Wow what a great day of learning at the Ontario GAFE Summit

So I just spent the last eight to ten hours getting my mind blown by amazing presenters at the edtech team Ontario Summit.  

Oka, so first I want to say if anyone doubted the dedication of teachers to their students then they are sorely misguided.  All they have to do is look at all of the wonderful teachers who have given up their weekend to enjoy, talk, collaborate and learn this weekend.  I don’t know any profession that would do professional development like teachers.
Okay so what did I learn.  The day started off with an amazing key note from Jennie magiera: on what is innovation and the idea of transformation.  She asked us why we are here? Of course I said I want to learn about google apps.  The next statement said, why are you here? And the answer should be to be a better educator.  It really hit home.  She’s right.  Tech is great but it’s not what is driving me to learn, it is the vehicle that I am driving but pedagogy is driving my learning and to be better at teaching is why I am here.  Jennie continued to make us think about this concept. She should us her first use of iPads, and how proud she was that the kids were quiet and on task, but stated is this engagement, is this learning?  Then she showed us true engagement, through creation. Very powerful.
My next session was google forms: there are so many possibilities but the best application was from Scott Monahan who suggested making a form for assessment.  The form has the kid names, the subject and a comment box.  Use your iPad or mobile device to voice record the text.  Wow, amazing.
Some other ideas: 
Reading assessments, exit tickets, student surveys, data collection in math, etc.
My next learning was with Kyle pace on creating a google site. With my myclass site being phased out I needed to learn some new platform to allow my to host all the flip things we have been doing in the classroom. For me this was google sites.  When I first started before the conference I felt a little overwhelmed with it but with Kyle’s tutorial is was quite easy to follow.  You can see it here:  
My next session was my own. It was great to present on flipping a p/j classroom.  I put my presentation on or you can see my slide show at
It was also great to hear all of the help from the audience and the engagement in helping eachother.
One thing I stressed with flipping is just have an open mind, possibilities are endless. It also doesn’t need to be something with a lot of sparkle, just a simple instructional video can move and meet many.
My final session was with Rolland chidiac, another amazing educator in Kitchener catholic board.  He talk about his journey with chrome books and the possibilities with student creation.  Now he has me wanting some chrome books.
Again what a fabulous day of learning.  Check out my storify here:

A List of Types of Questions and Talk Moves in the Classroom

My Master’s research has been about the types of questions that I ask in my classroom.  I wrote a previous blog post as a chart but I have recently updated the list with definitions.  Thought I would share it.  Would love to also here the types of talk moves and questions that you use in the classroom.

Talk Moves:

Air Misconceptions: airing misconceptions is when the teacher will bring out a misconception in order to get more talk initiated.  It will often be in the form of presenting a wrong strategy or making an incorrect statement.
Answering with another question: a strategy that is often employed by teachers.  It is meant to get the students talk.  By answering their statement with another question teachers are not stating that something is wrong but at the same time that the statement needs further clarification.
Letting students just talk: Often the best talk move is to say nothing and let the students talk it out. 
Monitoring students: The talk move is to see if the students understand what is happening in their strategies or in the congress.  This is often stated as a quick question, “What do you mean?” “Why did you do this?” It is a talk move because it normally is not related to a big idea but more of a diving board to create further and deeper discussion.
No confirmation/ in order to push beyond: Similar to letting students talk, with this talk move the teacher says nothing, which with time, will make the students want to explain more or keep going with the conversation.
Relate back to context: When students are stuck on the problem it is always good to bring them back to the context.
Relate to other problems:  Like above sometimes there is not context, in this situation bring the student back to the problem.
Revoicing: A useful tool to make the students hear back what they have said.  For this talk move all you need to do is state what the student said.  “You are saying…” “Is this what you said…?”  It is important to repeat as best as you can what the student said.
Student revoicing: Same as above but with the students.
Think, Pair, Share: This is good with reluctant talkers or participators in the classroom.  For this move the teacher has the students first thing, then share with a partner and then share with the classroom.
Wait Time: Is exactly what the term says, wait. The more time the better.

Building on: This type of questioning is when the teacher tries to build upon what a student has presented.  This type of question looks like: “How is this related? Why did you do this? What big idea are you using? etc.”
Compares students work: This type of question often is used to compare two strategies together.  This type of question looks like: “How is this compared to this strategy? How is this similar…? How is this different?”
Direct teaching: This type of questioning is more teaching statements then questions.  Direct teaching is when the teacher tells the students the answers or information.
Go Beyond:  For this type of questioning the teacher is trying to bring the students beyond what they may understand.  For this questioning the teacher may introduce a new strategy by asking students opinions.  They may also ask if they understand a particular term.  The teacher may also try to relate a problem to a term and see if the students understand.
Initiation- response- evaluation: This is traditionally found when the teacher asks a question they already know the answer to the question.  The purpose of this is not to have students talk but to make sure that information is being disseminated.  Once the teacher hears the appropriate response they often move on or ask another question.
Interrogation: This type of question is often used to gain information from the student.  This is normally is in the form of “Why?” or “How come?”
Scaffolding: These type of questions are used when the students may not understand fully the big idea.  Often the teachers will bring the questioning back to where the students are and then build on the knowledge and answers given.  The first questions may be talk moves, relate to the context, or bring it back to the numbers the students are working with.  To scaffold teachers need a good understanding of students progressions of learning.

A Balanced Math Program

There has been a lot of talk about math (at least in the area I am from) lately.  Some talking about going back to basics and others talking about problem solving.  For those that have been reading my blog you know that I tend to lean more to the problem solving approach; however, there is need for fact recall and learning basic arithmetic in a constructive and engaging way.

With this in mind many of us in our board (@mathewolridge, @keriewart) and neighboring areas (@avivaloca @moojean) have been talking a balanced math manifesto (#balancedmathmanifesto).  Thought I would share my thinking in hopes to start the conversation rolling.  Please keep in mind that this is still a work in progress and our only my opinions.  I would love input from any readers.  Hopefully these ideas and all the other collaboration can be added to our Balanced math manifesto.  So please add your voice, would love to hear from you.

Components of a Balanced Mathematics Program

Guided Mathematics: The teacher introduces a selection at the students’ instructional level
  •          Promotes mathematical strategies and offers students the opportunities to practise varying strategies
  •          Links to the problem they will be exploring
  •          Fosnot “String” lessons are great insertion here
  •          Does not need to be a minds-on activity, can be done while other students are solving problem

Contextual/ Rich Task: The teacher introduces an open, or parallel task that encourages thinking of mathematical principals
  •          Rich, truly problematic situation
  •          Authentic to students
  •          Allows students to generate and explore mathematical ideas
  •          Multiple entry points
  •          Supports mathematizing
  •          Important that teachers have anticipated student strategies before students work on a problem

Shared Mathematics: Students work together to “Mathematize”
  •          Students work in homogenously levelled pairs
  •          Allows the teacher to monitor and conference (see the next section)
  •          Provides students opportunities to explore while discussing
  •         Allows for assessment, anecdotal and observations of growth and development
  •          mathematical theories and concepts
  •          Allows students to see themselves as mathematicians.  They feel comfortable and experience fluency when making connections to other problems
  •          Develops fact fluency, patience  problem solving
  •          Students demonstrate their knowledge of mathematical big ideas and concepts
  •          Increase comprehension as students explore related problems

Conferencing/ Monitoring: As students work he teacher is constantly monitoring and conferencing with students
  •         Asking why questions or building varying types of questions
  •          Can sometimes feel like an interrogation
  •          Developing a sense of where the students are mathematically
  •          Comparing student work to learning trajectories or landscapes of development
  •          Planning for “Congress”

Congress:Teachers and students work together to understand the big ideas.
  •          Teachers ask critical thinking questions
  •          3 Types of Questions are: “building upon”, “comparing too” or “going beyond”
  •          Teachers job is to promote thinking and elicit thinking and strategy based mathematics
  •          Students converse and communicate thinking strategies
  •          Solidify understanding

Reflection:Students reflect on the lesson and strategies used. Metacognition in mathematics
Math Games and Math Facts: Student knowledge of basic addition/subtraction/ multiplication/division facts is critical
  •          Teachers give the students a consistent and on-going opportunity to build their knowledge and skills while learning and practising the basic math facts
  •          Math games build communication
  •         Fact recall
  •          Problem solving strategies
  •       Promote further learning of concepts