t completely happy with I’ve got to see if this new lesson or that lesson will help my students understand the concepts more deeply.

One change I wanted to make was to include solving equations earlier in the course. In my old plan I waited to introduce it after introducing linear relations. But, after teaching solving equations using the Double Clothesline and the puzzle nature of learning it that way….I can introduce it now and continually practice our skills through warm ups.

If you want to follow along as my day-to-day plan unfolds follow this link! If any of you have been spiralling MFM1P I would love compare notes, or see your plans.




Catch the Spiral! 

Last May I shared my day-to-day planning spreadsheet for my grade 9 applied course. On that sheet I recorded the topic, tasks, and resources for each day of the semester. I used that as a resource for myself when teaching 1P through a spiral this semester. I found that having that sheet to go back too was super helpful and a time saver. This semester I followed that timeline except with a few tweaks here and there.

Since that sheet was so handy to have I made one similar for my MPM2D class. It was my first time spiralling that course and I wouldn’t go back to teaching through units again.

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I heavily relied on Mary Bourassa’s blog….she is amazing. She shares her day-to-day plan as posts on her blog and also shares all of her resources and handouts. Thanks so much Mary!!!

Spiralling in Academic vs. Spiralling in Applied

I struggled initially with deciding to spiral the MPM2D course because of my experience with MFM1P. I had previously taught the 1P course through activities and 3 act math problems so it was a no brainer to just mix up the order of the problems and tasks. It was an easy transition since I had all the resources. For the 2D course though, it had been a while and I had not taught it with a task/activity approach.

What I found to work best in the academic class was to learn all new ideas/topics through activities and productive struggle with some direct instruction thrown in as a consolidation. Unlike the 1P course where I switched tasks/topics daily, I stuck to a topic/idea for a few days or a week in the 2D course. Once, for example, the class was comfortable with transformations of quadratics we would switch to trigonometry for a week, then analytic geometry for a week, etc.

I felt that through spiralling and teaching through productive struggle my students were better problem solvers. They were not just waiting to be told how to solve a problem. They were always actively thinking about which ideas they had learned could apply to solve a particular problem. That confidence I saw allowed us to go more deeply into the content than ever before. We just didn’t skim the surface of the processes, algorithms, and algebra needed, we solved problems!!

If you wanted to spiral the 2D course or a similar course I thought I would share out my plan to help out. Here is my day-to-day plan with links, resources, Desmos activities, 3 Act tasks, assignments, homework, etc from my spiralled MPM2D course. (It’s not fully complete for every day but you’ll get a sense of how the class ran).

[aio_button align=”center” animation=”none” color=”blue” size=”medium” icon=”star” text=”See the plan” relationship=”dofollow” url=”https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1O6xynI57e9iza6YTP9nEIu6DnbaEeL-KztV5js9xkwg/pubhtml?gid=0&single=true”]

Most files are either Smart Notebook, Apple’s Keynote, or PDF.

Get Apple’s Keynote on your Mac or on iOS.



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!