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Another Go Figure Debut for a Math Teacher Who Is New!

Meghan is a math teacher from Dallas, Texas who has been teaching for 12 years. She taught for six years in Ohio), and for the last six years she’s been teaching in Dallas, Texas at a private Montessori/International baccalaureate school. Meghan teaches mostly middle schoolers 7th grade pre-algebra and 8th grade algebra. Recently, her school started an upper school, and they add a grade each year. Presently, they have toddlers through 10th graders on their campus!! Her store is called Dr Pepper Lover; so, apparently she loves Dr Pepper.

She shared with me that her math classroom is colorful and inviting. Geometry has always been her favorite of the maths (mine, too). She claims to be very artsy and loves to doodle and create new designs with her trusty compass and straightedge. Several years ago she decided to try interactive notebooks with her pre-algebra and algebra students and they loved them! You can find many interactive notebook ideas, projects and activities for Pi Day (March 14th) on her own blog called Middle School Math with Mrs. Fahey.

Currently, her Teachers Pay Teachers store contains 98 resources. Although most of them are math related, she does have a few that are questions to be used after watching a movie such as The Beautiful Mind. The 24 questions are good for keeping students on task during the movie. She also has 13 resources that are guided notes to teach various math concepts such as ratios and proportions or absolute value.

She features 24 Color-by-Number resources. She insists, “Don’t be fooled. Middle schoolers are NOT too cool to color!” What fun your students might have with those! All of her resources are reasonably priced, and many are under $5.00. Six of her products are free!
Free Resource

Only Costs $6.00
One of her free resources is Matchy Math, and it plays like the old game show Concentration. You select doors and make matches in order to reveal pieces of a rebus puzzle. Think: a picture of a key + P represents the word “keep”. This game matches inequalities with their graphs.

Meghan has bundled five of her Color-by-Number activities into a resource called, Zombie Bundle: Absolute Value Equations/Inequalities and More. She says that the activities will really test your students’ BRAIN power and that your students will thank you for this homework! (That’s a novel idea!)

I hope you will take a moment to check out all of Meghan’s top quality products as well as her blog. Download one of her free items, and then take some time to leave her feedback.

The Wolf's Chicken Stew - Celebrating the 100th Day of School

This week is the 100th day of school for my youngest grandson.  He is so-o-o excited because his teacher has many special things planned. I even made him and his sisters a pair of 100 eyeglasses to wear! (See photo below.)

His teacher gave him a plastic bag in which he is to place 100 items.  Because he has to count them out, I decided it was time that he learned to count by tens.  We linked ten multi-link cubes together and made ten different groups of ten, each a different color.  When it is time for him to count out his items, he will show his classmates that it is much quicker to count by tens to get to 100.

I also sent a book with him for his Pre-K teacher to read, The Wolf's Chicken Stew by Keiko Kasza. It deals with numeration and number sense and is appropriate for grades PreK-3. You might be unfamiliar with the book, but it's about a wolf named Wolf (a wanna-be bad guy) who wants a fat hen for his delicious chicken stew.  Before seizing Mrs. Chicken, he decides to fatten her up first.  He is a great cook; so, he spends the next few nights in the kitchen making 100 scrumptious pancakes as well as 100 donuts, and a 100 pound cake and anonymously leaving them on her porch for Mrs. Chicken to eat. However, at the end of the book, Wolf unwittingly makes 100 new friends.

I hope you can locate this book to read to your students.  If you do, here are some fun ideas and engaging activities you might try.
  • Rewrite the ending of the story.
  • Talk about how this wolf is different from a real wolf. 
  • Retell the story using different food items that the wolf might have used to fatten up Mrs. Chicken. 
  • Using connecting links, connect 100 of them. Then find items in the classroom that weigh 100 links using a balance scale. 
  • Use the picture where the wolf is making pancakes and write the recipe. 
  • Using the picture of the 100 pound cake, write as many words as possible that describe the cake. 
  • Hide 100 "chicks" (made out of paper) around the classroom and see if the children can find them all.
  • List reasons why this is fictional story and not a real story.
Whatever you do, have fun with your students.  Remind them that they are "1 out of 100"! And a BIG thank you to each of you for giving 100% to teaching!

Problem Solving Strategies

My math classes have been looking at different problem solving strategies, trying them out, and discovering what works best individually.  We've tried:
    Poster that Hangs in My Classroom
    1. Using Models or Manipulatives
    2. Drawing a Picture
    3. Acting it Out or Role Playing
    4. Making a Chart or Table
    5. Making a List or a Graph
    6. Looking for Patterns (All math is based on patterns.)
    7. Working Backwards
    8. Guessing and Checking
    9. Making the Problem Simpler
I believe problem solving should be the central focus of any mathematics curriculum.  It is the major reason for studying math and provides a context in which concepts and skills can be learned.  It is the major vehicle for developing higher order thinking skills.  However, there is one problem solving strategy that will not work, although many students try it. It is called staring!  That is why the non-strategy poster seen above always hangs in my classroom.

Need some problem solving activities that are enjoyable, offer variety, and increase interest? Think Tank Questions is a 14 page handout that contains 46 various questions. Most subject areas are included in the questions which are appropriate for grades 2-6.