Math Fun

We have been playing around with different manipulatives to use when teaching math. One task was to use 5 linking cubes to make as many different shapes as possible. We also used geometric shapes and one person designed a picture using the shapes and another was the builder. The builder used the designer’s clues to try and replicate the same picture. When completing this activity, we thought about spatial language and what vocabulary we used to communicate with each other by describing and asking questions.


Area/Perimeter Game

A couple of my classmates did a presentation on teaching Area and Perimeter using manipulatives. There were iPads, geoboards, and chart paper used to complete the game. My group used chart paper and we took turns rolling dice. The numbers that were rolled, we used as the dimensions for a rectangle and then we calculated the area. After a few turns, we multiplied the numbers rolled on the dice and used that to calculate the area (some non-rectangular shapes) and then drew our shapes using that area (not considering the perimeter).  At the end of the time allotted, we added up each of our areas to determine the winner (whoever had the most square units).


3D Images

In Media and Digital Literacy, our professor gave us colouring sheets (we thought just for fun). She strategically gave us these special colouring pages because we turned them into 3D images using an app on our mobile devices called Quiver Vision. This is something that I am looking forward to incorporating into my classrooms in the future because it is extremely interesting and can be very educational for a variety of concepts!


Fraction Kit – Math Learning Log

Fractions, fractions are everywhere,

We need to know, we really care.

They help us split up things into,

Many parts including two.

Numerator and denominator is where to start,

We love fractions with all our hearts!

“Why and how might you build or use a fraction kit in the classroom?”

Fraction kits can be very useful in classrooms of many grades. Students can start learning about fractions through the concept of splitting things (especially food 🍕🍰🍫🍪) equally before they are supposed to be taught about fractions, to meet the curriculum expectations. 

A fraction kit is a tool that students can use to help them visually represent and solve fractions. A fraction kit can be made from paper (easy and inexpensive for a whole class set) and baggies or envelopes for students to keep their pieces in one safe spot. Depending on the grade, you could have the pieces pre-traced with the different fraction lines on the papers (whole, halves, thirds, quarters, etc.) for the students to follow the lines and cut them evenly. For older grades, teachers could give the students the papers (or index cards) and have them measure and cut the pieces themselves into the desired fractions. When I do this with my future students, (when because I will definitely be doing this as I think it is extremely beneficial for students) I will have them create their fractions on different coloured papers (or have them colour their pieces) so that it is easier to identify which papers go together to create a whole and to make them more colourful and fun to use. You can find some directions and activities to do here: EduGains Fraction Kits

Fraction kits are a useful tool because it visually allows the students to get hands-on and make their own personal kits. Having the students cut up their whole pieces into the desired fraction allows them to see how they can take a whole and break it up into different fractions/size pieces and that a whole requires all of the pieces from that desired fraction. For example, to make a whole out of quarters – you need all four 1/4 pieces and if you want a whole out of eighths – you need all eight 1/8 pieces. 

In our Curriculum and Instruction Mathematics course, a couple weeks ago, we made our own fraction kits using index cards. We did it fairly quickly by eyeball measuring the pieces. I thought how great of a resource this was for younger students, specifically the students I tutor on a regular basis. When I got home, I cut out coloured pieces of paper and traced lines on them to cut into different fractions. I traced the lines in a way that would make it easier for students to compare fractional pieces to one another by having all of the lines be cut vertically instead of some horizontal and some vertical. I did this so that my students could easily place the fraction strips on top of each other to compare the sizes. If the fraction pieces are different shapes (some square and some rectangle) it can make it more difficult to compare the sizes.




Fraction kits have helped to improve and deepen my understanding of teaching mathematical concepts using manipulatives. “Manipulatives are physical objects that students and teachers can use to illustrate and discover mathematical concepts, whether made specifically for mathematics, like interlocking cubes, or objects that were created for other purposes.” (Van de Walle, page 25). The word manipulative makes me think of a set of tools that probably cost the teacher a fair bit of money to have enough for a whole class set. Usually, when I think of using manipulatives to teach fractions I think of plastic or foam fraction strips and fraction circles, which can be expensive to provide enough for each student to have their own set. Using a homemade paper fraction kit with students is an amazing and inexpensive way for each student to have their own fraction kit for their reference! Creating our own fraction kits in my university class helped me to see how easy it can be to do with students and that having the fraction strips right in my hands can help visually see how fractions compare to one another. Being able to take my fraction kit home with me that day helped me to realize that a fraction kit like this, that students make can easily be taken home, or be made at home as an additional set. This is beneficial as it can help students to deepen their learning and understanding of fractions at home when completing homework or as additional practice. 

When working with fractions, it can be beneficial for students to be able to make connections about the relationships in the problem. Talking about having 12 elephants in your backyard and your neighbour’s backyard is unrealistic and can be harder for students to grasp the concept because they can get stuck on the unrealisticness of the problem. In the article “From Students’ Problem-Solving Strategies to Connections in Fractions” from Teaching Children Mathematics, 2005, it says that “one connection is the relationship between the division of whole numbers and fractions.” (page 454). This is significant because the ideas of both division of whole numbers and fractions go hand in hand. Thinking about dividing 12 elephants in half is dividing the whole number by 2 or thinking about the half as a fraction of 1/2. They are essentially get the same answer but allow students to think about it differently. Students can make fractions by splitting a whole of something into pieces without realizing they are making fractions. Using the fraction kit made from paper allows the students to see that the whole piece of paper is made up of fractional pieces as they physically cut the paper into equal pieces. The fraction kits can be very helpful in answering equal sharing questions as the students can use the set of the denominator number they need and then see how they can split up the pieces according to the question. 

Poem from Math Story – Mr. R.’s World of Math

Screen Shot 2019-02-03 at 4.33.27 PM 


Online Resources for Fractions:

Math Learning Center – digital fractions that you create (online or you can download the app)

Common Sense  – a whole list of resources (free or paid)

Teacher LED – interactive teaching resources for fractions, decimals, and percents

Cool Math 4 Kids – steps for helping students with different math questions that deal with fractions 

EduGains – resource for teachers to help teach fractions to students

IXL Learning – variety of interactive questions that are great for a Minds On for students


Works Cited:

Van de Walle, John A., et al. Elementary and Middle School Mathematics: Teaching Developmentally. 3rd ed., Pearson, 2011. 

Students’ Problem-Solving Strategies to Connections in Fractions. Teaching Children Mathematics, 2005, p. 454.



Video Recording: Family

In my Language Arts class, we had to reflect on a theme from a novel study that we completed. I read the novel Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate and one of the major themes in the story was family. I chose to take this theme and use it for my reflection because family is extremely important to me, just as it was for the main character in the novel.

To reflect on the theme family, I made a compilation video of media that include my closest family members.

Completing a teachable in Media Studies in my undergraduate degree has opened my eyes to all things media. Throughout my media courses, I had the opportunity to make many videos. I really enjoyed creating them and was excited about completing the assignments. This is because they could be done in an untraditional style of assignment for university. Creating a short film is more exciting to me than writing a research paper. I feel that being excited about completing assignments contributed to my success of these assignments because I put a lot of energy into them as they were fun and creative. This is why I want to bring more creativity and media assignments into my teaching because I think that many students may have similar experiences as me.

Here is a video that I created with my friend for a course in my undergraduate degree:

During my placement in November and December, I had my students create an advertisement based on the content we were covering in health: reading food package labels. We reviewed reading food package labels in health class and in media literacy class we looked at advertising (different forms) and what goes into advertisements (the 5 P’s). I decided to create a cross-curricular project for them to complete tying the two subjects together. The students were to create an advertisement using a food package that they brought in. They had the choice of creating a radio ad (voice recording), television/internet ad (video recording), a poster, or an infographic using ThingLink. One partnership of students made an infographic and the rest created video advertisements. They used the school’s iPads to complete their advertisements and then uploaded them to their Google Drive and shared them with me. The students were very excited about completing this project and had a lot of fun doing so. I was very impressed with some of the end products! Some students put a lot of thought into their advertisements and even edited it on iMovie to include images in addition to their video recordings.

Recording videos can very easily be completed cross-curricular. Here are a few examples of how students could be using video recording in other subject areas:

  • Math: record thinking of a math problem
  • Reading: digital storytelling (record as reading a story)
  • Writing: record student reading a story they wrote
  • Health: food advertisements
  • Science: inquiry project
  • Gym: demonstrating a certain exercise or game
  • Drama: record a play

The Ontario Language Arts Curriculum talks about recording video in the Media Literacy strand, starting in grade three. Depending on the skill level of the students, there certainly is potential that video recording could be done prior to grade three. With the growing popularity of technological devices, it is likely that many students will have devices at home they have tinkered and played with, recording videos, and more!

There are different ways that video recording can be done in classrooms. Some of the ways include learning product videos, response videos, reflection videos, and tutorial videos (from Edutopia). When students use technological devices to record videos, they are using STEM which is commonly found in schools presently. Allowing students to video record school work can provide them with excitement, but also reach the students who have difficulty explaining their thinking by writing. They can communicate their ideas effectively by speaking into their video recording and visually record their work or what they are doing. If they are recording a video in a group, it provides students with the opportunity to collaborate and engage in effective communication with their peers.

Using video recording in schools also opens up the door for educating students on safe use of media and recording videos. It is important that students understand the safety of what they record, how they record, who they record, and especially what they do with the recording after it is complete. Depending on the purpose of the video recording assignment, the final products may or may not have the purpose of being shared beyond the walls of the classroom. A perk of using video recordings in classes is that they can be easily shared beyond the walls of the classroom (to admin, other teachers, parents, community partners, etc.). It is important to have parental permission to record student’s faces in the videos (depending on the school boards requirements). Keeping the security of students should be up utmost importance when recording children. As the students get older, teachers can educate their students on developing a public persona and what that means. Talking about media safety, critically evaluating media, and safe use of media is important, especially when creating videos.

Some other resources to check out when using video recording in classrooms:

When learning is fun students will become more engaged and better succeed!

Fraction Kit

In Mathematics Curriculum and Instruction, we are learning about how to teach fractions. This can be a very daunting concept that is usually very tricky. We used cue cards to make different fractions. This is something that I want to do with the students that I tutor because I think that physically cutting up the fractions can help them to understand how fractions work!


In Language Arts, we talked about shared writing and how to incorporate poetry into our classrooms. The mentor text we used was Clouds by Christina G. Rossetti. We read through her poem and thought of another topic weather related to create our own poem.

Podcast: Word of the Year

As a new year approaches, people usually look for something to change, adapt, or improve about themselves or their lives. Setting new goals is an extremely common thing for people to make as New Years Resolutions. A lot of resolutions include saving more money, losing weight/getting fit, or to quit an unhealthy habit (drink less, quit smoking, etc.). On a more recent trend, I have seen people choosing individual words to conquer over the upcoming year instead of setting specific goals. I don’t usually take part in these trends of choosing new words but in a recent Media and Digital Literacy class, we were asked to choose a word and record a short podcast on that word for our 2019 year.

For this task, I chose the word outgoing. I read through the list of words from Julie Balen’s #onewordONT and the word outgoing popped out at me. I started reflecting on the word and how I could become more outgoing. My peers questioned this choice as they think I am already outgoing; which I am, but I want to be more outgoing in different aspects of my life. Reflecting on the word was the hard part. Am I outgoing? Can I be more outgoing? If so, how? What does it even mean to be outgoing? Once my ideas started flowing, I wrote a script for my podcast. Then came the easy part… recording the podcast. You can listen to this mini-podcast here.

I was first introduced to recording podcasts as I started my internship with the Digital Human Library (dHL). I had listened to a few podcasts before my internship but never thought that I would ever speak on a podcast or record one myself. Initially, I was very nervous about recording my voice (I am like many others and don’t like hearing my voice recorded). Many thoughts ran through my head. Do I really sound like that? Who will hear my voice? Will they dislike my voice like I do? What if I mess up? When I finished recording my very first podcast for my internship I instantly felt relieved and all of those fears disappeared. I remember thinking WOW! That was not only fun, but it was as easy as talking to someone in real life! My first experience of recording a podcast was amazing and it left me feeling excited about my next podcast.

You can check out some of the podcasts I have recorded with dHL here:

I’m not sure if podcasts are becoming more popular or I have just opened my eyes to the podcast world (which I will now never tune out of). Podcasts can be very educational and helpful to students. There are a variety of ways that podcasts can be used in education to benefit both students and teachers. There are so many podcasts out there that are great for teachers! Check out these podcast lists from We Edit Podcasts and We Are Teachers.

Listening to podcasts can be educational but creating them can be even more educational and experiential to students. Teachers are starting to use podcasts in their classrooms more and more. This can be done more easily with the increase of technology in schools and classrooms. With the readily available iPads and handheld devices, recording a podcast has never been easier. Some educators are using podcasts in their classrooms to further enhance their student’s education through a variety of curriculum areas. Podcasts are a form of media, which falls into the Ontario Language Arts, Media Literacy curriculum. They can also be used cross-curricular by creating a podcast on a topic that falls into other subject area curriculums. Podcasts can also be used as an inquiry/critical thinking and storytelling project that has them research a topic or event and then create a podcast to demonstrate their learning. Check out Education World for more information.

Using podcasts in classrooms not only makes the project cross-curricular but it also provides students with an engaging way to do something with their research. The finished podcasts can then be published or shared with the class, whole school, parents, community, and beyond! Sharing them will help students to have a sense of accomplishment and pride in their work. There are many ways that creating a podcast can be used in classrooms but here are 11 ways to include them into lesson plans from Teach Hub:

  1. “Audio Tours
  2. Celebrate Culture
  3. Current Events Newscasts
  4. Debates
  5. Guest Speakers
  6. Interviews
  7. Musical Podcasts
  8. Podcasts Librar
  9. Publish Presentations
  10. Radio Show
  11. Roving Reporters”

Podcasts are a simple form of media that can have a good impact on student learning. Podcasts are very easily accessible and are available 24/7. This is beneficial to students and teachers because they can be accessed anytime they want to listen to them. They can be paused, rewinded, and replayed which can help to reinforce a certain phrase or part that is of significance to the audience. Experts on topics can reach a large audience range through podcasts instead of physically being in a school setting to educate on their knowledge area.

There are some concerns that teachers should consider when using podcasts in their classrooms. Some parents have a more restrictive stance on their child(ren) being filmed, photographed, or recorded by school professionals. A great thing about podcasts is that it truly is only voice recording; no pictures or videos. This is beneficial when sharing student work because if the student’s face is not being shown, parents will likely better accept of the podcast being shared.

Here are some more great resources about using podcasts in classrooms:


In Media and Digital Literacy class this week, we reflected on media and technologies that we experienced on our placements. Technology that we used on my placement included iPads and Chromebooks. Some of the media that were used include Go Noodle, YouTube, ThingLink, and Google Classroom.