Category Archives: B. PCK

Coding support for teachers

Shulman (1986) described how testing teacher knowledge and competence in subject matter is not a new idea or practice. Historically, teachers were tested on skills in literacy and numeracy, losing points for different errors. Tests were focused on content and subject matter to be taught. However, today’s teachers are assessed on their “capacity to teach,” focusing on, “organization in preparing and presenting instructional plans, evaluation, recognition of individual differences, cultural awareness, and understanding youth” (Shulman, 1986). Shulman’s view encompasses what British Columbia’s Ministry of Education introduced with the redesigned curriculum model. The “Know-Do-Understand” model contains three elements, “the Content (Know), Curricular Competencies (Do), and Big Idea (Understand) all work together to support deeper learning” (BC Ministry of Education, 2015). Shulman’s view on the role of the teacher demonstrated that there was a greater need than competence in subject matter and knowledge from the teacher, but rather providing a learning environment where students take ownership over their learning. “Teaching necessarily begins with a teacher’s understanding of what is to be learned and how it is to be taught. It proceeds through a series of activities during which the students are provided specific instruction and opportunities for learning, though the learning itself ultimately remains the responsibility of the student” (Shulman, 1987).

PCK includes a fusion of knowledge about pedagogy, content, and pedagogical knowledge, with the addition of specialized knowledge. TPACK extends further by including a specialized knowledge of technology, and how it can provide opportunities for deeper learning and enhanced learning communities. Mishra and Koehler (2006) discuss that one of the problems surrounding technology integration is the lack of support for teachers. “Part of the problem, we argue, has been a tendency to only look at the technology and not how it is used. Merely introducing technology to the educational process is not enough” (Mishra & Koehler, 2006).

As a district coding teacher, I spend one day a week visiting different classrooms to support teachers with the new Applied Design, Skills, and Technologies curriculum, specifically on how to implement coding. Many teachers are hesitant to teach coding because the concept is new to them, and they feel they lack the pedagogical knowledge. Facilitating unplugged activities that teach the fundamentals of computer science, such as algorithms, helps provide scaffolding to learners and teachers. This program set up by the district provides support for teachers, providing them a teacher with specialized knowledge and resources to teach coding, aligned with the new ADST curriculum. Activities and content include introduction to basic programming and algorithms. Students work through unplugged activities to begin building computational thinking skills. I also spend time with teachers after the workshop to demonstrate how I am using coding cross-curricular to demonstrate deep thinking about learning specific concepts or skills that transfer to science. In my classroom, as we worked through our understanding of algorithms, we related it to our life cycle unit in science. We looked at how we use algorithms in our daily lives. After we planted our seeds, students worked in pairs to write out an algorithm for planting a seed. Providing rich learning environments that are cross-curricular help students develop computational thinking. Providing students with these building blocks set them up for success when they begin coding in Scratch. Students are connecting how coding relates to math and language arts, and how they are developing their core competencies through their learning journey.


BC Ministry of Education, Introduction to British Columbia’s Redesigned Curriculum, 2015.

Shulman, L.S. (1986). Those who understand: Knowledge growth in teaching. Educational Researcher, 15(2), 4 -14.

Shulman, L.S. (1987). Knowledge and teaching. The foundations of a new reform. Harvard Educational Review, 57(1)1-23.

Billy’s Bike Speedometer

I found the concept of PCK very related to James Gee’s (2007) concept of “semiotic domains” which deals with groups or concepts that are hard to understand from the outside. Consider the analogy of being introduced to hockey.  It is not enough to read and learn the rules of hockey.  Nor is it enough for an outside party to be really good at explaining it.  To truly understand, you must also watch and be invited to play the game (at whatever level), observe the history, rivalries, etc.  You must get involved and become a “tribe member” at level that transcends mere anthropological observation.  The same idea can be applied to jazz music, physics, gourmet cooking…whatever.  So, in some sense, PCK is about knowing the best way to induct new tribe members.  The addition of technology to the mix, or TPACK, is PCK while using technology without falling into the trap of “tech for the sake of tech” or limitations of “enhancement only” in Sarah’s SAMR model from our Design of TELEs posts.

Here is a recent example of PCK from my own practice.  In one of my courses, we do PBL all year.  Billy chose to design and make a bike speedometer because he “always wanted to know how fast he was going, but couldn’t afford a speedometer.”  We knew enough to first teach him how to code and use Arduinos (simple computer boards) as well as basic algebra.  Then, over three weeks he delved on his own into the content for calculating speed and how magnetic switches work, and came up with this.
We knew enough to create the conditions in which he could follow his passion to learn more about technology, math, and physics.  Through these experiences, the core of my practice is evolving into “how can I best guide students to become tribe members?”

Gee, J. 2007. Semiotic Domains: Is playing video games a “waste of time?” In What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy (pp.17-45). New York: Palgrave and Macmillian.
Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. (2006). Technological pedagogical content knowledge: A framework for teacher knowledge. The Teachers College Record, 108(6), 1017-1054.

TPCK and Spheros

This is the first time I have encountered these acronyms, but have found them very useful when assessing my own teaching philosophy and practice. I see Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) as “the how”, “the why” and “the what” of teaching. How and why we go about teaching our students. The best practices to foster engagement and the strategies we use to work alongside our students. The “what” is the content (C) – the curriculum that students are to learn. The addition of T for technological knowledge (TPCK) are the additional tools that we use in conjunction with our pedagogy to facilitate the delivery of content. Mishra and Koehler (2006) point out that how this technological knowledge is used is important. Technology should not be there just for the sake of having technology, but should serve a meaningful purpose.

An example of TPCK in my teaching was the design and construction of the Sphero Olympics. This combined the basics of block coding in Lightning Lab for the Spheros in order to compete, and the engineering challenge of creating events (and equipment) for the Olympics. Students were given the opportunity to just explore Sphero, driving it around like a remote control car. It was interesting to see how quickly they became interested in the “coding” aspect. When they noticed the shared forums on the App they became interested in what they could “do” with Sphero. From there students brainstormed the type of events that Sphero might participate in. Swimming. Track (including relays). Wrestling. Long jump (complete with sand pit). Dance (they got creative). Archery. Students were grouped into events and created the competition space and any equipment needed. For example, the construction of the ramp for the long jump with scraps from the woodwork exploration. When this was complete, students were given the opportunity to move from one venue to another participating in dry runs of each of the activities. Some were timed, others a goal needed to be met. The students programed their Spheros for each event (except wrestling – they got to knock their wrestlers off the mat) and the competition was on!

It was a bit messier (!) and took longer than I anticipated  and some events ended earlier than others, but students were thrilled to have the opportunity to explore different features of the program and create other challenges while they waited. At the closing ceremonies students reflected on their learning – the successes and challenges – and suggested new events that the next rotation of students could participate in. I had many reasons “why” I chose to incorporate technology into this design challenge. One of the most important was that it brought together a very diverse group of students (many with written output challenges) and leveled the playing field for them. Students could shine in their own areas and took leadership roles with their peers who were struggling and didn’t understand how to do something (figure out some of the programming for example). It wasn’t perfect, but a great start.


Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. (2006). Technological pedagogical content knowledge: A framework for teacher knowledge. The Teachers College Record, 108(6), 1017-1054

Coding and TPCK

Shulman talks about PCK or Pedagogical Content Knowledge and the intersection of these areas and the how it is a “special amalgam of content and pedagogy that is uniquely the province of teachers, their own special form of professional understanding.” (Shulman, 1987) PCK represents the “blending of content and pedagogy into an understanding of how particular topics, problems, or issues are organized, represented, and adapted to the diverse interests and abilities of learners, and presented for instruction.” (Shulman, 1987). In his paper he provides a framework to observe teacher instruction and what is needed to create a knowledge base for teachers. He identifies that it is much more than knowing the content or knowing how but the connection of the two that creates superior lessons.

Mishra and Koehler (2006) extend Shulman’s work with the addition of T to PCK which incorporates technology into the framework. “TPCK is the basis of good teaching with technology and requires an understanding of the representation of concepts using technologies; pedagogical techniques that use technologies in constructive ways to teach content; knowledge of what makes concepts difficult or easy to learn and how technology can help redress some of the problems that students face; knowledge of students’ prior knowledge and theories of epistemology; and knowledge of how technologies can be used to build on existing knowledge and to develop new epistemologies or strengthen old ones.” (Mishra & Koehler, 2006, Pg. 1029) They aim to extend Shulman’s work with a framework that supports effective integration of technology into today’s classrooms as well as an idea of how to support teachers learning around developing lessons that maximize the interaction of these TPCK elements.

An example for me around TPCK would be the work that I have done this year with coding. We have been started with hour of code, which is a sequenced program that teaches the basics of coding. From there we moved into Scratch and went through a list of tasks designed to build awareness of the different aspects of coding. Finally students created a story or an inquiry question, generally related to a topic of study this year, and created a game to either tell the story or support a student learning the knowledge from the inquiry question. The result was better than I could have imagined and feels like I discovered the spot in the middle that Mishra and Koehler describe where pedagogy, technology and content mix perfectly. Students have truly had a multidisciplinary approach as they used math to solve movement issues, design skills as they tried, failed, and tried again to make their games work, and much more. Pedagogically as each student worked through the process with their own design using an inquiry lens they were definitely captivated and motivated to preserve through the tough time. As we get ready to take our games to student arcade I am excited for them to be able to show off their learning.

Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. (2006). Technological pedagogical content knowledge: A framework for teacher knowledge. The Teachers College Record, 108(6), 1017-1054.
Shulman, L.S. (1987). Knowledge and teaching. The foundations of a new reform. Harvard Educational Review, 57(1)1-23.


One of the key points I took away from Shulman’s article was the concept of transformation. This idea seems timeless to me and even though he was focused on the PCK framework the idea that “comprehended ideas must be transformed in some manner if they are to be taught.”(Shulman, L.S. 1987) can be applied even in our 21st century context.  He stated that preparation, representation, instructional selections, adaptations and tailoring are a continuum from “personal comprehension to preparing for the comprehension of others”(Shulman, L.S. 1987). I especially like how he describes adaption and tailoring as “fitting a suit” or as we describe it “a personalization of learning.”  I believe that technology has opened up this idea of  “tailoring” to such an extent that students if given the right technological tools can customize and explore learning goals in ways that my generation could never have imagined.  For example take Scratch if you run students through the google CS First lessons you notice they will start to build projects that are completely individualized and often done on their own time.  Tailoring is when you give them the ability to control their own learning and this when they start to self regulate.

I wanted to look at this quote in Mishra& Koehler’s paper on TPACK; “newer technologies often disrupt the status quo, requiring teachers to reconfigure not just their understanding of technology but of all three components.”Mishra, Koehler (2006).  This is struck a chord because 3 years ago I introduced Minecraft into my grade 5 class and it has really changed the way I teach my students.  When I want to take my students to Mars we build a rocket in Minecraft and blast off to the red planet. When I want them to learn about the Coast Salish people we run a survival server where they build a longhouse and have to find food and shelter before they perish.  When I want them to learn about France we build the Eiffel tower and place a French restaurant inside it complete with menu’s.  The virtual space has transformed the way I teach my students effecting my pedagogy and content. Before Minecraft I would certainly have used many interactive tools or apps to teach my students about these subjects but a Multi User Virtual Environment’s sandbox, interdisciplinary nature brings a level of excitement and intrinsic motivation from my students I have never before.  I have also had many other technologies guide my pedagogy and content in a new direction. Google cardboard VR, 3D printing and raspberry Pi’s are all fairly new pieces of “Tech” to me and have altered my PACK framework significantly.


Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. (2006). Technological pedagogical content knowledge: A framework for teacher knowledge. The Teachers College Record, 108(6), 1017-1054

Shulman, L.S. (1987). Knowledge and teaching. The foundations of a new reform. Harvard Educational Review, 57(1)1-23



Applying Minecraft in STEM

“Teaching necessarily begins with a teacher’s understanding of what is to be learned and how it is to be taught.”   (Shulman, 1987)

Shulman’s view on the role of the teacher encompasses more than simply a vast knowledge of subject matter. At the time of the paper, this concept was perceived as new. Today, however, education has already taken on the corkscrew roller coaster, blending pedagogical knowledge of how to teach well, with content knowledge of the facts of what to teach. Shulman goes on to say “… the learning itself ultimately remains the responsibility of the students” (Shulman, 1987, p. 7), clarifying that both the teacher and student play a vital role in one’s learning journey. Content cannot simply be conveyed, nor can teacher’s knowledge of pedagogy be applied without the involvement of the student.

Mishra & Koehler (2006) expand on the framework of the PCK to include technology.

“Teachers need to know not just the subject matter they teach but also the manner in which the subject matter can be changed by the application of technology.” (Mishra & Koehler, 2006).

Essentially in combination with each other, TPACK would be effectively knowing how to teach a subject with technology. Therefore, one particular example comes to mind in my own practice, in relation to STEM learning.

Recently, I had the opportunity to explore landforms with my students as part of our geology content in science. The content aspects of this unit we were exploring had to do with how landforms change over time (due to erosion, deposition and human activity). In order for my students to gain their best understanding of the difference between erosion and deposition, we conducted several sand, water and ice experiments as a class. I combined what I knew about hands-on learning, questioning and scaffolding to assist the students in understanding the scientific content and vocabulary (PCK). However, for my tech hungry students, this was not enough. Since I teach a relatively young age group very much into video games, I also incorporated my knowledge of Minecraft to deepen their learning.

As an extension to our unit, we used Minecraft to explore various landforms that could exist and why they might exist in some biomes and not others. Very quickly, my students gained a solid grasp of what landforms existed on Earth and how they differed. We then furthered our investigations to examine changes over time. Linking Minecraft with our sand, water and ice experiments, students demonstrated their understanding of the processes of erosion and deposition through a series of Minecraft landforms they built. In order to do so, students had to question the nature of the changes and provide concrete examples on their Minecraft servers. Overall, their understanding of the content had been changed and improved upon with the application of technology, in conjunction with sound teaching practices and solid content understanding.



Shulman, L.S. (1987). Knowledge and teaching. The foundations of a new reform. Harvard Educational Review, 57(1)1-23.

Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. (2006). Technological pedagogical content knowledge: A framework for teacher knowledge. The Teachers College Record, 108(6), 1017-1054.


Motion Graphs

Shulman (1986) described how qualification and eligibility tests historically revolved around basic content like reading, writing, arithmetic skills, needing teachers to demonstrate subject matter knowledge before teaching. However mere knowledge does not guarantee effective instruction, requiring interplay between content and pedagogy. The pendulum swings back and forth regarding how new knowledge is acquired, with implications for classroom management, organizing activities, planning lessons and judging understanding among others. Content is represented in different ways to accommodate students, with teachers asking questions at various Bloom taxonomy levels, probing alternative views to accumulating wisdom of practice. Shulman (1987) highlights an issue that teaching is conducted without a history of practice or audience of peers. Though learning ultimately remains student responsibility, educators design teaching for comprehension, reasoning, transformation and reflection so unknowing comes to articulate what they know. Transformation involves preparation, selection, adaptation within instruction and evaluation, bridging comprehension and thinking for students through lecture and demonstration towards cooperative learning and reciprocal teaching. Learners work through misconceptions and expectations, reasoning through discussion cycling seamlessly between phases.

An example of PCK that comes to mind is teaching basic motion concepts, going beyond reading definitions of displacement, velocity and acceleration in textbooks, to comparing and contrasting scalars and vectors, making everyday connections to speedometers and marketing to help audiences build upon previous knowledge. The significance in distinguishing quantities that have magnitude with and without direction, needs to convince learners why they cannot maintain pre-existing beliefs when confronted with contradictions. Science naturally has self-corrective features in building increasingly complex models to explain observations and make predictions. Labs can be teacher-directed or student-centred to investigate terminal velocity and ramp height for example. Technology comes in when motion sensors are utilized to construct position-time and velocity-time graphs in real time, learning how to interpret and change between graphs. Simulations like PhET Moving Man can be used to introduce, teach or reinforce concept knowledge.


Shulman, L.S. (1986). Those who understand: Knowledge growth in teaching. Educational Researcher, 15(2), 4 -14.

Shulman, L.S. (1987). Knowledge and teaching. The foundations of a new reform. Harvard Educational Review, 57(1)1-23.

Making the curriculum engaging…

TPACK is a framework for online learning that has three distinct areas: Technological Knowledge, Pedagogical Knowledge and Content Knowledge.

Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) relates to the pedagogical strategies we use to teach our course content. This area is created with the intersection of Content Knowledge (this is what we are teaching) and Pedagogical knowledge (method we use to teach the content).  Content knowledge is generally acquired through undergraduate studies in a subject area or professional development.  Examples of Technological knowledge can be things such as video services such as YouTube and Khan Academy, or laptops and projectors, cameras, Google Apps for Education (Docs, Sheets, Classroom) to name a few.  Further, Pedagogical knowledge can be using methods such as direct instruction, inquiry, or project based learning etc.

Technological Content Knowledge (TCK) is knowing which type of technology will be most well suited to deliver the content to our students.  

When these three areas overlap, we are left with TPACK: the idea that we can use technology to aid in our pedagogical approach to teaching the content to our students.

An example of how I use PCK in my practice is in my Marketing 11 class.  Students need to be proficient in the concept of a target market.  My current class is made up of individuals who are all very interested in fast, expensive cars and so I found this to be a great opportunity to explore the course content.  Students often think that just because they purchase something, they are automatically the target market for that product.  For example, a couple of the students own new, full size trucks and through classroom discussion thought that Ford and Dodge were actively advertising to them.  Through different exercises (classroom discussions, extensive print and video ad analysis) we were able to learn about target markets; the hope with choosing vehicles was so that students could interact with the content, reflect on their own biases and opinions and construct new knowledge leading to deeper learning.


Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. (2006). Technological pedagogical content knowledge: A framework for teacher knowledge. The Teachers College Record, 108(6), 1017-1054

Those Who Can, Do…

TPACK is one of the first frameworks that really caught my attention when I began the MET program.  Before starting my grad studies, I had already incorporated a lot of technology into my classroom, and Mishra & Koehler’s 2006 framework became a touchstone for me as I evaluated what I had done before and has helped guide how I choose to integrate technology into my practice now.  One of the interesting things about this module’s readings was going back to Schulman’s 1986 work on PCK.  It was, of course, referenced in the TPACK material I had read, but I had never gone to the primary source myself.  Looking back, I think I viewed Schulman’s work as irrelevant…or at least that Mishra & Koehler had appropriated the useful information and brought Schulman’s framework into the 21st century.  While not wholly inaccurate, I found that Schulman’s Those who understand: Knowledge growth in teaching (1986) had a lot to offer both in the historical context of the model on which European universities were founded and operated (still operate?) and in the information that Mishra & Koehler chose not to expand upon in their work.  For example, Schulman’s (1986) ideas about Curriculum Knowledge as a third sphere of teacher competence was a revelation to me.  I find it both a frustration and a delight that I can be so surprised by new insights on a topic that I have spent much of my academic and all of my professional life considering!  Frustrating, because I would like to think that I consider each important factor in my decision making as a teacher, and I am reminded again and again that there is an ever-growing body of knowledge and research on how people learn.  Delightful, because not only is my job ever-changing with every child I teach, but also there are brilliant minds digging deeper all the time to uncover ways of improving teacher practice and student learning.

An example of PCK that came to mind actually brought me back to my coaching days.  There’s a saying, “Those who can, do.  Those who can’t, teach”.  I remember the first time I heard this as a child, I took it as a slight to teachers.  Later, when I was coaching high level basketball, I realized there was something deeper in the statement, and now I see how it relates to PCK.  I was a good basketball player…I was able to play for a university varsity team.  But I was no star at that level…I was relegated to the bench most games and practice was my time to contribute.  After I finished playing, I began coaching and quickly found I was much better at it than I was as a player.  In fact, as I met and observed other coaches, I noticed that the coaches who were star players at the university level were often not particularly strong at coaching.  Why would this be?  They obviously had the content knowledge…in fact, they had demonstrated that they were the masters of the content as players.  However, their mastery of the content actually hindered them from being great coaches…it came so easy to them when they were learning it themselves, that they never needed to dissect, reflect, and break down their content in order to understand it.  Players like me – ones who had climbed relatively high up the ‘content ladder’, but who had needed to take a more pedagogical approach to acquiring content – have an advantage as coaches.  We understand the feeling learners have when they are not ‘getting it’.  We have been there before and thought critically about how all the moving parts fit together, how it can be explained, and different approaches one could take.  In short, good coaches not only know about the skills of their sport, but also they have some sense of the pedagogical skills needed to help a player gain those skills.  To take it further, Schulman’s (1986) idea of Curriculum Knowledge (the knowledge of all programs and materials designed for instructing a subject at some specific level)  is analogous to a coach’s ability to strategize and prepare for:

1) Team planning – choosing what to spend the most practice time on, what systems to put in place, how to leverage the skills and abilities of the players.

2) Other teams – choosing matchups, planning ways to exploit team strengths against opponents weaknesses.

3) In-game strategy – using personnel effectively, adapting and changing game plans on the fly, calling plays.

When I hear people using the “those who can, do…those who can’t, teach” saying now, I often wonder how others are interpreting it.  Do they understand the power and importance of how content is presented?  That understanding how to teach content goes way beyond personal mastery of the content?  Usually,  though, they just add the obligatory joke, “…and those who can’t teach, teach PE”.  Should I mention to them I also teach PE?



Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. (2006). Technological pedagogical content knowledge: A framework for teacher knowledge. The Teachers College Record, 108(6), 1017-1054.

Shulman, L.S. (1986). Those who understand: Knowledge growth in teaching. Educational Researcher, 15(2), 4 -14.

PCK and TPACK in Module B

Dear class,

It was great to read how you are thinking about TPCK  in terms of your own practice. PCK and TPCK or TPACK will help to frame our discussions throughout Module B. A few “snapshots “of ideas and questions are collated  below. (You can search using the text to locate and read more about the teaching strategies used by our class members). As you are reading them, it will be useful to think about which strategies you would like to try? How would you modify them to support TPCK in your teaching context?


  • Jigsaw Research. Individually, students are each responsible for one part of the content knowledge.
  • Scientific Inquiry. Write out the steps to make an ice cream sunday.
  • Solar system. Students created models of our solar system not in the usual sense but rather to scale (obviously with in reason but they had to understand that and explain it). This activity required students to use math skills in measuring and finding replicas of the size of each planet in relation to each other. It involved problem-solving and collaboration ( I can’t tell you how many groups ended up frustrated when they chose thin thread to represent the distance- thin thread tangles easily and when it is metres long it is even harder to control). Students had to figure out how to store their projects so they didn’t return each day to a jumble of threads. In addition to their own amazement at the distance of the planets from each other and their size they also had to find a way to demonstrate this to students in grade one and two.
  • Digestive system. For example, for a science unit on the human body, my students and I explored, together as a class, the digestive system, which included some textbook reading (read and discussed together as a class, not individually), a look at x-rays of human intestines (belonging to a colleague of mine who recently retired and passed on a set of old x-rays to me – the kids love them!), student diagrams/models, and so on. Once we have done one body system together, students are sent out to research and become “experts” on one other body system that they will be able to share with their peers.
  • Sig. figs. significant figures to real world data. Following discussion of these topics, students then complete a mini lab where they use lab equipment (such as meter sticks, rulers, calipers, tape measures and various graduated cylinders) and apply those concepts to practical measurements. They are faced with four problems that involve measurement and calculations that will assist them later in the course.
  • Structures. One of my favorite science units to teach is Structures, Mechanisms, and Forces. During this unit the students build a variety of structures out of different materials, for different purposes, and make observations about the process. As a way to bring the unit together at the end we do a study of Rube Goldberg and his fantastic machines.
  • Fractions When I teach students about fractions, I spend time developing understandings with physical manipulatives (e.g. coloured cubes, fraction magnets, egg cartons and marbles, fraction pizzas) and digital simulations in Smart Notebook or on the iPad, and then move into the more abstract concepts of the written algebra.  This comes to mind as an example of PCK (or TPACK
  • Bridge building. My own personal experience with TPACK (although I did not think about it in such terms) came in a Science & Technology 11 course in which I did a unit on bridge building.  Throughout the design of the unit I went through the various stages that Shulman discussed, from comprehension (understanding trusses and force distribution), to transformation (planning lessons and designing activities), to instruction (lessons), and evaluation (assessing their final bridge projects).
  • Algebra. One strategy that I have only recently used, is to teach/review algebra with my FPC Math 10 (academic math) class, having the students sit in pairs of their choosing. Each pair has a table top whiteboard (London Drugs sometimes clears them out…), marker and eraser.  I review the basic “moves” and reinforce opposite operations and remind them that the order of the “moves” is important (“Reverse BEDMAS”, usually helps them remember).  Then, we do a series of increasingly difficult algebraic problems, WITHOUT variables. For example, rearrange “2 + 3= 5” for 3
  • Lunar phases and tides. I sent the students an excel file with data on the times when the ocean was at high tide and low tide. We had spent some times prior discussing the phases of the moon and the gravitational influence on the ocean water.  Then they investigated how the times changed different times of the year in different regions of the world. They choose a country and researched how the changing phases of the moon, seasons and orbit impacted that particular country certain times of the year.
  • Telling time. Digitally I use an interactive clock on the smart board to practice telling time, and I also have children engaged in time games which helps solidify understandings in a fun way.
  • Biology. Blood types and transfusions shows up in the biology 30s Manitoba curriculum under the circulatory system. The presence of antibodies is explained and the Blood Typing Came from ( is used to help gamify transfusions and help the development of the concept in an engaging way.  I suppose this is where I use technology and essentially  I am using TPACK at this point in the lesson.
  • Learning plans. One example of incorporating PCK in my own teaching is in constructing individualized student learning plans for each of my students. As a distance learning teacher, I work with each student individually rather than offering a standard course or program.  Throughout the year, the student learning plan evolves as necessary,

For several you, (re)reading Shulman helped to clarify ideas and raised new questions, such as: What sort of balance needs to exist between content and pedagogical knowledge? I was struck by quotes I hadn’t really even noticed before. For example, Shulman (1986) states: Teachers must not only be capable of defining for students the accepted truths in a domain. They must also be able to explain why a particular proposition is deemed warranted, why it is worth knowing, and how it relates to other propositions, both within the discipline and without, both in theory and in practice. TPCK is useful to think about as we engage with examples of TPCK in this module.

Thank you for your contributions towards this organizing framework,