Illustration: Robert Samuel Hanson/Eye Candy
I use dance parties to transform my math units, no matter the strand. We use our bodies as learning tools and math manipulatives. We breakdance our fractions. We learn angles as if we are inside a Pac-Man game. We explore geometric properties as if we are martial artists. The kids love it, and I love it!
It’s based on a pedagogy by Canadian Amy Tepperman (check out her TEDx Talk at oct-oeeo.ca/tepperman). Science and experience tell us that getting students to move more throughout the day has an undeniable impact on their excitement about learning and their attention span. What’s particularly special about dancing the math curriculum is the movement isn’t separate from the learning — it is the learning. It isn’t a break, it’s the lesson.
Dance parties are another tool to help teach diverse types of learners; and best of all, they’re fun. Because let’s face it: learning isn’t fun all the time, but when students are more engaged and keen, they retain more of the lesson too!
Tyler Boyle, OCT
Bluewater District School Board
By Stefan Dubowski
Here’s a simple but effective way for OCTs to help students across the globe: share your expertise in LearnCloud (learncloud.rumie.org), an online repository of digital educational resources, with the goal of bringing highquality learning material to children who otherwise wouldn’t get to access it.
The idea comes from The Rumie Initiative, a Toronto- based non-profit group working to bring electronic material to communities worldwide. As Rumie points out, millions of children can’t access the web, which means they can’t benefit from the many high-quality lesson plans, activities and other educational resources online. Rumie developed LearnCloud to help bridge the digital gap.
The organization connects with education groups where web access is hard to get, to find out what topics and material the children there would benefit from the most. Then Rumie invites teachers like you to go online and find what you deem to be the best free digital resources, including apps, videos and PDFs for those topics. You can visit the LearnCloud site and search by age group, subject and language to get a sense of the topics the organization focuses on. Rumie gathers those recommendations and downloads the material to tablets that work without web connections. Then the group distributes the tablets to children and teachers, who get to use the content you helped select.
According to U.S. social media agency We Are Social, about 47 per cent of the world’s population doesn’t use the internet. That leaves a significant number without a way to learn online. LearnCloud program manager Vanessa Kenalty, OCT, says her organization is scaling up to make a difference — and you can, too. “We need teachers and educators to help reach learners around the world,” says Kenalty. “We welcome high-quality learning resources designed for any age on any topic.”