Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Math of Shopping

You probably do not realize how much math is involved in your everyday life. Mathematics principles include not only numbers, but logic and probability. That's where retailers get you. They use math to entice you to buy what they want you to buy.

When you enter a store, you may notice you cannot walk straight through to the back. You are interrupted with obstacles that you must move around. There's a reason for that. They want you to run into tables and merchandise that they are promoting and want you to buy. You probably know that most people are right handed. This also causes them to turn to their right more often if given a choice. So, where do you think stores and shops are most likely to put the items they want you to buy or are pushing? On the right hand side of the store, of course!

Taking a penny or a dollar off the price tag has been common for years. Even at gas stations. 99 cents sounds so much cheaper than $1, right? Even though you are essentially paying a dollar anyway. Even a little more sounds like a bigger bargain. $5.89 as opposed to $6 or even $5.99. Retailers are using math to trick you into buying an item and thinking you are getting a bargain.

How about shelving items? What products do you think are at eye level? Most likely, the most expensive. Shop owners are betting you won't bend down or stretch way up to find the cheaper one.

And let's not forget to mention those impulse items at the cash register. A candy bar sounds great about now, right? You may have shopped for bargains, but now the store has used your urges to make a better sale!

Coupons are great, right? But only if they are really bargains. A store is going to make 3 times the money on 3 items than it would with one. So a coupon that gives a dollar off for buying three, is a great way to get you to buy 3 items, when you really only need one!

The math of shopping. Watch out for it!

Read about The Top 10 Women in Math History

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Flipped Classrooms

Are flipped classrooms the wave of the future for education? Are you doing a flipped classroom?

What are flipped classrooms?

Flipped classrooms flip the traditional day of school to make teaching done at home and homework done at school.

How does a flipped classroom work?

A teacher creates videos, lessons, or other teaching aids online and students watch these at home or anywhere there is a computer with internet. Then at school, the teacher assigns problems and helps students complete them in class.

What is the reasoning behind a flipped classroom?

Teachers better serve the students by being there when they are completing problems or tasks. No person should be as good as the teacher for this purpose. So why not have the help from the teacher available? There is more interaction between student and teacher. Teachers can give one on one help frequently. A teacher's time is better used for guiding and directing students through tasks rather than just tossing information at them.

Students can also view lessons over and over. They can fast forward or rewind to a certain point in a lesson that they need to see or hear again. You can't do that with a traditional classroom.

Are there problems with flipped classrooms?

A school or teacher may not be fully sold on the idea. Old traditions are hard to break. However, as the internet takes on a more significant role, the idea will become more palatable and looked upon as normal.

Not all students will have a way of viewing videos and lessons online. Schools must ensure that all students have sufficient time in the computer lab if they have the need. Smartphones and tablets are becoming popular. Many students already own one. They are used to viewing things online using things like youtube.

Teachers will of course need to create the lessons. This may seem like a time consuming task. Keep in mind that once it's created, it won't need to be done again, saving time in the future. It also means that a teacher could redo the lessons and tweak them if needed.

Parents might not understand why students have no homework. Well, you don't need to give ahomework just to give homework. And homework is not really gone, it now involves viewing a lesson as opposed to doing problems. Parents might be more happy with this arrangement, as their child will not have to ask them for help. Many parents feel uncomfortable now if they can actually help a student with a particular subject.

Any last thoughts on flipped classrooms?

We do more and more things online as the internet expands even more. We are learning how to do things now on youtube. Taking classes online is expanding the education experience. Your child's teacher is the best tutor. Why not utilize them in this respect, and get one on one help?

Keep in mind that having a flipped classroom does not restrict the teacher from doing lessons in class if he or she needs to go over something.

>> Check out: How teachers should be assigning homework.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Teachers and Student Loans

There is a teacher loan forgiveness program that could help you lower your student loan amounts. If you teach for 5 years in certain low income schools and areas, and qualify, you can have up to $5,000 of your student loans forgiven.

If you teach in some specialties, there is loan forgiveness up to $17,500.

For both of these programs, check with your student loan account.

Are you thinking of becoming a teacher but can't afford it? There are TEACH grants up to $4,000. This is the "Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education" program. Check with the financial aid office of the college you want to attend.

Other student loan forgiveness programs include the PSLF, or Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. You cna have your entire student loan paid for by working in public service full time for 10 years. Again, check with your student loan provider for details

Need more help? Try: Tips for teachers with student loans

Sunday, September 29, 2013

ipads or other tablets to all students?

It seems that quite a few school districts are giving out free ipads and other tablets to some high school students. They assume this will enhance learning, make things easier, put education on the cutting edge, etc. But is this really a good idea? Does it make a difference? We think there are some issues that need to be looked at before any district starts passing out tablet computers to students.

First of all, does this technology really make students better students? Not really. Sure, it might make things easier, but is easy always better? What's wrong with using the school library and computer lab? Remember, the founders of Apple Computers did not have any technology in their classrooms. We put a man on the moon using men and women who never saw a computer in a classroom. In fact, technology might actually dumb people down. We are tossing out cursive and spelling. Why bother? Just use a computer. Why learn research skills? Just google it!

Where does the money come from? Are your schools lacking supplies, books, classrooms? Are there over-crowded classrooms? Why not address these issues first before spending millions on fun tech toys? Sure ipads can be serious, but on the surface, they are ripe for just having fun.

Is the district locking themselves into one brand? Who is going to fix them? Upgrade them? And most important of all, replace them? After a few months they are all outdated.

Should they be given to all students, or just the ones that do not have this stuff at home? Some parents would see no need to give their child MORE access to the web.

parents might not even want their children doing things in a "lazy way."

If you have ever worked with kids, you know that kids are hardly responsible. Especially with things that are very expensive. Can you trust students with hundreds of dollars of equipment? Why would you?

Things break, They get stolen. They get dirty. They get dropped. They get misplaced. They go through the wash. Can we ask parents to be responsible for these computers? We wouldn't.

Do all these things out weigh any good a tablet computer might have?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Teachers and using Summer Break

Okay, the tough school year is over and you get to take a breather. You might be wondering what to do to keep your teaching skills sharp. Well, taking a breather is the first thing you should do. Take it easy. Relax. Teachers need time to de-stress. Take an easy vacation if you can. If you stay home, open up a good book. Just wind down your stress level.

But teachers are teachers through and through. We can't really stop thinking about teaching. So, here are some things to do during the summer.

Teach something. Sunday School, community classes, tutor, even volunteer your time in a learning environment like a library or museum. This will allow you to hone and maintain your teaching skills.

If you are lucky enough to be in a school that offers summer school, apply for it.

Go to an educational or teacher conference. Learn some new tricks, work on old ones.

Write down some thoughts on the last school year. What went good? What went bad? Did you not get to do something you wanted? What are some of your student successes and failures? Then come up with a plan to improve or change. No teacher is ever perfect. We can all learn new things.

Do some research and write down and least 5 fun, interactive, engaging, and enrichment activities you can do with your students next year. Keep the list handy and check it as the next school year progresses.

On a related note, if you do not keep a teaching journal now, start one next year. A daily log of good and bad things will allow you to reflect on your teaching.

At the end of each school year, you should ask the students to write down what they thought of the school year. Let them critique you. Teachers can learn a lot from their students.

Get excited about the next school year! Wanting to get back in the classroom will make you appreciate the experience and the joy of teaching. If you are not excited about going back, you really need to rethink your classroom, teaching jobs, and even your career.

Above all, plan on next school year being the best ever! And if you try your hardest, at the end of the year, you will be able to look back and be satisfied that you did you best and gave your students your all!

>> How to lower the stress of teaching.

>> Home loans for teachers.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

High School student rants about the teacher

High school student Jeff Bliss gives a teacher a piece of his mind. Actually, aside from the kid being kicked out, he stated sme very good things that teachers should be doing. They should not teach from worksheets or packets. They should not teach to a test. They should make students want to come to class. They should get up out of the chair and teach in an interactive way. You have got to motivate students. They should want to come to your class, show up early, and be in their seats waiting for you to get to it. You can do it! You can actually have your students love coming to your class and actually wanting to be there! Are you doing that? If not read these articles:
- Create a positive classroom
- How to motivate students
- Engage your students in real learning

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Home buying tips for teachers

Teachers are some of the most stable and reliable people in the workforce. They are very good credit risks, and that makes getting a mortgage a little easier for most veteran and some new teachers. So teachers, if you are not a home buyer and you are thinking about it, now is the time. Home prices and interest rates are beginning to go up. Get in the home buying game before the good deals are gone. Here are some home buying tips.

Always look at what you can afford. You can see a dream home and be smitten. The tendency to over spend will be great. Do not send yourself to the poor house by buying more home than you can afford.

Homes are now selling. That means in good neighborhoods, you probably will get into some sort of home buying bidding war. That means you must make your best offer, and make it standout from the rest. But always look back at the first tip. Don't buy more home than you can afford.

Getting preapproved in today's home market is first and foremost. Don't even think about going to look for homes if you are not prequalified. There will be many people looking at the same house. You want to be able to offer a concrete deal to the home seller. That means your credit must be good. If it's not, improve it and put off the home buying for now until your credit is high. Because teachers have steady jobs, your income will work for you. Steady income is one of the first things mortgage lenders look at.

But you must remember as stated above, you will be in a bidding war most likely. Prepare to put as much down as you can. The bigger the downpayment, the better it will be for your preapproval and home buying power. If you do not have the cash on hand, you will need to wait and build up a savings. If anyone gifts you money for a down payment, it must be documented and verified. Banks do not like to see unaccounted for deposits or money transfers.

Politeness counts in a close home market. That is, be very nice to the home seller. You might end up looking better than the other bidders, even though they might outbid you. One example is on the move in date. If you can negotiate this better than other bidders by accommodating the seller's date, you may win with a slightly lower bid.

Above all, you need to find the best and most experienced real estate agent that you can find. They will expertly lead you through the process.

For more tips, see: Home loans for teachers.

>> Tuition-free colleges.