Monthly Archives: December 2012

2012 in review

I have seen a number of people post reviews of their year in 2012, and it led me to review my own year, and here are some of the insights I had.     Most popular posts of 2012 Do iPads improve mathematics instruction? Maybe. (6938 reads) Children are not railroad cars. (6775 reads) We […]

How to Be an Explorer of the World

This was written by Ana Ver, the Learning Specialist for Science at my school. She tweets at @anainvancouver if you want to connect with her.   Winter break is coming! But three weeks away from school during the holidays doesn’t mean that education has to stop. Being an explorer, a scientist, an artist is not […]

Classroom tests

(Image credit: zeligfilm) If you are using formative assessment to help guide your instruction and give feedback to your students, then you should be able to fairly easily predict how well your students will do on a classroom test. If you can, why are you giving your students the test? Hopefully your answer isn’t "so […]

What does this mistake mean?

Here is a question I was asked recently. A student asks you why 0 to the 1st power is 1. What do you do to help the student understand? Any time a student comes to me with a question, I try and see if I can figure out what’s going on by paying careful attention to […]

Activeprompt examples

This morning I generated three new Activeprompts related to area and understanding the relationship between dimensions and the area of an object. I’m hoping to use these as examples of questions teachers can use to prompt good questions from their students and generate discussion around mathematics. Examples: Which shape has the largest area? Which rectangle […]

Inquiry into positive and negative integer rules

Our department had a meeting recently where we discussed the need for more investigative approaches in our teaching. We all use investigative approaches at least part of the time, but some of us disagreed about whether it was possible to approach every topic with an investigation.  One of the specific topics that came up was […]

Philosophy of Education

People learn through a process much like scientists do, discovering the world through observation. They either consciously or unconsciously hypothesize about how the world should work, collect data, compare the data they have collected to see if it fits in their theory, and then revise their theory if they feel enough evidence has been found. […]


Riley Lark recently shared Activeprompt, which is a way for one person to create an image prompt that can be used for a variety of different purposes. Riley released the code for Activeprompt as open-source, but in the programming language Ruby, which I do not know. I’ve created my own version of his project in […]

Landfill Harmonic

Find a little more than 3 minutes, and watch the following trailer for the Landfill Harmonic movie. My favourite quote from this trailer: People realize that we shouldn’t throw out trash carelessly. Well, we shouldn’t throw away people either. I wonder what the world would look like if we all lived by Neil Degrasse Tyson‘s […]

Bean counting and place value

One area of mathematics which I strongly suspect many students have problem understanding is place value. It is an important abstraction for students to understand, and without understanding it, it is unlikely that students will progress very far in arithmetic (and then will likely struggle in algebra later). Here is an activity my friend David […]