Category Archives: Daily Life

#TeacherThoughtsTuesday: Student Engagement

 #TeacherThoughtsTuesday

Student Engagement


Student engagement. Those words are the dream and the nightmare for every school teacher no matter what subject or age group. Everywhere.

Engagement is easily one of the hardest parts about being a teacher. Getting students to buy into what you’re teaching, without questioning the purpose or disagreeing with the usefulness, is the ultimate goal. Teachers dream of having students engage themselves in the content. Our goal is to have students who want to know more about the skills and ideas being taught.

Student engagement is the dream and the nightmare for teachers of every subject & age group. Everywhere.

I know, some of you are thinking, “When I was a in school we just had to sit, listen, and take notes. No one cared if we were into the lesson or wanted to know more about a given topic.” While that may be true (to a point), there is tremendous value in having a lesson where students can clearly see the point, the ‘why’, and have the desire to learn the about the topic or master the skill.

Without engagement in what is being taught the subject, whatever it may be, becomes stale and boring because there is no personal involvement. You can’t make students love math but you can make them want to find the answer to an engaging question. For instance, most of my students could really not care less about how to solve a system of linear equations, but if I ask them which cell phone plan is the better deal for a certain contract time they want to find the answer because they can see immediate pay-off in knowing how to find the answer.

Algebra is all around us, hidden in plain sight as normal, day-to-day consumer decisions.

In an age where many students can’t see the value in learning something that isn’t immediately applicable to their lives finding something they can relate to is vital. I’m not saying there aren’t going to be lessons (or even whole units) that won’t be immediately useful to them, but the more you can bring in the day to day usefulness of math the more likely they are to believe you when you tell them that they will, indeed, use math after high school. (Even if they don’t solve the problems the same way…)

Algebra is all around us; hidden in plain sight as normal day-to-day consumer decisions.

As a fourth year teacher, I’m really just starting out on my journey to becoming an effective teacher. I think if I can add a few great, engaging ideas to my lessons every term I’ll get there… 

Eventually.

Though, I’ve heard the really great teachers never believe they’ve mastered it all!


Do you have ideas about day-to-day consumer topics you think fit well into the math classroom? Have some of your own teacher thoughts to share?

 

I want to hear them!
♥♥♥ Leave me some comment love below. ♥♥♥

 

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#MathLovinMonday: Everyone is a Math Person


#MathLovinMonday

Everyone is a Math Person


There are lots of words that I don’t like to hear used in my classroom. Most of them are swear words. A few others fall into the category of, what I call, confidence killers. The worst of the Confidence Killers is one simple, five-word phrase heard in nearly every math classroom in the country, if not the world.

“I’m not a math person.”

As soon as the student utters those words you know you’re in for a battle. 

Mathematical skill is not genetic!

If your parents were good at math it doesn’t mean you automatically get a free pass into the set of students who excel at math. Likewise, if one or both of your parents were bad at math it says absolutely nothing about what your own experience in math will be like.

You wouldn’t go around telling people that your parents didn’t read well so it’s okay if you don’t read well either. If you did people would think that you were lazy and just didn’t want to put in the work to learn how to read. Why is math any different? Why is socially acceptable to be “bad at math”? When did this repetitive falsehood become the most heard response from my students when they don’t understand something right away?

Your brain grows when you make mistakes...

Math is just like any other skill that must be learned. If you don’t practice you won’t improve. Basketball players didn’t learn how to do a lay-up perfectly on the first day the skill was introduced. They spent hours practicing on their own and running drills with their teammates. If their coach asked them to do half an hour of practice on their own over the weekend most of them wouldn’t even give it a second though.

Mathematics is no different.

If you believe that you can succeed and are willing to do the work, then you will succeed.

If you don’t believe that you can learn the skills or you’re not willing to do the work, then you won’t succeed.

Just the same as everything else!

Everyone can do math!

So, what can you do to get better at math?

8 Tips to Improve Your Mathematical Skills

    1. Know and understand the basics before you go on! Mathematics is cumulative, everything you do builds on prior skills and knowledge so if you don’t understand the basic skills you won’t be successful with the intermediate or advanced skills. This might might mean going back to a skill you should have learned last year, the year before, or even before that in order to really understand the current topic. (Yep, this probably means some extra work.

    2. Take notes! Seriously, write down the examples your teacher does on the board, read through the examples in the textbook, and, for the love of all things mathematical, make yourself a formula sheet! As a teacher I can assure you that I don’t write things on the board because I need it there to teach the skill, I write it there so that my students can see what is going on as I’m talking about it. They can see it as it happens!

    3. Do your homework and do extra practice as needed.  No, really. I know it sucks to have to spend time at home doing things for school, but you have to do the practice to improve the skill. There simply is not enough time in the classroom for you to get enough time working on each skill. If you’re really having trouble with something you might even have to do some problems that aren’t assigned for extra practice. Extra practice problems can be acquired from your teacher or from numerous online resources, just google the name of the skill you’re working on!

    4. Show your work and do it as neatly as possible. Don’t try to work out the problem in your head, it might work for simple problems but when you get to the more advanced stuff it probably won’t. Also, if you’re really having a hard time with a skill don’t just write down the mathematical work, write down what you’re thinking. Maybe not word for word, but write yourself enough to know what you were thinking when you have another similar problem later on so you have someplace to start from.
    5. If at all possible, draw a picture to go with the problem. The more senses you can incorporate into your problem solving the more engaged your brain will be. Usually word or application problems lend themselves well to picture drawing. Use the picture to help you pull out the important elements of the problem and sort out the stuff that isn’t important.

    6. Learn and practice all the methods for solving a given type of problem. In math, there is almost always more than one way to solve a certain type of problem, and being able to use the various solving methods can only be a good thing. Usually people gravitate toward a favorite method, but knowing other methods can be helpful, especially since many types of problems have cases where one method is the most efficient or where one method may not work at all.

    7. Ask for help. Understand. Don’t memorize! You don’t have to do it by yourself. Even if you’re teaching yourself or don’t like your classroom teacher there are, literally, thousands of people online who have made videos and written tutorials. There are thousands of people who browse question forums everyday looking for questions that they are able to answer. People who are “good at math” ask for help when they don’t understand something. Recognizing when you don’t understand something is vitally important for the growth of mathematical skills.

    8. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. If you never make a mistake, you will never learn anything. So write it down with confidence and if you mess up… so what. Everyone makes mistakes. Every math student has made a mistake, the good ones learn from those mistakes. The ones who think they are “bad at math” let those mistakes define them and don’t push through to find out what they did wrong. The what and the why are important. What did you do wrong and why did you do it that way?

8 Tips to Improve Math Skills

Thanks for reading! Come back next Monday for another installment of #MathLovinMonday!

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A New Beginning

Well here I am again. Ready for a fresh start, a new beginning.

I’m going to give this blogging bit another chance. I’ve never been one to give something up or throw things away easily. (Just ask my husband.) I’ve been thinking about the blogging a lot lately and decided that I wanted to come back, but this time I’m not going to do the things that I’ve read I’m supposed to do to have a successful blog. I’m just going to write about whatever I feel like writing about. I’m not going to try and fit into a niche.

I think having a niche blog is good for some people.  Having a place to belong is nice! I think I’m just going to roam around a bit.

I have too many interests and my time is too valuable and scarce for me to want to back myself into a corner. I want to write about lots of things!

I want to tell stories about my day as a math teacher and maybe even share some neat lessons I’ve done. I want to write about my adventures in motherhood. I want to share ideas for crafts or recipes I’ve tried. I want to write about products I like, books I’ve read, and books I read to my daughter.

I want to challenge myself to enjoy blogging more this time, without feeling like I need to do certain things or write a certain way to fit in to what is expected.

I thought about changing the name of my blog, but after a lot of thought I really can’t come up with a better pseudonym than The Math Lovin’ Momma, at least not without getting unnecessarily wordy. Math and being a Momma are two of the things in my life about which I am most passionate.

So, loyal readers (if you’re still out there), I’m back and this time I’m doing it my way.

 

Friday Family Fun Blog Hop #5

Welcome to the Math Lovin’ Momma’s Friday Family Fun Blog Hop!

Take a look around, check out our featured post for the week,
then link up your own post and find a new blogger to love! We also appreciate any likes, comments, and shares you’d like to give!

Get ready for week 5!

I love to read blog posts about family vacation and road trips, family game nights, and crafts that are fun for the whole family. I like stories about family time gone wrong, family time gone right, and everything in between.

My family members are the most important people in my life. So  I think it’s only natural to want to learn more about places I might want to go and things I might want to do with those special people. (Maybe some food I’d like to cook with them!)

 This Week’s Featured Posts:

 Without further ado, I want to introduce this week’s featured blogger!

Be sure to grab the graphic below for your post! Just copy and paste the html code onto the end of your blog post!

The Math Lovin' Momma


My featured blog post this week is written by Claudia, The Busy Blogging Mom! Her post,
How to Accommodate Different Foods and Needs – 7 Tips, isn’t just for families with diverse diet needs! Most of her tips are just good practice for busy families.  

My favorite tip?

Don’t be afraid to try new things!

Some of my family’s favorite meals are ones that I decided to try on a whim. If you don’t try it you’ll never know if you like it. Plus, how are you going to build up a list of ‘go-to’ recipes if you eat the same thing every week? Do yourself a favor and go check out the other 6 tips.

If you didn’t post last week but want to join in this week keep reading for the details!

Here’s How it Works!

Please help support me by following me on my social media profiles listed in the sidebar. While you’re hopping be sure to come back and vote for your favorite posts so we can pick a reader’s choice next week. I will be pinning and tweeting all the posts linked up!

Readers: Check out the list of blog posts below. Click on any that sound like they would be interesting to you! Read, comment, and/or share to show your support for the posts you like! Come back to the list and comment with your favorite post, that way next week I can showcase the reader favorite!

Bloggers: Link up any post related to Family. Then visit a couple of the other blogs listed and see what  they have to say, leave a comment, and maybe even share a post that you loved! Come back to the list and comment with your favorite post, that way next week I can showcase the reader favorite! If you’re so inclined, grab my blog button and put it on your post to show others where you linked up!

Grab button for THE MATH LOVIN’ MOMMA

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<a href=”http://www.mathlovinmomma.com” rel=”nofollow”>
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Next week, along with the reader favorite, I’ll pick a few of my favorites and highlight them in the link up post.

The link up will be open from Friday 5/13 at 9:00 PM CST to Tuesday 5/17 at midnight CST. Please feel free to share with friends!

If you like what you just read please click to send a quick vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs- The best mommy blog directory featuring top mom bloggers

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Save Money Everyday with Groupon Coupons

This is a sponsored post. All opinions expressed within are 100% my own.

This is a Math Lovin’ Momma #Sponsored Post.

Save Money Every Day with Groupon Coupons

Anyone who knows me also knows that I love a good sale, great coupons, and saving money on things my family needs (and sometimes wants)! Sure there are things worth paying full price for, but if I can get it on sale or with a coupon it makes them all the better in my book.  This is where Groupon Coupons come in.

If you’ve never used Groupon before it is definitely worth your time to at least check it out.

You can search by stores you frequent. For instance, I can visit Groupon and search for Kohl’s and it will bring up a list of coupons currently available for use at my local store. Plus, with Groupon Coupons I can get instant access to the best coupons available without waiting for a weekly email or monthly circular!

Groupon Coupons

My favorite perk that comes with being a Groupon user is being able to search for deals on spur of the moment purchases. We all have those items that get added to our shopping list at the last minute. With Groupon, instead of going to each store website individually I can just type in the type of item I’m looking for and it will tell me exactly what coupons are available for that item! Easy as pie.

Easy as pie.

My absolute favorite brand to check on? Definitely Shutterfly. I used to watch for emails with daily, weekly, or monthly deals. Then I’d have to keep the email in a folder for easy access or write the codes down along with the promotion end date in case I wanted to used them. It worked. It wasn’t pretty or efficient, but it worked.

Now I have a better way!

Shutterfly Groupon Coupons

That’s 19 codes I didn’t have to write down, 19 emails I didn’t have to save, and 19 minutes longer I can spend with Dragonling because I didn’t have to hunt for that promo code!

Do yourself and your budget a favor, go check out Groupon Coupons!

You can also follow Groupon on Facebook and Twitter to get information about
great deals in your area!

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Summer is Coming

Summer is coming
Summer is coming. Slowly but surely, little by little. 

Twenty days and counting.

Friday… one day closer.
 
For many people their favorite day of the week.
 
As a teacher, I have a love/hate relationship with Friday’s. It’s the last day before I have some time away from full-time teacher duty but it is also the day I get the least amount of focus from my students.
 
It usually starts out pretty well, but by the last class of the day if I can get them to stay on task for half an hour I’m doing pretty good.
 
By fifth block today, I was tired and a little frustrated because my fourth-hour students weren’t understanding the skills we were working on as well as I thought they would. So instead of getting them started on the activity and walking around to check in with each set of partners I ended up running all over the room answering questions for which I knew they should already have the answers.
 
After about ten minutes of constant questions, I started asking myself, ‘Why don’t they understand this concept? What did I forget to teach them? How can I help them learn this concept?’ And on and on.
 
Then I stopped to reflect on what I had done to help them learn these skills.
 
My thought process went something like this, ‘We have been working on these skills all week. Each day I added a little more complexity and a couple more vocabulary terms that fit into the big idea. Building up ideas a little bit at a time. I’ve given them a notes page each day to fill in important information as it comes up. I’ve even looked at and provided feedback on all their practice work in a timely manner. What else do I need to do? Why aren’t they getting it?’
 
I went into fifth-hour with these thoughts at the forefront of my mind.
 
Just like in the previous class, I explained the activity and broke my students up into random partnerships. At this point, one of my students decided that she would have nothing of working with a person I chose and walked out. (Par for the course on a Friday…) After that brief interruption everyone got started and, as before, I expected to just make leisurely rounds checking for understanding occasionally and making sure everyone was on track. (Fingers crossed that my misjudgment was isolated to just one class.)
 
I was hoping to hear some good mathematical discussion about how to solve the problems.  What I got was a repeat of fourth-hour with the added fun of indignant, disrespectful comments about how long it took me to get to each group with their hand up.
 
After I got off my soap box about patience and disrespect, I went back to the questions at the front of my mind.
 
‘Why aren’t they getting it and what can I do to help them?’
 

In a brief epiphany, I realized that I was the problem. I wasn’t making them try hard enough on their own. I was encouraging their learned helplessness. Rather than first asking them if they had checked their notes, read the problem again, and consulted their partner I just answered their question.

Not only did I answer the question but I told them why. I didn’t make them figure it out.

I was the problem.

This is only my third year as a teacher, I learn new things every day, but I think that my discovery  epiphany Friday afternoon was one that will be a game changer.  I knew that learned helplessness was a problem but I thought I had been doing a decent job of trying to combat the issue in my classes. My frustrating Friday told me I was wrong. I had been doing a little bit, but I wasn’t doing enough.

 
I know it’s not something that can or will change overnight. That’s not a good way to make changes in a teaching style, not if you want it to be permanent and effective. It will take time, but summer is coming.
 
Summer is coming.

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Friday Family Fun Blog Hop #4

Welcome to the Math Lovin’ Momma’s Friday Family Fun Blog Hop!

Take a look around, check out our featured post for the week,
then link up your own post and find a new blogger to love! We also appreciate any likes, comments, and shares you’d like to give!

Week #4! Slowly but surely! 

I love to read blog posts about family vacation and road trips, family game nights, and crafts that are fun for the whole family. I like stories about family time gone wrong, family time gone right, and everything in between.

My family members are the most important people in my life. So  I think it’s only natural to want to learn more about places I might want to go and things I might want to do with those special people. (Maybe some food I’d like to cook with them!)

 This Week’s Featured Posts:

Still no reader favorites from last week! Be sure if you read a blog post you like you come back and hit ‘Like’ by their picture. However, I do want to introduce this week’s featured blogger!

Be sure to grab the graphic below for your post! Just copy and paste the html code onto the end of your blog post!

The Math Lovin' Momma


My featured blogger this week is Chantal, The Busy Blogging Mom! Her post,
12 Housekeeping Tips for the Unnatural Homemaker, was just what I needed to help me remember that I don’t have to be perfect at keeping house as long as I do my best! 

12 Housekeeping Tips for the Unnatural Housekeeper

My favorite tip?

Set a timer and go hard for 15 minutes each day.

I mean, who doesn’t have at least 15 minutes a day to devote to keeping house. Did you lay in bed for an extra 15 minutes this morning? Or sit on the couch for a half hour to watch your favorite show? If you can make time for that I’m sure you can find 15 minutes to make your life a little less crazy every day! 

Check out her post for other great housekeeping tips.

If you didn’t post last week but want to join in this week keep reading for the details!

Here’s How it Works!

Please help support me by following me on my social media profiles listed in the sidebar. While you’re hopping be sure to come back and vote for your favorite posts so we can pick a reader’s choice next week. I will be pinning and tweeting all the posts linked up!

Readers: Check out the list of blog posts below. Click on any that sound like they would be interesting to you! Read, comment, and/or share to show your support for the posts you like! Come back to the list and click ‘Like’ next to any that you liked, that way next week I can showcase the reader favorite!

Bloggers: Link up any post related to Family. Then visit a couple of the other blogs listed and see what  they have to say, leave a comment, and maybe even share a post that you loved! Come back to the list and click ‘Like’ next to any that you liked, that way next week I can showcase the reader favorite! If you’re so inclined, grab my blog button and put it on your post to show others where you linked up!

Grab button for THE MATH LOVIN’ MOMMA

<div class=”The-Math-Lovin’-Momma-button” style=”width: 200px; margin: 0 auto;”>
<a href=”http://www.mathlovinmomma.com” rel=”nofollow”>
<img src=” http://www.mathlovinmomma.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Blog-Button.jpg” ” alt=”Math Lovin’ Momma” width=”200″ height=”200″ />
</a>
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Next week, along with the reader favorite, I’ll pick a few of my favorites and highlight them in the link up post.

The link up will be open from Friday 5/6 at 9:00 PM CST to Tuesday 5/10 at midnight CST. Please feel free to share with friends!



If you like what you just read please click to send a quick vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs- The best mommy blog directory featuring top mom bloggers

If you like what you just read please click to send a quick vote for me on Picket Fence Blogs!

Relax & Rejuvenate Giveaway from Aroma Sense

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Giveaway Dates ~ 04/27 9PM EST until 05/19 11:59PM EST

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This giveaway is in no way endorsed, affiliated or associated with Facebook,
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What We Love About Moms

Moms (and dads) work hard, and even though we know our kids love us, an extra reminder is always welcome!
  
To show moms how much they’re loved and appreciated, FTD surveyed 1017 people and asked them what they love most about their moms. They created an infographic from this data that celebrates moms and reminds everyone how hard they work.
 
Did you know moms lose an average of 870 hours of sleep in the first two years of a child’s life and spend about 5 months doing laundry in their first eighteen years? 
 
To all the awesome moms out there, don’t forget how much you’re loved and how many incredible things you do for your kids and your families!
So, what do we love about moms? 

Feel free to share, but please include attribution to FTD.com with this graphic.

What We Love About Our Moms

If you like what you just read please click to send a quick vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs- The best mommy blog directory featuring top mom bloggers
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Friday Family Fun Blog Link Up!

Friday Family Fun Blog Post Link Up

Here we go! Week 2!! 

I love to read blog posts about family vacation and road trips, family game nights, and crafts that are fun for the whole family. I like stories about family time gone wrong, family time gone right, and everything in between.

My family members the most important people in my life. So  I think it’s only natural to want to learn more about places I might want to go and things I might want to do with those special people.

 This Week’s Featured Posts:

Since last week was my first attempt at this blog hop thing I didn’t have many link-up so I don’t have a reader favorite to feature (not enough votes). But I do want to introduce this week’s featured blogger!(The perks of getting in on the ground floor?!) Be sure to grab the graphic below for your post! Just copy and paste the html code onto the end of your blog post!

The Math Lovin' Momma


My featured blogger this week is Lorelei! Her post, How to Find Your Core Competencies, was inspiring! I loved the prompts to help me get started finding out what my core competencies are and how I can use them to make my life more intentional.

Cultivate a greater sense of ownership over the necessary, everyday, unglamorous tasks. Caring for your home, and your loved ones is more vibrant when it is intentional. Find your core competencies. Click to read more.Capture

I think sometimes we take our daily life for granted. We don’t realize the awesome things we do every day. For instance, folding clothes is a chore I don’t mind but if I didn’t do it we’d have piles of clothes everywhere, all the time. (Sometimes we do anyway.)

Anywho… Go check out Lorelei’s post and find out what you do better than everyone else!

If you didn’t post last week but want to join in this week keep reading for the details!

Here’s How it Works!

Readers: Check out the list of blog posts below. Click on any that sound like they would be interesting to you! Read, comment, and/or share to show your support for the posts you like! Come back to the list and click ‘Like’ next to any that you liked, that way next week I can showcase the reader favorite!

Bloggers: Link up any post related to Family. Then visit a couple of the other blogs listed and see what  they have to say, leave a comment, and maybe even share a post that you loved! Come back to the list and click ‘Like’ next to any that you liked, that way next week I can showcase the reader favorite!

Next week, along with the reader favorite, I’ll pick a few of my favorites and highlight them in the link up post.

The link up will be open from Friday 4/22 at 9:00 PM CST to Monday 4/25 at midnight CST. Feel free to share with friends!



If you like what you just read please click to send a quick vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs- The best mommy blog directory featuring top mom bloggers

If you like what you just read please click to send a quick vote for me on Picket Fence Blogs!