It’s Okay To Ask For Help!

For the past six weeks, I’ve had a wonderful student teacher, and it’s been great to plan with her and watch her lessons in action. On Monday though, I’m back to teaching on my own. And so it’s on Friday morning that I realized that I’m about to start a new topic in math (on reflections and translations), and I didn’t really know where I wanted to begin.

  • I know the expectations.
  • I know what I did last year with a similar unit in Grade 6.
  • I know that there are various game options and hands-on activity possibilities.

But here’s the big question that plagued me all day yesterday: 

  • What’s the real world application for this skill?

Earlier in the year, I had a great conversation with my principal and vice principal about math, and they shared the need to provide these real world connections. Since that talk, every time that I now make plans in math, I think of questions such as, “Why does this matter? How will I use this skill in the real world?” For many units, I can figure out these connections on my own, but not for this one.

The truth is that with my visual spatial learning needs, I struggle in this area of math, but I couldn’t think of a time other than in a testing or teaching situation that I needed to know translations and reflections. After a day of thinking and no success, I asked my vice principal, Kristi, for help after bus duty. Granted: it’s 3:30 on a Friday night, but why not end the day with a few hard questions? 🙂 Pretty soon, I was conversing with everyone in the office on this topic, but together, we were still struggling to figure out some great applications. In the midst of our discussion, Kristi suggested sending off a tweet asking for help, so when I went back to the classroom, this is exactly what I did.

Kristi’s suggestion was perfect! I’m amazed at the incredible ideas and awesome (and diverse) skills of the people in my PLN. Within minutes, the tweets started coming, and they continued throughout the evening. I was so inundated with ideas that I had to Storify all of them so that I wouldn’t forget. Not only were teachers from afar willing to chime in with suggestions, but Kristi shared ideas too, and our Grade 4 and Music Teacher, Stefanie, also added some thoughts and a link.

I’m now looking at this math unit in a whole new way. I’m seeing the possibilities for provocations, for meaningful discussions on translations and reflections, and then, for an application question that allows for choices and real world connections (from kitchen designs to flipped floor plans to coding). As I continue to finalize these plans, I’d love to hear your thoughts: my students are sure to benefit from your ideas!

Thanks everyone!


6 thoughts on “It’s Okay To Ask For Help!

  1. How about something using transformations involving designing a logo which includes a rotation, translation and or reflection. Incorporating translations into an artistic assignment might be a good way to go.

    Example: Create a symmetrical design which includes at least 5 translations. You must include at least a flip, slide and turn in your design. Use three secondary colours in your design. Your design will be laminated and can be given as a special placemat for your mother on Mother’s Day.

    • Thanks for the idea, Herman! I actually did a logo design option last year when teaching Grade 6, and it was well-received. Maybe even analyzing roles for translations or a rotation would be interesting. This could help students realize how math is used in graphic art.


  2. My teaching partner and I modeled a ‘treasure’ map using specific recipe to follow using the ‘flips, slides,turns’. Peer partners then had fun creating and solving others’.

    • This is a great idea, Nancy! Thanks for sharing another option that we can try. I like all of these real world options … and fun extensions!


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