Algebra's Friend

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I share teaching ideas in math as well as thoughts about education in general. I am an educator and my experience in schools varies widely. I have had the privilege of serving students in positions as a classroom teacher, a district consultant, and school principal.

Algebra's Friend

1y ago

How will you celebrate PI Day on Tuesday, March 14? I'm sure you have the basic math ideas already ... but what about creative writing, games, and crafts? Here are a few ideas to consider ...
Idea 1 - a game:
In groups, have students race to see who can be the first to roll the first 10 digits of pi. You’ll need some 10-sided dice and a template for the first 10 digits like this:
Idea 2 - a paper chain:
Create a PI DAY chain with loops of construction paper. Use a different color for each of the 10 digits. How long will your chain be?
Idea 3 - creative writing:
Write "PI-Ku" poems ..read more

Algebra's Friend

1y ago

It is late in the year to introduce quadratics. These ideas might be something to save for next year.
How can you activate multiple intelligences and involve students in thinking deeply about quadratics? Try using a variety of activities - hands-on, computer simulation, reading, critical thinking and/or a video.
What do you wonder, notice? Examining pictures
Starburst Lab - Discover the pattern
Essay to Read - 101 Uses for a Quadratic Equation
Video to Watch - Quadratics/Parabolas in the Real World
Guided Discovery - Will It Hit the Hoop Desmos Activity
Then use this chart to organiz ..read more

Algebra's Friend

1y ago

Check out Reflections and Tangents postings of "old" calendar problems! Search the name of the month in the search box on her blog. Here are two samples ... ..read more

Algebra's Friend

1y ago

Almost two weeks ago I wrote about "hooks" also known as anticipatory sets or sometimes called warm-ups. The first few minutes of a lesson are critical for establishing student interest and engagement.
But what about closures?!?
Math By the Mountain has developed several posts about the significance of using exit tickets in secondary math classes.
Shelli created an awesome set of prompts for exit tickets ... check them out here. Her prompts could be used not just for exit tickets but also for journal writing!
Sarah shared 25+ Exit Ticket Templates at Math Equals Love.
Ditch ..read more

Algebra's Friend

1y ago

Brian Sztabnik is a highly recognized AP English Teacher. Here’s his quote about the first and last eight minutes of class:
That is the crux of lesson planning right there—endings and beginnings. If we fail to engage students at the start, we may never get them back. If we don’t know the end result, we risk moving haphazardly from one activity to the next. Every moment in a lesson plan should tell.
The eight minutes that matter most are the beginning and endings. If a lesson does not start off strong by activating prior knowledge, creating anticipation, or establishing goals, student interes ..read more

Algebra's Friend

1y ago

Returning to school after the winter break can be challenging for everyone.
Not everyone had a happy holiday; some students may have experienced great disappointments
If you feel reluctant, imagine how your students might feel the same way
It's hard to get back into the groove of a regular school schedule
You can surely expect your middle/high schoolers to be tired!
So how can you engage your students on that very first day? Here are ideas to think about - hopefully, they will spark your own creative ideas! Specifically, plan an "easy" first day back that provides opportunities ..read more

Algebra's Friend

1y ago

Usually, when I think of building number sense, I think about primary math education. I know, though, number sense is something we all must work on all the time! I'm curating ideas for secondary math and building number sense.
Knowing how precisely a high school freshman can estimate the number of objects in a group gives you a good idea of how well he has done in math as far back as kindergarten, researchers at Johns Hopkins University found. This Science Daily article is quite interesting.
This is a go-to book for ideas: Building Powerful Numeracy for Middle an ..read more

Algebra's Friend

2y ago

TUESDAY READ ALOUDS Tuesday by David Wiesner
Tuesday by Wiesner is mostly a wordless book, a mystery, maybe an opportunity to connect to problem-solving.
Two of Everything Book by Lily Toy Hong
In this book, everything the main character puts in a magic pot doubles! This could be a fun book to correlate with input/output math tables!
One Grain of Rice by Demi
This book is about doubling and would go great with working on addition doubles or multiplying by 2, or exponential functions.
PUZZLES AND MORE
Mash-Up Math has SIX free activities for K - 8.
MATH = LOVE HAS A TWOS-day puz ..read more

Algebra's Friend

3y ago

I'm not in the classroom. I'm retired. Why would my opinion on IXL matter?
I still work with students as a tutor. Sometimes, my students ask me to help them with their IXL assignments. There are three things I wish math teachers would consider before assigning IXL.
1) First, IXL promotes the lowest level math practice. I understand why some teachers find this useful - you can choose very specifically the skill you want students to practice. But IXL does not provide practice in critical or creative thinking or in problem solving, simply rote ski ..read more

Algebra's Friend

3y ago

Looking for challenge problems that address SAT, ACT, AMC and a whole host of other ABCs??
I like this Youtube Channel - I think you'll find interesting problems and complete solutions!
How might you use this in class?
1) What if you used it as a bonus for each unit? Or an extension for students who master the required content early?
2) How about asking students if they can find a different way to solve - working on flexibility?
3) What about asking paired students to choose one problem (from your curated selection) to present to the class? Build ..read more