Palm Springs Math Conference

    It’s that time of year when thousands of math educators of all types go to Palm Springs to learn from each other at the California Mathematics Council annual math conference.  It is normally the first weekend in November, however there have been a few times when it was the last weekend in October.  If you have never attended, you need to go for several reasons. 1.  Palm Springs is beautiful.  The weather was perfect, people (not me and probably not most math teachers) were in their bikinis laying out by the pool, everyone was walking around enjoying the weather.  I […]

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    Tis the Season to be Scary

    My school makes a big deal out of Halloween, and for the most part I have mixed feelings about it.  It’s not my favorite holiday and the kids are always crazy for days before and when October 31 falls in the middle of the week, they are crazy days afterwards from all the candy.  In the past 3 weeks, I have been asked several hundred times what I am going to be for Halloween.  I say I don’t know, but I am thinking “I’m going to be tired”. Last year at the end of the year, I was tired of […]

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    Teaching to Better Brains

    This week I have changed my practice,  my mind about teaching and more important changed my mind  about my 5th period. I am getting ready for the math conference in Palm Springs on November 6.  I am speaking about activities to use in the classroom that get students moving and how important movement in the classroom is to keep the brains active. I have been doing a lot of reading in the last few months about brain research.  When I was growing up there were a lot of theories about brain development, IQ, learning which have turned out to now […]

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    Quick Assessments

    I was going to save this for tomorrow and then call it Tech Tuesday, but I have learned not to procrastinate.  A few weeks ago I was looking for a way to quickly assess my support class without it being formal, and without grading, and make it non threatening to students.  Once upon a time, I had seen students clickers used in the classroom and wanted them desperately.  I even went to a training, and entered every raffle I could find to win a class set.  They are expensive.  I never won.  I am glad. Then a few weeks ago […]

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    Puzzling Math

    I remember when I was growing up we always had a lot of different types of puzzles in the house.  Contrary to what my student think, that was not before television, we just lived differently than students do now.  In winter we always had a jigsaw puzzle on the dining room table and would work on it a few minutes (or more) each day until it was done–and if it looked like it was going to be finished after I went to bed I would take a few pieces with me to have the last placement. I think this is […]

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    Racing to Learn Math

    Last February I was fortunate to speak at a CTA Good Teaching Conference in San Jose, California.  I was scheduled to speak on Sunday morning, so on Saturday morning I attended a session on teacher driven change. The presentation explained how teachers had implemented projects to improve their schools and their teaching.  In the back of my mind, I had been thinking of a project but lacked the funds to implement, so listening to these teachers, I began to imagine bringing these racing simulators to my school to help students use math in a real live context. HiperMath is the […]

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    Sprinkling Happiness

    This school year, we began to implement PBIS-Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports across the campus and district.  As part of back to school, staff has proclaimed the first day and each Monday of the first month of school to “Sprinkle Happiness”.  Staff welcome students and other teachers in the morning, hold signs with positive messages and cheer when the bus arrives.  I admit, I thought it was a little corny, but then I got into the swing and created my own messages on the sidewalk. Outside my classroom in front of the bus gate, where I was stopped by security […]

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    Attitudes About Math

    Since the first few days of class are all about getting to know the students and establishing classroom atmosphere, I decided to make concept maps to find out about student attitudes about Math.  I intended to only do this activity in my support classes, but  I have support period 1 and when I saw the results I decided to have all students do this.  In support class I asked students to pair with a “like minded student”.  But when I looked at the results, they are all like minded, so that was a surprise for me.  I expected the negative […]

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