Today while Ms. Fahmi, my student teacher, was teaching I went to take a photo of the students at their boards solving in their groups. Then realised that I should try taking some video since there are several of us in the room & I can take the time to do so (I had parents choose at the beginning of the year whether or not they were comfortable with me including photos & videos of their child in class on my professional learning network platforms)

This past weekend I presented at EdTechTeam’s summit in Rosemere, QC. Their summits are designed to immerse teachers in EdTech for the weekend, learning all about the Gsuite tools (formerly GAFE; Google Apps for Education). Here are my sketchnotes from the weekend:

My pen & paper notes from the sessions I attended:

My digital sketchnotes from the 3 keynote speakers:

This summer Pear Deck announced the introduction of student-paced mode; the ability for the teacher to allow students to work through the slide deck at their own pace. This is a feature I enjoyed in the Desmos activities I’d been building for graphing (interesting also that Desmos introduced their teacher-paced mode around the same time that Pear Deck introduced student-paced; both platforms now offering both pacing options).

Not sure what Pear Deck is or does? Watch this quick video before reading further:

How to turn on student-paced mode:

Click the 3-dot menu icon on the bottom right of your screen while presenting your Pear Deck, and the option to turn student-paced mode on (or off later) will be there:

Act 1 consists of present my students with a scenario via photo or video & asking them

What do you notice?

What do you wonder?

Then I show them the problem I’ve chosen for the day (usually it’s one that most kids write down for “what do you wonder?” since I’ve carefully selected the scenario to lend itself to asking the question I want based on our learning goal).

Estimate the answer: too high, too low, best guess?

Act 1 happens via Pear Deck in TEACHER-paced mode. Students are at their seats in their visibly random groups for the day assigned by playing cards. They use their own phone or a loaned chromebook (I have 6 that live in my classroom) to answer these questions on Pear Deck. We often have a quick class discussion here too about reasonable estimates and their strategies for that. I, as the teacher, am choosing when to move the slides forward for the entire group.

Act 2 consists of sending each group to their assigned vertical non-permanent surface (ie. chalkboard or whiteboard) to solve the problem. Often groups also need to do some data collection or measurement here in order to solve the problem.

At this point I have a slide with the original picture & the problem to solve written on it projected on the board while the groups are solving. The moment the first group to finish solving heads back to their seats, this is when I turn on STUDENT-paced mode. The rest of the slides will be follow up questions to reflect on their solution or to apply their thinking to extension problems. Students work on these at their own pace at their own desk.

When all groups are done and back at their seats, I lead a class discussion about the solutions from each group using the 5 practices for orchestrating productive mathematics discussions. During or after this discussion, we might also look at some of the responses to specific follow up questions on Pear Deck. If we do, I turn OFF the student-paced mode to bring everybody’s screen back to whichever one we are discussing.

Act 3consists of checking our answer either in real life (as we did for the cup stacking activity) or by showing a video or image answer (as we did for the phone charge activity).

Normally, in Pear Deck, there is a projected screen being shown on the board to the whole class by the teacher. The students see a “response” screen on their own device that is different than the one being projected. When in student-paced mode, the student can see both the content slide AND The student response slide on their own device. On a tablet or laptop the two screens are shown side by side when in student-paced mode:
When using a smaller device such as a phone or iPod, the student will see a blue bar across the bottom of the screen allowing them to toggle back and forth between the “content” & “response” screens:

Have you used student-paced mode in Pear Deck yet? Share in the comments below how you use it with your own students!

– Laura Wheeler (Teacher @ Ridgemont High School, OCDSB; Ottawa, ON)

I said that my room is pretty much ideal as is & then realised I didn’t have a good current photo showing off our setup. So once I arrived at school I fixed that scenario:

– Laura Wheeler (Teacher @ Ridgemont High School, OCDSB; Ottawa, ON)

This week’s #OttSlowChat question is about apps or websites that teachers find useful. I created a sketchnote to share why I love using Remind to communicate with students & parents.

Use Remind to communicate with:

students

parents

colleagues

People can choose to receive your messages via:

text message

the Remind app

email

You can choose between:

1-way announcements

2-way communication
(you can set “office hours” to manage the time of day during which 2-way communication can occur)

You can send messages to:

the entire class

a small group within the class

an individual in the class

Send a message:

now

later (using the scheduler)

You can attach:

images

audio clips

Students will NEVER see your phone number!

I use it to communicate with the students in my classes as well as those in clubs and on sports teams that I work with. A very handy app!

– Laura Wheeler (Teacher @ Ridgemont High School, OCDSB; Ottawa, ON)

Not the most exciting problem, but my students were still engaged even if it wasn’t a contextualised scenario.

Act 1:

What do you notice (facts)?

What do you wonder (Qs)?

– The shape is a pyramid that has a square base.
– The area of the triangle is 1 cm square.

– What is the area of the base?
– What is the volume of the shape?
– What is the surface area of the shape?
– What is the height of the shape?

It is a triangle

What is the lenght and height of the triangle

It’s a square based pyramid

how many sticky notes do we need to cover the square based pyramid

It’s a Square pyramid

It’s a triangle and it has 1cm squared

What are the lengths and widths of the pyramid

Its a shape.

what is 10m2?

pyramid

Square based pyramid, with a sticky note that reads “I cm squared)

Why is there a sticky note on one of the sides?

That it is a square base pyramid

What are the other lengths

There is a square based pyramid

What does the 1cm^2 represent?

There is a triangle

What is the value of this pyramid

what’s the area of the square based pyramid

Estimate:

Act 2:

Each group of students was given a plastic pyramid like the one in the picture. They began measuring dimensions of the pyramid and using the formula from their formula sheets in their binder. They solved the problem on their boards:

I asked the group why they thought we got different answers in different groups and they commented that some of our plastic pyramids were slightly smaller than others. I did a little direct teaching about the net of a square based pyramid and how that translates into the formula on their formula sheet:

Act 3:

I then handed out grid paper and asked the students to draw a 1 cm by 1 cm square at the top left of the page. They told me that the area was 1 cm^2 and determined that every 4 squares of our grid paper made a 1 cm^2 area.

I asked them to trace all of the faces of their pyramid onto the grid paper to create a net. Then to colour in alternative 4-square blocks to allow us to count the area in cm^2.

We counted up the area and found the answer to be 114 cm^2; right on with our calculations!

Students were assigned a “surface area” practice set of questions on Khan Academy; different ones depending on whether or not they had completed the previous set I assigned earlier in the semester.

The materials for this activity are available here.

– Laura Wheeler (Teacher @ Ridgemont High School, OCDSB; Ottawa, ON)

This past week I did an activity inspired by Fawn Nguyen’s Visual Patterns work. The last time I did this activity, I blogged about it here.

Pattern:

Notice & Wonder:

What do you notice (facts)?

What do you wonder (Qs)?

each step the cubes increase

how come the reds arent increasing?

How many blue blocks will they add on the 4th step

Each step, more cubes are added

Why is there always 3 red but the blue always increases?

Why Do we only have 3 reds

There are 3 steps in the picture

there are red and blue cubes

how much the sides go up each time

The number of blue blocks increase as the number of steps increase.

why isnt red increasing?

Cubes, there is steps

How many cubes added every step?

I notice there a step 1 , step 2, step 3

Why does the blues always increase and the red stays the same

Always 3 red in the middle the outside length increases by 1 each time

Why is the red not increasing

– The number of blue cubes increase each step. (2, 8, 18, etc)
– The number of red cubes stay the same each time.

– How many blue cubes will there be at step 10?
– What is the formula?

3 red squares on each step ,

There’s always 3 red in the middle

How much blue cubes will it be in step 4

the red blocks stay they same but the blue blocks increase every time

how much the blue blocks are going up by

Estimate:

Solve:

Groups used tables to start. Then, most could see the pattern of the two squares on each end with a side length equal to the step number and they used this pattern to calculate the number of blocks for step 57.

A follow up question in the Pear Deck slides asked them if the pattern was linear, quadratic or neither. We discussed how we can determine this, and I sent students back to their boards to find the first & second differences.

The next question in the slides asked them to use Desmos to find the curve of best fit and its equation. I reviewed how to do both linear & quadratic regression on Desmos on the board for them. After students found the equation with Desmos, they were asked to go to their boards one last time and use their equation to verify how many cubes would be needed in step 57.

We then had a whole class discussion on how the terms in the equation represented the visual pattern.

Individual practice on quadratic relations was assigned from Khan Academy; different exercises depending on whether or not they had finished their homework from the last time we worked on quadratics.

This is 2nd time blogging about this problem. 1st time-around post is here.

Scenario:

What do you notice (facts)?

What do you wonder (questions)?

different prices

why are they buying these

Adding 3 extra coffees cost more by a little

How much with it cost for 4 coffees and 4 muffins ?

why is the kid buying coffee?

whys the kid buying coffee?

The totals are different on each side.

One side has less drinks.

How much is each item?

nothing

2 different cost

How much the cupcake cost each one
How much the coffee cost each one

there’s money, drinks, cupcakes

how much each coffee and cupcake is

For the first indivdual, it costs $8.85 for three cupcakes and three coffee cups.

For the second person, it costs $5.35 for three cupcakes and one cup of coffee.

Im curious about what brand of coffee that they are buying. It seems potentially no name or even something like a corner store kinda coffee. ew.

oh yeah also how much do they each cost?

The total cost are different

How much it cost in each item

I notice cupcakes , coffee , a boy and a girl

how much is each

The person on the left has more coffee and is going to spend more

What is the individual price of the coffee and the muffins

– They both ordered 3 muffins, but one had 3 cups of a drink and the other ordered one.
– The one that ordered 3 cups, have to pay more.

– How much does one drink cost?
– How much does one muffin cost?
– Does the person on the right have a better deal than the person on the left?

Different prices and different subjects

How much does it cost for each item

Adding 3 more cups of of coffee is a little bit more than getting one cup of coffee

how much is one cup of coffee

Different objects in both pictures

Why did the person on the left buy more

diffent

how much money does it cost to for one cup of coffee and one muffin

Solve for the cost of 1 muffin as well for the cost of 1 coffee (red/orange annotations are mine during whole class discussion):

They all solved it by subtracting what was common to both orders & splitting the remaining cost amongst the remaining coffees. The follow up questions on Pear Deck asked them to create an equation for each order. I then did some direct teaching on the side showing them how to do elimination using 2 different equations. Then I asked them to go to their board and use elimination to solve this problem. They started this on day 1 above but we class ended & we hadn’t finished. So on day 2, with a new group of partners & fresh boards, I sent them up to use elimination to solve fully:

We compared the solutions of the different groups and picked out the one board that had the most correct formatting of an algebraic solution. I drew parallels between their work during elimination and their earlier logic, pointing out how they are both eliminating something (I explained this more in depth & more eloquently).

Last week we used similar triangles to find the height of lamp post out front of the school:

Act 1

Scenario:

What do you notice about the lamppost? (FACTS)

What do you wonder about the lamppost? (QUESTIONS)

The pole is taller then the person

What is the height difference between to man and the lamppost

It’s a lot taller then the person

how much taller is the lamppost compared to the person?

its a tall lamppost

How tall is the lamppost?

The iamppost tall than the boy

What height the lamppost and what the height of the boy

there’s a person beside the lamp post

how much of that person does it takes to get the height of the lamp post

The lamppost is tall

What is the height of the lamppost?

What’s the height of the lampost

What’s the height of the lamppost

– The post is taller than the person
– The structure of the lamp post is sturdy

– How much taller is the lamppost than the person?

– How tall is the lamppost?

– How many persons will it take to reach the height of the lamppost?

The lamppost is taller than the person

What is the hieght of the lamppost/person

A person is next to the lamp

What’s the height of the person and lamppost?

the lamppost is tall
The lamppost is black

How tall is the lamppost
(who is that person)

Act 2

Students were shown this diagram and asked which of these lengths/heights they could physically measure:

Then we headed outside to measure whatever we could with metre sticks & record on a handout of the above diagram in our small groups.

We returned to class & students solved at their boards (red/orange annotations on boards are mine during the whole class discussion afterwards):

We discussed the different boards & their strategies. We grouped the boards by strategy; proportion solving vs scale factor.

Act 3

The next day I poked a hole through a foam stress ball & fed some string through it – leaving the roll of string trailing behind. We went outside & took turns trying to throw the ball over the top of the lamppost. It took a good 20+ minutes, but we got it (“we” is a strong word since my throws did not work & my student Ahmed got it over!) and the students then measured the length of string that hung down to the ground; 10.16 m was the actual height (which was fairly close to their solutions on the boards).

The rest of the day 2 class was dedicated to individual practice. Some students never completed the first practice from earlier in the semester on similar triangles, so they were assigned the basic exercise set on Khan Academy. Those that had completed that skill were assigned a more advanced exercise set involving similar triangles nested inside of one another.