When a first year teacher starts in their own classroom they are in need of a few items. Schools will provide most of the basic but their are a few items that would be great to give a first year teacher. Most items can be purchased at the Dollar Tree! LIST 1) Hand Sanitizer (with a pump) 2) Bandages 3) Feminine Products (Female teachers only) 4) Cloth Rag/Wascloth 5) Glass Cleaner 6) Plastic Ziplock Bags (Quart Size) 7) Plastic Utensils 8) Storage Box These are only suggestions but I think this would be a great first day on the job gift! Put some pretty ribbon around the box and you have a meaningful gift that is useful and practical. And remember, all items can be purchased at the Dollar Tree or on sale! PURPOSE OF EACH ITEM
1) Hand Sanitizer  students use, it lasts throughout the entire school year, and it cuts the number of trips to restroom if their hands feel dirty from an activity in a previous class 2) Bandages  students will want to go to the nurse for no reason other than to leave class for a little bit, if you have bandages in your room, you cut the number of visits to the nurse in HALF. 3) Feminine Products (for female teachers only)  it does come up and it is good to have a supply on hand. This also cuts down on trips to the nurse. I do realize that the previous 3 items are to keep students in class but it very important that they remain in your classroom and these are items that eliminate the excuses to leave! 4) Cloth Rag  the erasers for whiteboards are awful! A rag cleans the boards better and keeps them looking their best! 5) Class Cleaner  get for $1 at the Dollar Tree, name brand is not needed! When you need to make your whiteboard shine or clean overhead transparencies, this item works wonders! When mine gets half done, I fill it with water to make it last the entire year. 6) Plastic Ziplock Bags  the quart size is perfect for putting pieces of games in. They are clear and easy to see what it contains and easy to write on! Brand is not important. 7) Box of Plastic Utensils  when you bring your lunch to work you are bound to forget utensils at some point. The cafeteria is always far away so having these on hand make it a little easier! 8) Storage Box  it always nice to have organizational items in your classroom. This also serves as a great gift box to put all of the other lovely items you purchased above! These are only suggestions but I think this would be a great first day on the job gift! Put some pretty ribbon around the box and you have a meaningful gift that is useful and practical. And remember, all items can be purchased at the Dollar Tree or on sale!
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I love teaching probability! It is relevant to my student's life. they do not complain about it, and they see the relevancy! (Yay!) And there are super fun techniques to use! BEANO is one of them. Once again, this is not a concept/worksheet that I developed. It was presented to me during the TI Conference in Atlanta, GA during the spring of 2010. Materials: 2 dice (or number cubes as we call them in Georgia) BEANO Worksheets (I give each student their own) Dry Beans (I used blackeyed peas since they were the cheapestthese are great to have for BINGO) I tell my students we are playing a game (insert excited students) and have them place their twelve beans on the front of the worksheet. I usually let them read the instructions on the front and figure it out! Then we play! You can roll the dice and say the sum, have a student do it (I opt for this option), or use a graphing calculator with the probability simulator program. When the dice are rolled by hand I will chart the frequency of the sums on the board for use later! Then we complete the backside. You may have to explain filling in the sum chart for some and I usually will plot the box graph with them. Then answer the questions (it discusses probability and you can add more questions if you want to!) and play BEANO again! The second time around and the questions prompt students to look at which sum (6, 7, 8) are most likely to come up and how they arranged the beans on their boards will noticeable change (see pictures below) or at least they should if they were paying attention. You can play a couple rounds and I usually have the winner be the next roller. The BEANO games played after the worksheet are way quicker then the game at the beginning of class!!! Also, keep track the frequency of the sums and you can use the theoretical chart from the worksheet for use of comparison of the experimental chart you keep track of in class. The more trials, the more like the theoretical the experimental will look like.
When a student takes a test or quiz, studying is the best way to go but is not the only factor in that student's performance. In math, I believe that being prepared to take a test also includes having a pencil and a calculator. And I also believe that the pencil and the calculator should be the one's that that student uses everyday. When a student uses pen in math I think it messes with the student psyche. With pencil, you are able to erase mistakes and move but if you write in pen, you are constantly reminded of your mistakes. Not the impression you want to mentally give yourself. Students are also less likely to take risks in pen since it cannot be erased so a more challenging problem is a whole other element for them. Not having a calculator on a test can also mess a student up. My students do not use their calc for every problem but it is a great tool just to check the arithmetic and not have to worry about that part. It is important that the student uses the calculator they use everyday on the test, when they borrow a calculator it may be a different version and that can throw them off. Formulas are stored differently and buttons are shifted around. Having a pencil and calculator for any math test can be a security blanket for students and make them feel more prepared than they would be without them. I remember in college that if I was up studying late for a test or presentation I also took a shower and dressed upit gave me the confidence for the task at hand. It is the same concept when you take a math test, when you have your own materials you feel confident, when you are missing materials you feel (and are) unprepared and that can reflect poorly on the test. When a student enters the math classroom with their own materials, they only have to worry about taking the test! I am reviewing Binomial Expansion with my support kiddos and I wanted an activity that had them working. I had them breakup into partners and then explained the activity. I had the following chart on the board to help explain.
I printed 6 copies of the pdf attached below and cut up the problems and placed them in the bags above. Problems 16 where in Bag A, 712 in Bag B, 1318 in Bag C, 1964 in Bag D, and 69100 in Bag E. I increased the point value as the problems increased in difficulty. LEAVE THE QUESTION #S ATTACHED TO EACH SLIP OF PAPER. (Trust me, this will save your sanity) I also need to mention that I did not create the worksheet or answer sheetI believe as the pdf states, that Steve Blade did. Thank you Steve Blade! I then let students pick which bag to draw a problem from and I recorded the problem number on my grade sheet in the corresponding Bag letter. The last page of the PDF has all solutions on it. I just looked at the number on the slip and checked it with the corresponding number on the solution page! The advantage of printing multiple sheets and having students draw, this eliminated groups working together or copying off eachother. I did not let students pick another problem till they got their current one correct. What I liked: 1) Gave students the opportunity to choose what type of problem they complete 2) Limited the number of types of problems the did to 3 of each kind 3) Gave students the flexibility to earn a higher grade and their grade was a true reflection of their effort Recommendations: 1) Encourage students to try all bagsI had students get stuck on the harder problems from Bag E and waste a good bit of time 2) I let my students earn up to a 130 on this assignment
I LOVE when I can bring the life of a mathematician into a lesson. Binomial Theorem/Expansion is a great example of this! I always introduce Binomial Expansion by first having my student complete an already started copy of Pascal's Triangle. This is one warmup that every student does without prompting. They see it as a puzzle and not "math" but you may have to encourage students to keep looking for the pattern. When they enter the classroom, I hand them the sheet, wear a beret, and only speak in French. My french is limited and it is easy to see who the French students are on how they respond to my questions. I keep up the French speaking through the warmup and then I go into the life of Blaise Pascal. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blaise_Pascal) Once that is done I introduce Binomial Expansion and tie that into Pascal's Triangle. I find that this method makes Binomial Expansion a little more exciting. Now, while I find BE very thrilling and lifechanging, my students typically do not. I find the French speaking and little history lesson make a somewhat less thrilling topic a little more exciting. I also recommend teaching your students how to logically expand these problems and not have them memorize the different formulas. This is a concept were students can pick up on the pattern quickly and ignore the formal definition of the formula!

Natalie Turbiville
Educator who loves math and working with students. Archives
May 2016
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