Monday, January 16, 2017

Linear Equation Solving Resources & Ideas

Solving Linear Equations Resources for Secondary Math

Last year I wrote about my favorite tips and tricks for teaching linear equation solving.  See the original post here.  Today I’d like to highlight some fun resources that you might enjoy in your classroom.

Free Resources & Amazing Ideas from Awesome Blogs

Have you checked out my new line of differentiated resources?  I am currently working on differentiated notes and practice for eighth grade math.  The linear equations unit is almost complete, and you can scoop up a FREE comprehensive lesson on Solving Equations with the Variable on Each Side today!
Have you checked out my new line of differentiated resources?  I am currently working on differentiated notes and practice for eighth grade math.  The linear equations unit is almost complete, and you can scoop up a FREE comprehensive lesson on Solving Equations with the Variable on Each Side today!

Mandy from Math Dyal shared an awesome blog post about her favorite activities for solving equations.  Read more about how she uses puzzles, coloring, interactive notes, and more to engage her students in meaningful math practice!

Karrie from Mrs E Teaches Math has an awesome FREE Solving Equations Stations Maze.  This is such a fun way to get your students moving around the classroom and engaged in a meaningful math activity!

Randi from 4 the Love of Math has a super helpful FREE Solving One and Two Step Equations: Basic Guided Notes resource available for download in her TpT store.  Awesome review for Pre-Algebra and Algebra students!

I also have a FREE Solving Multi-Step Linear Equations Partner Practice Activity that I created for Christmas, but can really be used at any time of the year!  This is a great way to ensure students complete their own work, while having the ability to check with a partner.

Check out Mrs. Nix's Resource Recommendations for Linear Equations

Multi-Step Linear Equations Sum Em Activity by Mrs E Teaches Math

Multi-Step Equations Discovery Lesson by Algebra and Beyond

Solving Equations Pennant {multi-step} by Scaffolded Math and Science

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Homework in the Middle School Math Classroom

Homework in the middle school math classroom - steps to a positive routine and other benefits
I am not a big fan of the latest pendulum swing against homework.  I have always had a 100% balanced-approach attitude toward education, and to me, no homework seems like a bit of an extreme measure.

Homework, when done correctly, is a positive thing.  Here are some things I keep in mind when assigning homework in my middle school math classroom.

Reinforce Classwork
Homework should involve targeted practice that reinforces the work done in class.  I always make sure that it directly relates to what we are currently working on.

Easier than Classwork
If I have two versions of practice, I send the easier of the two versions home with students.  I would rather the struggle occur while they have me available as a resource, as well as their peers.

Homework facilitates development of responsibility, time manangement, perseverance, and self-esteem

Start in Class
Why does starting homework in class get such a bad rap?  It’s a great way for students to try a couple of problems, ask questions if they realize they are not sure what to do, and go home with some problems modeled for themselves (or parents if they try to help).

Time Limit
Impose a time limit.  I tell my students at the beginning of the year that if their homework ever takes longer than 30 {focused} minutes, they should stop and have a parents sign a quick note.

Provides Healthy Routine
Being responsible for a moderate amount of homework provides opportunity for a healthy after school routine to develop.  Having a set time and place where students can do their homework is instrumental to their success.

Develop Time Management Skills
The development of time management and organization skills will impact student learning in high school, college, and beyond.

For additional information, check out this great article from Concordia University about how homework benefits students.

Join in the conversation, and let me know what you think!

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Monday, January 2, 2017

Discovery-Based Learning

Why & How to Incorporate Discovery-Based Learning in your Math Classroom

According to the Learning Principle of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, “Students must learn mathematics with understanding, actively building new knowledge from experience and prior knowledge.”  There are many ways to accomplish this, and it’s important that you, the teacher, develop a teaching strategy that can accomplish this goal while using your own personal strengths.

Discovery-based learning and light bulb moments!
To tap into students’ prior knowledge, I love to begin a new topic with a discovery-based – or inquiry-based – activity.  My discovery-based worksheets have been specially designed to engage students in learning that moves beyond traditional skills practice.  Students develop a deeper understanding of the big idea and make connections between concepts. 

The most important things to keep in mind when designing your own inquiry lessons are to prepare a series of questions to pose to students and to give them lots of time to complete the tasks – typically in pairs or small groups.  These tasks should be selected such that they lead students to discover patterns on their own without explicit notes.  Once students have had ample time to play with the material, allow summary in the form of classroom discussion and brief, written notes.

I believe in a balanced approach to math education. I believe in a balanced approach to math education. When I develop my unit plan, I try to incorporate one or two discovery-based lessons to engage students in the content and facilitate connection-building between concepts.  Then for each topic, I provide brief, organized notes so that students have a resource to look back at for problem solving steps and specific examples.  Finally, I vary my practice activities so that students are doing something new each day within the particular unit.  In my class we use scavenger hunts, mini-white board practice, practice problems at the front board, task cards, card games, card sorts, and sometimes just a worksheet will do the trick!

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