We use interactive notebooks in our math class. We have found creating a reference book of concepts and procedures that students can refer to when working in math helps them build confidence and develop independence.
We’re not going to lie. They are a lot of work, but the working is meaningful. We found on average our math grades improved and students were able to retain more of their learning year over year.
Our notebooks are created using two pages for each concept. Continue Reading
What do you do when you want to challenge students, but you also want them to learn? We give them critical thinking challenges. Critical thing requires many skills-problem solving, collaboration, design thinking, and perseverance. When a critical thinking question is carefully crafted, you can get students to explore learning outcomes while having fun and being engaged in their learning at the same time. Continue Reading
The Canadian news is flooded with discussions about pipelines and where they should or shouldn’t be built. So, how do we address these issues in the classrooms? Many of our students have family members who work in the oil industry and many have parents who work closely with Indigenous people and environmentalists. So when these issues are so hotly contested in the media, how do we teach students to listen to all perspectives and form opinions based on facts (especially in light of how many people are unable to look past bias)?
We created a product that introduces all sides of the pipeline issue. It’s not meant to have students create an opinion, but to learn to listen to a variety of perspectives. Sometimes when we feel passionately about an issue, it’s difficult to hear the other side. Even as teachers, we have to be careful to not influence the opinions of our students. We need to teach students to listen and evaluate multiple perspectives, disagree respectfully and back up their opinions with facts rather than other people’s opinions.
You can find in our store here.
We’d love to hear about your experiences discussing polarizing issues with your students. How are you managing the current culture of differing sides? How do you keep your personal opinion out of the classroom? Please share with us in the comments below.
How would you feel if you knew you were a wonderful writer but the only way you could express yourself was through modern dance? What would you do if you have to recite your report card comments by memory to each and every parent? How would you feel if you were given the choice to write your report cards any way YOU want? (Ours would be invisible!)
Wouldn’t that be amazing? Wouldn’t that make you want to write the best report cards the world has ever seen?
So why are we so determined as teachers that there’s only one way to assess our students? Why can’t they have choices too? Continue Reading
Incorporating the stories and culture of Indigenous people is important to us. It’s woven throughout our subject areas, but we often look for other places to provide opportunities to bring cultures together. Some years we’ve had several students who share their Cree and Dene cultures with us. Other years we’ve had no one in our classroom with a direct connection to our Indigenous people We want all of our students to feel connected to the history of our country and the people who were here first.
So, in what ways do we bring the Indigenous culture to our school and classroom? Continue Reading
The year has started. Things are starting to settle and it’s time to count your blessings in the classroom. We call the start of year through Thanksgiving (well, Canadian Thanksgiving on the second Monday of October) the beta period. It’s the time of year to try things out, get to know the students, build relationships and set up the year for success.
The beta period is not the time of year we spend getting deep into content. We review. We read. We talk about what is coming next. We check out our skills and show what we can or can’t do.
It’s the perfect time to take a look at what’s working, what’s starting to work and what needs to be scrapped. It’s time to count our blessings and make a list of all the things we are thankful for in our classroom. So, here is a little checklist we use to decide how are things working so far. Continue Reading
The Brain Ninjas are TWO YEARS OLD! On May 29, 2014 we officially opened our store. It was nearly two weeks later when we sold our first item and made a whopping $2.16 and from then on we were hooked. Continue Reading
Do you need a simple, easy, quick and painless way to have fun pranking your students for April Fool’s Day? Here is a little something just for you that won’t end up having students in tears or parents beating down your door. Continue Reading
Do you have to repeat yourself constantly because your students just don’t know how to listen? Maybe it’s not them. Here are five ways to get them listening without yelling.
1. Stop talking.
Teachers love to talk. Talk. Talk. Talk. (So do ninjas-it’s amazing we get anything done.) Instead, try silence. Wait Continue Reading