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Showing posts from February, 2024

Less than vs Greater Than

      This is a saying I started telling my Algebra 2 students a few years ago so they could learn the difference between the less than and greater than sign.  This year, I've been using this saying with my middle school students.  

Co-Teaching Tip #3

       In my 10 years of co-teaching I've had 9 different special education teachers. I remember the first time a school was going to keep me with the same co-teacher, I was so excited because it had never happened before.  I always heard, you are a good general education co-teacher and they are a good special education co-teacher so we are going to split you two up to be with co-teachers that need help.  While I understand this thought process, some co-teachers just click really well and work together.       These co-teacher relationships can form quickly or slowly and lots of conversations need to take place.  One year a school sat us down with our co-teachers about day 3 of in service week and we had these discussions.  I remember how awkward it was as a general education teacher yelled at the co-teacher, they wanted nothing to do with co-teaching and the co-teacher could just sit in the back of the room.  I worked with the same co-teacher that year and let me tell you they were

Co-teaching Tip #2

       Creating a positive and inclusive learning environment in a middle/high school classroom requires collaboration and teamwork between general education teachers and special education teachers. Classroom management becomes a joint effort, with both educators working together to set clear expectations, routines, and boundaries that cater to the diverse needs of all students. By establishing consistent and fair disciplinary strategies, such as positive reinforcement and proactive intervention, teachers can foster a sense of safety and respect within the classroom. Lesson planning takes on added significance in an inclusion classroom, as educators strive to differentiate instruction to accommodate varying learning styles and abilities. Through careful planning and collaboration, teachers can design engaging and accessible lessons that address the individualized needs of students with diverse learning profiles. This may involve utilizing a variety of instructional methods, incorporati

Co-teaching Tip #1

        I love co-teaching and working in inclusion classes but this doesn't mean it's always been easy.  I've had the opportunity during these years to have co-teachers that love math, hate math, and some that were terrified of math.  Each co-teaching relationship was different.     Over the years when people ask why I've had successful inclusion classrooms one reason is I respect my co-teacher.  My co-teacher may not love math but they love students.  My co-teacher may not want to teach a single whole group lesson but they may be great with small groups. It starts with respect and knowing that they have earned a teaching degree just like you.       Sadly, I've seen co-teacher be told to just sit in the back of the room, only worry about "your" students, or treated poorly.  In my experience, these classrooms didn't thrive like the other classrooms. A little respect goes a long way.

Finding Slope in Desmos

  Slope can be tricky for students especially with the subset numbers.  If you have students with a calculator accommodation or students who get to use the desmos calculator, here's a quick video on how they can put it in desmos. 

Planning with Canva

  I'm normally a paper planner but this year I've really embraced Canva and all the free features that are available to educators.  If you jump into Canva to try it, I would start with templates as those are typically easy to adjust and need minimal designing on your part.  Here is how I am laying out my calendar this year using Canva.

Encouraging Students

  "I'm bad at math."  "This is too hard." "I'll never understand."      If those are phrases you are hearing in your classroom here, some suggestions for things I have found helpful. I start by asking which part they don't understand.  This often gets the response, "All of it, none of it makes sense."  This used to bother me quite a bit as it was often asked after 10+ minutes of instruction or not mentioned until it was individual work time.   When they say none of it, I will often reply with let's start the beginning, I'm sure there is a part you understand.  Right now we are solving and graphing inequalities.  Students may not understand what x is but they remember the alligator eats the bigger number from elementary school so I start replacing x with numbers and we find what is true.   Before solving inequalities we solved equations and I used the word inverse hundreds of times as we solved.  When a student is stuck on ineq


       Learning to graph inequalities can be a challenge.  My students started a saying last year that has helped them learn the difference between whether it is in an open circle or a closed circle.  While this isn't the mathematical language I would encourage them to use, it does help those who can solve a problem but aren't sure of how to graph.  One question I asked them is why.  By asking why, they are having to explain and thus reinforce that it's a closed circle because it has the equal to line on the inequality meaning that number is a possible solution.  

Integer Rules

  Integer rules can be tricky for students as they learn positive and negatives.   A few years ago, the 6th grade teachers were talking about teaching the fox face to help the students learning integer multiplication and division signs.  This year, I'm teaching 6th graders and this has definitely been helpful.  If your students are struggling with positive and negatives when multiplying or dividing check out this video for a quick method to help them.  

The Email Battle

      One trend I've noticed over the last few years is how quickly you will receive a negative email yet when going above or beyond nothing is mentioned.  I believe this is happening for several reasons and there are ways to make progress here.  First, sending a negative email is much easier to express frustrations than doing it when you see the persons face or talk to them on the phone.  As technology has changed, it seems to have become less personal which I think is contributing to this situation.  Second, I think the learning loss is playing a part in students current struggle/success.   In the math classroom, many of the skills we are currently teaching are skills the students would have been virtual when learning.  I'm not saying virtual learning is or was bad but for some virtual learning was hard so they may have missed the skill or need additional reinforcement.    Third, teacher expectations have risen.  Teachers are working before and after contract hours with stude