Category: math review

    Worksheet is Not a 4-Letter Word

    I do a lot of activities in my class, depending on what I’m teaching and depending on how the students are doing. And I am always asking my colleagues what they are doing in class–I want to expand my tools and resources. However, when I ask I often get that shrug, the eyes don’t meet mine and they respond: “I’m just doing a worksheet”. Worksheets have their place in the classroom and a teacher should never be embarrassed to use whatever instructional resources they may have. Besides, a worksheet is versatile. It can be used in so many ways. Here […]

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    Everything Old is New Again

    I don’t know how long you have been teaching, but even in my short 16 years in the classroom much has changed. I was reminiscing with a new teacher last week and she was amused to hear how teaching was different then. When I began teaching we would take attendance by hand, do grades either by hand or in Excel. And technology was limited to those few computers in ONE computer lab on campus. Teachers were limited to 2 visits per month to the lab so everyone had an opportunity. Technology Replaced Strategies When technology found its way inside each […]

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    Holiday Resources to Keep Students Engaged

    Holidays at my high school signal the end of the semester and we are all preparing for the final exam. However, review does not have to be boring. We can also squeeze in some time for my favorite topic: trivia. One of the tricks to surviving the holiday (any holiday) in the classroom is to be prepared, have a lot of options and keep the kids engaged on something. I always keep a few online activities available as well as seasonal activities for students to complete. Mix it up and vary your routine. Vary Routine for Holidays I use printed […]

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    Puzzles in the Classroom

    The benefits to solving all types of puzzles is well-know. For younger children, it helps them develop not only cognitive skills but visual skills and patience. As children solve jigsaw puzzles and place the correct piece in its place, they build the confidence to try other challenges. Board games perform the same benefits, but in later years it becomes more difficult to use board games during instructional time. New research has shown that I.Q., once thought to be a fixed number, actually changes during our lifetime. We are all able to increase our I.Q. with new learning experiences and challenges. […]

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    February Tech Tips

    Every week I work with new teachers.  At the beginning of the year, we worked on classroom management ideas and classroom organization. These are both necessary for new teachers to be able to focus on instruction, but after many years of working with first and second year teachers, it becomes a little routine to me.  Then we move on to something I can really get excited about—using technology in the classroom. At this point in the year, we are working on projects to integrate technology.  Technology has become one of those areas teachers need to implement so that students can […]

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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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    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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