Tuesday, November 22, 2011

13 Reasons I'm THANKFUL for being a TEACHER!

Here are some reasons why I'm THANKFUL for being a teacher!

1.  Every Day is Different 
Actually every class is different, every student is different, every parent is different... and so on.  I love the fact that the activities are always varied, and thus always fresh.

2.  I get to answer questions.
There is a certain amount of pride in answering questions.  If students ask questions, I know that they want to know something more.

3.  My Students.
I love the energy of young people.  I thrive working with students and the fresh ideas they bring.  Spending time with young people keeps me young.

4.  I get to use new technology daily.
SMARTBoard, Flip Videos, Laptops, Tablet Laptops, Computer Lab, and of course MY CALCULATOR.

5.  Problem Solving. 
Teaching gives me a chance to problem solve on a daily basis.  I find the challenges engaging.  They give me a sense of accomplishment.  How do students best learn?  How can I make the material engaging?

6.  My Colleagues
I love working with the people in my department and my school.  They are so supportive and downright fun to be with. 

7.  Coaching
Coaching gives me a chance to work with my students in a different way.  I love working with a team to try to accomplish something you can't alone.

8.  Our new facility
Our school finished the renovation project this year.  It is gorgeous.  Check out my room in this video.

9.  Math
I love math.  I love numbers.  I get to work with numbers everyday. 

10.  Stories
First of all, I get to tell my family stories about my adventures in teaching.   Secondly,  I realize that I need to find out each student's story.   

11.  Former Students
It is so rewarding to have former students stay in touch with me.  I recently saw a former student of mine and she is currently a teacher herself.  It was terrific to see her passion for her students and for her profession. 

12.  I get PAID for doing something I love!

13.  I'm also very thankful for vacations.  Thanksgiving, Holiday Break, Spring Break, and SUMMER!

What are you thankful for?
Happy Thanksgiving,

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sum of Three

I got this activity from my brother-in-law and really like it.  It is called "Sum of Three".   In essence you have students in groups of three each doing a different problem.  Then you have them add the answers together to be the sum of the three answers.  They will bring this number up to you and ask if this is correct.  If they are correct, then they get to move on to the next problem set.  If they are incorrect, then they must decide how to go about getting the correct answer.  This is the best part of the activity.  When the students get the problem wrong, they automatically think it is somebody elses mistake.  They then will systematically go through the process of how to do the problem with everyone.  It is a great group activity.  Here are my directions.  I have given a couple examples as well. 
1.  Get your class into groups of three.   I always do this on a random basis.  Let's say you had 26 people in your class.  Take 26 kids divided by 3 and you get 8 full groups of three.  Count students one, two, three, and so on till eight, then start back at one, two, three and keep doing this until you run out of people.  In this case, you will have 6 groups that have 3 in it and 2 groups that have 4 in it.  Now the ones get together and the twos get together and so on.
2.  Hand out a problem set A in paper form to each group.   This will have three problems in it.  A1, A2, and A3.  Each student will work on a different problem.  The group will then add the sum of all three answers. 
3.  When a group thinks it has a sum, they bring up THEIR PAPER to show you their answer.  Don't have the students SAY the sum.  This might give it away for the other students.  If they are correct, give them the problem set B in paper form.  If they are incorrect, then they must go back and find out where they made a mistake.
4.  I have my students do all their work on a separate piece of paper to be turned in.  This creates a little accountability as well as a place for them to work.
5.  You will have to decide how many sets of problems you will want.  I typically have 3 to 4 sets.  I have the last set as extra difficult.

Here are a couple of examples of the "Sum of Three" activity.

This is a problem set for multiplying fractions in Intro to Algebra

This is the answer sheet that I use when the students come up to give me their SUM.

This is an Algebra "Sum of Three" problem set.  I have the students add the y-intercepts of the line.



Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Awesome Color Graphing Calculator ONLINE

Now I really like this one.  I like it because it is very easy to use.  It can graph my lines in color.  It can graph an inequality.  It is absolutely free.  Just go to the site below and use away.  It doesn't have all the bells and whistles that a TI-84 would have.  I think I like it for displaying multiple graphs at once.  This makes it so much easier to see the different graphs.  You can say "Where the green function and the red fucntion intersect".  Let me know what you think.