October 2013 PWSD Math News


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Posted by on October 15, 2013 in Uncategorized


For all courses, the activities on this site  are sorted into five broad categories.

  • Introductory Activities – Activities that could be used to introduce a topic and that will hopefully engage students in that topic.
  • Learning Activities – Activities designed to have the students learn a topic with the teacher acting more as a guide than a lecturer.
  • Problem Solving Activities – Problems presented in compelling ways.
  • Review Activities – Review activities assume that students already know something, and need to practice it a little. These activities help students review a topic in a more engaged way than practice tests or worksheets. Most are designed in some way to have students communicating with each other.
  • Performance Assessments – Assessment tasks intended to be summative in nature that put the student in an authentic role and that are more open than traditional assessments.

This is not a tool for Multiple Choice assessments, worksheets or standard notes packages.

If you are looking for some variety, this is a great resource.

I (Josie) would be happy to come out and spend a morning going over these tools with you.   Drop me an email at

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Posted by on August 26, 2013 in Uncategorized


District PD Cohort for 2013-2014

Registration is now open for the District PD Cohort that will be formed with Division 3 and Division 4 Math teachers in the 2013/14 school year.

The dates are scheduled for August 30, 2013, October 25 2013 and February 14 2014.

The basic breakdown of the three days are:

August 30, 2013  October 25, 2013  February 14, 2014 
Building Transitions between Math Courses (Div 3 & 4)DawnMarie Balisky

& Josie Nagtegaal

Location TBA $50


Engaging Students with Technology in Div 3 & 4 MathDawnMarie Balisky

& Josie Nagtegaal

Location TBA $50


Sharing Authentic MathTasks in Div 3 & 4

DawnMarie Balisky

& Josie Nagtegaal

Location TBA $50


Registration Link:
Descriptor:Division 3 and 4 Math teachers will meet together to discuss the gaps that become evident as students progress in Math. Time will be spent analyzing curriculum from pre and post-requisite courses to gain a deeper understanding of the level of student abilities as they enter classes. Teachers will work collaboratively to create solutions and bridges related to the gaps that are identified. Teacher networking will assist in building collaborative professional learning communities with partner schools.

Teachers are asked to bring

: curriculum documents and achievement standards; subject specific textbook/s.

Descriptor:Div 3 and 4 Math teachers will spend the morning looking at various software programs that allow students to interact with a variety of math concepts. The day will focus on both GEOGEBRA and EXPLORE LEARNING GIZMOS. Teachers will be working in teams in their subject area. After software basics have been explained, teachers will build/tweak/enhance technology lessons/demos that can be immediately implemented in the classroom. Teachers will enhance their day by bringing: curriculum docs, textbooks and iPADS. A discussion of how iPADS / Apple TV can be used to integrate technology may be held in the p.m Descriptor:Div 3 and 4 Math teachers will discuss/analyze a variety of tasks that focus on the seven processes of the Math curriculum. As the day unfolds, this may include projects, performance tasks, constructing understandings, and “Work While Collaborating (WWC)” etc. The focus of the day will be on how project based learning can take on various forms within the classroom.

Teachers should bring a current assessment tool

and come prepared to spend the afternoon tweaking/building and/or enhancing it. The goal of the day is to leave with a new style of assessment tool that directly correlates to a course each teacher is teaching.

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Posted by on June 26, 2013 in Uncategorized


PWSD News May /June 2013

To view this flipping book you need to have Flash Player 9 or newer installed and JavaScript enabled. Flipsnack is a flash video player that allows you to create stylish flipping books out of your PDF document.

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Posted by on June 7, 2013 in Uncategorized


april 2013


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Posted by on April 26, 2013 in Uncategorized


Student Engagement in Mathematics – a sneak peek into upcoming newsletter

Engagement Strategies in the Math Classroom


The question that was posed in the last newsletter asked whether or not we, as teachers, believed that every student had the ability to reason mathematically?  Part of the answer, I believe, lies in our ability to engage students in the inquisitive process of mathematics.  Do we, as Math specialist teachers, have the tools and strategies that allow for students to engage in some sort of math reasoning regardless of the level that they are entering the classroom?

I have admit that it is a bit of a rhetoric question.   I know that I would like to answer with a resounding YES, but I fear that my own classroom practices and strategies require more refining and developing to make it true.

For me, part of the solution that I am investigating is the power of a PRE-THINK task, or the HOOK of the lesson.  I believe that if I can get each student to think critically in the first 10 minutes of class, I will have more buy-in for the remainder of the lesson.      Some of you are probably thinking, “of course! We have known that for years!”  – and you would be right.      The missing piece for me, is that I never gave the HOOK of the lesson much credit beyond a fun game or puzzle.   Instead, I am beginning to see that the students require PURPOSE and CONTEXT in the curricular outcome in order to tell their brains that what they are learning is important.  As the teacher /leader of learning in the classroom, I need to be able to provide transparency and purpose right from the beginning of the lesson to engage their drive to learn.

The other key component that I strive for is SUCCESS for EVERY STUDENT in the first 5—10 minutes of class.  This means NOT picking the hardest question from the homework to tackle.  All this is doing is re-affirming their confusion and frustration and they effectively DIS-engaged for the remainder of class.   The trick is finding tasks/questions/puzzles that challenge the high level thinkers, while allowing the students on a modified program an entry point into the discussion.  They may not be able to answer as  eloquently or deeply as another students, but they need to be able to make a contribution.

I don’t believe this to be the solution to all the problems in the math classroom, but allowing the students to experience the mathematical spark that comes from seeing a pattern for the first time, making a guess and seeing it’s true, or watching how numbers work so seamlessly together is one of the great joys of mathematics.  If all they are feeling is frustration because they are not achieving the “curricular outcomes”  we are robbing them of their ability to reason mathematically because they will only see numbers as something that they “just don’t get”.


Josie Nagtegaal


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Posted by on April 24, 2013 in Uncategorized


New Math 10C Performance Task Below

PWA teachers have been working on the following task as an alternate form of summative assessment for Chapter 3 (Trigonometry).   The task has yet to be “tested” on real students, but I will keep you posted as to how it all goes.  (Wait with baited breath until April 24th).    The eventual goal is to replace the Chapter 3 test with this task (or one similar to it).

The task is downloadable so give it a try and let me know what you think.


Have fun teaching Math today!

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Posted by on April 12, 2013 in Uncategorized