Category: checks for understanding

    Angle Relationships

    One of my favorite units is the angle relationships formed with parallel lines cut by a transversal.  There is so much vocabulary, so many rules to remember and so many ways to have the students engage with the content that it seems overwhelming. I always begin with the vocabulary.  Geometry has a lot of words and concepts that are new for students and this it difficult. Keep in mind that they are not only learning your vocabulary, but they are learning new words in ALL their subjects. And students need more than word and definitions, they need a way to […]

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    Consumer Math/Personal Finance

    I have taught Consumer Math at the high school level for several years now. 10 years ago I was at a different high school and when the district decided to implement a senior level course for math credit, I jumped at the chance to teach it. At that time, there were few materials for teachers and the curriculum was pieced together based on what several of us termed as “important” skills for soon-to-be adults to have. Then I transferred to the middle school and Consumer Math was assigned to teachers who viewed it as a punishment. After all, most math […]

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    14 Formative Assessment Strategies

                    It caused some controversy in a meeting when I said I was never surprised by test/quiz scores. Some teachers tried to hide their smirks, others just stared. No, I am not psychic, I just use a variety of formative assessment strategies to gauge learning during and after the lesson.                   There was also some debate about the definitions of formative assessment. Many of us put it in the grade book, others said that formative assessment is just a tool and never goes in the grade book.  But since I use formative assessment techniques daily, many will go in […]

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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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    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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    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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    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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