Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year's Resolution

My New Year's Resolutions for 2016

I normally do not make New Year's Resolutions because I feel like people do not keep them. This year, I have four goals that I've been pondering for a while, so I will call them my New Year's Resolutions. Here they are: 

Happy New Year!!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Middle School Math Monday - Math Practice Standard 3

Students will critique the reasoning of others on standardized assessments. Do you want the first time they do this to be on the “big test”? Of course not!

You DO NOT need to spend hours developing problems for them to critique. Instead, use the students’ actual answers. Here is an easy way to do this.

Give your students a problem. Have the students do the work on a dry-erase board, or index card. Instruct them to show all of their work.

While they are working, walk around the room. Note which answer you want the students to critique. You may choose a student’s board with a wrong answer or correct answer. It doesn’t matter as long as you practice with both wrong and right answers as the year progresses. 

When the time is up, share the work you want the students to critique with the entire class. Have them get out a piece of paper and write if the student’s answer is correct and then explain why or why not. After they are finished, have them share their reasoning with a partner. Then you can discuss with the group.

If you do this every single day, then your students will have practiced critiquing other’s work 180 times. Now, tell me they will not succeed on standardized tests with that much practice!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Close Reading Cheat Sheet

Need help with performing close reads? This FREE Close Reading Cheat Sheet teaches you how to conduct a purposeful close read with any text. 

Monday, December 7, 2015

Middle School Math Monday – Ways to Keep Math Meaningful

When I think back to my junior high math class, I remember sitting and taking endless notes while my math teacher rambled on and on. I think those days are gone…right (please say yes)? We all know that students need to experiment with math to really understand it, but do you understand that even if you teach math in an engaging way, students still may not think it’s important or useful? If they don’t think it’s important or useful, then they won’t buy in and most likely won’t retain it. 

So, how do we make math meaningful? The kids need to know how the lesson or skill will help them. Kids are egocentric by nature. If they feel it will serve them, then they will buy-in.

In order to get that buy-in, start each class with a chart (like the one below). Brainstorm with the students FUTURE JOBS THAT WILL USE (insert skill here) and FUTURE CLASSES THAT WILL EXPECT THEM TO UNDERSTAND (insert skill here). Write the student’s responses on the chart and add your own to it. This will help the students understand that you are teaching them something meaningful and they will be more likely to buy-in to your lesson. 

Keep the charts on the wall through the year. Call their attention to the charts often throughout the school year to remind them why we are doing this stressful thing called math and why it’s helpful!

Come back to my next MiddleSchool Math Monday next week. Until then, you may be interested in my Fractions FlipBook or Decimals Flip Book. Keep up the great work and remember that your job is the most important job in the world.