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

Should Public Schools Give Free Lunch to Every Student?

Upwards of fifty percent of all public school students are eligible to receive free or reduced lunches. So why are we still doing this? It is an archaic system.

It seems that almost every day we hear of some nightmare school lunch story. Children who have a debt to the lunch counter, have had their lunches tossed in the trash. Not only is the trashing of the lunch wrong, but it also humiliates the child. I just read a story where a high school student had his lunch tossed in the garbage can because he was less than five dollars in debt. How can an adult toss good food in the trash can? We don't understand that. We understand the need to keep records and collect money, but can we get any more insane? Don't we hear about all these children going to bed hungry in the United States? And yet, we still have good food tossed away. Oh well. It seems that's just the nature of the beast of public bureaucracy. There's no logic or intelligence left. It's all about following rules with no thought of what problems they might cause.

 How about this. Forget the whole school lunch payment and free lunch plans. Just scrap them totally. Give every student on a daily basis a free lunch. If you think this costs a lot of money, think again. The food they serve in schools is relatively cheap. They can feed a lot of students for a small amount. Probably less than 2-3 dollars. Now since half of students in schools get free or reduced lunch now, the additional cost will be negligible. And you know what? You would not have to hire people to keep records. There's a savings right there. Probably what school districts spend on people keep track of who pays what would cover the cost of more food. And we'll bet the cafeteria person at the check-in and checkout counter will be very grateful. I know the students will. Of course nobody will force anyone to eat this food. A parent has the option of sending a sack lunch. Hay, there's a thought! Parents actually responsible for the feeding of their children!

The cost of implementing, keeping, updating, and running the whole system of free lunch, is probably more than the cost of the food. Let's just wipe the whole thing out.

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