Friday, December 7, 2012


At the end of the last school year, we met as grade 6 Math teachers and were looking for a "different" way to teach our program. We were tired of using the traditional method of basing our program around the text book and adding in a few of our own ideas here and there. We felt that the kids weren't getting as much as they could be from our Math classes.They were learning the material for the strand we were focusing on, but then the material would be forgotten as we moved on to the next strand.

We decided that a change was in order. As part of our cross curricular culminating task planning, we decided that we would ditch our text book and instead teach our math classes using a problem solving approach. Also, the idea of compartmentalizing math into individual strands was an idea we wanted to try and break away from. Added to those ideas, we also wanted to try and work in a bit of a blended learning model, to reduce the amount of time we spent 'lecturing' in class.

This meant a bit of a scary start to the new school year, as we were all embarking on a journey where none of us, students or teachers, knew where it could end up.

Progress to date:

I am very pleased to report that we have had tremendous success. Our students are engaged in our Math classes and we are able to have them involved in more tasks where there is a need to use multiple strands to solve problems. There is a level of excitement in the students which I think was missing in previous years. That excitement holds true for me as well. I find that there is really never a day where I feel like a lesson is really dragging on, or where I may be dreading having to complete a certain question from the text book which I know is poorly worded and the students are going to struggle to complete.

The times we have used blended learning lessons, the students (and parents!) have provided positive feedback that they really enjoyed watching the 'lesson' (more like a song or a rap) and then being able to discuss what they watched for homework, in class the next day.

As an added bonus, the few times we have used the text book, the students have been excited to work from it.

I think one of the reasons we were able to accomplish this is through the team work which has gone on between the teachers. It was a bit rough at the start as far as charting our course, figuring out just how this was going to work, and generating the problems and "work" for class on a daily basis, but our team work has paid off with a much more rewarding math class experience, both for students and teachers.

Examples of some of our introductory problems:

What Math would be needed to pull of this stunt?

The perimeter of the regular polygon is 16cm. What might the shape look like?

What's longer - the perimeter of the field, or the bus lane?

Here's a bunch of data about weather - show it so it is clear for others to understand.

Resources We've found helpful:

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