VT's FREE Newsletter for Educators - Insight, Inspiration and Ideas that Work!
BiG IDEAS FOR 2015
Some people wake us up
inspire us, they make us
They bring us a new idea, a spark,
a new way.
They challenge us to think differently, to reinvent, they challenge the
They make things that previously
seemed impossible, possible,
things that were dull, come alive.
If you have one of these folk on
your staff, celebrate them,
cherish them and enjoy the ride.
I hope Virtual Teacher inspires you, to think differently, to try new things, reinvent and do the impossible.
This year I hope to gain more supporters, to cover some of the newsletter costs. So I am writing a series about BIG IDEAS for use in the classroom K-6 and beyond.
for Virtual Teacher Supporters
What will you get in the 'BIG IDEA' series, well you'll get Concept
Based Math Ideas that can be taught from Kindergarten to Stage 3+.
The first in the series is on Fractals, followed by Pythagoras,
Fibonacci and the 4 Colour Theoreum. And YES Kindergarten can get
involved in this too, and they will love it. All the the 'BIG IDEA' documents
will contain links, BLMs, Apps and of course great ideas.
So become a supporter now and receive all '4 BIG IDEA' pdfs. in 2015 FREE
Spread the Word about VT, email this newsletter to someone you think might love it.
Welcome back to 2015
A little philosophy to start the term. Great discussion points, what do these philosophies mean? How do they apply to our lives now?
Wonder is the feeling of the philosopher, and philosophy begins in wonder.
The unexamined life is not worth living.' 'Know thyself.
Socrates (470-399 BCE)
Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily.
William of Ockham (1285 - 1349?) Ockham's Razor
I think therefore I am
René Descartes (1596 – 1650)
To be is to be perceived (Esse est percipi).Or, If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?
Bishop George Berkeley (1685 – 1753)
To be is to be perceived (Esse est percipi).'Or, 'If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?
Bishop George Berkeley (1685 – 1753)
One cannot step twice in the same river.
Heraclitus (ca. 540 – ca. 480 BCE)
Is Anonymous a real person? Here are some quotes from him
Ideas are very much like children – your own are wonderful.
Some people have 100 acres of possibilities and about ½ acre under cultivation.
You don’t get what you deserve; you get what you negotiate.
Anyone can count the seeds in an apple. No one can count the apples in a seed.
Hindsight is an exact science.
Invent your own quote. What would you say.
K-6 and beyond Concepts
From simple visual representation usng flip blocks or craft squares in kindergarten through to more complex formulas and calculations, Pythagoras is fabulous. Discuss shapes sides and edges with kindergarten through to area, perimeter and complex shapes with upper grades.
Number = Everything = Pythagoras
Pythagoras lived about 500 BC, that’s about 2,500 years go. He was Greek philosopher and founder of a secret religion. Some of their secret rules were
1. To abstain from beans.
2. Not to pick up what has fallen.
3. Not to touch a white cock.
4. Not to break bread.
5. Not to step over a crossbar.
6. Not to stir the fire with iron.
7. Not to eat from a whole loaf.
8. Not to pluck a garland.
9. Not to sit on a quart measure.
10. Not to eat the heart.
11. Not to walk on highways.
12. Not to let swallows share one’s roof.
13. When the pot is taken off the fire, not to leave the mark of it in the ashes, but to stir them together.
14. Do not look in a mirror beside a light.
Video Horrible Histories - Stupid Deaths (Stage 2 -Stage 3)
According to some there are over 600 proofs of Pythgoras Theorum - Cut the Knot has quite a few http://www.cut-the-knot.org/pythagoras/
A visual representation and also additional info on Pythagoras is at:-
Great Interactive demonstrating the famous Theorum
TOPIA WORLD BUILDER App
Web App Topia
Is a fabulous App. About $2.50
Take a look at th videos:-
Using this App you can teach concepts not by wrote learning
but by investigation, discovering and exploring.
Topia is an amazing App.
You become god and shape the land as you choose, by the use of touch controls. Swipe your finger to create mountains, valleys, rivers, and oceans.
Watch trees grow, spawn thousands of animals – and watch them live and die on the planet of your creation!
Students analyse data and create data on what they were seeing.
Students can self teach, they can observe the behaviours of the various animals and documnet this, the observe animal interactions.
What the animals do is they eat the grass and eat the trees, predators eat other animals.
Students can create some data on this and analyse the data. Students can make amazing judgements and conclusions about what they were seeing with these animals and built landscapes.
Discussion about concepts like climate change, sustainability, over population, predator prey. Students can make these higher level connections about over population, and compare it similar situations in the world today. Topia provides great stimulus English, Art and Geography. Children can create their own world using the iPad, they could then write a story about their world, or instructions for others on how to make their own world on Topia.
Simple instructions for creating artwork. Students can review this material online and contruct their own artwork. Or ask a couple of students to prepare the art lesson using these as source information. It is a flash site so doesn't work on iPads.
Dynamic Suprematism - uses the work of Russian artist
Kasimir Malevich to inspire collages and paintings made using plane
geometric shapes. This is a huge flash file and will take a while to
load. Once loaded press play and wait a few seconds.
Dada - this features the work of Hannah Hoch and Kurt Schwitters, two
pioneers of collage. Both belonged to the 'anti-art' Dada movement of
Mondrian - this recreates a Mondrian in steps - it suggests rules for making a similar work.
Picasso - recreate a picture imitating Picasso's cubist style!
Miro - create a dreamscape in the style of Spanish surrealist Miro.
Here's a really cool little thing for Kindergarten, and maybe year 4 could make it for them.
Great Game for Kindergarten which can become more for all grades
Try it with addition and multiplication, and subtraction as well as fractions
I do answer all emails so send them along with your questions ideas and great sites.
Great job I enjoy getting the newsletters and wish I had more time to do it ALL.
and keep up the good work!
Thanks for the feedback Harry
My name is Marianne. I teach year 9 and Year 11 Maths. I am struggling to get my kids interested in Maths so I am wondering if there is any good software that I can use to get my year 9s more excited about Maths. They're just not made for pen and paper and bookwork. Help!
Check out some of the Pythagoras material above. And also take a look at the Video
Arthur Benjamin: The magic of Fibonacci numbers (6.4mins) Some fabulous pattern finding. Stage 3 + Learning how to think. Figuring out why.
Discovery learning is the way to go, more on this in future newsletters. Doeas anyone else have any suggestions.
This Newsletter is not free, despite the misleading advertising above. The Fee is now due. Each week you must help one colleague on the Internet who has less knowledge than you.Help that person even if you have to visit their classroom or do a little research and get back to them. Trust me, this will help a lot of people get their computer classrooms running better. OK I'm trusting you!!!
1. GOT SOMETHING TO SAY - Send in your Questions, Questions will be published with Answers, send in your Answers, if you have expertise to share.
2. NOMINATE A BRILLIANT SITE for review and inclusion in this newsletter.
3. NOMINATE A FANTASTIC SCHOOL WEBSITE site for review and inclusion in this newsletter.
4. MAKE CONTACT with other schools using fantastic programs.
5. WRITE and innovative article for this newsletter.
6. TELL 2 COLLEAGUES about this newsletter.
7. BECOME A VT SUPPORTER CLICK HERE
$5 per year, and keep a good thing going. Your name + a hyperlink if you, like will appear on our supporters list.(unless anonymity is requested)
Announce your support for innovation and change in Education.
Delivered FREE to your e-mail box. If you have been lucky enough to get this Newsletter from a friend, press this BUTTON to subscribe. And get your FREE FORTUNE COOKIE XX
Reach a growing audience of teachers, by advertising in the Virtual Teacher Newsletter or on the Virtual Teacher site. For more information goto Virtual Teacher Sponsors
or contact, firstname.lastname@example.org
For information about inservice and training contact me at