Grades: The Impossible Mission

    It is that time of the year when students are nicer, teachers are cranky and parents (who have never called) are now questioning the grades.  No, it’s not holiday cheer, it is the end of the semester. Are grades important?  I am not sure anymore.  I know that much of a teachers’ time is spent preparing grades, communicating about grades, posting grades and defending grades.  And the difficulty is that there are no correct answers—for anyone, especially the students. In recent years, a lot of focus has been placed on grading practices–and no one can agree on fair grading practices […]

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    Paper Chains—Not Just for Christmas Trees

    When I was a child we made paper chains for the Christmas Tree. They were fun, very colorful and a holiday event each year. Many years ago I was desperate for some type of activity to use in the classroom. I was tired of worksheets, the kids were tired, and we were both bored.  It is difficult to remember the specific content I was trying to practice, but someone offered me a paper chain activity they had used. The other teacher was not that enthusiastic but when he gave it to me said: “you can probably do something with it”.  I […]

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    Awesome Ideas for Linear Systems

    Review Graphing Before Teaching Linear Systems The week before Thanksgiving we finished our unit on writing linear equations in all its forms.  After a week off, I know I will need to review these concepts before plunging ahead to begin our unit on Linear Systems. Monday we will review graphing linear systems written in Slope-Intercept form.  I plan to use an idea from a recent training. It focuses on multiple representations (my interpretation) and having students work in pairs to match up graphs to equations, except that there is an uneven match.   Group Review Activity for Linear Systems For […]

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    Holiday Reading/Listening List

    I am a compulsive reader. Or at least I used to be. People were amazed that I could read 200-300 books a year. I didn’t get much else done, I was in college at the time and aside from my college work, I did little else but read.      When Life Get Hectic–Use Audible Then work and life became complicated and most of my reading time was taken up with other things. I still read, but mostly on vacations or long weekends when there was nothing else going on that needed my attention. I tried Kindle as well, it helped […]

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    Writing Linear Equations Thanksgiving Style

    Students have problems writing equations.  It seems to be because there are so many ways to do it.  If they could have just one way of writing an equation, they could be successful. I embrace a variety of ways to solve problems, but this confuses my students. They like things simple.    They can write an equation in slope-intercept form. But only if given the slope and the y-intercept. Well, some of them can.  A few students are mixing up the two things.  We have reviewed and practiced. We did some dice rolls as well.  They need more practice and […]

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    Teaching Teens Personal Finance

    This year I am teaching what the district calls Consumer Math, more popularly known as Personal Finance.  My seniors are assigned this option when they fail to meet the 2 years of required math, it is a blessing and a curse. A blessing because I believe all students should learn personal finance so that they can be more successful adults, and the content I present is timely, real-life examples that they can apply.  A curse because this class – like other math classes – is approached with a sense of dislike and fear. It has “math” in the title, students […]

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    17 Ideas for Teaching Slope

    I meet with new teachers weekly to discuss teaching strategies, tips, and lesson planning. This week the conversation turned to our next lesson which will be Slope of a line.  Slope is a crucial topic for both middle school and high school students. Slope forms the basis for writing equations and graphing. Without an understanding of what it is and how to calculate it, the rest of the semester (and year) becomes much more difficult for students and teachers. Even though my pacing allows two days (what are they thinking????) for learning slope, students need much more than this to […]

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    Stay Sane in the Halloween Classroom

    I love fall, the cooler weather, the crisp nights and the holidays. And apples. Especially apple pie. Kids love holidays as well.  For the classroom, it becomes more difficult to keep students focused on math (or any other subject).    Adding to the natural frenzy that Halloween brings, my high school allows students to come in costume, has a costume contest during lunch and other Halloween themed activities through the week. The school clubs all sell Candy-grams which are delivered during class, adding another interruption during the week. Clearly, they have all joined the “If you can’t beat them,  join […]

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    Improve Your Teaching with a Morning Routine

    I love mornings even though I am NOT a morning person.  Have you ever had a bad teaching day?  An unpleasant parent conference?  A student who had a meltdown?  A coworker who had a meltdown?  Maybe YOU had a meltdown? Well, every new day is a fresh start—it’s a do-over for adults. And we all need that.  How you start your day, the routine that begins the day has a big impact on the rest of it. Think of it as setting the tone for your entire day. That’s why making over your morning is so important. I’m sure you’ve […]

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    8 Ideas to Deal with Absent Students

    Absent students create additional thought and organization in every classroom. Each school and district have district policies on dealing with missing work due to absences. In my district the students are allowed number of absences plus one to make up missing work, however, this is not a hard rule.  If a parent requests missing work, the teacher is expected to provide it even if this consists of the entire semester. Students with accommodations are allowed to turn in work “late” and last year I was required to provide 18 weeks of missing work. It was never completed and turned it. […]

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