Category: activities

    Absolute Best Ways to Teach Absolute Value

    Like most people, I begin my lesson on absolute value with a story about distance. I love telling stories in class. Stories are a way to lessen stress in class and provide a way to have some fun. In my story, I drew a number line. I placed the school at zero and told the students that I live 10 blocks from the school.  I then asked where if they could determine where I live. Of, course the first answer was at positive 10. Most students were happy with that answer.  When I pressed for another answer, they caught on quick […]

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    Puzzling Holiday Fun

    With the holiday break, I made countless lists about cleaning and organizing. I added lesson planning and making some fun new projects for the classroom. I am teaching my Consumer Math class using the Stock Market Game and I have some preliminary lessons about investing that need to be created before February. However, I got sidetracked. Why? First I finished up a pair of socks I was knitting and then before the unit for investments and mutual funds could be started, I did a puzzle. Puzzles Help Mathematical Thinking I really like puzzles of all types. Puzzles get the credit […]

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    The Crucial First Five Minutes

    Every veteran teacher understands that the first few minutes of a class set the tone for the rest of the period. This is why most schools insist on some form of the warm-up (also called bellringer or do-now) for students to complete at the beginning of the period. New teachers may have experienced this during student teaching, but do not understand all the reasons why it becomes an important part of the classroom routine.   Why is a Warm-Up So Important? A daily warm-up for the first crucial five minutes actually serves several purposes: It sets the tone for the […]

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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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    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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    11 Online Tools for Secondary Students

    With a new school year, it is time to try something new.  In no particular order, some of my favorite online programs for the classroom: 1)  Quizlet.  I attended the Quizlet Unconference before school began to trim my learning curve.  I cannot believe how easy it is to use.  The basics are study cards, definition (graph, picture, diagram, etc) on one side and definition or explanation on the other.  But you can use this set in a variety of ways.  I used a statistics set that was done in Spanish for my ELL students.  You can study the cards, or […]

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