Monday, May 28, 2012

Famous

I was looking through my blog stats tonight and I found that I've been pinned on Pintrest (one of the pictures from my teaching portfolio) and mentioned in an education blog (3-6 Free Resources)! I was just a little excited and wanted to share :)

Survey

I just finished a survey to help me understand better what types of material teachers are looking for. If you'd like to give me some feedback you can find it at http://survey.breezethroughmath.com. As a little incentive, anyone who completes the survey can download my fully customizable Tic-Tac-Toe PowerPoint Template for free! This is the same template I'm selling for $2.99 on TeachersPayTeachers.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Teaching Portfolio

About 6 months ago the husband of my good friend got a job in California and she needed to look for a new teaching job in that area. I had hired her about 4 years previously when I was the Head of Middle and High School Math in Puerto Rico and she asked if I could help her put together some information for an application in the States. I convinced her that she really needed a teaching portfolio and she took my advice and allowed me to create it for her. I was quite proud of the work. A couple weeks ago she gave me a call to let me know that she'd received two job offers and one was from her "top choice" school (!) She also mentioned that every school she applied to LOVED the teaching portfolio.


If you're looking to switch teaching jobs and want to stand out (and let's be honest, in this economy we all need to stand out) I would suggest creating a portfolio. I've uploaded my own, and the one I created for my friend with any personal details altered to protect the innocent :)

If you'd like to have your own teaching portfolio you can contact me and I'll be happy to design one for you. If you'd like to make your own I have listed some of the items I feel are most important:

  1. Attractive cover page with a theme that is carried throughout the portfolio
  2. Table of contents
  3. Resume
  4. Teaching Philosophy
  5. Work Samples (lesson plans, bulletin boards, worksheets you have created)
  6. Projects (I highly, highly suggest a section on 21st Century Learning because this is BIG in schools right now!)
  7. Extracurricular Activities (schools like to see that you are going to go above and beyond)
  8. References


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Multiplication Quizzes

Two of my cousin's kids are staying for a visit this summer while she's working on the new Harrison Ford movie. Like all kids, they have some areas they're struggling in and my aunt and I have been working to help them improve. The oldest boy is working on timed multiplication tests so I thought I'd post a freebie quiz. It has EVERY multiplication fact from 1x1 to 12x12 all mixed up. There are actually only 78 facts since I've removed duplicates (3x5 is the same as 5x3). Here's the freebie and if you're looking for more worksheets I have a set of 10 available on my TPT store for $1.50. (For the flashcards cut on the solid lines and fold on the dotted lines!)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

50 Great Ideas For Use After State Testing

Need some ideas to use after End-of-Grade or End-of-Course Testing? I put together a list of 50 ideas that you can download here. These are not just for math teachers so feel free to share with your colleagues!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Great Software

To a math teacher, a worksheet generator can be a lifesaver. Sometimes you have the kid who always finishes everything fast and needs more work. Sometimes you have the kid that needs more or less challenging problems. Or the kid that wants extra practice for a test. Sometimes you forgot to write that test or quiz you were supposed to write the night before...a worksheet generator can help you with all of those problems.

 My favorite generator out there is produced by Kuta Software (www.kutasoftware.com). Right now they have four programs (Infinite Pre-Algebra, Infinite Algebra 1, Infinite Algebra 2, and Infinite Geometry) and are anticipating Infinite Calculus in the fall of 2012. All you have to do is choose the topic you want, choose how many of those questions you'd like, and choose the options you prefer (size of numbers, variable letters, use positives/negatives, allow zero as an answer, etc). You can opt for open ended or multiple choice questions! The only downfall, in my opinion, is that the answers to the multiple choice answers seem to be random. I'd like to see the answers calculated with a "common mistake" formula that students would be likely to use. But, on the positive side, you can always go in and change the answer choices if you're willing to spend a little time.

From their website you can download sample worksheets or a trial version of the program that's good for 14 days!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Mathletics

I wanted to take a few minutes to talk about my favorite online math program. It's called Mathletics produced by an Australian based company, 3PLearning. The program consists of several parts:
  1. Live Mathletics - 60 second, rapid-fire, basic math questions where students go head to head with other kids around the world (or a computer if they prefer). It covers addition and subtraction to 99, multiplication and division of facts up to 10.
  2. Practice Tests & Activities - These are based off the US National Curriculum but can be altered by the school's Mathletics contact. Typically the students have 10 question activities where they can practice their skills answering questions. Results are logged for the teacher's use. They also have pre- and post-tests for entire units.
  3. Challenger Tests - I never had this feature while I was teaching so I'm not sure how it works in the classroom. In theory, however, you should be able to set tests and compare the students with the US National Standards.
  4. Workbooks - Printable workbooks for every grade level and multiple topics. Again, this feature wasn't available when I was teaching but I've since had the opportunity to browse through the workbooks and they're as good as any I've purchased in the store!
  5. Demonstrations - See the Mathletics page just like a student would see it to show them what is expected. Also can be used to work through sample problems in class. 
  6. Teacher Toolkit - Again, a lot of this is new but they have some lesson planning ideas, an interactive dictionary, teaching widgets, and video presentations. 
This program WORKS. My most successful case was a special needs student who, at the beginning of the year, could answer four questions in a 60 second game. By the end of the year he had improved to answering 70 questions in the same amount of time. Kids love challenging other students, especially kids in other countries for some reason. They can't talk to the kids, they can't see pictures, can't see last names, so they're safe and they're learning math. If you're a Math teacher that has access to the lab and are willing to ensure that your students work with the program, I highly suggest that you contact them for a free trial!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Cheeze-It Math

I was thinking about the Cheeze-It Math activity where students use the crackers to study Perimeter and Area. Really cool idea but if I'm going to spend the money to buy students a snack I want to make sure it's going to make them do a fair amount of math work. I was thinking that I'd use the Cheeze-Its as a review activity to cover Perimeter & Area, Square Roots, and Division/Factorization. The Square Roots are pretty easy (see how many crackers are needed to make a square, then count a side) but the division would probably be the most helpful in my opinion. If the students are trying to factor 24, give them 24 crackers and have them place them in a rectangle (This could be done with 1x24, 2x12, 3x8, 4x6). Each of the dimensions is a factor of the whole number. I think I might write the activity for my TeachersPayTeachers site!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Welcome

Welcome to my blog for all things related to teaching math. It might take me a few days/weeks to get things up and running but be sure to check back for new things I've updated. I can guarantee some links to my TeachersPayTeachers storefront, some freebies, and hopefully I'll eventually get my act together for some giveaways!