Help us build great thinkers

Angela Ianni-Murphy


Angela Ianni-Murphy-Grade,  8 Teacher, St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School, Waterloo Catholic District School Board



Please don’t call on me

Growing up, I was the kid who would avoid eye contact with my teacher during math class. I would sit back and visualize myself becoming part of my chair, hoping (and praying) that my teacher wouldn’t call on me. I was too afraid to speak my mind for fear of saying the wrong thing.


Collaboration in the classroom was rare during this time. The teacher taught and the students listened.


If I didn’t know the answer, I was embarrassed and did not want to be singled out in front of my peers.




Make failure a part of learning

When I became a teacher, I vowed to be the teacher that I needed when I was younger.


I wanted to be the teacher who made failure a part of learning, who made students feel as though they had a voice and I wanted to be the teacher who learned from her students as much as they learn from me.


#VNPS and @pgliljedahl’s #thinkingclassroom help me to do this effortlessly in my classroom at @svdptiger on a daily basis.


I have 27 students in my class. And each of these students has a “learning” story.





Refer them to a classmate

Just like you and me, they all learn differently. Sometimes after a lesson, a student will come up and ask for further clarification about what I had just said. I will try various strategies to explain it to them (rephrase, draw a diagram etc).


And if they’re still fuzzy on the details after I have explained it in a few different ways, one of the strategies that I use is to refer them to a classmate.


This strategy always works because it allows the students to engage in valuable discourse about a topic or lesson at their own level with another student.


This creates a classroom culture that we build together. My students aren’t afraid to ask one another for help because they know that in our classroom: mistakes are proof that we are learning, we will support one another to be the best version of ourselves, and we will do it with kindness and dignity.




Community, collaboration, and rich mathematical discussion

My students love breaking out into their triads and going to “the boards” to work together. I usually use a random group generator #vgr when I am making my triads, so my students are used to working with and supporting all of their classmates. Using these boards sets the tone for community, collaboration and rich mathematical discussion that allows all of my students to contribute to the task at hand.


The discourse that takes place when using the above approach allows students to:


  • Learn to disagree respectfully;
  • Build on the ideas of others;
  • Get un-struck;
  • Affirm the thinking of their peers
  • Be included; and
  • Build confidence in their thinking.


My favourite part of using Wipebook gear for #VNPS is when I see a student travel from their group over to another group to ask about that group’s approach. I love it even more when that student comes back to their own group to share what they have learned and the group changes or affirms their own work based on the group to group discourse that took place.



The perfect equation

@Wipebook along with @peterliljedhal’s #thinkingclassroom creates the perfect equation:






This world needs GREAT THINKERS. Be the teacher your students need.


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