The Variable – Volume 2, Issue 1

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How might you encourage students to attend to precision in their work? What do your students understand by “cancelling” when reducing rational expressions? How might you incorporate basic coding in your math classroom – and why? Explore this and many other questions in the latest issue of The Variable, whether you teach Kindergarten or Grade 12. Head to http://smts.ca/the-variable/, where you will find this month’s and all previous issues free to access and to download.

As always, we hope you find this publication relevant and valuable for your teaching or personal interest – and if so, that you share it with your colleagues and invite them to join the conversation!

Reflections: 2017 Teaching Resolutions

Reflections is a monthly column for teachers, by teachers on topics of interest to mathematics educators: reflections on classroom experiences, professional development opportunities, resource reviews, and more. If you are interested in sharing your own ideas with mathematics educators in the province (and beyond), consider contributing to this column! Contact us at thevariable@smts.ca.


2017 Teaching Resolutions
Amanda Culver

A new year means a new start. A time to reflect on the previous year and a time to set goals for the year ahead.

A new year means a new start. A time to reflect on the previous year and a time to set goals for the year ahead. In two weeks, I get to teach math again! As a French Immersion teacher, I love teaching my French courses, but I also miss working with math. In particular, knowing that this will be my second time teaching the Foundations of Mathematics 20 course, I am excited to come at the course from a different angle, after doing a lot of reflection at the end of last year (puns intended). And so, in the spirit of the season, I have developed a list of resolutions to guide me this year. The resolutions (or goals) that follow mostly apply to this course, but also extend to my extra-curricular mathematical involvements. Continue reading

Spotlight on the Profession: Jennifer Brokofsky

In this monthly column, we speak with a notable member of the mathematics education community about their work and their perspectives on the teaching and learning of mathematics. This month, we had the pleasure of speaking with Jennifer Brokofsky.


Jennifer Brokofsky is the K-12 Coordinator of Mathematics for Saskatoon Public Schools.  She is passionate about mathematics education, and believes in empowering students and teachers to feel ownership of, and become deeply engaged in their own learning. Her Masters work in Educational Technology and Design strongly influences her practice and her belief in the importance of technology as a tool to enhance and extend learning opportunities for all.


Thank you for taking the time to have this conversation! To start off, could you tell our readers a bit about the work that you do as Coordinator of Mathematics for the Saskatoon Public School Division?

As the Coordinator of Mathematics, my job is to support and advocate for mathematics within Saskatoon Public Schools. My work provides me with opportunities to be a researcher, learner, leader, designer, and collaborator. Some days, I facilitate professional learning opportunities for teachers or work in classrooms with students. Other days, I collaborate with school-based administrators and teachers on strategic plans for mathematics. Every day, I work closely with a fantastic Staff Development Team who have a wealth of expertise to share around mathematics, literacy, technology, First Nations and Métis education, English language learners, student supports, and leadership. I love that every day provides me with an opportunity to learn and to serve the many mathematicians within Saskatoon Public Schools. Continue reading

Problems to Ponder (January edition)

Welcome to the November edition of Problems to Ponder! This month’s problems have been curated by Michael Pruner, president of the British Columbia Association of Mathematics Teachers (BCAMT). The tasks are released on a weekly basis through the BCAMT listserv, and are also shared via Twitter (@BCAMT) and on the BCAMT website. This post features only a subset of the problems shared by Michael last month – head to the BCAMT website for the full set!

Have an interesting solution? Send it to thevariable@smts.ca for publication in a future issue of The Variable, our monthly periodical.

I am calling these problems ‘competency tasks’ because they seem to fit quite nicely with the curricular competencies in the British Columbia revised curriculum. They are non-content based, so that all students should be able to get started and investigate by drawing pictures, making guesses, or asking questions. When possible, extensions are provided so that you can keep your students in flow during the activity. Although they may not fit under a specific topic for your course, the richness of the mathematics comes out when students explain their thinking or show creativity in their solution strategies. Continue reading

Intersections (January edition): Upcoming professional development opportunities

In this monthly column, you’ll find information about upcoming math education-related workshops, conferences, and other events. Some events fill up fast, so don’t delay signing up!

For more information about a particular event or to register, follow the link provided below the description. If you know about an event that should be on our list, please contact us at ilona@smts.ca.

Jump to:
Within Saskatchewan
Beyond Saskatchewan

Online workshops

Within Saskatchewan

Workshops

Number Talks and Beyond: Building Math Communities Through Classroom Conversation
January 17, Regina, SK
Presented by the Saskatchewan Professional Development Unit

Classroom discussion is a powerful tool for supporting student communication, sense-making and mathematical understanding. Curating productive math talk communities requires teachers to plan for and recognize opportunities in the live action of teaching. Come experience a variety of classroom numeracy routines including number talks, counting circles, quick images and more. Take math conversations to the next level by strengthening your skills as a facilitator of classroom discourse and student thinking. Continue reading

Problems to Ponder (December edition)

Welcome to the November edition of Problems to Ponder! This month’s problems have been curated by Michael Pruner, president of the British Columbia Association of Mathematics Teachers (BCAMT). The tasks are released on a weekly basis through the BCAMT listserv, and are also shared via Twitter (@BCAMT) and on the BCAMT website. This post features only a subset of the problems shared by Michael last month – head to the BCAMT website for the full set!

Have an interesting solution? Send it to thevariable@smts.ca for publication in a future issue of The Variable, our monthly periodical.

I am calling these problems ‘competency tasks’ because they seem to fit quite nicely with the curricular competencies in the British Columbia revised curriculum. They are non-content based, so that all students should be able to get started and investigate by drawing pictures, making guesses, or asking questions. When possible, extensions are provided so that you can keep your students in flow during the activity. Although they may not fit under a specific topic for your course, the richness of the mathematics comes out when students explain their thinking or show creativity in their solution strategies. Continue reading

The Variable – Volume 1, Issue 8

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How might you increase participation and conversation in your math class using networked devices? How can the game of SET encourage mathematical habits of mind? What do “loose parts” have to do with learning mathematics? Explore this and many other questions in the latest issue of The Variable (and the last issue of 2016!), full of ideas for your classroom, whether you teach Kindergarten or Grade 12. Head to http://smts.ca/the-variable/, where you will find this month’s and all previous issues free to access and to download.

As always, we hope you find this publication relevant and valuable for your teaching or personal interest – and if so, that you share it with your colleagues and invite them to join the conversation!

Reflections: SUMming up SUM Conference 2016

Reflections is a monthly column for teachers, by teachers on topics of interest to mathematics educators: reflections on classroom experiences, professional development opportunities, resource reviews, and more. If you are interested in sharing your own ideas with mathematics educators in the province (and beyond), consider contributing to this column! Contact us at thevariable@smts.ca.


SUMming up SUM Conference 2016
Sharon Harvey

Well, I made it through my first Saskatchewan Understands Math (SUM) conference while being on the other side! The organizing side, that is. It is unbelievable how much work goes into making sure our SUM conference runs smoothly and delivers a fabulous experience for our attendees. So first, I want to thank the SMTS and the SUM Conference committee for organizing such a great event. And let me tell you—it was a great event!

So what makes our conference so great? (I know what you’re thinking: is she really going to write a whole column about how great the conference was that she helped organize? Yes. I am.) Continue reading

Spotlight on the Profession: Dr. Peter Liljedahl

In this monthly column, we speak with a notable member of the mathematics education community about their work and their perspectives on the teaching and learning of mathematics. This month, we had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Peter Liljedahl.


peter-liljedahlDr. Peter Liljedahl is an Associate Professor of Mathematics Education in the Faculty of Education and the Associate Dean Academic for the Office of Graduate Studies and Post-Doctoral Fellows at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada.  Peter is a co-director of the David Wheeler Institute for Research in Mathematics Education, President of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, a senior editor for the International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, and the coordinator of the Secondary Mathematics Master’s Program in the Faculty of Education at SFU. Peter is a former high school mathematics teacher who has kept his research interest and activities close to the classroom. He consults regularly with teachers, schools, school districts, and ministries of education on issues of teaching and learning, assessment, and numeracy.


First of all, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to have this conversation. To start things off, could you discuss your current research interests and projects? How has your work kept you close to mathematics classrooms?

Almost all of my work is centred around improving the teaching and learning of mathematics. To this end, I work closely with practicing in-service mathematics teachers interested in improving their practice. At the same time, I do research on both the teaching and learning of mathematics and the professional growth of teachers of mathematics.

 

Some of your recent work has been centered around the notion of a “thinking classroom” (e.g., Liljedahl & Williams, 2014; Liljedahl, 2016b). How would you describe such a classroom? How can classroom norms and the classroom environment contribute, or detract from, a culture of thinking? Continue reading

Problems to Ponder (November edition)

Welcome to the November edition of Problems to Ponder! This month’s problems have been curated by Michael Pruner, president of the British Columbia Association of Mathematics Teachers (BCAMT). The tasks are released on a weekly basis through the BCAMT listserv, and are also shared via Twitter (@BCAMT) and on the BCAMT website. This post features only a subset of the problems shared by Michael last month – head to the BCAMT website for the full set!

Have an interesting solution? Send it to thevariable@smts.ca for publication in a future issue of The Variable, our monthly periodical.

I am calling these problems ‘competency tasks’ because they seem to fit quite nicely with the curricular competencies in the British Columbia revised curriculum. They are non-content based, so that all students should be able to get started and investigate by drawing pictures, making guesses, or asking questions. When possible, extensions are provided so that you can keep your students in flow during the activity. Although they may not fit under a specific topic for your course, the richness of the mathematics comes out when students explain their thinking or show creativity in their solution strategies. Continue reading