Category: Uncategorized

    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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    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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    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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    I Love Polynomials

    This year I have tried to incorporate more vocabulary activities in the classroom. There have been studies that vocabulary in a typical math course is like studying a foreign language, even without all the math confusion.   I have 3-4 students in each of my classes who do not speak English at all.  Using a lot of pictures, diagrams and activities that can connect math vocabulary to something concrete has both been helpful and fun.  Fun for all the students. Recently we started out Polynomials unit in Algebra class.  I spend the first day with notes on vocabulary, talking about exponents, […]

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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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