Ten Rules for Math Worksheets

Ten Rules for Math Worksheets

ADST opportunity in Terrace

Beginning April 1, 2019, students Grade 6 to 12 are invited to apply for one or more of the following:

    • Entrepreneurship & Marketing  
    • Media Arts  
    • Robotics  
    • Woodwork  

Note that well-qualified Grade 6 learners may apply and would be welcome.  There are a number of other Graduation Level Courses linked here.

These Spring courses will run from April 1st – June 21st, 2019. Students will attend 3 hrs per week of classes and have approximately 5 hrs of ‘homework’ for 12 weeks. Classes will be held at 3504 Kalum St, Terrace and will be capped at 15 students. Courses will be underpinned by a Christian Worldview.

If you are interested just let me know and I'll provide additional instructions.

 

Ten Rules for Math Worksheets

Despite all that I’ve written, children learning at home will predominantly use a worksheet system. Worksheets do have an advantage, especially in the early years because worksheets present to the learner a structured learning task. It is easy to set daily goals. It makes re-writing the question unnecessary. Although I would maintain that writing the question is part of the basic math skill, many people seem to dislike it. I can give you a few rules for working through a set of worksheets.

1.  As much as possible do not leave children alone with worksheets. Do it together. Let them do the math, but be ready to answer questions they formulate. Coach them to formulate a question if they cannot. When you coach, be aware of your child’s feelings. The biggest predictor of how they do in math is how they anticipate feeling about it. Let them experience success every day. Encourage them to talk out loud as they work. Watch that they understand the concepts. Accuracy comes from practice and methodology, not just practice. So, watch for both.

2. Do not do worksheets without the answers close at hand. Always check your answers after every question, and make corrections immediately.

3. Show your work. Don’t take shortcuts. Work diligently, write clearly and properly. Write 0.5 rather than .5, for example. Write your fractions one number directly above the other, and so on. Sit straight, have good lighting, and space to work. Remember practice doesn’t make perfect, only perfect practice makes perfect.

4. Do not “mark” children’s work with a red pen afterward. When they finish the worksheet, they should already know how they did. Marking with a red pen is about accountability more than about accuracy. Work with them like a coach, not like a judge.

5. Only do worksheets printed with enough space to write. If it gets crowded write, for example, “See number 3 on page 1 attached”. Staple blank paper and then go over to that. Never crowd your math, it’s very important and has a profound effect over the years.

6. Don’t skip the questions or sections that are different such as novel application. For example, if you’re doing trigonometry, don’t skip the section on estimating the height of trees. Don’t skip things like organizing numbers, patterns, estimating, predicting, checking, comparing, doing the same problem more than one way, and so on. For example, you may want to stop to see if 0.5 x 0.5 gives you the same answer as ½ x ½.

7. If it’s too easy, skip ahead. You don’t have to complete everything. It’s not good to waste learning time. There is little advantage to practicing the same problems over and over until they are super-mastered because they will continue to use those skills as they go through the curriculum.

8. Don’t stall out on one difficult skill. Move along and come back to it. Some people worry about so-called “holes”, which are small areas that were skipped in the past but now are needed skills. Holes can be over-rated and may fill in anyway. Some holes are too large and you can see them because the learner gets stuck at the same spot every time. If that persists, go back and turn the “hole” and turn it into a strength by completely mastering it.

9. If it’s frustrating then slow down or find some easier math. If children grow to hate math no amount of discipline will correct it.

10. The last is like the first. Some people have big houses to give their children space. Some people give their children math worksheets so they can work independently. If this is working well that’s fine, but try to stay involved. Make math a family experience and they’ll love it. For most children when it comes to math, children don’t need space, they need you.

Happy Learning

Rob

Dates and Resources

Leaving Money on the Table

Everyone is aware of HCOS funding for learning resources. If for any reason you don't need all of it, there's nothing wrong with leaving it for others. It's a shared table and HCOS counts on the fact that few people spend every dime in their accounts. That said, it's wise to be deliberate about it, rather than missing the deadlines. My classroom experience matches my HCOS experience: conclude spending for the current year by the end of March. That leaves room for error and emergencies. Spend only what you need and leave the rest, but don't just procrastinate past the deadline. That's not good for learners.

  1. Recommended date to conclude spending: March 30
  2. Funding opens for 2019-2020 school year: approx. April 30
  3. Deadline for purchasing outside of Canada: May 1
  4. Deadline for all resource purchasing: May 15
  5. Purchasing Department shutdown: May 15

Note also: This is the last year for internet reimbursements.

Re-Enrolment

If you have children whom you expect to be enrolled in HCOS next year, then please re-enroll them now.  Just follow the re-enrollment process in Encom. There is no advantage in waiting, you are not giving away your options in the fall. I have requested a reduced workload for next fall and I've asked that my existing students get priority, but I need you to take advantage of that.

Dates and Links:  

Feb 22 to March 11: Rob Focussed on Report Cards

March 18- 29 Spring Break

April 1 ADST Program in Terrace starts

April 12 Open House

April 19-22 Easter

April 23 to 30 CHEC (Convention in Kelowna)

 

You may be interested in my recommended resources page. I only add to these resources when I see a learner has done well using it within the BC curriculum. I hope to add a few more links this year.

 Rob Wahl recommended resources

 

Five Rules for Better Math

Five Rules for Better Math

This post includes some samples of what I mean. Don't try to read or understand math, just examine how it looks on the page.

As I described in my previous newsletter, I was a math survivor. Through hard work and determination, I made it through. Unbeknownst to me at the time, and perhaps the true reason for this grace upon my life, was that I was to raise a mathematically gifted child. After the Kelowna homeschool convention (CHEC) I go to Calgary to watch my son-in-law graduate with his B.Min. Then I drive to Burnaby to attend my son’s dissertation for his Ph.D. in engineering. Then we'll have dinner to celebrate. I’m one proud daddy and I like to think he got a good start. He was doing calculus while still at home in high school.

Albert Einstein's Notebook

A way to improve in any field is to imitate the masters. I often will gravitate toward movies about Science or Math. One of them was Proof (2005). There’s been a handful in my lifetime. I also read articles and flip through web pages, in particular noticing the workbooks of the greatest in the field.  Of course, these people are extremely talented and few will reach their level. But I also see things we can all do.

I have observed they:
1. are up for the challenge of discovering the truth.
2. Spend time and practice with feedback.
3. Like to make simple line-drawing sketches even if they’re no good.
4. On the page, their mathematics looks like a work of art.
5. Are not afraid to use up paper.

Raising a mathematically gifted boy included demonstrating a passion for the truth of it. Mathematics can be unforgivingly accountable. No faking or fudging; the answer is either right or wrong. When my kids were young and they were sometimes disappointed because life is hard and they didn’t expect it. I would cuddle them and love them intensely, but never take them away from the challenge if I thought it was attainable. Better to try and fail then never to try. Young men and women who fall of a horse need to bet back on. Kids need your love and mollycoddling isn’t love. When they know they’re loved, they can face up to challenges. Because any Mathematics worth doing is going to challenge us. That said, frustration does shut down learning. It can be a matter of emotional maturity to deal with feelings of frustration. This is where parents have to use their best judgment.

Calculus 101: Notice how the answer is checked. Click to see closer.

Mathematics is largely a skill. Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours is, of course, basically wrong. Skills come about when talent meets practice. Practice doesn’t even make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect. So how to get perfect practice? Check your answers after each question and correct yourself. You can’t learn to shoot if you can’t see whether you hit the target. Check your answers immediately.

Mathematicians have a special relationship with paper. You can write an essay on a computer screen but not a proof. You can’t think mathematically on a computer screen unless you are coding a computer. Real mathematicians don’t have worksheets. They do their math on blank or lined paper. The paper is the focal point of their thoughts, an extension, or map, of working memory. There they doodle and write down ideas and try to find more ways to think about the problem. Once they get an idea, they work it out logically.

Have you ever noticed the handwriting of a mathematician? They are able to present their mathematical ideas in their own had with stunning clarity. Their numbers and letters are well formed, the lines are straight and the symbols clear. It looks amazing.

Mathematicians waste a lot of paper. No to be fair modern printers waste orders of magnitude more, but mathematicians include plenty of white space, whatever they take the space they need to write and think clearly. A cluttered and messy page is a cluttered and messy mind. Lots of great math is accompanied by a wastepaper basket full of crumpled paper.

Ramanujan

So here are the five rules of learning Math
1. Don't get frustrated, but be an adult and face up to the challenge.
2. Put in your time but get feedback on your answers.
3. Doodle, draw and write. It won't hurt your hand.
4. Make it look good.
5. Use lots of paper.

Dates and Resources

Leaving Money on the Table

Everyone is aware of HCOS funding for learning resources. If for any reason you don't need all of it, there's nothing wrong with leaving it for others. It's a shared table and HCOS counts on the fact that few people spend every dime in their accounts. That said, it's wise to be deliberate about it, rather than missing the deadlines. My classroom experience matches my HCOS experience: conclude spending for the current year by the end of March. That leaves room for error and emergencies. Spend only what you need and leave the rest, but don't just procrastinate past the deadline. That's not good for learners.

  1. Recommended date to conclude spending: March 30
  2. Funding opens for 2019-2020 school year: approx. April 30
  3. Deadline for purchasing outside of Canada: May 1
  4. Deadline for all resource purchasing: May 15
  5. Purchasing Department shutdown: May 15

Note also: This is the last year for internet reimbursements.

Re-Enrolment

If you have children whom you expect to be enrolled in HCOS next year, then please re-enroll them now.  Just follow the re-enrollment process in Encom. There is no advantage in waiting, you are not giving away your options in the fall. I have requested a reduced workload for next fall and I've asked that my existing students get priority, but I need you to take advantage of that.

Dates and Links:  

Feb 22 to March 11: Rob Focussed on Report Cards

March 18- 29 Spring Break

April 12 Open House

April 19-22 Easter

April 23 to 30 CHEC (Convention in Kelowna)

 

You may be interested in my recommended resources page. I only add to these resources when I see a learner has done well using it within the BC curriculum. I hope to add a few more links this year.

 Rob Wahl recommended resources

 

Learning Math at Home

How to Learn Math at Home

How to learn Math at home

All the mathematics I have ever learned I learned at home. That’s after a decade of high school and university science programs in which I struggled almost daily to improve. I was absolutely not born to be good at Math, it simply was required for the programs I wanted to study. In fact, I had to take Math 11 twice. I went on to complete Algebra, Linear Algebra, and Precalculus 12.  I completed at least 18 credit hours of post-secondary Mathematics including calculus, differential equations, experimental design, statistics, quantitative research methods, and genetics. All of these courses required my very best effort just to obtain modest grades. I truly identified with an advertising slogan on TV, “Weebles wobble, but they don't fall down”. Although I failed my first major Math class, my last math class scored an A+ with a congratulatory call from the professor. How did I do that?

Throughout those years was attending a school, I can say this with confidence: I never understood a single thing a Math teacher said--about Math at leastI was clueless in every class, every time. The best I was able to do in class was to make a record of what I needed to learn. Eventually, I just took notes on paper if necessary but mostly in the margins of my text, circling and starring things for future reference.

At home, I would open the text and find the example problem. I would write out the example problem in my notebook. Then I would try to solve it. When I got stuck I would formulate my question. What do you do right here? Then I would look back at the text to find the answer to my question. Armed with the new answer, I would restart the problem on a new page. When I had mastered the example questions I would do all the examples and then the problem sets. After each problem, I would look up the answer, and if it was wrong I would do it again until I got it right. I knew I had mastered the questions when I could invent my own problem and solve it with confidence, using some mathematical proof to verify my solution.

So here are the steps I used

  1. Attempt a problem I didn’t know how to do, but for which I did have a solution.
  2. Get stuck and formulate a question.
  3. Find the answer to my question in the available solution. Sometimes at this stage, it is helpful or even necessary to find extra help.
  4. Master the example. Try more examples.
  5. Find a problem set with answers.
  6. Attempt each problem and check the answers. Re-do until the answer was correct.
  7. Mastery is when you can create your own problems and solve them.

I have a lot more to say about how to learn Math but it will have to wait for future newsletters.

Happy Learning

Dates and Resources

Leaving Money on the Table

Everyone is aware of HCOS funding for learning resources. If for any reason you don't need all of it, there's nothing wrong with leaving it for others. It's a shared table and HCOS counts on the fact that few people spend every dime in their accounts. That said, it's wise to be deliberate about it, rather than missing the deadlines. My classroom experience matches my HCOS experience: conclude spending for the current year by the end of March. That leaves room for error and emergencies. Spend only what you need and leave the rest, but don't just procrastinate past the deadline. That's not good for learners.

  1. Recommended date to conclude spending: March 30
  2. Funding opens for 2019-2020 school year: approx. April 30
  3. Deadline for purchasing outside of Canada: May 1
  4. Deadline for all resource purchasing: May 15
  5. Purchasing Department shutdown: May 15

Note also: This is the last year for internet reimbursements.

These are some of your best days

Make hay while the sun shines! The problem is recognizing that the sun is shining. If you are not facing any immediate travel or circumstances likely to affect learning, then the sun is shining. Winter is very sunny so make lots of hay. Soon it will be spring and the children will want to be outside. These next two months are some of the best for learning. 

Dates and Links:  

February 22 Term Two cutoff for submissions to SeeSaw

Feb 22 to March 11: Rob Focussed on Report Cards

March 18- 29 Spring Break

April 19-22 Easter

April 23 to 30 CHEC (Convention in Kelowna)

 

You may be interested in my recommended resources page. I only add to these resources when I see a learner has done well using it within the BC curriculum. I hope to add a few more links this year.

 Rob Wahl recommended resources

 

Science– Something You Do

Science: Something You Do

What is science?

Over the past two newsletters, I have been writing about science.

Scientists observe the universe to be uneven (anisotropic).

This newsletter is about Science—the curricular subject. Science has a split personality. Science is a body of knowledge about nature. It is about nature, not everything there is to know about nature, for there is much we know about nature that is not scientific but still very very true. Nature is the created universe. It includes everything

 

from stars to starfish, and emus to electrons. In 1968 the Canadian National Film board made an amazing video called “Cosmic Zoom”. I was certainly riveted by it. It’s eight minutes long. A new cosmic zoom demonstrates some of what has been learned since. There is however pacing and esthetic in the older version that has yet to be transcended. Watch them with your children.

Scientists gather data on a community of plants

But science is more than a body of knowledge, it is also a method to gather that knowledge. The method starts with thinking about it. When you think you know what is true you are ready to begin the scientific method, which is to check it by observing. Observing includes all the senses. It includes measurements and data collection of every kind. Observations involve devices of every sort ranging from telescopes to magnetometers. If a scientist makes observations or obtains data that match what he or she thought would happen, then they write a report for other scientists to try it too. If lots of scientists get the same answer, then it’s a scientific consensus and it becomes part of the body of knowledge we call science.

Admittedly, it isn’t always so cut and dried, but that’s a general idea. The scientist doesn’t know anything for sure unless they can produce observations, usually lots of observations, to back it up. When we talk about lots of observations, we mean data. If you have lots of observations you have to record them. So, a scientist will keep a lab book. There you will find notes on what they are trying to learn by thinking about nature and then checking it by observation.

How to fill a balloon with gas from a bottle.

One of the most important ways to make observations is by doing experiments. Another way is to make scientific demonstrations and models. Learners and homeschooling parents often confuse these. When we play with magnets and observe how they attract and repel we could call that a demonstration. We might put vinegar in a bottle, add baking soda, and capture the fizz in a balloon.  We might even use what’s in the balloon to blow out a candle. This is very cool. It is well worth doing and worth writing down to tell the story, but it not an experiment. It is a good way to make observations, but might still argue about what caused the candle to go out.

Modeling is also quite useful as a way to gather observations. Perhaps you are wondering why some caves are impossible to explore without bringing oxygen to breathe. So you make a small cave. Inside a bottle, which is our 'cave', we add some powdered lime (Calcium Carbonate) to stand for the limestone and add water that has been soaking in peat moss to stand for the groundwater around the cave. You have a model of the cave in your bottle. You may be able to put a match inside the bottle to stand for the life of a person. You could see what happens. Another example of a model could be to model your community’s electrical grid on a half sheet of plywood using wires, batteries, and bulbs. This would be a model of the electrical grid.

An experiment, however, is a special way to make observations. Next week I will write about the controlled experiment. Controlled experiments are one more way to add to the body of knowledge we call science.

Nature is a magical and wonderful subject of exploration. It is both a body of knowledge and a method. To use any scientific method is a skill which needs building over time. So, study your science, but do your science as well, for science is more something you do, like Art, than something you know. If you work hard on your other subjects in the winter, science is great in the spring. Happy learning.

 

Dates and Resources

Leaving Money on the Table

Everyone is aware of HCOS funding for learning resources. If for any reason you don't need all of it, there's nothing wrong with leaving it for others. It's a shared table and HCOS counts on the fact that few people spend every dime in their accounts. That said, it's wise to be deliberate about it, rather than missing the deadlines. My classroom experience matches my HCOS experience: conclude spending for the current year by the end of March. That leaves room for error and emergencies. Spend only what you need and leave the rest, but don't just procrastinate past the deadline. That's not good for learners.

  1. Recommended date to conclude spending: March 30
  2. Funding opens for 2019-2020 school year: approx. April 30
  3. Deadline for purchasing outside of Canada: May 1
  4. Deadline for all resource purchasing: May 15
  5. Purchasing Department shutdown: May 15

Note also: This is the last year for internet reimbursements.

These are some of your best days

Make hay while the sun shines! The problem is recognizing that the sun is shining. If you are not facing any immediate travel or circumstances likely to affect learning, then the sun is shining. Winter is very sunny so make lots of hay. Soon it will be spring and the children will want to be outside. These next two months are some of the best for learning. 

Dates and Links:  

February 22 Term Two cutoff for submissions to SeeSaw

Feb 22 to March 11: Rob Focussed on Report Cards

March 18- 29 Spring Break

April 19-22 Easter

April 23 to 30 CHEC (Convention in Kelowna)

 

You may be interested in my recommended resources page. I only add to these resources when I see a learner has done well using it within the BC curriculum. I hope to add a few more links this year.

 Rob Wahl recommended resources

 

Wisdom and Science

Science: The Wisdom of our Time

If Social Studies can be enjoyed through the wonderful book “From Adam to Us”, then perhaps, if we think of Science that way, it is the wonderful book, yet to be written, entitled “From Atoms to Us”. This book started when 3000 years ago King David penned, “The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament his handiwork. Day after day they pour forth speech, night after night they reveal knowledge".

As a youth, I memorized that Psalm, Psalm 19, because it was something of a watchword for a young student of Science whose faith was firmly planted in Biblical revelation of Jesus Christ. This Psalm lays out two sources of revelation about God. The text begins with a soaring and inspiring language about the greatness of God as revealed in nature. Even now as I reflect on it, the words of “How Great Thou Art” come to mind. Thus go the first six verses, but then in verse 7 suddenly, it seems, without missing a beat or shifting gears the psalmist continues to declare, “The Torah of the YHWH is perfect, restoring the soul. The testimony [revelation] of YHWH is pure, making wise the simple”. Making wise the simple… indeed… but I digress... the point being, here in a single passage we have Biblical support for both General and Special Revelation.

Jesus himself breaks the scriptures down into the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings. The Writings are the Bible's Wisdom Literature: Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Songs and Ecclesiastes. These are the books of the Bible that explore the world-as-experienced or General Revelation. Ecclesiastes 1:7 says, “All the rivers flow into the sea, Yet the sea is not full. To the place where the rivers flow, there they flow again”. In other words, somehow there must be a water cycle. It should not be lost on us that such statements are valuable enough to go into the Bible.

Wisdom literature is gritty and real, not shirking from hard questions but also reveling in simple observations. Among the many themes, there is there is the theme of Wisdom itself. So profoundly is it valued that it becomes personified in Proverbs 8, which later the New Testament draws upon to describe Jesus as the Wisdom of God.  Set this down first, we read, "Get Wisdom". And then we are told, “the fear of the Lord, is the beginning of wisdom”; in other words, when you seek wisdom consider your starting point.  And so we may ask, what is science but the wisdom of our time? The cure for bad wisdom isn’t ignorance of it; but rather, to seek it more.  And thus we are enjoined by the Bible's wisdom literature to value wisdom, to seek wisdom with all our hearts.  So for now, I’ll leave you with Proverbs 4:5-9

Get wisdom, get understanding;
do not forget my words or turn away from them.
Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;
love her, and she will watch over you.
The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom.
Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
Cherish her, and she will exalt you;
embrace her, and she will honor you.
She will give you a garland to grace your head
and present you with a glorious crown.

Dates and Resources

Leaving Money on the Table

Everyone is aware of HCOS funding for learning resources. If for any reason you don't need all of it, there's nothing wrong with leaving it for others. It's a shared table and HCOS counts on the fact that few people spend every dime in their accounts. That said, it's wise to be deliberate about it, rather than missing the deadlines. My classroom experience matches my HCOS experience: conclude spending for the current year by the end of March. That leaves room for error and emergencies. Spend only what you need and leave the rest, but don't just procrastinate past the deadline. That's not good for learners.

  1. Recommended date to conclude spending: March 30
  2. Funding opens for 2019-2020 school year: approx. April 30
  3. Deadline for purchasing outside of Canada: May 1
  4. Deadline for all resource purchasing: May 15
  5. Purchasing Department shutdown: May 15

Note also: This is the last year for internet reimbursements.

These are some of your best days

Make hay while the sun shines! The problem is recognizing that the sun is shining. If you are not facing any immediate travel or circumstances likely to affect learning, then the sun is shining. Winter is very sunny so make lots of hay. Soon it will be spring and the children will want to be outside. These next two months are some of the best for learning. 

Dates and Links:  

February 22 Term Two cutoff for submissions to SeeSaw

Feb 22 to March 11: Rob Focussed on Report Cards

March 18- 29 Spring Break

April 19-22 Easter

April 23 to 30 CHEC (Convention in Kelowna)

 

You may be interested in my recommended resources page. I only add to these resources when I see a learner has done well using it within the BC curriculum. I hope to add a few more links this year.

 Rob Wahl recommended resources

 

The Girl Who Thought There Are Two Earths

Science: The Girl Who Thought There Are Two Earths

I have visited Kindergarten classrooms and sometimes I get to play with the kids. I like to get to sit on the floor with the kids. One teacher was reading from a kid’s book that was all about the earth. There was one student who seemed particularly well engaged, so I asked her what she was learning. She made big eyes and said, “I am learning about the earth that is round”. I thought, what an odd way to phrase it. I thought about it later. She didn’t say she learned that the earth on which she was presently standing was round, she learned there was something out there that was round called “the earth”. Perhaps she thought there were two earths: one on which she stood, and one that was the topic in school.

It can be amazing how little people remember their Science education. Of all the subjects, Science is the one that many people never integrate into common sense. And that’s too bad. I’ve embarrassed too many friends by asking them how long it takes the earth to go around the sun. I can’t think of a more basic science question. Half don't know. Turns out that if you ask kids in school, nearly all have the answer: the earth orbits the sun and it takes a year because that’s how we get our year. But they forget because the sun and the earth in that story are just answers they give in school. Perhaps they haven't really believed it. 

Homeschoolers have a distinct advantage because they have many more opportunities to try out what they are learning in daily life. We always say this about preaching at church; that, it’s no good if you don’t “apply it”. So, my charge to all of you who are schooling at home, be sure to look for ways to apply what you know. Try asking “so what?”. The earth is round… so what? It means a 2-meter-high sailboat will vanish over the horizon in about 10Km. Unless of course, you’re swimming in the ocean, in which case it will vanish in 5Km. Keep in mind, “so what” is an open-ended question. All the books in the world couldn’t hold all the answers. The idea is to get one you can support. 

Ten Rules for all learning that work  particularly well in Science: 

  1. It is the learner who learns, you can’t do it for them. and they have to do it their own way.
  2. Learning must build on prior knowledge.
  3. There’s nothing like an aha moment when the learner connects the dots and gets it.
  4. True learning requires concepts and skills in balance with each other. Too much rote knowledge is easily forgotten; skills alone lack application.
  5. Learners need to see both the big picture and the details. Some like to start from the details and then see how it fits later. Some like to start from the big picture and zoom in on details. Personally, I like to start from the big picture, zoom in quickly, and then work from the details back out to the big picture and see how it has changed.
  6. Pace matters. Don’t go too fast, we all have our speed limit. Mine is quite slow for my level of attainment. But I know slow and steady does the job. Lack of diligence over time is a disaster. Diligence over time is what leads to success in true learning. If it helps, it's okay to leave something and come back to it later.
  7. Motivation is not the motor of learning. Motivation develops from and then contributes to learning. Expect to be proud of your work? You’ll find the motivation. A safe and secure social environment is vital to learning. Quality for relationships is one of the main predictors of learning.
  8. Learners must learn to know that they know.
  9. Learners should choose to transfer what they know from one context to another.
  10. There's no miracle substitute for time and effort.

 

 

Dates and Resources

Make hay while the sun shines! The problem is recognizing that the sun is shining. If you are not facing any immediate travel or circumstances likely to affect learning, then the sun is shining. Winter is very sunny so make lots of hay. Soon it will be spring and the children will want to be outside. These next two months are some of the best for learning. 

Dates and Links:  

February 22 Term Two cutoff for submissions to SeeSaw

You may be interested in my recommended resources page. I only add to these resources when I see a learner has done well using it within the BC curriculum. I hope to add a few more links this year.

 Rob Wahl recommended resources

 

Social Studies

Social Studies

Social Studies may be one of the most difficult subjects to teach at home. What is it really about? Social Studies starts with idea that we are not alone. As individuals, we have our own identity and contribute to our communities at various levels. The nuclear family is one such level, as is our local neighborhood, village or city. There are provincial, national, and global communities as well, all of which are influenced by the physical environment, including climate, natural resources, rivers, mountains, and oceans.

To study social studies is to learn about ourselves in relation to our communities. When we learn Social Studies, we want to learn to think carefully about ourselves, the people around us, and how we govern our actions such that we can live together. We learn to understand so that we can explain why things are as they are, how actions have consequences, and how our own beliefs and values guide us into becoming better friends and citizens. We want to learn how to decide if something is good or bad—that is, to make value judgments using evidence rather than prejudice and reason rather than bias

When we see ourselves in relation to our communities we may want to know the story of how things became the way they are. We must learn how to be good citizens, participating in democracy and able to weigh the issues. We begin to study history with a view to understanding why we live the way we do. In particular, we want to understand why we live among First Nations peoples. We want to learn how material resources, for example, led to change over time. History is really a small part of Social Studies and is really only the focus in Grades 7 to 9.

As we study Social Studies, we want to gain study and thinking skills: to demonstrate why things happen, to reflect on what it means today, and to analyze how things may have been caused. We want to use our knowledge to learn to appreciate others even when we don’t necessarily agree with them. We can learn how to use our minds to solve problems that come about as a result of living together. When we see that others are different it truly helps to understand why. Indeed, God did and does love the world. He has put us here as change-agents, ready in mind and spirit to bring about its transformation. For this, we need clear minds and strong hearts. We must know ourselves and we must know how others.

Dates and Resources

My main job during this part of the year is to review your samples and provide feedback. The more samples you send the more you get service you get from Rob. I look in SeeSaw each morning and respond to everything I see. 

Dates and Links: November 23-- Term Ends

February 22 Term Two cutoff for submissions to SeeSaw

You may be interested in my recommended resources page. I only add to these resources when I see a learner has done well using it within the BC curriculum. I hope to add a few more links this year.

 Rob Wahl recommended resources

 

Posting to SeeSaw

Posting to SeeSaw

I have completed your report cards and they are available in Encom under the “Report Cards” button.

It was great to see some of a close-up view of learner’s educational growth. There were questions about what to post in SeeSaw . So this letter is to provide you with some useful guidance.

Use the shotgun approach.

The point of a shotgun is that it shoots many bullets in the hopes that some will find their target. When you upload a lot of items it allows me to sift through to find what I’m looking for. I find things like Heath Education in your Bible uploads and Career Education in your PE activities. I make comments about the learners' frequency of practice and inferences about the time a learner spends on learning tasks.

Remember kids can learn to post their own work to SeeSaw.

Upload pictures of children while doing activities. Say what the picture shows.

Leave notes and messages. Your comments and notes are valuable. They do not replace samples of learner’s work, but they are very good for making sense of it.

Post tables of contents of resources you are using. When you do that, check off what you’ve done.

Scan and send anything the learner has created such as

Worksheets that are completed
A drawing with words
Writing samples, paragraphs, essays
Video recording of the student reading or performing
A written project.
Recorded presentations of a project.

Open-ended work is much more interesting and valuable as evidence of learning. Open-ended questions can best be understood as questions that aren’t either right or wrong. Open-ended questions can be wrong, partly wrong, partly right, mostly right, or right. They can be poor answers, fair answers, good answers, or excellent answers. Here’s a couple of examples:

Closed-ended questions

Polycarp was born in the year _________.
The moon is _________ km from the sun.
In what year did the apostle John die?

Open-ended questions:

How did Polycarp contribute to the early church?
Draw the earth and moon in a scale drawing and describe the moon's distance compared to its size.
What did the death of the apostle John mean to the early church?

Upload one sample of each subject every other week. if you're not able to use the shotgun approach

For example:
Week 1: Language Arts, Bible, Science, ADST, and PE/Health
Week 2: Socials, Art, Career, Math, Foreign Language

Please note that the time is short between now and the end of Term 2. A reasonable level of posting would be an average of one item per day per child. More is always better.

Happy Learning.

Dates and Resources

My main job during this part of the year is to review your samples and provide feedback. The more samples you send the more you get service you get from Rob. I look in SeeSaw each morning and respond to everything I see. 

Dates and Links: November 23-- Term Ends

December 24-Jan. 1 HCOS Offices Closed

February 22 Term Two cutoff for submissions to SeeSaw

You may be interested in my recommended resources page. I only add to these resources when I see a learner has done well using it within the BC curriculum. I hope to add a few more links this year.

 Rob Wahl recommended resources

 

Growth Mindset

Reflections on Learning

A Growth Mindset

When my daughter was very young, she fell from a swing and broke her arm. Well, it was mostly broken. I remember vividly the 45-degree bend in her forearm. It also became one of her earliest memories that I scooped her from the ground and in one motion called out to my wife Cheryl, carried her to the car and drove to the hospital. Doctors were kind; and, the bone was set under anesthesia. What was fascinating, though, is that the doctor came out and said it wasn’t as bad as it looked, all he had to do was bend the bone back. I would have straightened out on its own. I actually knew the biology there. Bones grow toward the stresses they encounter.

One feature of living things is that they grow and reproduce themselves. If an organism no longer wishes to grow, then the process of decay is already setting in, even if only in some aspect. Every healthy creature has the desire and tendency to grow. As human beings, however, we have more than the tendency to grow, we have the power to direct our own growth.

I grow weary of constant improvement culture simply because nothing is ever good enough. It’s not that I don’t want to improve, but I want to direct my own improvement in response to the stressors in my life and professional practice. One of the rarely discussed aspects of being a teacher is that there is never enough of you. I’m sure that’s true for parent-teachers as well. All you hear is do more of this and do more of that. If only someone could explain what to do less of! Now that would be progress!

 

I think our children are like that too. I think they want to grow but they want to control the direction of their growth. Of course, they’re too young to make great decisions about their growth. Many of the things they attempt actually threaten them in some way. If you watch a child play, however, they are constantly pushing at that envelope of what they can do. They love to grow. If a child does something for the first time, they will likely tell their parents.

Children should have practice making decisions. Parents should provide boundaries for those decisions. We always asked ourselves if what our children wanted to do was somehow morally or life-threatening. Often it was. But, depending on their age, there are many choices a child can make. I would encourage parents who are acting in the role of teachers to consider exercising the child’s decision-making process. Would you like to ride a bike to church or walk? Notice attending church is not an option, but whether to ride or walk is. Would you like to work at reading or writing this morning? Would you prefer swimming or gymnastics for PE? When we grow in our ability to make decisions, we can also grow in our capacity to direct our own growth, which is the very nature of adulthood.

Consider fostering in your children a growth mindset. A child becomes a learner when they develop personal interests. One of the best ways to get started is if their parents model the growth mindset for themselves. What are the stressors in your life? What would we like to achieve in the next year to relieve those stressors? How can we create milestones and recognize efforts? Parents and children can work together. Children can come to recognize what they know and need to know to meet their own goals.


Remember the power of “yet”. A growth mindset always adds the word “yet”. Has your child ever said, “I can’t do it”? A growth mindset adds the word “yet”. “I can’t do it yet”. With guidance, a child can learn to set some of their own educational goals that are visible, doable, and timely. This worksheet might be just a small start for fostering a growth mindset.

 

 

Dates and Resources

My main job during this part of the year is to review your samples and provide feedback. The more samples you send the more you get service you get from Rob. I look in SeeSaw each morning and respond to everything I see. 

Growth Mindset Printable 

Notes

  1. SeeSaw is working well. If you're having trouble accessing it or would like extra support in SeeSaw, drop me a text or email and let me know when we can get together. Providing evidence and samples of your child's development is required in this program. That said nearly everyone does an amazing job of getting me samples through SeeSaw. Congrats to you all.  If you have not posted on every subject by November 15, I'll use the phone or Zoom to get a better idea. If you'd like to schedule it now, send me an email.
  2. Foundation Skills Assessment for Grade 4 and 7. You will receive a package. Just to the tests as outlined in the instructions. Some people make the tests out to be more important than they are. They are a sort of intensive survey. Your individual results can vary on any given day, but they do provide parents, schools, and the Ministry of Education invaluable information for how we are doing. Please do participate.  Participation can also be a learning experience for both youth and parents.

Dates and Links: November 23-- Term Ends

I am using SeeSaw and gathering information for report cards until November 23, which is the end of the term. I will begin writing report cards on November 12 based on what you have uploaded.  Where there is enough data to write a report card I will alert you so that you can send in additional information. In most cases when there is a problem in the report card it is not due to lack of learning but due to a lack of communication and reporting. Please send lots of school work into SeeSaw. Some of you are sending a lot of pictures of outings and activities. These are great, but please do not send only that. I need to see what the learners are able to do. In the case of computer-based learning, pictures of the screen can be an excellent way of recording progress.

You may be interested in my recommended resources page. I only add to these resources when I see a learner has done well using it within the BC curriculum. I hope to add a few more links this year.

 Rob Wahl recommended resources

 

In Celebration of Mistakes

Reflections on Learning

Celebrating Mistakes

Much to the annoyance of people around me, I tend to think in creative but logical and linear terms. I like my thoughts ordered and sensible but they don't come out that way to start. My imagination tends to be imagining solutions to the disorder. I imagine myself an architect of technological and human systems, processes, and even movements. This may annoy my friends who have to hear about it. They can never keep quite keep up because next, I'll design something new. What annoys me is designs that nobody actually follows. Sometimes I feel like that last person to follow the rules. It conjures up images of friends all laughing and wondering why I’m still doing things that old way.

I make a lot of spelling mistakes. The English language seems devoid of rules and I never know what other people are doing. I'm busy creating reality in my head, why should I care what everyone is doing? For example, I learned “i” before “e” except after “c”. I liked that, it was a solid rule. Hardly. The first part of that rule is okay, most words put the “i” first, but when you have a “c” most words still put the “i” first. The iciest glaciers make idiocies out of the conceit of “except after c.” It pricks the conscience sufficiently and proficiently to imagine this scientific deficiency. I make a lot of spelling mistakes because I keep thinking there must be some logical way to know how to spell words, when really, they are just conventions, and I’m not wired for conventions.

There are two kinds of people in the world, those who make mistakes and those who correct them. There are those who create content and those who spot the mistakes in the content. Professors are the exception who often seem to be people who can master both. When we think about our values as men and women of faith what is more important, to live without making mistakes or to live our lives fully? So go ahead make mistakes. You learn a lot more from making a mistake than from getting it right.

One of the areas where we need to make more mistakes is in writing. The first priority in writing needs to be to get what’s in our minds—our ideas, imagination, and responses, into printed form. This can be done through cursive, printing or typing. Some will do it with their thumbs on a phone. Start by making every mistake. Then go back and fix it after you’re done. In your PC there’s something called “Notepad”. That’s a great word processor that won’t get in your way. No spell check, no grammar check, just you and the keyboard. Spit it out! Later, fixing those mistakes is a great way to learn spelling and grammar.

Mistakes make great design and scientific discoveries. Mistakes happen we do stuff and follow through on ideas. Mistakes happen when we're creative and fully engaged in self-expression and making a difference. Mistakes are fun and interesting.  The worlds most creative people are the ones who are willing to make the most mistakes.

Mistakes also make a great topic for study. The world’s greatest mistake might be a good Social Studies investigation. Think of the Titanic, the army that attacked itself or the Mars Polar Orbiter which crashed because of Metric vs Imperial measure. Go ahead, get messy, make mistakes and learn.

Dates and Resources

My main job during this part of the year is to review your samples and provide feedback. The more samples you send the more you get service you get from Rob. I look in SeeSaw each morning and respond to everything I see. 

Tasks for You

  1. Social Studies Samples. In a few short weeks, I'll be reporting on your child's progress in Social Studies. I would like everyone to send in samples of what your children are able to do in Social Studies.  Please upload it to SeeSaw and I'll find it there. 
  2. SeeSaw is working well. If you're having trouble accessing it or would like extra support in SeeSaw, drop me a text or email and let me know when we can get together. Providing evidence and samples of your child's development is required in this program. That said nearly everyone does an amazing job of getting me samples through SeeSaw. Congrats to you all.  If you have not posted on every subject by November 15, I'll use the phone or Zoom to get a better idea. If you'd like to schedule it now, send me an email.
  3. Foundation Skills Assessment for Grade 4 and 7. You will receive a package. Just to the tests as outlined in the instructions. Some people make the tests out to be more important than they are. They are a sort of intensive survey. Your individual results can vary on any given day, but they do provide parents, schools, and the Ministry of Education invaluable information for how we are doing. Please do participate.  Participation can also be a learning experience for both youth and parents.

Dates and Links: November 23-- Term Ends

I am using SeeSaw and gathering information for report cards until November 23, which is the end of the term. I will begin writing report cards on November 12 based on what you have uploaded.  Where there is enough data to write a report card I will alert you so that you can send in additional information. In most cases when there is a problem in the report card it is not due to lack of learning but due to a lack of communication and reporting. Please send lots of school work into SeeSaw. Some of you are sending a lot of pictures of outings and activities. These are great, but please do not send only that. I need to see what the learners are able to do. In the case of computer-based learning, pictures of the screen can be an excellent way of recording progress.

You may be interested in my recommended resources page. I only add to these resources when I see a learner has done well using it within the BC curriculum. I hope to add a few more links this year.

 Rob Wahl recommended resources