Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Teaching in Africa

Many challenges exist for teachers in certain parts of Africa, in countries like Nigeria. Perhaps you can think of ways to help the cause of teachers and students in various parts of the world. If you are currently a teacher in these countries, find some things you can do at:

>>Should your child join the military?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Sponge activities for students

A sponge activity is what you give students to do to soak up the time in between their assigned tasks. It makes an easy transition from activity to the next if fast students have something to do while waiting for the others to finish. New teachers often lack the skills to keep them busy, and some students can start to create a disruption. You should also have something for the students to do when they first come in. Mornings and after lunch for elementary, upon entering for secondary. Secondary teachers need time to take roll, collect homework, etc. at each class period.

So, what should the sponge activity be? Well, you could write a assignment on the board. This works well when they first come in. Transition activities do not necessarily need to be on the same subject. But, for example, after finishing a math assignment, students can do a times tables worksheet. Drawing or art is another way. In fact, you should think of sponge activities when planning a lesson. What can students do in conjunction with the assignment? Did they write a story? Okay, how about now doing an illustration?

Other things to do could be wordsearch puzzles. You can find some here:

If you have ever had trouble with disruptive students for lack of anything to do, start thinking about sponge activities and start soaking up that dead time!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Free wordsearch puzzles

We have created a new part of the main website. It will have wordsearch puzzles in various subjects. Right now, we have 6 wordsearch puzzles on science topics. You can view and download them for free at:
Free science wordsearch puzzles.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Creative Teacher

I have a brand new teacher article up on being a creative teacher. Do you consider yourself a creative teacher, or just one that goes along with the flow? If you have ever thought about what kinds of things you can do to be more creative and add some excitement to your classrooms, check out: The Creative Teacher.

Friday, May 9, 2014

School lunches

Have you heard all the recent horror stories of school lunches where students have no money and food gets thrown away? That's pretty insane. One person has the thought of giving all students a free lunch. What do you think? Check it out: Should school lunches be free to everyone?
It could make sense. Of course schools were never set up to feed students anyway. That was always a parent's responsibility. Funny how times change. We have turned a lot of parental duties over to schools. We actually should be ashamed of ourselves.

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.