Tempting as it was to skip the session and instead spend the day at Canada's Wonderland, which was literally a stone's throw from the High School where the workshops were being held, I was a good little teacher, and went to learn about setting up an effective math program in the intermediate grades.
Those who know me will be peeling themselves off the floor after a fit of guffaws at this point in order to keep reading and find out how such a miracle could possibly occur; You see, as a rule, I don't do Science. (No, really, it's a deal breaker: In the past, I simply wouldn't accept any jobs where Science was a major component, and in those rare instances where I was responsible for teaching my own Science, I would farm this "great curriculum unit planning and teaching opportunity" out to my student teachers.) Furthermore, as the long road to my finally-completed pilot license shows, Math is also not my forte. And, although I did teacher Grade 7 my first two years of teaching, and even have some VP experience in a school with intermediate students, it's been a long time since I've worked with this strange beast that is the intermediate learner, and when I did, it was always in a K-8 integrated model, where I had my own class, and developed a strong relationship with the students, teaching them most if not all subjects.
So how did I end up teaching rotary Math and Science for Grade 7 and 8? Well, I knew I wanted to go back to my intermediate "roots" (having started my career in intermediate, I've been keen to go back and try it again now nearly 20 years later...), and when an opportunity came up that was relatively close to home, I decided to go for it, realizing it was time to meet this final challenge vis-a-vis the math and science.
I loved this "easing in" to the program, and was grateful for the patience and encouragement of the teachers around me, many of whom were in fact quite comfortable teaching math, and who spent some time throughout the three days teaching me a little bit about integers and other horrible mathy things!!
A number of NCTM resources were shared (I so have to get my hands on some of those to read over the summer!!!), and we spent considerable time actually DOING some math as well as talking about it. We also spent some time exploring D2L, which I will definitely be using next year!
With the right guiding questions, it's a great blend of Science and Math (measurement strand). Add in the story about the bubble artist who wanted to en-bubble and elephant, and you have some excellent fodder for Language Arts as well!
I'm super excited to try out some of these ideas with my students this year...
After five hours a day of "Math Magic", I spent my evening's at a friend's and mentor's house.