5 favourite things

This is part of Peel 21st blog hop. The theme of this hop is our five favourite things.
1) Lost at School by Dr.Greene Ross
Though I have had a lot of favourite things this year my top one this year has to be Dr. Green’s book, Lost at school. Learning about collaborative problem solving has been revolutionary; not only in my classroom management but with my personal parenting. CPS is an approach to managing all children. It is meant for those special friends we have but to be honest it works for all. Read more about this here.
2) Starr Sackstein: assessment books
If you have not read these books I highly recommend that you do. They discuss her journey as she has thrown out grades. This has been a big journey for me as I have really thought about why we need to have grades? What do they actually tell us? Do they really matter? These are the questions that I have been pursuing this year while I am attempting to not give any grades (except those mandated by the ministry). Check out the various books by Starr. The ones I refer too are: Teaching Students to Self Assess and Hack the Classroom: 10 ways to go gradeless in a traditional classroom.
3) Doctopus and Goobric
I know that many who read this blog or know me, know how much I love google. My main reason that pushes me to use it is the work flow possibilities. Doctopus and goobric allows me to push assignments to my students. It also allows me to differentiate for them by giving certain students one template and others another one. I can also attach this to goobric and give feedback right then and there within the assignments.  For more info click on this presentation I made.
4) Some of my favourite people on Twitter
This wouldn’t be a favourite thing post without some amazing people to follow and share with. These people are some of the best educators that I have had the privilege to meet and talk to about everything and anything in education. There are many who I could have put here but these are just a few that I have had the privilege of interacting with. Of course there are also the amazing people in this blog hop who you should follow. All of them are amazing educators.
Matthew Oldridge (@MatthewOldridge)
Brian Aspinall (@MrAspinall)
Aviva Dunsiger (@avivaloca)
Peter Cameron (@cherandpete)
Rolland Chidiac (@Rchids)
Lisa Floyd (@LisaannFloyd)
Michelle Cordy (@cordym)
5) My Favourite Hashtags
Of course adding to following people is following amazing hashtags for learning. Here are a few of my favourite ones
#peelmathchat
#peel21st
#engagemath
#gafesummit
#sharesease
These are just a few of my favourite things. To learn about more please look at the other amazing educators in this blog hop.

The power of a debrief

“An activity is just an activity unless you have a debrief!”

This was from a wise colleague of mine and what sparked this post.  I often hear in my many conversations about math that it is all about the kids voice and though I really agree with this statement I also disagree. I disagree because the role of a teacher is even more critical in Inquiry than any other time.

The act of inquiry, though innate in many of us, is not really that natural. Sure we wonder but often it stops at finding answers. We often need guidance to take any of our inquiries further, the same applies to our kids.

For inquiry to have a impact on our students we as teachers need to be planning thoughtful and critical questions to guide them through the learning.  This also includes a thoughtful and engaging debrief or consolidation phase.

This is the most critical part of any lesson. It is where the teacher really shines. Because you have planned and thought through kids learning, development and possible misconceptions you are able to guide the learning that you have seen in the lesson so far.

A debrief can be any length (a lot depends on kids and age). The key though is that as a teachers you are helping kids make connections to the big ideas and thoughts you planned or saw unfold in your lesson.  It is the place where you are purposefully guiding students through their tall and strategies. Students still have a voice but yours is the one that is really speaking.

Here are some of my consolidations.

I know for myself that I can tend to forget to debrief the learning but I have to remember “that an activity is just an activity without a consolidation.”