# Category: attitudes about math

## 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 […]

Read More## 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 […]

Read More## 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 […]

Read More## 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 […]

Read More## 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 […]

Read More## 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 […]

Read More## 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 […]

Read More## 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 […]

Read More## 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 […]

Read More## Sprinkling Happiness

This school year, we began to implement PBIS-Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports across the campus and district. As part of back to school, staff has proclaimed the first day and each Monday of the first month of school to “Sprinkle Happiness”. Staff welcome students and other teachers in the morning, hold signs with positive messages and cheer when the bus arrives. I admit, I thought it was a little corny, but then I got into the swing and created my own messages on the sidewalk. Outside my classroom in front of the bus gate, where I was stopped by security […]

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