Category: back to school

    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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    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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    5 Tips for Successful Parent Conferences

    I remember as a new teacher looking forward to parent conferences, and parent calls home, and parent visits, etc.  Yes, I was a typical, over the top, optimistic new teacher.  That did not last long. That first year taught me several things about parents, students and my role in the classroom in dealing with both.  And like all things, parents and students have changed. 1)  It Isn’t a Popularity Contest.  And if it was—you lose.  Parents, guardians, family always chose the child.  It doesn’t matter what the child is doing in your classroom, the child is right.  Even if  the […]

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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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    Unsolicited Advice for New Teachers (or how not to make the same mistakes I did)

    All of us began as new teachers so every teacher has stories that will curl the hair of even the baldest person. And despite all the advice new teachers are given—most of it unsolicited-New teachers will have their own stories by their fifth year.  I have been a coach/support provider for the last 10 years, helping teachers who are in their first two years of teaching avoid some of the obvious pitfalls that all of us have experienced.  1) Ask More Questions You are not going to know everything, so you need to ask questions.  Asking questions does not imply […]

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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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    3 Tips for First Day of School

    The first day of school is coming.  Ok, it’s still a while away, but I want to do some different things this year and it begins with the first day.  Three ideas beginning the first day that will change the entire year. Do the Unexpected 1.  Don’t read rules/syllabus the first day. Unless you are at the elementary level– I know adminstration expects this.  Students expect this.  Even parents expect this.  So I guess that’s why I’ve decided against it.  I like to do the unexpected. Look at it this way:  You have just met someone on an important interview […]

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    New Year, New Decor

    This year I wanted to not only decorate my room but work on organization as well.  Usually I am surrounded by a mountain of papers, supplies are in several different areas and when I get overwhelmed I start stuffing the file cabinet full.  Then I have to buy more supplies because I can’t find anything. students who are not proficient in English, I have the words displayed in both English and Spanish and either a word definition or a picture illustrating the word or phrase.  I had well over 100 words or phrases, but left space in case I had […]

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    August Sampler Freebie Available

    How did it get to be August 1 already?  I am going back to school tomorrow and have mixed emotions, sorry to be going back while it is still sooooo hot and excited to meet my new students and try out some new activities with them.  Students are returning on this Friday (I know, who has students start school on Friday, right?) and one of the activities I am going to use is my conversation starters.  I really want to focus on student conversations this year, improving vocabulary, and learning to express ourselves mathematically. There are 27 cards which I […]

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