Here is a list of great websites offer lots of resources, printable worksheets and tutorials for TI 84:
Friday, December 21, 2012
Saturday, December 15, 2012
How to teach Integers
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 
A fellow teacher asked for help teaching integers. Students are having a real difficult time understanding integer operations and it's very crucial for them to learn it. In the past couple of years, I have tried several methods to teach integers but I find the following method better than others. It's making a lot more sense to the students.
Using Bank Account for Teaching Integers:
105 : I deposited 10 dollars, spent (withdrew) 5.
10+5: I deposited 10, then 5 more.
10+5: I spent 10 dollars, and then deposited 5.
105: I spent 10 dollars at Store A, then spent another 5 at Store B. How much did I spent altogether?
10+(5): I have spent 10, then withdrew 5.
10 (5): This could be a little tricky. I would suggest: Teach them subtracting a negative is the same thing as adding. So they would turn (5) into +5 and then continue thinking as above.
To explain why subtracting a negative becomes adding: You can try debt. Let's say you have a debt of 5 dollars. A friend of yours pays off your debt for you for free. This takes away your debt so your actual account would increase 5 dollars. A little complicated, huh? Then, just tell them to turn that into a plus :)
Friday, November 23, 2012
Teacher's Daily Duties
Image by Rosy / Bad Homburg / Germany from Pixabay 
Some people think that teaching is the easiest job ever. You have summer days off, federal holidays off, sick days, personal days etc. etc. However, they never know teaching is not limited to working hours and many teachers spent their entire summer on professional developments, lesson planing or taking courses. I just wanted to write down my own duties throughout the week just to let you know how sophisticated teaching can be:
Daily Duties / Routine:
 Swipe your time card
 Pick up your attendance book
 Turn on your computer and print out practice/test for students
 Print out weekly grade book for the week
 Print out extra copies of slides for students who need copies, absent, late or suspended
 Provide additional work for students suspended in school
 Go to the copy machine to pick up your copies
 Turn off your cell phone, put it in your drawer
 Prepare some pencils/pens for unprepared students
 Make sure you have enough copies of hall passes
 Check whether the projector is working
 Fill your water/coffee bottle before classes begin
 Grade quizzes, tests, worksheets and enter them to the electronic grading system
 Grade homework and classwork
 Check the students suspended in school, provide them classwork, explain the work for them
 Fill out your sick day/personal leave paperwork or any other documentation
 Use the restroom during your break time so that you don't have to leave during class
 Eat to stay energetic, keep snacks handy
 Go to cafeteria to get your lunch
 Fill your water bottle two more times during the day
 Take attendance on the attendance book/ on electronic grade book
 Enter incidents/referrals/discipline issues to the system
 Respond to emails from staff and administrators
 Run an after school club
 Provide tutoring for students need help
 Tell students their grades if they ask
 Provide students their missing work
 Attend Grade Level/ Department/Staff meetings/ Professional developments
 Make copies for the following day
 Return to your wife's call, tell her when you are leaving
 Fill out the teacher input form for students with disabilities
 You have to call some parents because you gave their kids referrals today
 Write attendance letters to the parents
 Arrange your field trip/college visit/other events you are responsible.
 Saturday School: Tutoring for all students
 You spent at least half the day with the students, other half making copies
 If you don't want to be frustrated on Monday mornings, prepare on Saturday.
 Sunday: At home, lesson planning all day. All plans need to bu submitted before Monday morning.
 Prepare slides, make changes on them, save them on your computer, email them to self just in case
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Syllabus Quiz
Image by Tumisu from Pixabay 
Many teachers go over their syllabus the first day and start teaching the day after. I usually spend four or five days just to go over my syllabus, classroom rules and expectations. It's also important to demonstrate those routines and procedures. To see whether they understood the expectations or not, I also assess them at the end of the week about the classroom procedures.
A syllabus quiz can be an open book quiz where students find and write down the answers easily. Everybody gets a 100 as longs as they know how to read and write. This is not only helpful for covering your first week of school but also gives you an idea of how long it takes students to complete such a task. This will also allow you to establish a weekly assessment routine.
Saturday, November 10, 2012
Daily Quiz
Image by 472301 from Pixabay 
In Holt Power Presentations, a typical lesson ends with a lesson quiz. In the past, I didn't really pay attention to those for several reasons but this year I changed my mind. After teaching a lesson, I wanted to check if they really understood what they have just learned and I can use that input data for the following class. This year I have two periods of math every day with the same group of students. This is my daily routine for those two periods:
First period:
Bellwork
Instruction
Guided Practice
Lesson Quiz
Independent Practice
Homework
Second period:
Lesson Quiz (going over it)
Reteach (if necessary)
Independent Practice
Lesson Quiz is a great tool that gives me instant feedback to see whether students have understood the concept or not. A Lesson Quiz has five questions: One easy, two normal, one difficult, and one more problem solving. While giving a lesson quiz, I also have such a procedure:
I pass out the quiz paper
Students show all their work and circle their final answers
Since it's open ended, they need to be graded
If I can quickly grade them I would show the students what they received on the quiz
In the next class, we go over the same problems if they missed any of the questions.
Daily Quiz is a major component of my assessment policy and students really try hard since it's quick, short and gives them instant feedback. I can also recommend using clickers for such quick grading where you don't have to grade all the papers on your own. However, I like seeing the students' work and I always tell them they can still receive credit even though their final answer is not accurate.
Friday, November 9, 2012
Starting a New Marking Period Strong
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 
I always make a fresh start every marking period by making some changes, announcing new things and adjusting my grading policy. It's also a great opportunity to get better in classroom management by improving your daily routines and make them work better. For this new parking period, I wanted to go over a couple of things with my students so that they will remember the classroom rules, expectations and many other things. I usually do that on the first day of the marking period and it takes about a regular class time.
Some teachers think that they can't afford to lose this much instructional time, but I think the opposite. Think about the benefits of "not losing instructional time" later in the year. If students ask questions, it turns into a discussion which is good. I also prepare a handout which requires them to take notes during the presentation and evaluate this as a classwork grade. You may find the following websites helpful to set up your classroom rules and expectations:
Thursday, November 8, 2012
MathDrills.com
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 
If you haven't come across with this website yet, hurry up! Math Drills is providing thousands of ready to print worksheets for students who need more practice with their foundational skils. I have downloaded so many of their worksheets until now and I have used them many times in my classroom. Here is a short description of the website:
Welcome to MathDrills.com where we have over 13,000 free math worksheets with answer keys. At MathDrills.com, we strive to provide highquality printable math worksheets for teachers, parents, home schoolers and other educators. Please choose a category from our navigation menu above or scroll down for more information.
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Using a SmartBoard
Interactive Boards are very common in today's classrooms and a lot of teachers are using them. I have used multiple smartboards during my teaching career, and they have their own advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages:
 You can create your own lessons with the software.
 You can find thousands of lesson plans on their website.
 You can involve students in your teaching by allowing them to touch the screen.
 You can use it with other files/documents where you can write on them.
 You can save your work to use in another class.
 You have to be in front of the class all the time which takes the power from you.
 You might have technical difficulties any time, so you need to come up with a backup plan.
 Some smart boards do not allow you to write with more than one marker at a time.
 Some smart boards need to be mounted on the wall and hard to remove somewhere else.
Benefits of Smart Boards
Here I have listed the most popular interactive board companies:
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
First in Math
firstinmath.com 
First in Math is an online math program by Suntex Inc. The program is designed around 24 game which has been very popular across the nation. I have used this program with my middle school students, and they really liked it. It can also be used with elementary grades. The program is very helpful for foundations such as multiplication and division. Students love it since the program has its own incentives and allows them to compete schoolwide or nationwide with their peers.
Monday, November 5, 2012
MathCounts
MathCounts is a nation wide math competition which has regional, state and national chapters. The competition is open for middle school students in grades 6 through 8. You may find more information on their website: http://mathcounts.org/
Saturday, November 3, 2012
Flipped Classrooms
Image by WOKANDAPIX from Pixabay 
Some research say 85 % of the teachers who flipped their classrooms have seen increase in their test scores. Personally, I believe that the students need to spend more time on practice rather than direct instruction. In the past, a flipped classroom model may not have worked if the students did not have a computer or internet connection at home. However, there are mobile apps for flipped classrooms where students can actually watch videos anywhere.
For more information, you may visit the following websites:
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Problem Solving Strategies
After reading Comprehending Math, I decided to ask students three essential questions while solving problems. Those questions are only a few that I took from Arthur Hyde's Braided Model. Those three questions help students to break down a word problem, understand it and develop strategies for solving. As a classroom teacher, you can turn these questions into a routine every time they come across word problems. Students can write down their responses or simply exchange ideas to help others lead to a solution.
Here is an example: The sum of three numbers is 98. The ratio of the first to
the second is 2:3, and the ratio of the second to the third is 5:8. What is the
value of the second number?
1) WHAT DO I KNOW FOR SURE?
Sample response: I know that the sum of the three numbers in 98. The ratio of the first number to the second is 2 to 3 and the ratio of the second number to the third is 5 to 8.
2) WHAT DO I WANT TO KNOW, FIGURE OUT OR DO?
Sample response: We would like to know what the second number is.
3) HOW CAN I SOLVE THIS PROBLEM?
Sample response: Since the second number is mentioned twice, I need to find the greatest common multiple of 3 and 5 and then represent the numbers as algebraic expressions. GCF (3,5)=15 so I can use the following expressions for each number:
Number one= 10x
Number two = 15x
Number three= 24x
You can see that these numbers will satisfy the ratios mentioned in the problem:
(10 to 15 is same as 2 to 3) and (15 to 24 is same as 5 to 8)
I will then add these three expressions 10x+15x+24x = 49x
Since 49x = 98 x=2 and now we can tell the numbers are 20, 30 and 48 respectively.
Singapore Math Experience
First, let's start with Singapore. You know that one of the highest math learners are in Singapore according to a study here. US being behind Singapore, some folks decided to bring Singapore Math curriculum into the United States. I believe that they did a great job. What makes Singapore Math so special is that:
 They don't have fancy, thousandpage textbooks.
 Their textbooks are simple, to the point, full of exercise and unlike their rivals not so much colorful.
 Their math goes in a sequential order so there are not much repetitions.
 Third grade math taught in third grade, no unnecessary repeats in later grades.
I think this is what Common Core people are trying to do right now. Other than those, Singapore Math has a different approach for teaching algebra, numbers and problem solving. You may see some of their work on Khan Academy as well. (Edit: They removed Singapore Math content from their website but they are still available on their Youtube channel)
Alright, I decided to use Singapore Math in my middle school classes because my students were missing lots of foundational skills which were supposed to be taught in elementary school such as long division or decimal multiplication. I decided to spend at least one class a week targeting those concepts but at the same time I didn't want to bore advanced learners.
So, I decided to test them all first to see which grade level they will fall into. In order to be able to do this, I have used Singapore Math Placement tests starting with 1A level. It says that on the website, if a student receives 80% or more, they can move onto a higher level test. A few students scored at 1A level and the others passed. I continued testing them until they score at any point below 80 %. Some students went all the way up to 4A and 4B level. These students were my advanced learners.
To be clear with the grade levels, do not assume that the middle school students are scoring at an elementary level. since they are not taught the Singapore way, it's quite normal for them to get wrong answers with the math questions they have never seen before. I have only done this to see where they belong according to Singapore Math curriculum and what level good be a good start for them.
Later on, I have shared them privately how they scored on the tests. Then, I have made copies of Singapore math textbooks in order to help them learn those concepts. They studied through the practice books and I have recorded their progress through those packets. This took me about two or three months in total but I have seen great improvement with some students.
For example, I had a very smart eighth grade student who didn't learn long division ever and I was able to teach him since he had to do lots of long division with those packets. At the end of the program, I had two types of students: The ones who liked it and the ones who hated it. I guess there were couple things missing at this cycle which I couldn't afford to do. Let me summarize the learning circle:
 They take a test and we identify students' level.
 Students start practicing (completing the packets with the teacher's assistance)
 Teacher gives them feedback on their mistakes and they learn from those mistakes [Yes, I skipped this part]
 Students fix the mistakes and they retake the test they failed before.
 Students score more than 80% on the same test, so they can move on.
 Students scoring less than 80% means they need intervention.
By the way, I created a spreadsheet to keep track of which packet they have finished, what they got on the placement tests etc. When you put them all together, this was too much work but it gave me lots of new ideas to try:
Last year, I was teaching summer school where the students failed their math class and I had only fifteen days with them. Looking for what would be the best thing to work with them, I decided to implement Singapore Math curriculum. I did the same thing as above, except for one thing: giving them feedback. Since I had only five students, I was able to grade each packet and circle their mistakes, ask them go over again and fix them as much as possible.
This was very helpful since I saw the students actually improving their scores and learning the basic concepts which they never learned before (such as reading time, converting customary units and measurement). Everything seemed to be alright but we only had fifteen days so it was a little short to gain a great amount of success.
Overall, I still love the Singapore math curriculum but I would rather have students start with this curriculum in their first grade and become fluent with their foundational math skills. If you have any ideas, suggestions, you can share them here.
Saturday, October 27, 2012
Math Game Night Ideas
Image by April Bryant from Pixabay 
Students sit around like in a spelling bee contest. They go up on the stage and answer the questions by doing mental math.
Round 1: This round consists of questions 110 time tables problems.
Examples: 5 x 4 = ? 7 x 8 = ?
Round 2: This round consists of two digit by one digit multiplication problems
( 11x 1 to 19 x 10)
Examples: 12 x 8 = ? 14 x 5 = ?
Round 3: This round consists of two digit by two digit multiplication digit. ( 11x11 to 19x20)
Examples: 25 x 20 = ? 17 x 12 = ?
For this round, a multiplication table will be distributed to participants prior to the competition. In case of a tie, students will be asked harder problems.
Game 24:
Student sign up for the competition. Game will be performed as a tournament. In each round, two students compete against each other and the winner goes to next level. In each round, students are to answer three questions.
Jeopardy:
First option:
In Jeopardy, there will be four players competing against each other. Every student will represent their homeroom.
Second option:
Four students will be selected randomly from the audience. Student sign up before the game and a raffle takes place in front of the audience. After the raffle students go up and compete against each other.
Are you smarter than a seventh grader?
A group of 11the graders compete with a group of 7th graders. Questions will be from all subject areas of 7th grade. 7th grade students will be picked by the teachers. 11th graders need to sign up.
Millionaire:
The winners of the game show will be able to play at the millionaire. During the game they are allowed to ask the audience, call an outsider, or go 50/50.
Classroom Discipline 101
I am going to recommend you a great resource which is worth a lot more than it costs. Craig Seganti is an experienced teacher especially in urban schools with the toughest students you can ever imagine. I have purchased his ebook and read it thoroughly. I will strongly recommend his product not only for new teachers but also everybody else. It's only $39.95 and you can download it instantly.
Why do I recommend it: Is because I have used his classroom rules, his techniques and followed his other strategies which worked out quite well in my class. I have also seen a couple of other teachers using similar strategies and they were also successful. Here is the link, check it out:
Never Yell at the Students
Image by ashish choudhary from Pixabay 
Students do a lot of things to drive teachers crazy. There will be moments where it's very hard to control yourself in those situations. Yelling at a student never gives you power; instead it takes power from you and gives it to the child. Yelling means: I don't know how to stop you or how to control this class other than yelling. Yelling also makes a person stressed, tired, and eventually the teacher wishes to quit his/her job. Even at times when the kids can be very annoying, you need to be able to control yourself.
Thursday, October 25, 2012
Khan Academy
I don't know if there is anyone out there who hasn't heard about Khan Academy yet. I am a big fan of Khan especially the Practice part. I have used Khan Academy videos for personal development and recommended students to watch them. I have created student accounts for my math club and monitored their progress throughout the year. One of our seventh graders went all the way up to trigonometry and he is still practicing. I love the sequence and pacing in math since students cannot learn advanced topics if they don't have the foundational skills. http://www.khanacademy.org/
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
First Day of the School Toolkit for Teachers
Image by Dorothe from Pixabay 
In order to start your first day smoothly, you may consider following some of my advice here:
 Obtain a student list from the administration.
 Place a sticker on each desk and number them.
 Greet students at the entrance and introduce yourself.
 Tell each student where to seat. (You can simply tell them: Go to Desk number 4. You will see there are numbers on the desks)
 I have seen some teachers prefer to write students' names on the desks.
 Seating chart could be made alphabetically. You can adjust it later on.
 If possible, show the seating chart on the board by using an LCD projector or a smartboard.
 Prepare a first day assignment, preferably a short survey about the student.
 After they settle down and complete their first assignment; distribute your syllabus.
 Now you can talk about your course outline, classroom rules and expectations.
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