Archive for the ‘Maureen’s Reflections’ Category

T3 Conference 2012


I had the pleasure of presenting at the TI International Conference in Chicago at the beginning of March. My session was in the last time slot on the last day of the conference. Given that time slot I was energized when participants walked through the door ready for a “Window into my classroom”. I had a mix of attendees from Teachers to Administrators to TI Consultants. As I shared my classroom experience with the TI Navigator the attendees confirmed their similar experiences. Here is the presentation

T2 Presentation 2012 McNeil

New Term = New Opportunities For Learning


I have just set up my classes for second semester and I am really looking forward to the learning opportunities for both me and my students. I feel re-energized – almost like September after we finished our session with Tom Reardon – I am raring to go in my classroom.

This term I will be teaching Grade 11 Functions – MCR3U, Grade 9 Academic Math – MPM1D and Math for Everyday Life 12 – MEL4E. As the course content is very familiar to me, I will have more time to focus on using the Navigator and Document camera in new ways to enable me to understand my students’ thinking. I am much more comfortable with the technology than I was in September and I feel confident that I can overcome any technical difficulties during class time (maybe this term will be trouble-free!).

I can’t wait for Monday!

Exam – Time’s Up Made Easy


My MCR3U students wrote their final exam this morning.  The only clarifying question I was asked before the official start of the exam was “Miss do we really have only two hours for the exam?  Will we get extra time?”  My answer – “Yes to the first, No to the second”.

The NSpires were placed in “Press-to-Test” mode for the exam by each student. I was able to make a quick visual check of each handheld as I distributed the exam. The first students finished with 15 minutes remaining. As they handed in their exams early I manually exited Press to Test on each handheld.

With one minute remaining in our two hour exam time limit, I warned the remaining students that their handhelds would reset in one minute signifying the end of available time. At “Time’s Up”  I sent the “Exit Press to Test” file to all students and the handhelds reset. All student exams were then handed in promptly.  That was easy.


Collaborative Planning


Aga and I spent the afternoon co-planning our next unit – Logarithms for our MHF4U classes.  We are excited to continue to use the navigator thoughout the unit to “check-in” with our students’ thinking.


The Power of Quick Poll


In my grade 12 class with 15 minutes to go, I had just completed two worked examples. I advanced to the next Smart Board slide to reveal “Example #3″. It was very similar to the first two and with limited class time remaining I asked the ‘class’ verbally  if they wanted me to work through example #3 or move on to the remainder of the lesson. The ‘class’ responded in unison – move on. Body language in the room indicated that all students understood the first two examples and all were comfortable with the concepts.

I then posed an anonymous Quick Poll ” Do you want to do example #3 as a class”.  The results shocked me but more surprising the results shocked the students

Needless to say we completed example #3 as a class.


Preparing for our First Test


Tomorrow the grade 12′s have their first unit test and I wanted to practise the “Press to Test” on the NSpires.

The Press to Test feature blocks access to the My Documents folder and can block access to selected features of the handheld. But more importantly upon completion of the test you can send a file to reset all the handhelds in the room and erase all keystrokes used in the test.

After a number of failed attempts it worked – BUT only to the logged in NSpires :( After class Chris told me that I must use the Transfer Tool AND the class must NOT be in session. Oops missed that last point – Tom covered it in our training but alas I forgot.

I’m definitely learning along with my students. :)

Tom’s FUNction Lesson


Today we watched Tom Reardon teach Chris’ Grade 11 University/College class an introductory lesson on Functions and Domain & Range. Tom made full use of the Smart Board, Nspires, Navigator, Quick Polls and PEZ. Having taught this content 10 times, I know it intimately. However this time around Tom made functions FUN. The students were fully engaged for the full hour long lesson.

I spoke to one student at the end of the class, and asked the simple question “Did you like the lesson and why?”.  The following is an edited response,

“I really liked the lesson. The lesson was really visual. He related math to stuff we know, like pop machines. The vertical line test really explained why it was a function or NOT. The explanations were really clear and easy to pick up. It was really easy to remember.  He spoke clearly and only raised his voice when he needed to.  We were really involved in the lesson, answering questions on our Nspires. It felt really good to be right (quick poll on Nspire).” and she finished off with “I normally don’t like Math”.