Is technology healthy?

Technology is something that I use every single day, but I never really noticed the negative effects it has on people. This weeks debate really helped me understand the negative effects of technology, but as well, how we can use technology to keep us healthy. This weeks debate topic was:

Technology is making our kids unhealthy: Agree or Disagree?

When we first had to choose which side we were on, I chose the agree side because I noticed that ever since I have begun using technology, I have gotten less healthy. When thinking of this debate topic, I decided to reflect on my own experiences with technology, and those experiences of my family. I got my first laptop when I was in grade 11 and coincidentally, I got my first pair glasses in grade 11 a few months after getting the laptop. I noticed that my eye sight got a lot worse after I got my laptop. Another thing I noticed is that I never get enough sleep anymore since I am always on my laptop or on my cellphone. According to an article, “Fifty years ago, the average adult got eight and a half hours of sleep; now we average less than seven hours a night”. This shows that now with technology at our fingertips, we aren’t getting the right amount of sleep at night, which in turn is making us more unhealthy.

In another article, it mentions that “The research determined that the more time young adults use social media, the more likely they are to be depressed.” This statement absolutely shocked me because I didn’t think technology has gotten that bad that it causes people to become depressed; however, I guess I was oblivious to the fact that this is actually happening. After reading the article and seeing that one of the reasons that causes this depression was from viewing the “highly idealized representations of peers on social media [which] elicits feelings of envy and the distorted belief that others lead happier, more successful lives”, I realized that I have felt this way before too. I noticed that sometimes after I see a post of a friend going on a trip, or having a BBQ with a bunch of people, I get upset because I don’t have the time in my life to do those things. Now that I have read more on this topic, I can definitely see how technology has caused many people to become depressed.

In an article that Jordyn recommended we read, it states, “Technology is so addicting that individuals are neglecting their families to spend more time with their blackberry’s and laptops.” I hate to admit that this is what our society has come to, but it is true. There are tons of people out there who ignore their family and friends just so they can be on social media. I am guilty of being on my phone when someone talks to me and I either ignore them or give them a little “uh-huh” without fully listening to them. Another thing I have noticed is that my nephew who is 3 years old has become fairly attached to the iPad. He would still much rather play hockey or go outside, but if we are ever sitting in the house doing nothing, he will go straight for the iPad to play games instead of playing with his toys.

Rebecca listed an article that shares many technological apps that kids can download on their iPad that will get them more active in their life. This is something I will definitely try to implement when I am with my nephew, because since he likes his iPad so much, maybe I can get him to use an interactive app that will get him up and moving instead of just sitting there. Whenever I go home to visit my nephew I always try to be as active with him as possible because I want him to see that health and being active is important. Using the interactive apps that Rebecca listed will definitely help me show my nephew that being active is important.

To conclude, I still think that technology is making our kids unhealthy; however, I think that we can also use this technology in an interactive way to help us become more healthy. There are so many workout apps, and YouTube videos out there, so we might as well take advantage of that and use the technology to help keep us healthy and active, instead of making us unhealthy.


Online Social Activism

Online social activism has always been a topic that I have been intrigued by, but also one that I have questioned. I have been intrigued by it because it has impacted and influenced so many people in the word; however, I have questioned it because sometimes what is being campaigned is quickly forgotten.

To begin, I would like to start off with a quote from an article explaining what social activism is, or as the article states, digital activism.

Simply put, digital activism is where digital tools (the internet, mobile phones, social media etc) are used towards bringing about social and/or political change.

A few examples of online social activism that I am going to discuss are: #bringbackourgirls, #IceBucketChallenge, and #MeToo.

The #bringbackourgirls campaign that was developed in 2014 was a campaign to free more than 200 young women who were abducted by Boko Haram. All over social media sites people were using the hashtag #bringbackourgirls to spread awareness of the abductions of these women. Michelle Obama, the Pope, and Malala Yousafazi were few of many who tweeted about the campaign and used the hashtag. This campaign reached its peak in 2014, and then it seemed as if people forgot about the campaign completely. Hilary Matfess wrote an article about how the campaign has evolved in past three years since it reached its peak in 2014. As of April 2017, almost nothing has changed. Out of the 276 women that were abducted, only 21 of them were released. Although the #bringbackourgirls movement was popular and widespread around the world, it did very little to actually bring back our girls. This is one of the reasons why I question online social activism – if we have a campaign that has reached around the world, how can we not get positive outcomes from it?

The ALS #IceBucketChallenge was another campaign that was developed in 2014. This campaign was to raise awareness and money to help find a cure for the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Disease, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. The challenge included people tipping buckets of ice water over their heads, and then nominating three other people to do the challenge. People who do this challenge are then asked to donate to the ALS Association. This challenge was so popular that celebrities were taking part in it. Over the course of this challenge, the ALS Association raised more than $115 million dollars, and according to this article, the money raised financed a discovery. Now, although a lot of people did not donate after they did the #IceBucketChallenge, they did raise awareness about it which is equally as important. This is one of the reasons why I am intrigued by social media campaigns, because just look at the difference it has made in the world.

The #MeToo campaign is the latest campaign that I have come across that has reached internationally. According to this article, “more than 1.7 million women and men have used the hashtag in 85 countries.” This campaign is one that really touches home to me and I am extremely happy that this campaign has had results emerge from it. This article has a great explanation of what the #MeToo campaign is all about.

Many shared brief but painful personal stories of their experiences, some reaching back to their teen years, others to bad memories of abuse in the workplace never revealed, of troubles they encountered in their families and of their own silence in the face of harassment or assault.

The #MeToo campaign has encouraged so many people to speak up about their sexual abuse experiences and because so many people have spoken up, people realize that they are not alone in this. The first to be accused under this campaign was Harvey Weinstein who has since been fired from his job, and on top of that, according to this article, as of February 2018 a lawsuit has been filed against the Weinstein Company. Weinstein is just one of the many accused of sexual abuse through this campaign. I am thrilled that women are finally feeling strong and brave enough to be able to speak up about these horrors that they faced, and that these accusations are being taken seriously. This campaign is one of the reasons why I believe online social activism campaigns work.

Is Google the new teacher?

Since almost everyone has access to technology and the internet, I have always wondered if it is really necessary to teach students topics that can easily be googled. The debate topic this week was:

Schools should not be teaching anything that can be Googled: Agree or Disagree?

When I first looked at the debate topic, I was sure that I would be on the disagree side because, well why am I becoming a teacher if I think schools should not teach anything that can be Google? But, as the debate went on and McKayla and Brooklyn shared their ideas, I started to change my opinion.

In one of articles McKayla presented, it states, “by encouraging children to invent and use their own procedures, teachers allow them to use a method that makes them focus not simply on practicing computation but also on developing strategies”. This is something that I have definitely seen first hand in one of my grade 9 mathematics classrooms. I taught students how to calculate the surface area of a composite object a few different ways, but I told them there are other ways to do it as well. I was expecting students to stick to the few ways I taught them; however, one student handed in an assignment that was done a completely different way and I was in awe. This student understood how to calculate composite objects so much better doing it the way they created, instead of the way I presented it.

In one of the articles Brooklyn presented, it states, “I agree that the ultimate goal should be to teach people how to think, solve problems, and create. Central to these capabilities, however, is the ability to remember things”. This is also something that I find extremely important. Problem solving skills is definitely one of the most important skills a student can acquire; however, I believe that they still need to have memorization skills. A huge debate in the math community is whether or not students should be memorizing basic math facts. Since students constantly have access to calculators on their cellphones, should we be teaching them how to multiply and divide numbers the pen and paper way? During my internship, I asked the question, “should I teach students how to multiply and divide decimal numbers the pen and paper way or should I just let them use a calculator?”. The answer I was given was, “you sound decide that one”. This was a tough decision, but I decided to teach students this concept using two methods. Method 1 was the long pen and paper way, and Method 2 was using a calculator. I gave them the option of choosing whichever method they preferred; however, if they got the question wrong on a test and they used Method 2, there is no chance for partial marks, but if they used Method 1 they could possibly get partial marks. I think giving students the option of whether they want to memorize how to do it the long way, or to take the short cut is the best option is today’s education.

The TED Talk that McKayla shared with us was the source that made me switch my mind. Seeing all the children that became extremely knowledgeable in the subject area that was presented at the time was so fascinating, and knowing that they taught themselves without a teacher was incredible. Sugata Mitra discussed a “school in the cloud” idea where students would use technology to teach themselves. I believe this idea could definitely work because based on experience, sometimes I learn more by teaching myself through the internet, than from listening to an actual teacher who is trained in that subject.

I think we should continue to teach students in the classroom; however, students should be given choice as to whether or not they want to solve problems the long way or the short cut way, and we should be encouraging students to use outside sources aside from the teacher if they want to learn more on the subject area. During internship I promoted the Khan Academy website so many times to my students and several students used it just for extra assistance if they needed help and I wasn’t available.

Based on all I have stated above, I have decided that I stand in the middle on this debate topic.

Does technology enhance student learning?

Technology benefits students in the classroom is something I have heard millions of times throughout these four years in education. In all of placements – fields, pre internship, and internship – I have tried to incorporate technology as much as I can into the classroom because I have always been told that it benefits the students. During my internship, I hardly saw teachers using technological tools aside from power points, smart boards, Kahoot!, Desmos, and some YouTube videos. This shocked me because I was always told technology is extremely important, so when I saw how little it was being used I was confused.

When the debate topic for this week emerged, I was excited to learn as to whether or not technology does enhance student learning. Both debaters presented their sides clearly, and outlined their thoughts in a way that left me intrigued and wanting to learn more.

On the agree side:

I find that technology is important to include in the classroom because it can benefit the students; however, the technology cannot be forced. I believe that when you are using technology in the classroom, it has to work with the lesson itself – it can’t just be forced in there because you are told that you need to use technology. Webster presented two articles that made me think back on to my own experience in using technology. The one article discusses that three students were observing a puppet show and had to locate the puppets after the show. One student watched the puppet show live, another watched a video recording of the puppet show, and the third used a computer where they could push buttons to make the puppets appear. In this article, they noticed that the students who used technology were able to walk directly to the puppets; however, the student who watched it live could not locate them right away. This leads to the concept of retention. In the other article that Webster presented, it discusses the benefits of technology – and one of those being ‘improved retention rates”. I have seen this first hand in my internship, because whenever I demonstrated a math concept using Desmos or another technological tool where the students can view what is actually going on, they seem to remember it. Whenever they ask a question and I encourage them to think back on the lesson where we used Desmos to help us understand, they remember what I am talking about; whereas, when I ask them to remember a lesson where we just wrote notes, they don’t recall. For this reason, I think technology definitely benefits students in the school.

On the disagree side:

Although I agree with using technology in the classroom, Melanie presented some topics that made me question where I stand. In the article that Melanie presented, it discusses the idea that teachers are only using technology in the classroom for the sake of using technology – which is one of my concerns in regards to technology as I mentioned above. In another article that was presented to us this week, it discusses that students who type everything word for word on their laptops do poorly on tests; whereas those who physically write the notes out succeed. I noticed that when I am in lectures and I have a laptop with me, I hardly pay attention to what the prof is saying because I am solely concentrating on writing notes down. However, when I am physically writing stuff down, I am concentrating on the what the prof is saying so I can add my own little side notes where need be. Especially in a math classroom, I find that physically writing stuff down is extremely beneficial because you can listen to what the teacher is saying, write down the examples, and then write your own little steps alongside the notes. If I were to use a laptop to take notes in a math classroom, personally I would have no idea what is going on.

Overall, if I had to decide whether I agree or disagree that technology enhances student learning, I would have to agree for the reasons listed above. Although I do have some concerns in regards to technology in the classroom, I think if we integrate technology properly, it can definitely aid students in their learning.

Digital Identity: It Might Come Back To Bite You In The Butt

It’s crazy to think that some people already have a digital identity before they are even born. If we already have a digital identity before we are even born, it shouldn’t be hard to think that maybe we should begin addressing digital identity and digital footprints right at the beginning of peoples’ lives. I think it is important to teach children/students about digital identity as soon as they begin to use it themselves.

If children are not properly taught how to be safe on the internet and how to promote a positive digital identity, they might end up sharing something that could potentially bite them in the butt in the near future. It’s important to educate students about digital identity in a way that doesn’t scare them from sharing with others over the internet, but in a way that promotes positive ways to share with others.

A few things that should be taught to students is that:

  • Everything they do/post on the internet is on there forever. Even if they have deleted the post, it still remains online. Even what you share on Snapchat, the app that deletes your image after 10 seconds, isn’t completely gone. In the article, Richard Hickman has found a way to recover the so called “deleted” images from Snapchat.
  • When looking for a job, the hiring people may look at your social media accounts; therefore, it is important that you are only posting positive things online. In an article, it discusses how students shared memes with each other that “mocked minority groups, child abuse, sexual assault, and the Holocaust … “. Some students may think that because what they shared was in a meme, it won’t be taken seriously; however, there are consequences for sharing things of this nature.
  • Before posting something online, ask yourself “would I share this with my parents/grandparents?”. If the answer is no, then don’t post it. You should be posting positive things that promote who or are, not negative things that degrade who you are.
  • In this video, Abbas, a high school student, shares his story of how he promotes a positive digital identify for himself.

Although it is important to educate students on these matters, it is equally as important that the teacher models these as well. If a teacher is educating their students on digital identity, they should also be able to provide a positive example of their own digital identity to their students. If a student or an administrator googled the teachers name, they should be able to see that they are posting positive things online, that they have appropriate images, and that they overall have a positive digital identity.

Educating students on promoting a positive digital identity is extremely important because it shows them how to express who they are in a positive way online, it allows them to get their name out in a positive way, and it outlines the consequences that could happen if they do not have a positive digital identity.

Has technology taken over my life?

This week we discussed a lot about the downsides and the strengths of technology. Personally, I don’t think I could live without technology, and after hearing everything that was discussed in class, I have come to think that technology might actually be controlling my life.

In class we discussed the idea of using technology to get attention and constantly focusing on the “likes” you get on Instagram and Facebook. After discussing this topic, I realized that I am one of those people. When I post a picture on Instagram, I am constantly checking to see who has liked it and to see if it is more or less likes than my last post. I have realized that if this is not the mindset I should have and that I should just be grateful that I have the opportunity to share my life with those around me, when they are not physically there with me.

When we watched the video of the former Facebook executive expressing his opinions on technology and sharing that he has rarely used Facebook in the past seven years, I was shocked. Personally, I am constantly on Facebook; however, I only make posts on Facebook every couple of months. My use of Facebook is to connect with family and friends via messenger, to share with my family and friends what is happening in my life (every couple months), and to tag my friends in memes. I believe that the use of Facebook and other social media platforms is important to be able to communicate with your friends and family. It is an extra tool that can help you connect with the people around you, so I don’t see why you wouldn’t want to do that.

I agree that the overuse of technology can impact someones life negatively, for example, focusing solely on the likes you receive and not the message you shared. As Sherry Turkle mentioned in her TED Talk, “being alone feels like a problem that needs to be solved”. This really struck home to me, because I realized that whenever I am out on the town and I am alone, I rely on my technology to keep me company. For example, whenever I am on the bus or sitting in a public place waiting for someone, I always rely on my phone to keep me company. It’s as though I can’t just enjoy what is around me without technology. I have taken myself out for breakfast or lunch a few times at a restaurant, but I felt like I had to be on my cellphone, otherwise I would have looked funny having lunch by myself.

I think the mindset I have around technology drastically needs to change. I still use technology for education purposes, for connecting with others, and for learning things I want to learn; however, I also use it as a means for attention. I know so many students who focus on the attention they get on social media way too much and I just want to tell them that it’s not about the likes you get, but it’s about the memories you share; however, I think that I need to take my own advice first.

However, I am grateful that I am not the type of person who is constantly attached to technology when they are with other people. There are many people who hang out with each other, but are not talking to each other, or as Turkle would say, “being together without being together”. This is something that I see every day, and I believe it has to change. I understand that when you are alone, you might rely on technology to keep you company, but when you already have company, why do you need technology? Using technology to take a picture of you and your friends hanging out is awesome, or using it for directions to a restaurant is great, but just using technology as a means to communicate or view what other people are doing while you are physically with someone is not alright. I believe that being on your phone when you are with someone else just shows that you would rather be somewhere else and not be in the moment with the person you are with.



Four years later, who am I now?


Being in my final semester of university has made me reminisce on who I was, and who I have become.

My name is Shantel Amson, and I am in my fourth year of secondary education. When I told people that my major was math back in my first year they called me crazy, and now when I tell people that my major is math, well, they still call me crazy. However, when I tell people that my minor is French, they are so proud of me and continue to tell me that we always need French teachers around. I like to think, between the negative comments surrounding math and the positive comments surrounding French, that my specialties balance each other out and I have chosen the right path.

I am originally from North Battleford, SK., but I have moved to Regina to pursue my education. Over the past 4 years I have moved so many times that I have lost count. In the fall I moved to Esterhazy, SK., for my internship and it was one of the most eye opening experiences of my entire life. Whenever people ask me how my internship was, my response always is “I have never worked that hard in my entire life”. Throughout my internship I spent countless hours at the school, I taught 6 classes, I established a math club, I advised the Yearbook Club, and through it all, I enjoyed every part of it.

Technology is something I continue to struggle with implementing it into my classrooms. There were some math games that I found online for the students to play, and I used Kahoot! for some review activities, but other than those and the basic smart board tools, I never really implemented technology into my classroom. One program I enjoyed using was Desmos because it allowed the students to visually see the math concepts they were using. I do find implementing technology into the classroom to be extremely beneficial since most students have access to it and have grown up with it; however, I still haven’t found the ‘right way’ to implement it. During my final semester of university, and throughout this EDTC 400 class, I hope to learn more about technology in the classroom and how to properly implement it into my own classroom.

So four years later I can answer my question of who I am by stating that, I am Miss Amson and I am coming to a school near you.

“Blog about it” Entry #5


My pre-internship experience was one that I will never forget. I was encouraged to try new things and focus on different strategies as time went on. I taught a Math 9 class and a Foundations 20 class, and they were both taught two completely different ways. Even though I was the teacher in both of these classes, the way I taught and the strategies I used differed. I taught Math 9 through an inquiry approach, whereas Foundations 20 was taught through a more direct teaching approach. I learned through pre-internship that no two classes can be taught the same way. When I attempted inquiry in my Foundations 20 class, it failed; however, when I used inquiry in my Math 9 class, the students were engaged and were loving it.

I also had to differentiate my instruction and assessment a lot throughout pre-internship and I had to make adaptations to some of my assessment strategies to fit the students’ needs. Some assessment strategies I used were: (1) observations, (2) peer assessment, (3) entrance slips, (4) hand-in assignments, (5) concept checks, and (6) unit tests. Each one of these assessment strategies allowed me to view where my students were in their learning and what I needed to spend more time while I am teaching. My students loved having these different forms of assessment. When students had to do the peer assessment, I was shocked by the advice I had seen on some of these students’ assessments. Several students gave tips on how to solve the question differently and other students gave great feedback on how their peer was doing.

Inquiry was a strategy that I focused on greatly throughout pre-internship; however, I also realized the importance of direct teaching as well. After attempting and failing at an inquiry lesson in Foundations 20 I turned to direct teaching. My notes were fill in the blank and there were multiple examples in the notes that we went through as a class, and that I got the students to attempt. When I turned to direct teaching I had several students come up to me afterwards and say that they love how I am teaching and how my notes are laid out. I also had students tell me to continue teaching this way because it was easy to follow and they understood each step.

In my Math 9 class that I taught through inquiry, I had some students share with me that this was the first time they have ever learned / understood math, and that this was the first time they have ever excelled in math. Several students mentioned that by doing the hands-on activities they are developing a deeper understanding of the mathematical concepts than they would if it was taught from a direct approach.

In conclusion, I noticed that one teaching approach doesn’t necessarily work for all classes, and that to teach successfully you need to have multiple approaches under your belt.

Demonstration of Learning

Philosophy of Assessment – My philosophy of assessment and evaluation has drastically changed throughout my education degree. At first I thought assessment and evaluation was quizzes and tests, hand-in assignments, and homework checks; however, I now know that there is so much more to it. I believe formative assessment should be happening each and every day and that summative assessment should be happening at the end of each unit. I still believe that unit tests are important because it will allow the teacher to see how well the students are able to apply their knowledge of the mathematical concepts to given questions. Unit tests seem to be overwhelming for some students because they believe that it is the be-all-end-all of the unit; however, if I am constantly doing formative assessments throughout the unit the students should feel more confident when reaching the unit test. I believe the types of assessment should vary and that students should be allowed to assess themselves, as well as their peers. I believe there should be a balance between assessment in group activities and individual assessment, Throughout pre-internship I placed a great deal of value on the inquiry approach which allowed my students to work in groups as much as they could. Since most things were done in groups, it was difficult for me to assess students on the mathematical abilities individually. I also believe that students should not all be assessed in the same way, and that it is important to make adaptations to the assessment for students who need it.

Assessment and Evaluation in the Field – Throughout my pre-internship I focused on including assessment into every lesson. My coop was one who wanted to have some type of mark in every few days for the students; however, even though there was a mark associated with the assessment, it wasn’t necessarily going to be included in the final grade.

Formative Assessment Used:

Questioning: Questioning was a huge part of my formative assessment. Questioning took place every day and I used this strategy to help me see where the students were at and to see if the students were able to answer the questions I asked them. When I asked questions I would usually get the same three students answering them; however, as time went on more and more students were confident in themselves and they answered the questions. I would also use the questioning strategy when I was helping students individually at their desks. If they weren’t confident in answering or if they didn’t know how to answer, I would go back a step and double check to make sure they understand the first step before moving on to the second step. Even though I was not able to formatively assess all students using the questioning strategy, I believe it still helped me get a good sense of where most students were at in their learning.

Observations: Observations is another assessment strategy that I used every day during my three week block. This assessment strategy was especially important when I did group work with the students because I needed to see which students were participating in the group activity and which students were not. When I noticed students weren’t participating, I began to assign roles for each student in the group; however, sometimes the roles didn’t work out either. There were two students in particular who did not participate in any lesson and who chose to sit there on their own and do their own thing. The one student loved to draw and always sat at her desk and drew things. I took her drawing skills to an advantage and I got her to draw an image, and then enlarge or reduce it by a scale factor. Even though she wasn’t taking part in the actual activity, she was able to still understand the mathematical concepts behind it. For the other student who didn’t participate, I had to sit with him and constantly observe what he was doing. If I was sitting with him, he would do his work, but as soon as I would walk away he would get off task again. It was nice that I co-taught this lesson because I would sit with this student for 15-20 minutes helping them with the activity, while my partner observed the rest of the class. The observation strategy definitely had its advantages throughout my lessons.

Thumbs up, Thumbs down – I used this strategy throughout my Foundations 20 lessons, and it seemed to be successful. When I first used this strategy I didn’t know what I was expecting. Whenever I asked for thumbs up, thumbs down I would only get a couple thumbs up, but because I didn’t know how to go about this assessment strategy I just moved along in my notes, even though I should have went back and re-explained what students weren’t understanding. After discussing this assessment strategy with my coop, we said that if less than half of the class doesn’t have their thumbs up, I should go back in the notes and re-explain concepts. Whenever I wouldn’t get half of the class putting their thumbs up I would call on a student and ask, “what don’t you understand?” or “is there something that I need to clarify?” and they would usually give me an answer. Hearing what the students didn’t understand allowed me to explain concepts more clearly and slowly, and it allowed me to adjust the way I taught the following days.

Peer Assessment – In my Math 9 class the students were working on a building blocks activity where they had to create an object using 5 linking cubes, calculate the surface area of their object, then calculate the surface area of their partner’s object. Once students finished these three steps, they then had to assess their partner’s abilities in calculating the surface area of their object. Some students gave great feedback for their partner and gave suggestions on how to solve for surface area differently. This peer assessment strategy worked extremely well in this class and I am wishing I would have used this strategy more than once.  


Entrance slips – Since I focused mainly on inquiry with my Math 9 class, I decided to get the students to solve the surface area of a 3-D shape as they got into class just so I could see where they were at with their understanding of surface area. Since I mostly focused on inquiry and had students calculating the surface area of 3-D objects in groups, I wasn’t sure if they would be able to calculate it individually, which is why I chose to do an entrance slip. Thankfully all students were able to calculate the surface area of the 3-D object.


Concept checks – I was teaching the Ambiguous Case to my Foundations 20 students and I realized that this is an extremely complex topic to cover and that if you make just a little mistake it can impact the rest of the solution. For this reason, I decided to do a concept check on day two of teaching the ambiguous case, just so I could see how the students were doing and what I needed to spend more time on. I gave the students one question to hand in at the end of the class and I was going to assess their work. I gave the students either a 0, a 1, or a 2 based on their solutions, and thankfully all students either received a 1 or a 2. I ended up going over the entire question as a class the following day and highlighted areas of trouble/difficulty that students should acknowledge. This concept check definitely helped me see where the students were struggling and where the students were excelling.

concept check

Student explanations – Since I did mostly group work in the Math 9 class, I got students to explain their thought process a lot. Students did a lot of board work in this class so whenever a group solved a question I would randomly choose a group member to explain. Every time we did an activity of this sort I always told the students that each person in their group has to be able to explain the solution, so they might have to teach each other. On the first day I taught this class, I did a board work activity where I wanted students to explain their solutions. Since it was my first day teaching I didn’t know the students so I just expected them all to be able to share. There is one student in this class who is EAL, who is deaf, and who cannot speak English. I didn’t know this at first so I called on him to explain his solutions and he kept saying “I can’t” and I kept trying to encourage him to speak, but he wouldn’t. After the lesson I asked my coop about this student and he explained to me that he is deaf and is an EAL student. I felt so horrible after the fact and I quickly apologized the following day. Once I found out about this student, I made sure not to call on him to verbally explain concepts; however, I did pay extra attention to him during the group work to see if he was participating, which he was. Getting students to explain their solution methods is a great assessment strategy; however, I needed to make adaptations to this strategy along the way.

Summative Assessment Used:

Unit tests – At the end of each unit, students would write a unit test where they would show their knowledge of the mathematical concepts that were presented. I covered two units in Math 9; therefore there were two unit tests, and I covered one unit in Foundations 20; therefore there was one unit test in that class. In my Foundations 20 class, I had 8 students with diagnosed learning disabilities, I had a few students with bad living environments at home, I had a few EAL students, and I had a mix of all other students. Since my class was so diverse, I allowed the students to bring in a formula sheet for the test, and I allowed them extra time if they needed. Allowing the formula sheet and extra time definitely helped some students during the test. For Math 9, I did a verbal test with one student who had trouble writing her thoughts down, but was able to explain everything perfectly when you asked her questions, and I allowed two other students to rewrite the test in their tutorial class. Having these small adaptations for tests allowed students to express their knowledge and understanding in different ways.

Surface Area Around the School – For Math 9, I had the students go around the school and calculate the surface area of random objects. The task was to find an object that has a surface area less than 1000 cm2, less than 20000 cm2, etc. Students worked in groups and had to calculate the surface area of these objects in their worksheet. Since groups all found different objects and finished different amounts of questions, I decided to mark them based on how many questions they did and how many calculations they got right. For example, if a student did 6 out of the 10 questions, they were only marked on the 6 questions that they did. All students were successful with this activity and they all participated in the activity.


Reducing Scale Diagrams – Another activity I did with the Math 9’s was reducing a drawing by a certain scale factor. Students were allowed to choose from 4 different drawings, and they were to reduce that drawing by a scale factor of ½. Since the students were given an entire class period to work on this activity, I decided to take it in for marks. To assess this activity I chose three random lines on their drawing and I calculated to see if it was reduced by a scale factor of ½. If the three lines were accurate, then the student got full marks. I had to adapt this activity for one of the students in this class because he had a hard time understanding what a scale factor actually was. Instead of getting him to reduce the entire drawing by a scale factor ½, I got him to choose a section of the drawing and to focus just on that section. He was assessed the same way as the other students; however, he just had to do less work.  


Hand – in Assignment – In my Foundations 20 class, we focused on two topics in the one unit: topic 1 was sine and cosine law for obtuse angles, and topic 2 was the ambiguous case. Since students already had background knowledge on sine and cosine law of acute angles from the previous unit, my coop said the students should be familiar with the topic so I shouldn’t spend much time on it. Since the students were familiar with the topic, I only spent two days on it, and most students seemed comfortable with it. I wanted to assess where the students were at on this topic because they would be using this knowledge when exploring the ambiguous case, so I decided to have students answer a question and hand it in at the end of class. This allowed me to assess where the students were at after spending a couple days on this topic and to see whether or not we need to focus more on this topic when exploring the ambiguous case. Most students were successful in this assignment.

hand in

Alignment of field experience and philosophy – I think my assessment and evaluation in the field aligned greatly with my philosophy. I incorporated formative assessment every day, and I found ways to assess students individually and in groups. I did have a summative assessment at the end of each unit, as I had planned; however, I also had an additional summative assessment for each unit, which I did not originally plan. I think my assessment strategies varied throughout my two classes and I made the necessary adaptations to these assessment strategies where need be. Overall, I think my assessment in the field and my philosophy aligned pretty well.

Three Key Learnings –

  1. Formatively assessing students each day. I learned that formatively assessing students each day is important because it allows you to address the misconceptions that the students have right away, and it allows you to make changes to your lesson plans where needed. I think just quickly observing how students are solving the problem, or just simply asking them questions can give you a rough understanding of how well the students are understanding the concept. When you formatively assess each day you are able to see what topics you need to spend more time on and what topics the students are excelling at.
  2. Making adaptations to the assessment strategies. I learned that not all students can be assessed the same way and that some students need adaptations when it comes to assessment and evaluation. When we created our assessment plans, we focused on making adaptations for 5 specific learners in the class, and during pre-internship I found myself doing that for the students in my class. I noticed that the way I would assess my student who is deaf and who is EAL is completely different than the way I would assess other students. I noticed that I would make specific adaptations to the assessment for students without even realizing that I was making those adaptations. For example, the student who had trouble understanding scale factor, I allowed him to just pick a section of the drawing instead of the entire drawing. I think it is important to always be making adaptations to assessment and evaluation for students who need it.
  3. Differentiating assessment and evaluation. I learned that it is important to differentiate the types of assessment you are doing and to not solely have unit tests per se. When students were told they were going to be doing a peer assessment, they were shocked because they had never done that before; however, they were excited because it was something new. It is important to differentiate assessment and evaluation because it helps to assess students from multiple points of view, instead of the traditional unit test as the only form of assessment. Having multiple assessment strategies also helps the teacher notice where the students are successful and where the students need more guidance. For example, if I only used entrance slips and never used student explanations, I wouldn’t be assessing the students equally. Some students might excel in verbally explaining their solutions; however, they might not be successful at writing their solutions down. Since I am differentiating my assessment I am able to assess the students in multiple ways.  


Learning Journey Blog – Week 8

This week in class we discussed about numerous topics. I enjoyed when we went into groups and took turns discussing the quote that stood out to us the most on the “8 Takes on Thoughtful Assessment” handout. Having the opportunity to speak freely about a quote for 45 seconds without being interrupted was a great experience; however, sometimes it was difficult to stop what you were saying at the 45 second mark. I also realized that it was quite difficult to not interrupt others when they were sharing their thoughts. I noticed that I would nod and say words, such as “yeah” and “mhmm” as they were speaking so they could see that I was listening to them. At first I almost forgot that we weren’t supposed to interrupt the speaker, and I caught myself starting to speak when another person was speaking and I quickly silenced myself. This is an activity that I find extremely beneficial in the classroom and it reminded me of the “talking circle” strategy. I did some research on talking circles and in this article I discovered that talking circles is a means of sharing and communicating founded by Indigenous Peoples, and is now being used in the classroom setting. In a classroom, talking circles are used the same way as Indigenous Peoples use it outside of school. Desks are moved out of the way, students sit in a welcoming circle, and students take turns talking using a talking stick. According to the article, “Incorporating a talking circle format in the classroom is an effective way of creating a safe environment while allowing students to engage more fully.” Creating a safe environment and encourages students to express themselves are two key aspects in my teaching philosophy, and by using talking circles in my classroom, I believe I can reach these goals.

The other activity I enjoyed and learned a lot from is “Opposites Activity”. This activity encouraged us to think deeply about how we will incorporate assessment practices into our classroom, and compare it to others. It was interesting to see how others people’s views on assessment practices in the mathematics classroom differed from mine. My view on emphasizing recent achievement differed from one my classmates, and we had a strong discussion about why we thought emphasizing recent achievement was or was not important in the classroom and it changed my thought on it. As I was discussing with my peer, this activity started to resemble a debate. Throughout my schooling, I learned that debates can be an effective way of assessing students, if all students are taking part in the activity. According to article “Classroom activities: How to hold a classroom debate” classroom debates can “foster presentation skills, research, teamwork, and public speaking. So if you want to get your students excited about what they are learning, then try holding a classroom debate. Here’s how to get started.” I believe allowing students to practice these skills, while expressing their thoughts towards something they think strongly about will lead them to deep understanding. An interesting mathematics debate idea that was presented to us by Jeremy Sundeen was having students research the pipelines and transportation of oil, and then students had to debate whether they were for or against the use of pipelines to transport oil. While researching, students would be accessing the oil spill rates, the percentage of land that has been destroyed/taken over by pipelines, etc. Even though debates are sometimes difficult to implement, I believe they are a great instructional strategy.

During this last class, I learned several things in regards to sharing and discussing with others, and I plan to implement these strategies into my classroom.