No Marks?

During one of our EMTH 450 classes we were asked to read an article on a teacher who doesn’t give out grades to his students. The article is called is “No percentage marks from Red Deer math teacher” and when I first read it I was sort of taken aback by what the article was about. We had to write a post about what we thought about the article and this is what I wrote:

“I like this article in that puts into perspective how math is not graded like other subjects. When the article brought up the fact that in English classes we give students rough drafts to improve their learning and we do not do this in math, it really stood out to me. I am not sure how not assigning grades to students would go over with all schools, but I definitely agree that it should not be the thing in which students and parents focus on. They should be focusing on if they understand the math and why. I really like the idea of students being able to assign their own grade and give a reason why they believe they deserve that grade. In some of my university classes I have been asked to do this and it is an effective way of having students really take a look at their work critically.”

After reading this article, our class had a bit of a discussion, but some people were lead to more questions than answers so David Guenther emailed Dave Martin and asked that he Skype into our EMTH 450 class so that we could ask some further questions on his model. Luckily Dave was more than willing to do so.

We met with him on Tuesday and during our Skype meeting, he gave us a more explicit understanding of what it is he actually does. Dave does give out grades at the end of the semester to each student because he has to, but what he does differently is that he gives students a grade on what they have mastered. He developed a list of “rocks” in which he determined were the main concepts of his courses. Once student completed one rock at a mastery level (meaning they got 100%) they were to move on to the next rock. Now they never moved onto a new rock until they have mastered the previous one(s), but they also never forget about the rocks that they have already completed, they continue to use them as they progress through the course. Then at the end of the course he gives them a mark based on how many rocks they have mastered. Dave goes into more details about it, but that was what really stood out to me from that post.

Dave answered more of our questions and was great at really going into depth about what it was he did, while pulling up examples as he went along. His blog is amazing, it has so many examples of his students work and great articles of what exactly he does. He told us that if wanted to use any of his work to go ahead and I think someday (because I know this doesn’t happen overnight) I’d like to use some type of model that is similar to his. It really promotes students to focus on the understanding of math, rather than memorization of it.

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Why Can’t I Use Internet Explorer…

During our last class Alec introduced an amazing tool to us… HOLA! This was the best/worst thing he could have shared with me and I’ll tell you why! Hola is a tool that you can download onto Google Chrome that allows you to change your IP address to a different country, it is a type of extension used only for Google Chrome users. Why is this tool so amazing… American Netflix! Since downloading this extension I have watched a lot of Criminal Minds and Disney movies.

However, downloading this extension started a worthy conversation with my cousin who I told needed to download this extension. Until this year I had been using Internet Explorer for all my web browsing needs. I had been told multiple times that I should not be using Internet Explorer, that Google Chrome was way better, yet I still am not sure why. The reason I bring this up is because I told my cousin that she must use Google Chrome, like MUST, but when she asked why, I could not give her a legit reason. Which is why I am blogging about it. I like Google Chrome and I will not go back to Internet Explorer (because I don’t want to lose American Netflix), but I am wondering if anyone can give me a good reason (that’ll I’ll understand) as to why using Internet Explorer is so bad.

Also, take a look at this photo that my cousin did tag me in on Instagram, sort of explains my confusion as to why people are so adamant that I use Google Chrome and forget about Internet Explorer.

Learning From Scratch

A couple of weeks ago Alec introduced us to a website called Scratch which allows students to use codes without realizing that they are using codes. Now I am no expert on codes but from what I understand it is involved in pretty much anything to do with technology (correct me if I’m wrong). I found this site quite confusing to be honest. I started with my little cat (a.k.a. my sprite) and started playing around with the movements and sounds of what my cat could do. I pulled down some movements and sounds and he did not do a whole lot but turn in a small circle and meow a lot. I decided to ditch my cat and try my luck out on a ballerina dancing in her bedroom. I gave her all these cool motions, I wanted her to jump from her bed to floor, say hello, and move around a bit.

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Instead, I ended up with this. It’s not very exciting, but it took me quite a while to even get this far. I could see how this would be fun to use in a classroom. Students can learn how one click of a button can lead to a series of motions and noise and essentially come up with a game without necessarily realizing what they are actually doing. I’d be interested to know how you could incorporate this type of website into a mathematics classroom. Please comment and share your thoughts on this. I’ll keep trying my luck with this website and hopefully my “Flying Ballerina” will be able to do more tricks.

Getting Help From G-Money

Just like every Sunday since the year I was born I found myself at Grandma’s house playing cribbage, eating amazing food, and hauling my bag full of homework just to let it sit by the couch the whole day. But this Sunday something different happened, I actually opened up my bag and did some homework, my learning project! I’ve said before that my grandma used to crochet quite a bit and so I thought she could help me with my homework this Sunday. I have been wanting to make another headband following a pattern that I found on Pinterest that I really liked, but I have been having trouble doing a half double stitch and double stitch. I watched my go to crocheter on how to do both on Youtube, but mine still looked messy and I was confused. The videos did the stitching slow enough, but I am a hands on learner so I really struggled with someone not demonstrating and talking me through my work. I then Googled how to each stitch and I got a paragraph that outlined how to do each stitch.

11082773_10153286526145530_1191216227_n 11072253_10153286526055530_617352725_nThis made a bit more sense to me, but I still couldn’t get anything that looked half decent to me. I didn’t take pictures of my progress because, well, there was not progress and my work literally looked like a ball of nothing. So that is where my grandma came in. I asked if she remembered how to do each stitch and with a little prompting from Google and working with the yarn and hook herself, my grandma started stitching like a pro! I watched how she worked with the yarn, she spoke out loud as she worked, and then she passed the yarn and hook over to me and prompted me as I made each stitch. By having someone watch me as I worked and correcting me if I was not going in the right path, I found that I learned a lot more quickly and my ball of nothing turned into a semi-good looking pattern.

I decided to make a couple of videos of me working to prove that it is actually me doing the stitching and that I am trying my best to learn as many different stitches as I can. I made two videos, one of the half double crochet stitch and one of the double crochet stitch.

If you have any other suggestions of how to do these two stitches more efficiently or differently feel free to comment. Do you have any suggestions of what stitches I should learn next, let me know. I will post progress pictures of my headband coming soon!

“If You Liked It, Then You Should Have Put A Pin On It”

It has been a while since I blogged about my learning project, but that does not mean I have forgot about it. Actually I have been doing it for at least 2 hours every night while I watch Criminal Minds. I have begun a blanket, but I do not have enough progress (in my opinion) to share just yet. I will, however, share something that has shown a lot of progress… My Pinterest board that I created for my crocheting wish list! I started this board when I started my learning project and it has slowly been growing when I get bored and search up patterns for more time than I’d like to admit. Feel free to take a look at my board for a wide assortment of crocheting patterns and if you have any patterns or tips you think may be useful for a beginning crocheter, send them my way! Stay tuned for my project updates as I have more time to now that midterms are over!


Photo Credit: The Crochet Hooker via Compfight cc

#saskedchat

I first heard about #saskedchat‘s through my cousin who is taking her Masters course and had to extend her personal learning network through Twitter. When she told me about it, I thought it sounded like a terrible idea, I could not think of a reason why I would want to follow teachers from all over the world or have them follow me, what I could offer them. Thankfully I was completely wrong!

So far I have participated in two #saskedchat‘s, one during their regular Thursday nights and one during my Tuesday night class where they had a special meeting for my ECMP 455 class and another University of Regina class. During these two chats I had an amazing time connecting with so many teachers (most of whom I started to follow and they followed me)! Suddenly I went from maybe 80 followers to over 100 in only two nights. But I was not just excited that I gained followers, these followers actually cared what I had to say as an educator, even though I have no experience in my own classroom. I was getting meaningful responses from so many people that I did not know but were so gracious in sharing their knowledge.

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Though I found it hard to keep up throughout the full hour, I used TweetDeck to keep “real” time of what was being said and for the most part I could keep up with the conversations being had that involved me.

I hope to participate in #saskedchat’s as I continue to grow as an educator. I found that the insight I got from new teachers, experienced teachers, math teachers, etc. was extremely helpful and proved further that I am in the right career!

Giving My Learning Away

Well I have completed my third project of my learning project! Much like my scarf, I followed the same pattern in that I only used a chain stitch and a single row stitch. The headband itself did not take me very long to make because it did not need to be that big.

I first made the “body” of the headband by measuring the size of my head and then measuring the same length with my chain stitches (I forgot to take into consideration that the yarn would stretch).I then stitched the two ends together by using the same technique as my scarf. I had to reference back to the “CrochetGuru” to make sure I was doing it properly.From there I wanted to make a what I called a bow (not really a bow, but close enough). To make the bow I simply did the exact same thing as I did for the headband except I made it way smaller.From there I attached the two together and bam! I completed my first headband!Unfortunately, like I said up top is that I did not take into account the stretch of the yarn, so the headband was too big for my head…But it fit Miss Hillary Strain, so I gave it her!

Well that’s all for now! If you have any other great headband patterns out there for me let me know!

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