Category: attitudes about math

    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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    Why I Refuse to Assign Homework This Year

    As a math teacher, I am expected to assign homework.  After all, math requires practice.    I can liken that practice (in my mind)  to a Olympic champion practicing the balance beam hours daily to perfect that one skill.  The problem is—my students are not Olympic champions or even Olympic hopefuls.  They have no interest in the balance beam or balancing equations. None. This year I am teaching what is commonly referred to as Repeat Algebra. I have 10thand 11th graders who have not passes Algebra and therefore are not on track for graduation. Let’s be honest, they have seen this same material […]

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    7 Ideas to Increase Student Motivation

    This year I am teaching Algebra I to students who have already failed (some more than 3 or 4 times).  I teach it differently to these students because they have already seen it before.   They think there is nothing new in math.  They are wrong.  Here are some ways I get these bored students interested in math again. 1) Tell a good story. I can get really worked up about girls having the right to study math and be really good at it.   Did you know that Pythagoreas (father of the Pythagorean Theorem) had a secret society and allowed both […]

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    6 Musts to Starting a New School Year

    Starting the school year is exciting.  It is also stressful.  I understand the student anxiety really well because I have the same fears: “What if no one likes me”, “What happens if I am bullied”, “What if I don’t know anyone”.  Yes, I have those same thoughts and I have been in school—for one reason or another- for over half my life. So if I am still stressed and worried at my age, imagine how young students feel—whether you have elementary students or high school. Here are 6 ways to get the year started successfully and if you are struggling  […]

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    Where have I been,what I’ve been doing and where am I going,

    It’s been a while since I’ve shared the doings in my classroom.  I’ll keep this part brief and tell you up front that it’s ok to laugh at this. After an injury at work, my left arm was put in a cast.  Inconvenient, but i’m right handed and I can’t count the number of times I said to everyone how grateful that I was I hadn’t hurt the right hand.  I said that sincerely and those who know me would agree that I always find the silver lining.  Keeping up with my normal work was difficult but I was scheduled […]

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    Palm Springs Math Conference

    It’s that time of year when thousands of math educators of all types go to Palm Springs to learn from each other at the California Mathematics Council annual math conference.  It is normally the first weekend in November, however there have been a few times when it was the last weekend in October.  If you have never attended, you need to go for several reasons. 1.  Palm Springs is beautiful.  The weather was perfect, people (not me and probably not most math teachers) were in their bikinis laying out by the pool, everyone was walking around enjoying the weather.  I […]

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    Teaching to Better Brains

    This week I have changed my practice,  my mind about teaching and more important changed my mind  about my 5th period. I am getting ready for the math conference in Palm Springs on November 6.  I am speaking about activities to use in the classroom that get students moving and how important movement in the classroom is to keep the brains active. I have been doing a lot of reading in the last few months about brain research.  When I was growing up there were a lot of theories about brain development, IQ, learning which have turned out to now […]

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    Puzzling Math

    I remember when I was growing up we always had a lot of different types of puzzles in the house.  Contrary to what my student think, that was not before television, we just lived differently than students do now.  In winter we always had a jigsaw puzzle on the dining room table and would work on it a few minutes (or more) each day until it was done–and if it looked like it was going to be finished after I went to bed I would take a few pieces with me to have the last placement. I think this is […]

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    Racing to Learn Math

    Last February I was fortunate to speak at a CTA Good Teaching Conference in San Jose, California.  I was scheduled to speak on Sunday morning, so on Saturday morning I attended a session on teacher driven change. The presentation explained how teachers had implemented projects to improve their schools and their teaching.  In the back of my mind, I had been thinking of a project but lacked the funds to implement, so listening to these teachers, I began to imagine bringing these racing simulators to my school to help students use math in a real live context. HiperMath is the […]

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