Saturday, March 18, 2006

Great Ideas From the Middle School Teachers

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I had the good fortune to have David Reece, a grade 7 teacher from one of our feeder schools participate in Whiplash! yesterday. You can hear me introduce him to the group in the introductory audio (4 min, Dave's intro is a little more than 2 minutes in) to Whiplash! Dave blogs with all four of his grade 7 math classes and they're producing some really wonderful work. Check out his class blogs: 7-42, 7-43, 7-44, 7-72.

Dave recently got his hands on a smart board and asked me if I knew of any online resources he could take advantage of. I've never used a smart board so I don't, but if you do please let me know by leaving a comment or send me an email I can pass on to Dave.

Chris Harbeck works in the same school as Dave. He teaches four grade 8 classes; 8-16, 8-17, 8-41, 8-73. He also started an enrichment blog called Taking Math to the Next Level. The intro to every post on the site reads:

Math is more than just multiplying, using fractions and using a calculator. It is using your number sense in as many ways as possible. This blog will make you think, then solve your math problems. It will be a great place for you to get ready for your exam in June. Lets work together making math meaningful and fun.

Chris' latest brainstorm? He's developing a new way to use the blogs with his classes. He calls it The Growing Post (more here).

Chris began by modeling what a "Growing Post" should look like, then his kids started producing some incredible work. The way he has woven the entire family's involvement into this project is one of it's most exciting features for me. Just think about it. Each of these kids is sharing their learning with their mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and grandparents in order to get a bonus mark. The family offers positive feedback and encouragement and the kids get to show off their learning. Since this is part of the assignment, the kids can brag about their work without feeling embarrassed about doing so. This is idea is so brilliant on so many levels I can't begin to articulate them all. What a way to celebrate learning, involve the family, boost a kid's self-confidence, develop an authentic audience for the students published work, give a kid a chance to show what they know, have a kid keep a record of everything they're learning so they can revisit it whenever they need to, get them reflect on their learning, ..... can you tell I'm excited by this?

Mr. H, you're teaching many more people than just your very lucky group of grade 8 students! (Do they know how fortunate they are?)

If you haven't yet committed a random act of kindness today, head over to Dave and Chris' blogs and leave them and their kids a comment or two. (You'll find the links to the student's work in the sidebars of their blogs or the class numbers above.)

5 comments:

Mr. H said...
19/3/06 05:50  

Thanks for the kind words Darren. I always appreciate your feedback. My groing posts have gone from sprouts to seedlings. They might even be saplings soon!! Stay tuned form more.

Chris

Mr. H said...
19/3/06 05:58  

One more thing about the growing post. I encouraged the students to involve their parents. Their parents could leave a comment for their student. When their parents see how much work they are putting into their posts and the power of the computer for things other than games and chatting they will be fuller participants in their childs education. So far so good. All comments are positive and we are continuing to grow!!

Bud Hunt said...
19/3/06 13:09  

Darren,

Thank you for continuing to share your knowledge and introducing us to all of these teachers doing great stuff. I've used a SMARTboard for the last year and a half and, while I don't have any specific resources to link to, I would be happy to help out in any way that I can -- feel free to pass along my contact information.

Amerloc said...
24/3/06 08:36  

Just a typo-kinda thing, Darren. The links to Chris' classes actually go to Dave's. Some neat stuff going on there!

Darren said...
24/3/06 08:42  

Thanks! The links are fixed.

There sure are some great things happening in the middle school -- you should see how the grade 8 classes "Growing Posts" are growing! ;-)

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