I’m cheating.

Sorry.

Week 2 of new blogger initiation asks us to **respond **to the following question: “All new teachers should know about (blank) before entering the classroom.” and instead of answering it, I’m posing it to all of you.

Here’s why. In addition to teaching 8th grade math this year, I am teaching an undergrad class at UC Berkeley which is an inquiry based class to teaching math in elementary school. Though I have been invited several times to speak for an hour at a college level math education course, this is my first time teaching one. My class meets once a week for two hours and I want to focus on one math content topic and one pedagogical topic each class session.

Week 1 is this week and we looked at all sorts of ways to use graphing in an elementary school classroom and connected that to relationship building that happens during the first month of school.

When students first arrived there were given post its and dot stickers to place their ‘data’ on the following graphs. There were 6 graphs in total, including bar graphs, a pictograph, and a histograph. Thanks to Kate for the brilliant idea for a 4 quadrant graph.

Later we looked at graphing activities from printed curriculum and discussed pros and cons of the classroom generated graphs versus the printed ones and how a math activity could be used both to cover math content and to build positive relationships in the classroom.

I then had them watch four short videos from the Teaching Channel and for each they recorded where they found evidence of the teacher building relationships with her students.

The Secret to Success

I Don’t Just Teach Math

Building Community

Your Unique Class Culture

Week 1–Complete!

So I’m back to my original question…All Teachers Should Know ______________ Before Entering the Classroom. I’ve got 14 weeks to fill and would happily use your brilliant ideas throughout the semester.

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I don’t truly use SBG in my classroom. Reading up on it , however – learning that it exists, and requires from both students and teachers a wild mindset shift – that had a dramatic impact on not only how I teach, but how I think about education and my responsibilities as a teacher. So, I would say (hmm….) that “all teachers should know about alternative methods of assessing before entering the classroom.”

All teachers should know a handful of great math stories before entering the classroom, and work to expand that bank. A former student came back to observe me, as he was working towards his math cert. At the end of the week he noted that I seemed to have a story for everything, and those stories kept the class involved and attentive. From the legend of Gauss summing the integers 1-100, to a college eating contest story I tie in with combinations, to cryptography stories I used with matrices, to a projectile story from college physics, I personalize just about everything, and hope my kids personalize what they learn, and keep it memorable.

all of the emergency responses and make sure that the kids know them right away. One joke our cousins from Hawaii always tell is that in a real emergency, the principal yelled call 911 and the trainee said What’s the number? Congratulations on teaching at Berkeley/

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All right…I now have 3 weeks covered from the 3 responses so far. Just kidding. Those are all great ideas and none were exactly something I had thought of before. Bob, I ended up telling a story about my 3-year old in response to a student’s observation about how kids learn and your post is a good reminder for me to tell more stories to them and encourage them to build their relationships in their teaching placements through personal stories that connect themselves to math. And Emily, your reply makes me think about having a session groups jigsaw different assessment methods following a math lesson that I do with the whole class. And Jon…knowing how to respond in emergencies is something to practical, and yet critical. These are great! Thanks.

Manipulatives! All kinds, shapes, what to do with them, how to teach with them, etc. Maybe this is standard procedure in most methods classes, but I didn’t get this in mine. I’m still struggling to figure out the best way to use algebra tiles to teach things (albeit, I am a first year teacher)! In the program I went through there was only one general math methods course and I learned SO much from my wonderful professor, but I wish I learned more methods and ways to use manipulatives, etc. Hope that helps! Good luck!

Math Ninja Teacher…yes! I am so with you. Each class session (just 3 so far) has started with a hands on activity which uses a different manipulative. But as you said, learning how to use them and learning how to effectively teach with them are 2 different learning curves! Good luck this year!