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Teachers Sharing – BCAMT New Teachers Conference

February 11, 2012

This afternoon I presented a session titled, “Middle School Mathematics That Worked” at the British Columbia Association of Mathematics Teachers (BCAMT) New Teachers Conference. I felt this was a fitting conference as it was the first conference I have spoken at since I left my previous position with the Ministry of Education. As a “new teacher” this seems really fitting. After all 12 years working outside of the classroom is a long time.

The new teachers conference has always been a favourite of mine even when I worked in the government. It is a great place to speak with student teaches and newer teachers who are keen to learn and have lots to share.  At my session I shared several examples of projects, teaching strategies and approaches to mathematics instruction and learning which have worked for me.  The majority of these projects came from working with other teachers in our school as we have developed a team approach to creating the best possible program for middle school mathematics. Some of the ideas include:

  • Rubrics for students teaching each other
  • Using Google SketchUp for teaching about 3-D objects
  • Creating a Vacation Travel Holiday to teach about decimals, fractions and percents
  • Using Scratch to develop logical thinking skills and incorporation of mathematics
  • Scavenger hunt to demonstrate applications of the Cartesian Plane
  • Developing a game to solidify concepts involving integers

While it was great to chat about the things that I have been doing in my class the good thing for me was the questions the student teachers asked. Their questions made me look at the activities in a different light than I had before. Typical questions included:

  • How much time do you allocate to projects?
  • How do you plan a lesson?
  • How do you manage with a large class?
  • How many in each group?
  • What if you don’t have the technology?
  • Are the students engaged?
  • Can all of the students complete the project?

As a result of this experience today I would like to encourage all teachers out there to take a chance and share what you are doing. Speak at a conference. Send a tweet. Create a blog. Post some of your ideas on-line to get feedback from others. It can only make things better if we all share. These actions not only show teachers taking leadership but also show a willingness to learn.  It creates a  community and makes those joining the profession feel welcome. This is what we expect of our students and it is great to model it.

One place to do this is the new resources site on the BCAMT website. You can find information about the site here. I will be posting the projects that I have developed on this site soon and would really appreciate any feedback. If you are like me you have more questions than answers.

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