Pumpkins purchased... and one is even carved!!
As some of you already know, I'm not a HUGE fan of Halloween (I won't bore you with my many reasons here). But I just wanted to prove that we are actually making a (small) effort this year... Pumpkins purchased... and one is even carved!! Candy is ready, though Simone thought it was better displayed this way (rather than in a bowl)... Simone's costume this year: Cool Dude
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This week's Student of the Week is Maximilian W (thanks to a fellow Maximilian fan for the photo!).
I remember walking into a Tech class (I think it was a grade 9 class) a few years ago. I believe I was grabbing some photocopies in the computer room. There were very few kids I knew (I hadn't taught the Tech kids) but there was one guy who caught my eye. He was quite tall. He was dressed well. He had these VERY stylish glasses on. And  most noticeably  he had this amazing smile. He had the sort of grin where you look once and think "I like this guy. He seems like a good / nice kid". As you've inferred by now, this was Maximilian. But I didn't know it at the time! In fact, he left King George the following year (to do the TREK Outdoor Education program at Prince of Wales). But then, last year, that same smiling face showed up in my PreCalculus 11 class. I recognized him immediately. And, proving that first impressions are often correct, Maximilian turned out to be a truly "good guy". There is so much to like about Maximilian. He has a fantastic sense of humour and is always quick with a laugh. He is a hard worker and shows great determination; you should have seen how many hours he spent preparing for the PreCalculus 11 Final... and (happily) it paid off! He is thoughtful and warm towards others. C'mon, admit it, you love Maximilian just like I do. How COULDN'T you?!? One thing I will never forget about Maximilian is his handwriting. It's hard to describe but it's big and kind of blocky. He seems to write with a really dark pencil all the time. And some of the notation is very unique (like his aborted square root signs). Maybe he'll allow me to post a sample here. Kind of weird, but I think his handwriting kind of matches his personality: big, bold, confident... and a little different (in a GOOD way)! I'm so glad you returned to King George, Maximilian (and even happier that you joined my class for the past two years). Thanks for all your hard work, for your genuine gratitude when I provide you with assistance, and for the many laughs we have shared. I honestly think you are one of the "coolest kids" (if not in the stereotypical sense) that I have ever taught. May you never lose your warm, charismatic, gentle way! All the best to you! A Dutch neuroscientist has tackled the analysis of one very specific type of music: the feelgood song. Jacob Jolij, an assistant professor in cognitive psychology and neuroscience at the University of Groningen, has come up with a mathematical formula that describes the anatomy of these songs in order to investigate why they make us feel so warm and fuzzy inside. Using a database containing 126 of the most popular feelgood songs from the last 50 years, Jolij applied statistical methods to see which characteristics of these tunes are responsible for their good vibes. Apparently, this is the ultimate Feel Good song. Hmmm... it IS a good song (and Freddy Mercury always makes me feel happier) but I'm not convinced. Singapore, the land of many math geniuses, may have discovered the secret to learning mathematics. It employs a teaching method called productive failure, pioneered by Manu Kapur, head of the Learning Sciences Lab at the National Institute of Education of Singapore.
Students who are presented with unfamiliar concepts, asked to work through them, and then taught the solution significantly outperform those who are taught through formal instruction and problemsolving. The approach is both utterly intuitive—we learn from mistakes—and completely counterintuitive: letting kids flail around with unfamiliar math concepts seems both inefficient and potentially damaging to their confidence. Kapur believes that struggle activates parts of the brain that trigger deeper learning. Students have to figure out three critical things: what they know, the limits of what they know, and exactly what they do not know. Floundering first elevates the learning from knowing a formula to understanding it, and applying it in unfamiliar contexts. Miike Snow never disappoint!!

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