Tag Archives: teaching tips


So many great new things that I have discovered been made aware of since I have entered the mathblogosphere and this is my new favorite one – Tarsia Puzzles.  Yay – I had never heard of such a thing either, although after researching them I had seen a couple of them before and had actually printed one off of the internet a couple years ago for my kids to do, but I never knew how easy they were to make.      Here is a pic from pinterest until my kids actually do a puzzle tomorrow.  What I like is that I am able to differentiate the problems that I give the students based on the puzzle I give.  I’m going to make at least 3 and have each on its own color.

The link where you can download this great software FOR FREE can be found here.   And you can find some pre-made tarsia puzzles at Mr. Barton’s page.  Only bad thing is there isn’t a MAC version yet.  : (  So looks like all of this work will be done at home.

I will update with how the activities go after we actually do them tomorrow.  I’m so excited.

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Posted by on October 8, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Six words that may greatly influence my classroom

So I have gotten a lot of great ideas from entering the math edublogosphere (just got my book covers for the back of desks and my giant markerboards for white boarding this weekend!  Yeah!).  But I used this idea today and I saw instant results and it was very exciting.  Usually I pause a lot during my teaching and would say “are there any questions”.  Well after reading one of the many blogs that I read I saw an idea (and I honestly don’t remember where I saw it so if that person ever happens to read this blog – like that would happen…please let me know if was you so I can give you proper credit) ok – back to the topic at hand – Instead of “are there any questions” I said “I’m going to pause for questions” – I bet you are thinking – not much different.  But honestly it was.  One hour I had four questions right then – more “what if” type questions, but they were questions.  Now honestly I don’t know if they would have asked their questions had I said “are there any questions” but I’m guessing they wouldn’t have.

I think it was having to do with the second phrase is me expecting questions and allowing them.  So I’m excited to see if 1) I can train my brain that is very much used to the first way to say “I’m going to pause for questions” and 2) if I will continue to see the increase in the number of questions asked!  Can’t wait!

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Posted by on October 1, 2012 in Uncategorized



1st great idea (of hopefully many more to come)

School started this past Monday. Over the summer I had already decided to go to not grading homework and implementing SBG. Well, that is a gigantic change (but makes complete sense) so I started reading some blogs about SBG. And I learned quickly you can never just look at one topic when you find a great blog – and trust me, I found a lot! So since I found lots of great information I thought I could use a lot of it my classroom right away, and I did.

One post I read was from misscalccul8 (love her blog btw) concerning bell ringers. So the next day I did one. The tip I enjoyed the most was concerning the purple pens – marking the correct answer with a green pen and then giving that student a green pen to help be a “checker” of right answers. Well of course I couldn’t find a bunch of purple pens that night – so I implemented it in my own way. I used my self-inking stamp (much faster) that said “Math Master” that I am going to use once student have mastered a concept in SBG. But of course I only had one, so the student helper thing didn’t quite work. But I LOVED the ease and speed of the stamp.

So during a free moment I went online and looked for a cheap self-inking stamp that I could purchase more of. But I was also thinking as I was walking around checking – kids could tell who got the questions right and who was still learning from their mistakes (big focus of my classroom this year) by if I stamped or not. I didn’t really like that. And then it came to me…….. wait for it……..

THUMBS UP self inking stamp! I can stamp it the correct way (thumbs up) when they have it right, and upside down (thumbs down) when they still need to work on the problem. I can train the helpers to do that as well.  And every paper will get stamped every time someone looks at.  Other students won’t know which way the thumb was facing.  Added bonus – I can see how many attempts it took a student to get the correct answer by how many thumbs down stamps they have before the thumbs up. And now my math master stamp is still saved for SBG.

Usually I’m a borrower of ideas (and I kind of am with this one) so I’m proud that I thought of this one on my own. Although there are probably 1001 other teachers out there that do this but at this point…I don’t care! : )

Please add any improvements to the idea or any pitfalls that you could see happen.

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Posted by on August 25, 2012 in Uncategorized