For my internship, I taught Math 9 for the whole semester and Foundations 10 for three quarters of it. At the beginning of the semester, my co-operating teacher and I had discussed the ideas of blogging. He had done it in previous math classes and it was something that I wanted to incorporate into my classroom. He encouraged me to go for it, as my internship was a time to take risks and see how they played out. When I introduced the idea of blogging about math to my students I could see they were less than thrilled, but as we got into the semester they were starting to enjoy it. The classroom I was in had a class set of iPads (which were amazing-there will be another blog to come on that experience) so it was easy access to technology. Weekly, I would have blog prompts for the students to reflect on, there would be open blog about math time, or I would have in class work periods where students would blog their work. One prompt I gave them included the following
“In Renaissance times, polynomial multiplication/division and factoring was a royal sport. Kings sponsored contests and the best mathematicians in Europe traveled from court to court to demonstrate their skills. Polynomial techniques were closely guarded secrets.”
- Discuss why you think it was of such importance to Kings in the 14th-17th centuries. Explain
- Discuss why you think it is of not as much importance in todays society? Explain
- Would you enjoy polynomial multiplication/division as a sport? Explain
It was amazing to see some of the students responses as I got to see students who don’t usually feel comfortable in class discussions have a voice. Below are some screenshots of two student responses.
One of my favourite ways that we used blogs in the math class was when we were learning about Polynomials. For many grade 9’s the idea of adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing polynomials can be extremely tricky. All of the iPads had an Algebra Tiles app which the students could manipulate tiles and represent polynomials. They found it helpful to use, and instead of drawing out each tile on a piece of paper, they would manipulate the tiles by adding (subtracting, multiplying or dividing) polynomials, take screen shots and upload the pictures to their blog with some sort of comment describing to me if they understood or if they were still having trouble. I guess this was my way of dabbling in the idea of a paperless classroom and trying to figure out how to use the iPads for enhancement in the classroom other than using “drill and skill” apps.
Blogging is a tool I think to be extremely beneficial in today’s classroom. It is so neat that students work can be “published” for other students and parents to see. I also believe that it allows us to have some english and technology literacy in the math class, and even some history of the mathematics students are learning. I hope that in my future careers, technology is available to my classrooms so I can implement this into my classroom and see the opportunities it takes me!