Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The 80% Commandment

I saw this at Kitchen Table Math: http://kitchentablemath.blogspot.com/2008/11/80-commandment.html and I have found it to be true in my classroom.

"The relationship between students’ accuracy with schoolwork and their subsequent
behavior is described by the 80% Commandment: “Thou shall not expect a student
to do a learning task when he or she does not have the skills to complete the
task with 80% success. Otherwise, that student will either act out or tune out.”
Today’s frustrated students who lack basic skills most often respond by acting

Today was the last day of the week for us. I expected my remedial classes to put up a fuss about working today. I thought about the 80% commandment when I decided what we would do for the day. Since we learned how to solve linear inequalities in one variable yesterday, i thought we would spend another day on the topic and extend what we learned yesterday to include inequalities with no solution, all real numbers solution, and compound inequalities. Because they were somewhat familiar with the topic, they were quite agreeable during the lesson and everyone finished the assignment and turned it in. Overall, it was a fairly pleasant day. I think the moral of the story is, when you know you are going to have a day that has the potential for a lot of excitement like Homecoming, Halloween, day before holiday, etc. . . Remember the 80% rule. You'll be glad you did.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Life is a Quadratic Function!

I've seen this before but I could never remember all of it. So glad that I stumbled across it this evening

At age 4, success is...not peeing in your pants.
At age 12, success is...having friends.
At age 16, success is...having a driver's license.
At age 20, success is...having sex.
At age 35, success is...having money.
At age 50, success is...having money.
At age 60, success is...having sex.
At age 70, success is...having a driver's license.
At age 75, success is...having friends.
At age 90, success is...not peeing in your pants.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Walmart Game

Tomorrow is grocery store day for my husband and I. We have a new game we play when we go buy groceries at Walmart to make the chore more enjoyable. We've assigned a point system to all the strange people we see at Walmart and we try to improve our score each time we go.

For example:
  • an obese person using a scooter-5 points
  • someone wearing pajamas-5 points
  • a kids with no shoes-10 points
  • a used diaper in the parking lot -10 points
  • a mom with multiple rowdy children talking obliviously on her cell phone-10 points
  • a person speaking through a voice box-10 points
  • someone dressed completely in camouflage-10 points
  • someone giving away puppies or kittens-10 points
  • child over five drinking from a baby bottle-10 points
  • kid riding a bike-5 points
  • woman with rollers in her hair-5 points
  • someone with BO-20 points

We need a few more suggestions, so if you've seen something strange at Walmart, let's hear it!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Turn Around Words

When I had been teaching about 3 or 4 years, I went to our annual state math conference and attended a session on problem solving in algebra I. One of the things the presenter taught us was the importance of what she called "turn-around words".

Turn around words are words that cause the number to be written after the variable. The turn around words are "than" and "from".

Anyone who teaches algebra I knows that students have trouble writing an algebraic expression for "4 less than 3 times a number" or "13 subtracted from a number is 20." They want to write 4 - 3n and
13 - x = 20. When I teach this, I have the students circle any turn around words and then draw arrows indicating that the 4 will be written after 3n and 13 will be written after the x.

I also have them stand up and I read out the problems and every time they hear me say "than" or "from" they have to turn around. This physical activity helps them remember the turn around words.

Friday, November 7, 2008

New to the Blogging World

Hello and welcome to my blog! I've been lurking around in numerous education blogs for the last year and have finally decided to take the plunge into the world of blogging. I have no idea what I am doing, but hopefully I will learn as I go! I teach High School math at a rural high school in West Texas and I love my job, but there are days when I need to vent. Hopefully I will write things that others are interested in reading. Lord knows, teachers are never short of interesting material.

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