Category: organization

    Effective Student Goal Setting

    Goal setting is one of the activities I use in January when students return to school after the winter break. It begins a new semester and gives us a fresh start. In the past, I used the goal setting tools provided by the administration. But last year, after my winter reading, I realized students need more than to just “set goals”. Students need strategies to help implement and follow up on goals as well. It was so successful that we are going to continue with this practice. Students Need More than Goal Setting In a study of Harvard MBAs, it […]

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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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    Teaching Teens Personal Finance

    This year I am teaching what the district calls Consumer Math, more popularly known as Personal Finance.  My seniors are assigned this option when they fail to meet the 2 years of required math, it is a blessing and a curse. A blessing because I believe all students should learn personal finance so that they can be more successful adults, and the content I present is timely, real-life examples that they can apply.  A curse because this class – like other math classes – is approached with a sense of dislike and fear. It has “math” in the title, students […]

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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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    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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    3 Quick Technology Ideas—even if you are a non-tech person

     Recently, a friend asked me to give her some ideas to spice up the classroom with a little technology—one of my favorite subjects.  I took a deep breath and was about to start a long monologue when she held up a hand and said “Just give me 3 quick ideas”.  Hmmm.  I know this is changing slowly but not all teachers have chrome carts in the classrooms so students are not able to be 1:1.  But there are some things you can do to spice up your lessons and use a little bit of technology and have fun. Ready? 1.  […]

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    Solutions for Fidgety Students

     There has been a lot of brain research in the last 10 years that has really informed teachers about what is happening with students who fidget a lot (or those who don’t but are sleepy and not engaged).  Brains today are not the same brains that existed 1000 years ago.  I wasn’t there 1000 years ago, but neuroscientists tell me so and I believe them. There are many aspects of brain development that are of interest to teachers, but today I want to emphasize just one part.  The brain and physical body are interconnected.  Physical activityeffects how the brain works. […]

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    Stress Free Chrome Book Use in the Classroom

    I have used a chrome cart in my classroom on a regular basis for the last 3 years.  Before that, I was trekking to the computer lab (we wasted a lot of class time, but we got some exercise). I have used a variety of Internet activities in my classroom ever since my third year of teaching. Over that time, aside from the focused tasks that we accomplish online, I have learned some basic rules that now part of my classroom rules procedures that I print, share with students and have them paste in their notebooks.   If you would like […]

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