Sunday, November 6, 2016

Elections made relevant

I'm sorry for posting this so late, but I realized that I need to teach something related to the elections taking place tomorrow or my lesson will fall flat tomorrow.  So how will I use math in the elections?  Data is live right now, so depending on when a student looks at a state will determine their outcome, especially for swing states.  We're going to use the information gathered from the exit polls .  My kids will do the math to show why each red state is red and each blue state is blue.  How?  We will multiply break down the votes by gender first.  Then, we will calculate the numbers for the two main candidates.  They will then color each state based on their findings.  We will then compare our maps to the one posted on social media.  We may even compare the maps of the different news stations and discuss the skews in data.  I will also want to prompt questions in regard to outliers and information that can skew the overall data collected (ie. voters that supported other candidates, the third party candidates, etc.)  I hope it turns out okay.  I will probably update this post with feedback in case you have school on Tuesday and would like to use this lesson. 

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Beginning of the year review

We know as math teachers this is a vital time in our classroom.  To have an effective school year, we need to know the strengths and weaknesses of our students.  I always begin my school year without calculators.  I know insert the shock face here.  But I need to know how many of the basics are my students missing.  I have seniors that still don't know how to add and subtract integers.  I will be addressing how I hope to use my one-to-one classroom to help these students out in my class in a later blog.  So what do I review with my intermediate Algebra 1 students?

Identifying Real Numbers

I begin the notes with Math = Love's Real number chart.  I like it better than the circles, for some reason my kids get it better this way.  Then we move into the matching activity in class.  I use the one from the State of Virginia, but there is another on TpT in Jean Adams page.  From here we do a sorting worksheet for homework and some of the graphing from the sheet for classwork.  The next day we review and we then take a short quiz.

Adding Integers

Most students struggle with this at the high school when they come to us from the middle school.  I really make this my goal to make these rules stick.  I make plus/minus tiles as a manipulative.  The picture below shows an example of -3 + 5.  By lining up the ones that cancel out, it is easy for students to see the answers.  I also use the "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" song for integers.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Keeping a Positive Attitude

Sometimes all we can do is keep a positive outlook, especially in the teaching profession when it comes to things that are completely out of our control.  Maybe your are starting out the school year and you don't have enough desks for all of your students on your roster.  When you look at your roster, you find a student that failed your class last year and even with the 5 other teachers teaching the course, you have that child in your class.  You could be left with a cart instead of a classroom.  Or you could be overwhelmed by all of the above happening all at once (trust me, I am in a similar boat).

But here is the key...just keep positive.  I am upfront with the students that things are not all in place, but that I am here to teach them and together we will make it through the first week together.  Don't let them know about all of your problems, unless they will affect the students in your classroom as a whole.

So we will breath together.  We know that a few weeks later down the road we will feel as if we are on our a-game once again.  The best of luck and resources will be pouring out once again.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Top 5 Things to Look For in Lesson Plan Template (Secondary)

Notebook, Pen, Pencil, Education, Office
The new year is starting, but my lesson plans are in need of a face lift.  I have decided to compile a list of things as a secondary teacher that I look for in a template.  The one I currently is great when I have the time to fully fill it our, but the detail had become overwhelming.  After you read the list, feel free to share if you think I need to add something to the list.  Here we go...

1.  Columns per course taught

I like to have a template that keeps the same categories for all of my classes.  Since I teach very different subjects, I need to have a clear column for each course.  I think it's nice to see your whole day laid out.  This helps out tons for substitute teachers.

2. Objectives and Standards Easily Found

This one is not for me as a teacher, but for what I consider the dog and pony show.  You know when the administration comes into your classroom.  They want to make sure that the curriculum is aligned to state standards and that your objective clearly puts the lesson into layman's terms for your students.  This is great for those mornings you are running behind, copy and paste that bad boy onto the smartboard, so they can't say you never posted it.

3. The Meat

I used to separate my lesson into the warm-up, lesson, class activity, and closing.  I found that this was too difficult for a substitute to follow.  So by putting it all into the same box with bullets, it makes the lesson a little more structured for the emergency run for a sick child or emergency.  Include a general time for each activity.  That way you and others know about how long to spend on everything.  It keeps long winded people like myself from talking too long about one part of the lesson.

4. Exit Question

I use this to make sure that I have asked at least one summarizing question, especially on days that I did not collect an assessment in class.  This provides the feedback and administration loves to see you come round circle back to that beloved objective.

5. Resources

Classrooms run more efficiently when you already know what materials to set out for the lesson.  I use interactive notebooks in my math class, so this definitely helps to prepare for the foldables, glue, scissors, etc.  But I also include the webpages that I found the materials on.  This way I can find it again the next year, just in case a student used my only copy from my notebook.

Does this align with your list, do you require more?  Do you do your lesson plans by the week or daily?

Monday, July 25, 2016

Summer is coming to an end

I took a bit of a hiatus from blogging to focus on some things that seemed to be spiraling out of my control this summer and decided to focus my time and energy into my time with my kids.  What a great break it was.  The time for reflection on where the upcoming year will lead along with a much needed refreshed version of myself.  What breaks did you take to get yourself mentally ready for another yer? 

This year, I can officially announce that I will be teaching drafting and math!  I am thrilled at the chance to teach and integrate both worlds for STEM based lessons.  Algebra will come with more fun activities to blog about along with a new statistics course next semester.  I look forward to sharing many new resources and giving a glimpse into the world of drafting (with a heavy emphasis on architecture).  I get to push the limits of my drafting kids making them think with mathematical reasoning and an artistic twist.  So let's buckle up and get prepared together for a great new year!

Also, side note.  I have picked up baking cupcakes on the side and man is it a blast.  I may post a few recipes every now and then when my math juices are running low.