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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    Ways to Use Digital Task Cards

    I have been using a variety of digital resources for the last 5 years.  Mostly online resources, which do a good job to reinforce teaching, provide independent practice that students need and give me some formative assessment on student learning.  Yes, there are a lot of resources out there.  But last summer, I found a new one and fell in love. I am obsessed with Boom CardsTM.  If you are not familiar with these cards, settle back and I will give you the scoop.  Boom Cards are digital task cards to be “played” on a device—think chrome book, iPad, phone, […]

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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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    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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