A quick, off the top of my head string of thoughts about teaching and learning…

Teachers are planning the start to their classes. I am too, for my classes. I am thinking about screen-time exhaustion, attention spans, equity of access to materials, teaching so that my students are learners, etc…. whew! Here is one thing I am thinking about right now: How do Ts ‘get through the curriculum’? #PBL!

Ts will need to teach Ss to learn, and learn well, first. It is a slow acquisition at the beginning, then a trajectory of exponential learning growth that will break every ceiling someone else has placed above Ss heads about their learning. Leverage Learning Skills, and acquiring self-regulation skills (see two articles posted in mathperceptionproject.ca –> Assessment).

How? Give Ss a reason to listen, and care about participating, and then own their learning. #PBL #ProblemsOfPractice are Rich Learning Tasks (#RLTs –> see the @QueensMSTE resource in mathperceptionproject.ca –>RLTs) that apply a bit of ‘just in time’ (#JIT) learning for the mechanics of #mathematics when needed.

(Other examples can be found in the Ontario 2000 curriculum Course Profiles – whole courses as #RLTs (in schools, perhaps online?), or the 2005/2007 TIPS4RM gr 10 course materials of #RLTs. www.oame.on.ca –> Classroom Resources)

For remote teaching, this allows for synchronous bites of time with the T, and then asynchronous collaborative spaces of time for Ss, in a cyclical pattern. Reducing the opportunity for too much T talking, and S listening (and ‘checking out’), and changing the focus on the list of curriculum expectations taught one at a time, to groups of expectations that fit better together, meaningfully.

An example: Context matters (rural school, gr 10 math, applied level (i.e., not necessarily univ bound), 25 Ss). I learned that many of my Ss liked or had horses. I then made an #RLT from the classic surface area and volume textbook Q (see Gr10 question samples). Here’s my thinking as I worked through this process with my class…

1.Sample textbook questions for applied and academic levels of mathematics curriculum. (yuck).


2.Bales of Hay task. It says ‘review task’, this was at the beginning of the ‘unit’ and was drawing on past year’s learning. (Note: The Ontario curriculum uses Achievement Categories to help focus attention on key aspects of the mathematical processes to attend to for the given task at the given time. For example, see pages 20-21 http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/curriculum/secondary/math910curr.pdf .)


3.Hint cards (One hint at a time, in order, if needed.)  (Gives Ss a specific question rather than ‘I don’t get it’, and Ts a specific focus for discussion rather than ‘telling’.)


4.Solutions (there is an error – can you find it?)


5.Transition into accuracy and precision of Measurement.


6.Supporting documentation about Round Bale Hay Storage.

What can Ss do with this kind of #PBL #ProblemofPractice? Perhaps talk to their family and friends about what they do for storing hay; go out to the barn to actually look at what has been done; maybe measure the barn itself and work it for their own situation; search online for other resources; go to the local Farm/Hardware store for conversations or Q&A; maybe change the question to covered bales of wood chips for landscaping; maybe they have a different barn shape… maybe they just do the work because it is their friend who has the horses in a barn and they care about their friend.

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Jamie Pyper

Jamie Pyper

mathematics educator and researcher | mathematics teacher (OCT) | and craft beer enthusiast! | he/him | #MSTE Coordinator, #PBLmathEd #CMESG #NCTM | mathperceptionproject.ca @314_per

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