Showing posts from March, 2011

Japan Update #3

I was asked by a friend to be part of an aid mission yesterday, and we handed out, made and served over 500 dishes of butter chicken curry and naan in Noda Village in Iwate prefecture.  The whole aid mission was funded by friends and relatives of the restaurant owner in India.  Very generous people and if you ever find yourself in Misawa in Aomori prefecture, make sure to stop off at Ankur Indian Food and thank Mawat himself.  He is a very generous and hard working man, who is working hard to give back to the country that has given him so much.  It was the first time I have ever seen a truck filled with Indian chefs (dressed in full chef clothing nonetheless) filled with curry and complete with two flaming (literally, they were on fire and sending out smoke as we drove) tan-door drums for making naan.  Everything we served was, hot, fresh, handmade, and authentic.  For most of the people in the village, it was their first time to ever eat Indian food.  As Mawat said to them, it is…

Japan Update #2

We things are slowly stabilizing in our area of Northern Honshu.  We have a steady trickle of food coming into the supermarket with essentials (milk for my baby is my main concern) if you are willing to brave the long lines in the morning.  Even still, there is a limit to how much you can buy.  We are remaining calm and never buying more than we need.  Everybody needs to work together to get through this.  Panicking and hoarding will only make matters worse.  I was outside watering my tomato plants and I saw kids playing and families washing their cars.  Still, a sense of urgency and pain in beneath it all.

I have been very disappointed with the foreign media.  They are making the situation worse and taking attention away from the area of Japan that needs it most.  I have also been talking with members of the Aomori government, trying to get someone to open up the village to refugees who have no home.  From my early contacts, wheels are in motion but I will not hear until next week wha…

Japan Update

I have so much I want to say, but I cannot find the words to express it.  After the first quake hit we lost power for about 30 hours.  The community came together and kept each other informed and tried to alleviate stress.  Right before we were set to go to bed on the second night the power clicked back on, and we finally saw the images that you all had been seeing for the last day.  Devastating.  We had no idea it was this bad.  I am at a complete loss of words now.  I am thankful that my family is safe, but I am hurt by what is happening to this country that I love so dearly.  My passport may say Canada on it, but part of me will always be Japanese.  All I can do now is wait and see, and that is the most frustrating thing.

Here is a link where you can donate money to the Japanese Red Cross.

And here is a fantastic blog post I came across that sum…

Understanding Probability

This lesson is designed to help students understand the mechanics of experimental probability. Second, it is also a good way for students to make a link between the difference in experimental probability and theoretical probability. And finally, it helps students to organize data in a neat and orderly manner.

1. Introduce a cloth bag (or a hat) and tell the students that there are 12 blocks inside. This is the only information you will give the students. Before the lesson, choose 12 blocks (chips, pens, etc) and put them in the bag. I use 4 different colors in my bag in the following denominations, 6, 3, 2, 1; because these numbers are easily divisible by 12, 6, 4, 3, 2) to find a probability percentage. Of course, all the students know is that you have 12 blocks in the bag, they know nothing about the number of colors not the quantities of each color.

2. Explain to the the students that you are going to pull out one block at a time, they record will record it, and you will put it…

Math and Cheese

Since earlier in the week I have been obsessed with melting cheese in microwaves.  I haven't actually done it, but I have been watching videos of others doing.  Dan Meyer posted a great series of ideas and lessons, and it got me thinking. Here is the link to all Dan's work Great stuff!

[WCYDWT] Cheese Blocks — Cheese Cubes from Dan Meyer on Vimeo.

As a class we watched the video. The kids though it was amazing and it opened a floodgate of questions. I teach grade 4/5, and we working out fractions at the moment, so I turned it into a fraction problem that we worked through as a group. They worked in groups and made a poster showing their strategies. Here is a link to our GoogleDocs Presentation where we recorded some of our work as a way to debrief after the lesson.

At the beginning of this year I ave each of students a small notebook that they could stick in their pocket with a little golf pencil attached to it. I asked them to write down anything…

Thank you to Skype and GoogleDocs

I would like to send out a sincere thank you to Skype and GoogleDocs. You have made my life easier. The collaboration at our school has increased in quantity and quality since we started using these two platforms as a form of communication. We are more organized, better versed, and ultimately, our students benefit. However, that is not why I would like to thank you. My reasons are selfish.

You see, my wife is a University student, studying a psychology degree at an open university in Canada while we live in Japan (she has her own reasons for thanking you). Everyday, because of Skype and GoogleDocs, I am able to go home at the same time as the kids do, and take care of our son while she goes to the library. While at home, I communicate with my colleagues on Skype, and edit documents, plans, and reports on GoogleDocs. It feels as if I am still at work, though if I need to take ten minutes to change a diaper or read a book, I am able.

Under normal circumstances, I would be stuck at…

Fractions and Percents; Math Ideas

Here is a fun little activity I made for my kids to work on today.  Great activity for converting percents to fractions and seeing the link between them. PDF Percents and Fractions