T-Swizzy Empathy

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Click the link to check out one of the articles were reading in class about Taylor Swift. Taylor took time out of her busy life to reach out to one of her many fans and admitted that their lives are parallel as she has been bullied too. #veryrewarding

http://t.today.com/entertainment/taylor-swift-sends-touching-instagram-message-bullied-teen-fan-1D80126920

Passion Project Begins

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Hey all we are starting the Passion Project this week. The student will be presenting their projects to the community on December 18th. The newspaper, Steinbachonline.com, superintendents, parents and many others will be in attendance. Come out and see some of the great work the kids in grade 7 have done!

The Passion Project Package has all the information needed on the project. Check it out!

Greg Tang Math PD

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Doug Mack and I recently had the opportunity to attend a Math PD where Greg Tang was speaking on Teaching the Tough Topics. There was an abundance of information – to say the least – crammed into 5 hours. He touched on topics such as basic facts, fractions, decimals, multi-step problems as well as word problems all while diversifying his speaking apply to all teachers ranging from K-8. As a teacher of an older grade it was a struggle to pay attention to him speak on adding and subtracting at a kindergarten level, but as I listened I realized how important it was. We all have or have had students that are significantly lower than grade level and if we only know how to teach ‘our grade’ we are failing as a teacher. Greg also made a great point about being a professional and not knowing ‘just enough’, but rather to be experts in our area. He compared it to teaching grade 3 reading and the teacher knowing how to read at a 5th grade level. What would parents say about that? Likewise if a grade 5 teacher doesn’t know algebra and where the students are going with their math skills they are failing them. A math teacher should be an expert in his field. We need to be able to challenge those top kids as well as help the low ones.
Some key points I was able to pick up from the rest of the PD:
· Nobody hands you and equation. It’s about solving the problem.
· Use ELA skills to decipher word problems and teach vocabulary. Overuse them.
· Teach the word FEWER and how it is different than less.
· Use visuals to teach them in the end to learn to visualize .
· Vertical problems hurts number sense as they focus on place value. Horizontal problems build efficiency by focusing on quantity.
· The human brain naturally looks for patterns – can be good and bad.
· Teaching tricks in math teaches nothing except that there is magic in math. Does anyone really know how to explain how the divisibility rule for 3 works?
· Don’t say I’m going to make math easy. Make them work, make them better, make them smarter (growth mindset).
· Powers of 10’s
· Standard algorithm is still a must. We need place value basic facts and distributive property. We need structure – not tricks.
Greg also has an awesome website:, check it out gregtangmath.com.
He invented a game called kakooma. 7PR is already hooked.
-Paul