Monday, September 25, 2006


I was privelleged to attend the worshop put on by Cathrine Fosnot of New York. She is the author of the Young Mathematicians series that is a favorite of mine. The main idea she focusses on is that children need to be mathematizing instead of rote math.
Some of the perils of not understanding the concpets of math are demonstrated in the following video.

The Math Lesson

Mathematizing is solving problems, posing problems, playing with patterns and relationships and proving their thinking to fellow mathematicians. It was so fun to see these ideas in action in the classroom video clips from New York.

There is a diference between activity and genuine Problem solving. So we need more than "Hands ON" Discovery Learning.

Classrooms become communities. Children meed in groups and as a class to present and talk about solutions to common problems. There is "no wise one". convincing arguments are made to the group. Knowlege emerges in a community of discovery.

Doing math is like climbing a mountain. You take it one step at a time. Sometime you can take many steps before seeing the vista and all its beauty. For students to continue to climb and enjoy the journey they need to undertake this journey themselves. Only then will they continue to climb instead of staying at one leve

Many techniques were used with the young learners. They were always placed in pairs and the pairs were carefully selected. You did not want to put the best student with your worst a A and Z pairing. You wanted to do a A and C parining so that there was a difference but not a vast gap.

The students would receive a large problem on a large piece of paper and then in pen put their answers to the question. The teacher would choose examples of the student work and have the students present to the class. The students would lead the discussion and ask quesitons to the presenters. The teachers role was to facilitate the conversation to hit petagogical ideas.

Teaching was done in the form of mini lessons to activate strategies and ideas. Learning was always group based and fostered math language skills.

I am looking forward to using these ideas in the fraction unit I am planning.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

A Proposal for the K-12 Online Conference Growing Posts

Growing Posts

I created growing posts when one of Darren's students commented that my classroom blogs were getting cluttered with many similar posts about the same topic. I would have the students answer questions and include graphics and illustrations to back up their thoughts. Since pictures cannot be placed in comments they each had to make a new post. 30 posts a night and 5 questions meant there would be 150 possible posts a week to one blogsite.

There had to be a better way. Then it hit me. I would have the students create one post, have them edit it each day adding new content. The final product would be a post that was a cumulative review of the unit of study underway. I desinged a small set of questions, that showed conceptual understandin, that were to be completed by a set date (2 weeks etc)

As the posts progressed I saw them valuable in many new ways. Students would learn new aspects of blogging technology with each new edit to their growing posts (how to insert pictures, how to hyperlink etc)

When my does scribe posts they only preform a blogging task once every 30 teaching days. Growing Posts were forcing them to complete blogging assignments on a regular basis. The quality of scribe posts improved as they learned from each other how to create illustrations and add other features to their Growing Posts.

I did three sets of Growing Posts in 2005. by the time that the last set of posts were completed new goals for these posts had emerged. Clarence Fisher and Darren talk about a network of learners. A part of the last growing posts was to create links with other students from different classrooms and leave comments behind on their posts. They would also link to Growing Posts that explained a certain question in a different way than their solution.

Growing Posts are a way to enrich your students. Some of my best students pushed the boundries of this assignment adding animated gifs and other new more accurate illustrations.

I started out with 45% of the students participating online(some decided to answer the questions on paper instead) and saw paticipation grow to 60% online by the last Growing Post.

My presentation will show teachers how to set up Growing Posts, The varied uses of Growing Posts, How to get students to network with each other, my pitfalls and successes that lead to the unlimited potential that this form of blogging will bring to their classroom.

Thank you

C. Harbeck

Monday, September 11, 2006

My first post and It is meet The Teacher Night

I have put togerter a post on my class hub. It describes to parents how I will use blogging in my classroom this year. Here is what I Posted.

Meet the Teacher Night
Every year there is an opportunity to meet the parents of my students. I get to explain how my course is run and what expectations I have of the students and of parents.

Assessment in the course this year for the first term is based on test and quiz scores, journalling, completion of TLE-8 computer units, mental math activities and interaction with the classroom blog.

I like to give the parents a heads up on the positive aspects of blogging and the importance of the students being responsible for their actions.

Blogging is a very public form of communication. Bud Hunt, a teacher in the U.S. has these guidelines for his students. I will use them too.

  1. Students using blogs are expected to treat blogspaces as classroom spaces. Speech that is inappropriate for class is not appropriate for our blog. While we encourage you to engage in debate and conversation with other bloggers, we also expect that you will conduct yourself in a manner reflective of a representative of this school.

  2. Never EVER EVER give out or record personal information on our blog. Our blog exists as a public space on the Internet. Don’t share anything that you don’t want the world to know. For your safety, be careful what you say, too. Don’t give out your phone number or home address. This is particularly important to remember if you have a personal online journal or blog elsewhere.

  3. Again, your blog is a public space. And if you put it on the Internet, odds are really good that it will stay on the Internet. Always. That means ten years from now when you are looking for a job, it might be possible for an employer to discover some really hateful and immature things you said when you were younger and more prone to foolish things. Be sure that anything you write you are proud of. It can come back to haunt you if you don’t.
  4. >

  5. Never link to something you haven’t read. While it isn’t your job to police the Internet, when you link to something, you should make sure it is something that you really want to be associated with. If a link contains material that might be creepy or make some people uncomfortable, you should probably try a different source.

One form of blogging work is Scribe Posts.

Scribe Posts

Write a brief summary of what we learned in class today. Include enough detail so that someone who was away sick, or missed class for any other reason, can catch up on what they missed. Over the course of the semester, the scribe posts will grow into the textbook for the course; written by students for students. Remember that as each of you write your scribe posts. Ask yourself: "Is this good enough for our textbook? Would a graphic or other example(s) help illustrate what we learned?" And remember, you have a global audience, impress them.

Students will be expected to contribute one scribe post every 30 classes or about 4 times a year.

Examples of Scribe Posts from last year.

LaraMae did a scribe post during our algebra unit. Her scribe included a picture that accuratly depicted a piece of paper that had been folded into 5 columns filled with notes. It was awesome.

Norielle through the use of one image described and explained how to find the surface area of a cylinder.

Josh showed how to find the volume of geometric solids in tremendous detail.

The Scribe Post Hall of Fame showcases the best Scribe Posts from around the globe. Our student figure prominantly on this site.

Another way we use our classroom blog is to create Growing Posts.

Growing Posts

Growing posts are like unit reviews. Each growing post starts off as one post by the student answering one question about a concept. Each day the students have to answer a new question and add it to their post. At the end of the unit they will have a comprehensive resource of material needed to study for tests or complete assignments.

Here are some excellent Growing Posts

Sometimes students strive for enrichment. Here is an example of intrinsic creativity
Aldrin's Fraction Growing Post

Dion's Growing Post

The Growing Post Hall Of Fame was founded to allow student work to be displayed for the world to see. I am proud of the work that students did last year and am looking forward to this years inductee's.

This years classes will participate in many activities that will prepare them for their future. As parents enjoy their ride through the Sargent Park Math Zone of Room 17. If you dare come along for the ride with them!!

I showed the students this video today. Watch it and see where the world might... is going. It was made by a teacher K. Fisch from Colorado.

Did You Know

Mr. Harbeck

Ah the first post is over. Next comes the appropriate links and other sidebar goodies.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Time for Scribes

Mr. Kuropatwa introduced me to the world of Scribe Posts. It is an essential part of the Grade 8 Math Classroom. You will be expected to write one scribe post every 30 classes or about 4 a year. That doesn't sound like to much does it.

A Scribe post is

The assignment is simply to post a brief summary of what happened in class each day. A different student is responsible for the daily scribe post and they end their post by choosing the next scribe. The first scribe is a volunteer. The teacher's daily involvement is limited to updating a post called The Scribe List which is at the top of the links list in the sidebar of the class's blog.

To complete a scribe post the student must

Write a brief summary of what we learned in class today. Include enough detail so that someone who was away sick, or missed class for any other reason, can catch up on what they missed. Over the course of the semester, the scribe posts will grow into the textbook for the course; written by students for students. Remember that as each of you write your scribe posts. Ask yourself: "Is this good enough for our textbook? Would a graphic or other example(s) help illustrate what we learned?" And remember, you have a global audience, impress them.

Here are examples of good scribe posts Pythagoras Scribe One Day In Math Algebra Masterpiece

Here are some scribe posts that have made The Scribe Post Hall of Fame.

When you are done your scribe post choose another student to be the scribe and label your post scribepost.