Math - Quick Resources & Ideas

  • Visuals.  Use images, color, and quirky phrases... and teach students to do the same!  
  • Regularly use word problems that are relevant to students.  Context creates meaning.  (And plan for the ample time it should take students to process these problems.)
  • Muscle-Memory:  We don't forget how to ride a bike once we learn.  Give students movements to remember their math (yes... at the secondary level!).  Example, Do the four slope directions with arm movements, and say the phrases with each one:  "Positive slope goes up.  Negative slope goes down.  Zero slope is falt.  Undefined slope is... splat."  (Because a stick figure will go ker-splat if standing on an undefined slope.)
  • Music and Laughter:  Far more than we remember lectures or notes, we remember songs, jingles, and things that make us laugh.
    Example:  My students who would forget to simplify fractions in 8th grade (come on now!), experienced the embarrassing moment of me singing "Do the same to the bottom as the top!" from our favorite Maths Mansion video.
  • Plan time for students to do more than practice steps on problems in the book.  Create mini-projects where they write their own problems and trade, or write, illustrate, and solve their own word problems.
  • Document Camera:  Partner students at the start of each quarter.  If a student's paper is selected (randomly) to go under the camera, their partner is required to talk through their steps and logic.  Challenging but awesome!  Students become accountable to their peers to show their logic.  They practice articulating math reasoning aloud and consider multiple ways to solve a problem.
  • gMath Google Docs and Google Forms Add-On (free) - easily create and insert equations into assignments or question stems
  • Khan Academy - As a teacher, set up a class, have students log in with a class code, and begin differentiating with video tutorials, practice problems, and loads of data!
  • Desmos - explore math (try an activity to see the power!)
  • (formerly Education Portal) - expensive ($50-$100 month) but a phenomenal resource for quirky, short videos and practice problems to help you learn almost anything
    (I think there is a free trial available.)
  • Random Student Selector - Within SMART Notebook's Gallery, search and utilize the "Random Word Chooser" so all students are accountable to participate.

Pedagogical Philosophy:
  • Expectations are everything.  Set the bar high, believe in your students, and help them achieve.
  • Talk less and engage students.
  • Deep understanding of essential concepts is infinitely better than skimming over a multitude of topics.
  • Never say anything a kid can say. 
  • Teach the content for the class/level.  Don't spend a month on fractions in Algebra 1.
  • Facilitate Constructive Struggle. Ask questions, wait, and ask more. 
  • Plan and guide constructive struggle.  Make class a safe place to fail, as long as they are thinking.  Don't rescue them from the struggle and rob them of authentic learning.

The contents of this page will grow over time.

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