Learning Journey Blog – Week 6



This week we had several group presentations on their assessment plans, and I learned many new assessment tools that I did not know of beforehand. One assessment tool that showed up a few times was the 3-2-1 assessment tool. I thought this assessment tool was interesting so I decided to dig a little deeper and find out more about it. On the teacher tool kit website I found information that was similar to what was shared in class. After the lesson the students write down three things they learned from the lesson, two things they found interesting/would like to learn more about, and one question they still have about the material. However, one thing of the most important things that was mentioned on this website is that you need to review the students’ responses. As the teacher tool kit website states, “You can use this information to help develop future lessons and determine if some of the material needs to be taught again.” I was shocked by all the assessment tools that were presented in class Wednesday night, and the purposes they all had. Learning about these different assessment tools will definitely help me as I move forward in my education.

The other thing we focused on in Wednesday’s class was course plans. I was never really aware of course plans until this semester where I have been told about them in several classes. It was great to have had some prior knowledge on course plans; however, I still learned many new things. What I have been taught in my EMTH courses is that a course plan is a layout of your outcomes from the curriculum in the order you want to teach them with explanations that connect the outcomes to one another. The course plans that I created in EMTH were mostly teacher focused as it didn’t include any assignments, grades, contact information, materials, dates, or I can statements. Now I have learned that course plans should be student friendly and should include all details that the students would need for the course. The center for teaching and learning at the University or Washington has a page on their website which states how to create a course plan and what should be included in one. Something I found interesting from this website is that when you are creating a course plan you should be asking yourself the following questions:” 1) Who are the students? 2) What do I want students to be able to do? 3) How will I measure students’ abilities?” They also stated that, “by asking yourself these questions at the onset of your course design process you will be able to focus more concretely on learning outcomes”. This is important because you should be focusing on the students’ learning and their learning outcomes as opposed to focusing on how you will squeeze in every bit of information into a short period of time.

Wednesday’s class was full of information that will definitely help me in the future.


3-2-1. (n.d.). The teacher tool kit. Retrieved from http://www.theteachertoolkit.com/index.php/tool/3-2-1

Course and syllabus design. (n.d.). The center for teaching and learning: University of Washington. Seattle, WA. Retrieved from http://www.washington.edu/teaching/teaching-resources/preparing-to-teach/designing-your-course-and-syllabus/




“Blog about it” Entry #4



“At first I kept longing for someone to just show me what inquiry was.” (p. 454) – Brea

I open with this quote from the article, as this is what I continue to ask as I move along my educational journey; however, as I think of it more and more, I am being shown what inquiry is as I am being taught through it in this course. I am not only being shown what inquiry is, but I am living it as well. We take part in many inquiry processes throughout this course, such as reflecting (blog posts), creating (PSE and TMTI), and participating as students (labs). I noticed that because we are being taught through inquiry I enjoy this course much more, and as Brea shared, “The more we enter into a topic, the more exciting it becomes, it all seems new to me again, it is exciting and alive” (p. 450). When we began the PSE part 2 assignment, I was beyond excited because it was something different and it was something I never experienced before. I have created rubrics before; however, I have never created them for this purpose- which got me intrigued. During the labs we are “in an inquiry-based mathematics classroom, [and we, as the] students take on the role of, and learn how to be, mathematicians” (p.448). This is beneficial because I not only get to experience what it is like to teach through inquiry, but I can see what my students would be experiencing in this type of mathematics classroom.  

The ideas in this article affirm my mathematical beliefs about teaching and learning. Specifically, two of my mathematical beliefs, math is everywhere and all students can learn, directly relate to Brea’s change when “her thinking shifted to a humanistic perspective of mathematics as a living disciple and an inquiry perspective of teaching and learning in which learner-focusedness was central” (p. 456). My mathematical beliefs are highly present throughout this article and I believe the inquiry approach plays an important role in learning mathematics; however, there are still several things I need to learn and many steps I need to take before completely emerging myself into the inquiry process.



Learning Journey Blog – Week 4

The presentation we had on Wednesday night was something I very much needed at this point in my education. I could have listened to Rod Houk talk about assessment in a mathematics classroom for several hours, and I am wishing we had more time to talk with and learn from him. The way he speaks of assessment in a mathematics classroom is different than how I am being taught in my education mathematics courses. I am being taught to teach my mathematics lessons through inquiry, and nothing but inquiry; however, I still have difficulty understanding how to implement inquiry in mathematics classes, other than Workplace & Apprentice. When I think of teaching a mathematics lesson, I feel overwhelmed because I do not have a clear idea of how to teach it, but after listening to Rod’s presentation, he has made me feel more confident in my teaching abilities.

Rod said that if you are engaged in the material and ready to learn, then your students will be engaged and ready to learn as well. I agree with this fact because when I was in high school, if my teacher wasn’t engaged with the subject, then I wasn’t engaged with subject either, but if my teacher was engaged with the subject, then I was usually engaged with it as well. Jo Boaler talks about teachers who follow the traditional approach, but they also, “ask students great questions, engage them in interesting mathematical inquiries, and give students opportunities to solve problems, not just rehearse standard methods.” (p.39-40). This is something that Rod also mentioned in his presentation – it doesn’t matter which way you teach, all that matters is that you pose really good guiding questions and you engage your students.

I now know that there isn’t only one right way to teach mathematics, and that it can be done in multiple ways. I now know that if I don’t constantly teach through inquiry, I won’t be ruining my students’ futures. I now know that there are many ways to teach mathematics, and what matters the most is your relationship with the students. Rod mentioned that having relationships with your students is important for your students to succeed. When they feel that you want to be there and you want to teach them, then they will begin to want to be there and they will want to be taught.

My high school mathematics teacher was the absolute best. He joked around with us, he shared stories with us, and when I was in AP Calculus, he showed us a movie that related to teaching mathematics, and that movie has since been apart of my educational story. The movie Stand and Deliver has a great message about building relationships with students. It doesn’t matter where you come from, or how you teach, but as long as the relationship with the students is there, and the relationship is positive, then the students can amount to anything.

Rod’s presentation was fantastic, and he gave us many useful tools that I will definitely use in my education classes and in my future teaching careers.


Boaler, J. (2015). What’s Math Got To Do With It?: how teachers and parents can transform mathematics learning and inspire success. New York: Viking.

Musca, T. (Producer), & Menéndez, R. (Director). (1988). Stand and Deliver. [Motion Picture]. United States: Warner Bros.

“Blog about it” Entry #3



Journal writing is the assessment strategy that I became an ‘expert’ on, and I realized that it is beneficial in a mathematics classroom. Typically, journal writing is implemented once a week at the beginning or end of a lesson and students are to write about a given prompt for 10-15 minutes. Through journaling, students improve their problem solving skills, it encourages them to reflect on their mathematical thinking, and it helps the teacher identify misconceptions that the students might have. Below is a table that includes some journal writing prompts that I believe are beneficial.



Interviews is an assessment strategy that I didn’t know could be implemented into a mathematics classroom. Giving students the opportunity to choose which mathematics topic they want to be interviewed on gives them the confidence to verbally express their knowledge and understanding of the topic, and it allows the teacher to understand how the student thinks mathematically. Through interviews, students will also be “… developing their understandings of the language of mathematics and their ability to use mathematics as a language and representation system.” (SK Ministry of Education, 2010).

Portfolios is an assessment strategy that I believe has many benefits. Students can add mathematics assignments, journal writings, projects, and anything else they find important into their portfolios. When the portfolios are being added to on a weekly basis, students and teacher are able to see the students progress and identify which areas the students excel in and which areas they need more help in.

The assessment strategies that are being used should align with what is being taught and the objective of the lesson. If we only use the same two assessment strategies, it can “limit students’ ability or opportunity to show what they know.” (Davies, 2011). Having a variety of assessment strategies allows students to express their understandings in a variety of ways.


Learning Journey Blog – Week 2

Prior to ECS 410, I did not know anything about diagnostic assessment, but as I read and learn about it I notice that assessment for learning and diagnostic assessment go hand in hand. Although diagnostic assessment is something you do prior to learning a concept, and assessment for learning is something you do throughout the process of learning, they both aid in gathering information about the students knowledge. When I think of assessment for learning and diagnostic assessment, I think of teachers who “collect information that will inform the teacher’s next teaching steps and the student’s next learning steps.” (p.2)

I began searching for different ways to assess students in a classroom, and I came across an article titled “Seven Practices for Effective Learning”. As I was going through the article, I came across the third practice which was titled “Practice 3: Assess before teaching”. This section of the article related directly to what we have been learning in ECS 410 so far, which is diagnostic assessment. In class we talked a lot about the benefits of diagnostic assessment and how it will help us determine where the students are at in their learning, and where we should make changes and adaptations in our lesson plans to fit the students’ needs based on the diagnostic assessment. The following quote from the article I mentioned above logically states the importance of diagnostic assessment.

Armed with this diagnostic information, a teacher gains greater insight into what to teach, by knowing what skill gaps to address or by skipping material previously mastered; into how to teach, by using grouping options and initiating activities based on preferred learning styles and interests; and into how to connect the content to students’ interests and talents.

                                               – Jay McTighe and Ken O’Connor

Diagnostic assessment was something I never really thought of doing in a mathematics classroom. I figured that if the students were in the class, they would have previous knowledge of the mathematical concepts being presented and if they did not they would just have to pay closer attention. However, I now know that is definitely not the way to teach and that I have to make adaptations to my lessons that will help me teach towards each student. When we had to come up with three diagnostic assessment tools for a grade 9 mathematics outcome in class, I was a bit overwhelmed because all I could think of was giving a pre-test; however, I soon came to realize that there are MANY diagnostic assessment tools that can be used across all subjects.

As I was searching for information related to diagnostic assessment, I came across a slideshow titled “Diagnostic Assessment Ideas”. As I was going through the slide, I noticed that some of these tools were similar to the ones we thought of in class; however, there were a couple new ones that I have not seen before. One of these tools is called “Word Splash”, which is where “students are given key words from the unit of study prior to learning [and] students are to write about their understandings of the words” (slide 14) I think Word Splash is a diagnostic tool that could be implemented across all subject areas, especially mathematics. If I simply put the words, right triangle, hypotenuse, and angles, my students could come up with many ideas of how these words connect. The topic that I would want them to discover would be Pythagorean Theorem; however, if they do not discover this topic, this diagnostic assessment tool will help me determine where they are at in their learning.

Works Cited:

Davies, A. (2011). Making classroom assessment work (3rd ed.). Courtenay, B.C: Connections Pub.

McTighe, J., & O’Connor, K. (2005, November). Seven Practices for Effective Learning. [Web article]. Retrieved January 21, 2017, from http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/nov05/vol63/num03/Seven-Practices-for-Effective-Learning.aspx

Patti (pafirth). (2012, May 14). Diagnostic assessment ideas. [Slideshow]. Retrieved January 21, 2017, from http://www.slideshare.net/pafirth/diagnostic-assessment-ideas-12934737

“Blog about it” Entry #2



I believe that the teacher’s beliefs about mathematics highly influences their classroom environment and how the students act in the classroom setting. When a teacher shares their mathematical beliefs with their students, the students will have an idea of how the class will be taught, and what their expectations should be. For example, if I believe that mathematics is simply drill and practice, my students will expect to have many worksheets on solving similar questions over and over again, and they might have a sense that the class will be taught through the traditional approach; lecture, examples, and worksheets. However, if I believe that mathematics is something that students explore and discover, my students will expect to be given questions that require more reflecting and understanding, as opposed to a one line answer. My students would have a sense that the class will be taught through an inquiry approach, where the students discover and understand concepts using their own problem solving skills as opposed to being told what to do and how to do it. I believe mathematics is important to learn because it is everywhere in the world. People use mathematics every day, whether it be estimating what your total will be while grocery shopping, or working as an engineer and using advanced mathematics everyday. Obviously people won’t be using the quadratic formula everyday, or they might never use it at all, but people should see that mathematics is used in everyday lives. I believe mathematics is something that everyone should know and come to love because it helps you in many different ways.

  1. I believe that students should be discovering and exploring different ways to approach a question, as opposed to being given one solution path and solely following that specific path.
  2. I believe mathematics should be taught through an inquiry approach where students are expected to develop their own understandings of mathematics, but still allow time for the traditional approach to take place if need be.
  3. I believe students should be allowed to use different manipulatives when understanding mathematics, and I believe these manipulatives should be accessible at all times. These manipulatives may include connecting blocks, graphing calculators, peg boards, technology, etc.
  4. I believe mathematics is something that is used in everyday lives and should be taught in a way where students will see that they can use their mathematical knowledge outside of the classroom setting.
  5. I believe mathematics is something that everyone can come to understand if they are taught it through an approach that benefits them. This is why I believe teachers should make adaptations and accommodations for students, and should differentiate their teaching instruction when teaching a mathematics lesson.

“Blog about it” Entry #1



While writing my mathematics autobiography I began to reflect on my past experiences with mathematics. I have always enjoyed mathematics, however when I was transitioning from elementary school to high school, there was a time where I began to hate math. Since I was in the French Immersion Program throughout my schooling I was taught most subjects in French. Throughout elementary school I learned math in the French language. It was fairly easy for me to understand the mathematical concepts that were presented in the French language for I was never taught math in the English language in a classroom setting before. However, as I transitioned into high school, my mathematics classes began to be taught in the English language. I was so accustomed to learning mathematics in the French language, that I didn’t know what any of the vocabulary/terminology was in the English language. I remember feeling frustrated and angry whenever I was being taught mathematics because I couldn’t figure out what the words meant. After a couple weeks I began to enjoy mathematics again because I was finally able to understand the vocabulary.

While looking back on my experiences with mathematics I begin to think of things that could have helped me while transitioning from the French language to the English language. I believe that if I did more hands on problems and used more problem solving strategies, I could have been able to adapt quicker to the change. I believe if I was taught through more of an inquiry approach as opposed to the traditional approach, I would have been able to continue understanding the mathematical concepts, even if I didn’t know the specific terminology. Mathematics is something that not only needs to be taught, but needs to be taught in a way where people will want to use it in their lives and will come to love it. I hear the phrase, “I hate math”, way too much in my life, and I admit I use that phrase too from time to time; however I want to begin hearing the phrase “I love math”, and to hear that we need to begin teaching mathematics in a way where ALL students will be able to learn and understand it.

Curriculum and Treaty Education

Writing Prompt: Consider the following questions: 

1. What is the purpose of teaching Treaty Ed (specifically) or First Nations, Metis, and Inuit (FNMI) Content and Perspectives (generally) where there are few or no First Nations, Metis, Inuit peoples? 

2. What does it mean for your understanding of curriculum that “We are all treaty people”?

In the past three years at university, I have learned more about indigenous perspectives than I have in the 13 years of being in a catholic school. I went to school in North Battleford, and half of the students in the school were First Nations students, yet we still didn’t have any Treaty Education. In social studies and in English we would discuss it when need be, but we never went into detail about it. The only class at my school that incorporated indigenous perspectives was Native Studies, which if you were in the French Immersion program (like me) you weren’t allowed to take. I believe my lack of education in regards to FNMI and Treaty Ed, has make me hesitant to learn about it. Fortunately I came from a school with diverse cultures and I was able to develop relationships and become friends with students of all cultures.

As we have noticed, students who are in a predominantly white school have little to no education on indigenous perspectives and Treaty Ed. When students don’t have the knowledge and understanding of FNMI people, they begin to believe that the stereotypes around them are true, and they begin to think of them as different, as opposed to equal. This causes them to have biases towards FNMI people which will be a barrier when wanting to build relationships with them. If students are only taught through one perspective, and not multiple perspectives, they won’t have an understanding of how others live their lives. It is important to teach Treaty Education in predominantly white schools because when students leave the school and move on in the real world, where there are many people of diverse cultures, they will be able to build relationships with those around them. If they are stuck only viewing life through one perspective, they will lack the ability to build relationships with others who are of a different culture. Every semester I continue to learn about the same topic, residential schools, but this semester I am starting to understand why it is important to teach Treaty Ed and to teach through indigenous perspectives.

When I hear the term “We are all treaty people” I think of everyone as being equal. We are all Canadians who live on Canadian land and support Canadian values, as well support and respect the values of others. We all live on this land together, and together we need to be able to live respectfully and joyfully. Indigenous people have lived on this land way longer than we have and now we live on this land together. I am a treaty person, who lives on Treaty 4 land, and we are all treaty people.

Curriculum as Place

Writing Prompt: The article suggests that a “critical pedagogy of place” aims to: (a) identify, recover, and create material spaces and places that teach us how to live well in our total environments (reinhabitation); and (b) identify and change ways of thinking that injure and exploit other people and places (decolonization) (p.74)

  1. List some of the ways that you see reinhabitation and decolonization happening throughout the narrative.
  2. How might you adapt these ideas to considering place in your own subject areas and teaching?

The following are quotes from the article of some of the ways in which I see reinhabitation and decolonization happening. 

  • Reinhabitation
    • “In the early research design stages, it was evident that a community priority was bringing together Elders and youth so they could learn from one another about the role and meaning of the land to social well-being.” (p. 73)
    • “For the Mushkegowuk, the river is a way of life: one that has existed for thousands of years. As such, the river has many significant uses and meanings, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.” (p. 80)
    • “It was the river that bound people and communities together.” (p.81)
    • “Learning from land and place beyond institutional walls is a return to traditional Mushkegowuk modes of teaching and learning.” (p.82)
  • Decolonization
    • “This territory has been regulated, divided, and parceled by non-Inninowuk into Crown land, treaty, and reserve spaces, which has resulted in fractures and alterations to that relationship.” (p. 77)
    • “Residential schooling and its impact on indigenous language use drastically reduced the number of fluent speakers in the community according to some interviewed.” (p. 78)
    • “Large-scale extractive capitalism, in particular, has presented new problems and perceived threats to the environment.” (p. 79)

It is important to consider place when teaching mathematics. There are tons of ways to make mathematics a more hands-on learning process including problem solving, open tasks, and being outdoors. Some might find being outdoors for mathematics difficult, but I think with the proper task it could be beneficial. I have been working on an open task where students are to determine the height of one of the trees in the schoolyard. They are to use shadows, mirrors, protractors, or anything else they can think of to solve for the height. I believe being active in learning and being able to learn through hands-on experience is very beneficial. Treaty Ed can also be taught through place in the mathematics classroom through hands-on activities and games that can be played outdoors, such as “Hubbub” or the “stick game”.