Monday, July 25, 2011

Great educational blogs!

Here are some great educational blogs!!


Fractions, Fractions...

I am fascinated with the idea of fractions. I do feel that learning fractions is important and it does relate to everyday life. People including myself are always comparing things to fractions. I hear the term often, "I spend a fraction of my time at the gym", "I ate a fraction of the pizza." I feel that they are easy to understand.

I am not a math wiz, but I feel that it is simple to understand fractions and I am so excited to teach fractions to my students one day. I feel that manipulatives and visuals are the best way to teach fractions.

If you are trying to teach fractions I feel that using an apple and cutting it in half and then fourths really helps students visualize the idea that fractions are simply parts of a whole. There are so many creative ways that you could teach fractions. Fractions are used daily and this is a skill that students should really appreciate for the entirety of their lifetime. Here is a link to a cool video on fractions:) Enjoy!


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

As a future elementary teacher, I am really going to strive to create lessons that will impact my students in a way that will affect their everyday lives beyond just the classroom. Looking back I wish that more of my teachers would have made this a goal as well. I know of many people who charge things as though money grows on trees. A lot of times this is done because they simply do not know the ramifications this reckless spending can cost.

I feel that Americans need to take some lessons from our government…clearly they spend recklessly as well. Let’s not make the same mistakes that they do and furthermore let’s teach our students early on that unsecured debt is not the way to go. I feel that by showing students in middle school the negative effects of credit cards and the high expense of immediate gratification, we will be doing them a huge favor in the years to come.

By creating a lesson centered around credit cards and the high interest rates that go along with them we are really teaching them math and a life lesson at the same time. We must encourage our students to work hard and save their money in the future for things that they desire. Sure slapping that television, computer, or gaming system on a credit card will get you the item right away but you may end up paying three times its worth in the long run!!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Factor trees

I can remember when I was in elementary school, that the use of something as simple as a factor tree really helped me out. Factor trees really help show the relationship between numbers. Writing out factor trees can help a student visualize prime and composite numbers. I like the analogy of the factor tree as being the fingerprint of a composite number. I feel that analogies are also a good way to express a concept to a student who may be struggling with grasping it. To me factor trees are simple and they are a visual means for students to understand composite and prime numbers and their relationship. I am glad that factor trees are still being used in today's every changing curriculum to help students understand these relationships. While I applaud many of the new constructivist ideals to relay information to students in the world of mathematics, I also have some skepticism. There are some methods such as the lattice method that I find more cumbersome and frustrating than helpful. Sometimes less is more and I feel that the simplicity of the factor tree is a very effective and creative way to help students with this area of math.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Cooperative Learning

After reading the article on cooperative learning I sat back and thought about how this would work in the class of second graders that I teach. As a paraprofessional, I get the luxury of sometimes just sitting back and watching the class dynamic as though I am an outsider looking in. I LOVE the idea of cooperative learning. I totally agree with the article when it states that this type of learning, does in fact, teach students social skills as well as responsibility and accountability. These are skills that many of today's youth are seriously lacking. 

Now, is this type of learning practical? Not all classrooms are going to be successful at this learning approach. In my class particular, I have seen this work for a time and then before we know it feelings are hurt and there is tattling and it falls apart. One of the BIG challenges is how to divide up teams. Clearly, you do not want to have close friends all in the same group, however, if you separate there is always grumbling. I find it best to take this opportunity to pair groups together who typically would not chose each other of they had the option. It is a great way to broaden their horizons, as well as see how different people think.

As a teacher, it is your job to keep them on task. I know this can be very challenging. You constantly have to monitor to see if they are on task. There have been times when this type of learning has worked really well for my classroom and other times that it has not. I really feel that it depends on the group dynamic as well as the project or assignment. My advice would be to learn from your mistakes and take it one day at a time.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Cartiesian Product

I find theCartesian Product very interesting. For the problem how many different combinations you could get with 4 salads, 5 entrees and 6 desserts. I began writing all the different combinations out and was about ready to rip out my hair, luckily I consulted resources and read all about the Cartesian Product and it was simplified for me immediately.

It becomes as simple as multiplying all your outcomes together. Since math can seem like a waste of time for many students, it is so important to apply these concepts to their everyday lives. We can achieve this by providing times when this method may be used. They use the example of making colorful invitations and deciding which color combinations you would like to use. They break it down into steps for you: What does the situation involve, What has to be determined, What are the key data and conditions? By guiding students to think critically about problems, it forces them to think, and though it may be frustrating, in the end they will benefit from it.

I feel that for every concept being taught with regards to math it is crucial to provide examples of how this will benefit them in the real world. Also, try to make it apply to something tangible in their lives. The times that teachers did this for me made a huge difference and it is those things that I remember to this day. The days are long gone of worksheet after worksheet. We have to think of more creative ways to teach material so that not only our students comprehend it but also retain it.

First Blog EVER:)

Well....I wlll have to say that this is my very first blog EVER and as grad student that is a little surprising:) I have mixed feelings about all this new technology and that includes the idea of blogging. So we will see if I enjoy this or not....