Ideas from the CMC Math Conference 2019

    Two weeks ago I attended the California Mathematics Council Math Conference in Palm Springs. The CMC holds two conferences a year, one in Asilomar (Northern California) and one in Palm Springs. With hundreds of sessions to choose from, it is always an exciting event. The two-day event this year was Friday November 15 – Saturday November 16, two weeks later than it is typically held. Passive to Active Classroom Sherrina Clark and Tonya Parham had an interesting session on using what they called VNPS or Vertical Non-Permanent Surfaces. OK, I admit it, they got me with the acronym. The VNPS […]

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    Puzzles in the Classroom

    The benefits to solving all types of puzzles is well-know. For younger children, it helps them develop not only cognitive skills but visual skills and patience. As children solve jigsaw puzzles and place the correct piece in its place, they build the confidence to try other challenges. Board games perform the same benefits, but in later years it becomes more difficult to use board games during instructional time. New research has shown that I.Q., once thought to be a fixed number, actually changes during our lifetime. We are all able to increase our I.Q. with new learning experiences and challenges. […]

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    9 Ways of Fostering a Positive Mindset in Classroom

    In 2006, Stanford professor and psychologist, Carol Dweck, published her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, that detailed the differences between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. Jo Boaler, a Professor at Stanford in California did extensive work with students and published additional materials. I have been fortunate to take classes with Dr. Boaler and to hear both of them at conferences. Individuals with a fixed mindset believe that they are born with talent, or they aren’t. They avoid those things that they believe they lack the ability to be successful. Individuals the possess a growth mindset, think […]

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    Math Halloween Treats

    The holidays are coming, beginning with Halloween and this brings some additional stress into the classroom. When I was a first year teacher, I believed my classroom management should get more restrictive during the holidays when students were most energetic, off task and uninterested in doing classwork.  As I have become more experienced, I realized that I need to work with their natual energy bursts and use them to my advantage. This means adding games, having them get up and move around, doing activities that require movement and talking.  This also means the teacher needs to relax and go with […]

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    Angle Relationships

    One of my favorite units is the angle relationships formed with parallel lines cut by a transversal.  There is so much vocabulary, so many rules to remember and so many ways to have the students engage with the content that it seems overwhelming. I always begin with the vocabulary.  Geometry has a lot of words and concepts that are new for students and this it difficult. Keep in mind that they are not only learning your vocabulary, but they are learning new words in ALL their subjects. And students need more than word and definitions, they need a way to […]

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    Consumer Math/Personal Finance

    I have taught Consumer Math at the high school level for several years now. 10 years ago I was at a different high school and when the district decided to implement a senior level course for math credit, I jumped at the chance to teach it. At that time, there were few materials for teachers and the curriculum was pieced together based on what several of us termed as “important” skills for soon-to-be adults to have. Then I transferred to the middle school and Consumer Math was assigned to teachers who viewed it as a punishment. After all, most math […]

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    Engaging Tech Activities

    Edpuzzle https://edpuzzle.com/home Ever watch a video on math instruction and which you could just use the middle? Or like the problem but want to explain it yourself?  Edpuzzle allows you to do just that. You can record over the explanation, trim the video, insert questions in the video to make sure students are paying attention. I have done some of these using a funny voice to demonstrate slope and the kids always remembered. Here are some examples: Solving equations using multiple-choice questions Geometry two different versions. In the first, it is a basic introductory to terms with open-ended questions. The […]

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    14 Formative Assessment Strategies

                    It caused some controversy in a meeting when I said I was never surprised by test/quiz scores. Some teachers tried to hide their smirks, others just stared. No, I am not psychic, I just use a variety of formative assessment strategies to gauge learning during and after the lesson.                   There was also some debate about the definitions of formative assessment. Many of us put it in the grade book, others said that formative assessment is just a tool and never goes in the grade book.  But since I use formative assessment techniques daily, many will go in […]

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    February Tech Tips

    Every week I work with new teachers.  At the beginning of the year, we worked on classroom management ideas and classroom organization. These are both necessary for new teachers to be able to focus on instruction, but after many years of working with first and second year teachers, it becomes a little routine to me.  Then we move on to something I can really get excited about—using technology in the classroom. At this point in the year, we are working on projects to integrate technology.  Technology has become one of those areas teachers need to implement so that students can […]

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