Thursday, May 19, 2011

Stumped Parents

I love this comic.  There are so many parents sitting with their child at the table this very minute who are shaking their heads at their child's homework.  As a parent, I know what it feels like to want your child to succeed and I can understand how frustrating it must be when they come to you with a math question that you don't know the answer to.

Don't feel bad parents!!!  There are many reasons why your head may be spinning at the site of something like parabolic transformations.  You may not be able to work out the solution with your child yourself, but here's what you CAN do:

1. If you just need to brush up on your math skills, take a look through the textbook, odds are there are some examples of the types of questions your child is working on and you may be able to learn together.  What a confidence builder for you both!

2. Hire a tutor or seek the help of a peer tutor.  A lot of students now need volunteer hours in order to graduate and this may be an opportunity students would love to take advantage of!

And here's my favourite 'goto' source.....

Technology has come A LONG way since I went to school.  The amount of information out there is absolutely astonishing.  I got my first computer when I was in grade 12.  We had dial up internet and my computer had a 500 mb Hard Drive.  It is unbelievable how far we've come since then and it can be a savior for parents trying to help their children with their math homework.

Here are a few places you can check out on the world wide web

YOUTUBE and TEACHERTUBE- Youtube and teachertube math lessons/tutorials are become increasingly popular with teachers, parents, and students. 
As of today, the youtube channel kahnacademy has 2346 videos posted with over 55 million views while another channel yourteachermathhelp has 677 videos posted with over 16 million views.  I do not endorse one channel over another but these are excellent examples of the online tutorials out there that you and your child can view and learn from together.

If I simply do a search on youtube for '"parabolic transformations" math lesson',
you will find the following videos
Transformation of Parabola  
Graphing Transformations of parabolas/quadratics  
Review Part 3: Quadratic Function: Tranformations of Functions 
Graphing Quadratic Functions - - Algebra Help

There are many websites where you can find math lessons and tutorials but here's a few links!

GOOGLE - Simply google the subject matter you are looking for help with.  If the question is about parabola transformations..... google "parabolic transformations help".  Yes, it's that easy!  If you aren't sure what to google, just take a look at the lesson title in their textbook or notes.

A final note to parents:
DO - Seek help whether it be from their teacher, a tutor, or online tutorial.

DON'T - Proclaim that your child's homework is 'stupid' and they will never have to use this in 'real' life.  You will only be increasing their math anxiety and creating a negative attitude about math in your child that they may in turn pass on to their children.

Leave a comment below if you have any links or resources you'd like to share about the topic and I'll add them into my post  :)

Here are a couple of Nintendo DS Games that can make learning fun for those avid video gamers.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Define Inspire


in·spire verb, -spired, -spir·ing.

–verb (used with object)
1. to fill with an animating, quickening, or exalting influence: His courage inspired his followers.
2. to produce or arouse (a feeling, thought, etc.): to inspire confidence in others.

Synonyms: affect, animate, arouse, be responsible for, carry, cause, commove, elate, embolden, endue, enkindle, enliven, exalt, excite, exhilarate, fire up, galvanize, get*, give impetus, give one an idea, give rise to, hearten, imbue, impress, infect, inflame, influence, inform, infuse, inspirit, instill, invigorate, motivate, occasion, produce, provoke, quicken, reassure, set up, spark, spur, start off, stir, strike, sway, touch, trigger, urge, work up 
Take a look at the synonyms for inspire.  Those words seems to encompass so much of what teaching is all about.  But how do we inspire out students?  Students that come from all walks of life.  Students who all have their preconceived notions of what life is about and how hard they have to work to achieve their goals.  Do they have goals?  dreams?  aspirations?  
I have spoken with students who have no desire to graduate and it truly pains me.  I have to wonder what events could lead any child to not aspire to finish school.  To not care.  Maybe it has just been ingrained in my mind that finishing school equals a greater chance of succeeding in a career, which in turn equals a better lifestyle and future.  Surely someone has informed these students of this undeniable fact.  Why are they choosing not to listen?
How can we as teachers inspire these students?  The ones that have never dared to dream or have just given up.  I'm hoping to find the answer to that question myself as I continue to grow and learn as a teacher.  I hope to learn from my readers through their shared experiences, just as much as I learn from my own.  To be continued......

Monday, May 16, 2011

TIPS for Success

Below I've listed 14 TIPS for success in mathematics.  You do not have to follow all of these tips, they just seemed important in my success.  I love organization and I think my organization in math drove my desire to learn.  Do note that different strategies may work for different people.  We all learn in our own way.
In Your Notebook

1. Print neatly and legibly.

2. Underline titles and dates with a ruler.

3. Use a pen for notes and teacher given examples and pencil for your practice work.  It will make looking back for specific notes and examples much easier.

4. Use a different coloured pen or pencil for the question numbers so they don't get lost in your work.

For example:   
                                                                                    pg. 28 # 1, 2, 4 & 7
        Simple Addition and Subtraction                                  Oct 22, 2009

        1.a)  2+3=5                1.b)  6+6=12

        1.c)  9-7=2                 1.d)  4-1=3

5. Take your time and do not skip steps.

6. Keep a page in the back of your notebook for important formulas and things to remember.  This will come in handy when studying for tests and your final exam. 

Studying for a Test

7. Review your notes

8. Complete the review using your text and notes

9. If you are having any difficulties, discuss them with your teacher.  Contrary to popular belief, your teacher wants you to do well on the test!

10. Try to complete the chapter test without your text and notes.  If you're stumped, look back in your notes and do an extra few questions of this type.

Taking a Test
11. Be prepared  Make sure you have a pencil, eraser, ruler, calculator, etc.

12. Review the test before beginning.

13. Write down all steps for each question.  Even if your final answer is wrong, you may get part marks for the correct work you’ve done.

14. Review and double check each question before handing in your test.   There is no prize for the person who hands in his/her test first. 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Make Your Own Counting Beads

Step by Step instructions on how to make your own counting beads!
You can also use this as an art project to make a class set.

What you'll need for each string of beads:
- 100 pony beads from a craft or department store (the holes inside the beads need to be big enough to string on 1/4" thick elastic)
- 3 feet of 1/4" thick elastic from a craft or fabric store
- scissors to cut the elastic

1. Tie a knot in one end of the elastic so the beads don't slip off.

2. Start stringing beads onto the elastic.  I chose to string the beads on in groups of ten, changing colours with each group.  You may choose to use all of the same colour.
3. Leave approximately 8 inches of elastic at the end before tying your second knot so that the beads have room to slide back and forth along the elastic.

Examples of their use:
Children can use the counting beads to practice counting and addition.  In this picture, students were asked to use their beads to show 5 + 2

When they push the beads together, they can now count the 7 beads to discover 5 + 2 = 7.

Students can also experiment with division (and multiplication).  In this example we are going to ask the student to divide these 12 beads in 4 equal groups.  They have now discovered that 12/4 = 3.

Try to look for beads similar to these.  Easy to string (even with little fingers)  ;)

Theoretical Probability Ready To Go Activity With Dice


This short (and relatively simple) activity prompts students to discover that the sum of theoretical probabilities is equal to 1.  Using the dice and learning by discovery will hopefully interest students and engage them in your lesson.

Download the pdf document here
(for free of course)

If you need dice, Amazon has a bucket of 100 for $12.99.  Not bad if you will be using them year after year for different activities .

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Beautiful Dance Moves

One of my favourite math comics that I've come across on the net!
I'm not sure who created it, but if you know, leave me a comment so I can properly source it.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Exponent Rules Review and Practice

I created this Exponent Rules Review Worksheet to work through with the students on an overhead.  You can download it by clicking the link above. 

TIP - Print it off on bright paper so that it will be easy to find when it's time to study for the test or exam!

Exponent Rules are covered in:

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Make your own class set of clocks!

Buying a class set of clocks can be expensive.  Why buy them when you can easily have your class make their own clocks in a matter of minutes!  You can even send copies home so they can make clocks with their parents and practice telling time at home.

Here's what you'll need:

PAPER - I prefer to use cardstock although this may not go through some copiers.  You can also print on regular white copy paper and back them on colored construction paper for added strength.
BRADS - Brads will allow you to fasten the arrow onto the clock face yet be able to turn them as well!
CLOCK TEMPLATE - I've made a clock template for you to use with 2 on a page.  Download the template for free here.
GLUE (Only necessary if you plan on backing them on construction paper).  

- Copy the clock template and cut in half so each student receives one clock and two arrows.
- Have students cut out the clock face and both arrows.
- Back the clock face onto construction paper if required.  Hint - glue the clock face onto a square piece of construction paper, then have students cut around it!
- Fasten the arrows at their base onto the middle of the clock face (they may need your help poking the brad through the clock).
- Voila, the students have just created their own manipulative to practice telling time!