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Showing posts from April, 2015

Why Use Non-Routine Problems?

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-Do problems (1-10)
-Do problems (1-19) odds only -Practice flashcards -Do IXL problems for ____ standard -Watch me do this example, now you do an example, now do your homework
If your assignments in math are similar to the list above, it may be time to introduce non-routine problems to your students! 

Why non-routine problems? 
Application They help students make sense of how to apply mathematics, not simply follow a bunch of prescribed steps. You might have had the experience where you have students working on a new concept, and they seem to get it (yay!) but then you give them a problem where they have to apply the concept and they don't know where to begin! We need to give kids a chance to see that math is used to solve problems and those problems don't always look the same.
Enjoyment Doing 100 of the same type of problem over and over is pretty boring! Math can be exciting and fun, but we have to show that to students. It's not exciting and fun if you only know how to do…

PAEMST

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Have you heard of the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST)? It's quite a mouthful! And it's quite an honor.
According to the website: "The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) are the nation's highest honors for teachers of mathematics and science (including computer science). Awardees serve as models for their colleagues, inspiration to their communities, and leaders in the improvement of mathematics and science education."
I was very honored to be nominated by an awesome West Cook Math Initiative (WCMI) math coach, Sendhil Revuluri (@revuluri). It's true that it is an honor just to be nominated (but of course, really awesome if I win!) So, I'm in the process of working on my application. It's due May 1st... so what am I doing on this fine afternoon of April 18th? Writing a blog post about the application I should be working on, of course! :)
The process is: there a…

Twitter for Teachers

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Are you on Twitter? I finally jumped on board this year and all I can say is, "Whoa!" I have learned SO MUCH from other teachers that I follow. Also, I'm not at the NCTM Conference this year (boo), but I feel like I am because I'm following all the #NCTMBoston tweets!

If you are thinking about starting a Twitter account, here are a few suggestions:

1. Profile
Fill out your profile with a little information about who you are, what you teach, and what you are interested in. You can also include a link to your blog or website. It helps when people want to follow you, they will look at your profile to see what you are about!

2. Think about your Twitter handle
Mine is, @mrsforest, and that isn't that exciting. But, if you are going to use this account for professional purposes, you might want to stick with something professional sounding.

3. Follow your colleagues
Search for teachers you know and follow them!

4. Follow people that aren't your colleagues
It is importa…

DIY Classroom Decorations: Banners

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I went a little crazy with banners and garland in my classroom this year. I think it looks cute and is a cheap way of decorating. I wanted to share some pictures and some tips on how to make them yourself!



First, the banners with words. I wanted banners with my class motto for this year, "Safe, Calm, Productive." It was an important message coming back from maternity leave and trying to convey to my new students what I expected from them. Finally (now in April) we are all on the same page and I really feel like we are living that motto each day. yay! 
If you want to make your own banner with words, here is the blog that I found the free printable letters. A few tips about making the banners with words: I printed the letters on regular white paper and then mounted them on colored card stock. I didn't laminate them because I didn't want them to look shiny or have a glare. Also, remember that when it is upside down, the letters are going to go from right to left as you …

April Fool's: Fun in the Classroom

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Sometimes you just need to be a little silly in the classroom. Having fun helps to build relationships with the students. April Fools Day is a favorite in middle school. Students are just at the right age that they like little pranks and silliness.

This year, I did two jokes that went over pretty well. The students had fun with it and so did I. Before you do any jokes with students, it is important to make sure that your jokes are appropriate and kind (not sarcastic, mean, or inappropriate). I came across this article that offered this advice: DoUse humor to enhance classroom joyUse humor to develop a sense of communityUse content-related humorUse age-appropriate humor"Sandwich" humor between instruction and repetition. AvoidSarcasmCruel or inappropriate humorForced humorOff-topic humorToo much humor. With that being said, here are my April Fools pranks today...
In Excel (homeroom), I wrote my students "detentions" that were actually positive notes home. Students w…