What I really wanted to title this is “How TpT for Schools Saved my Behind” because that’s exactly what happened.
Our school needed to purchase new math books for grades K-5. We use the Virginia Standards of Learning (VSOL), so it was difficult to find textbooks that covered these standards because most resources are aligned with Common Core. We had to carefully evaluate all of our textbook choices online. Why? Well, we are an international school, so shipping is both expensive and time-consuming. Even if samples could be sent to us, there would not be enough time to evaluate them and order books in time for the new school year. So, yes, evaluating books online was not an easy task. Regardless, we finally decided on one that we thought would work well for our program.
August came and the textbooks arrived. It didn't take long to realize that, not only were the books missing standards, but they were also missing pages that had been in the online version. To top it off, the workbooks were stamped "Common Core," which was also not on the online version. How could this happen? These textbooks were listed as Virginia aligned, so we assumed they were specifically designed around the VSOL and all standards would be included, but they weren't. I was devastated. As our school's curriculum director I felt responsible. I am in charge of leading the team and approving the resources. How could I have let this happen?
Long story short, we were able to get reimbursed for the insufficient resources by the publishers. Yay, problem solved, right?! No, we still had teachers with books that had missing standards and no resources to teach those standards. What were we going to do?
Ordering new books wasn't feasible. We needed an immediate solution. We decided to give each teacher a budget on Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT) where they could find high quality, standard aligned resources. Teachers could purchase resources to cover the standards they were missing. Another yay, right?! Yes and no. In order for our teachers to get the resources they would have to go through a very complicated process which included filling out a Google Form for each resource they wanted, approval of the resource by me, then approval by our financial manager and then finally the resources would be distributed to the teacher via hard copy or thumb drive. Clearly not an ideal process, but it was our best option until I saw that TpT was coming out with something called, TpT for Schools. I immediately applied and was thrilled when I received the email that we had been accepted into their early pilot program. They scheduled a video conference so they could explain the platform. It was exactly what we needed!
TpT for Schools was the perfect solution to all of my problems. The steps are so simple:
This process can happen in five minutes or less. We love this process and we love the wonderful resources we are able to purchase through TpT. This was so well received by the K-5 teachers, that we gave other teachers a budget and added them to our TpT account so they could order resources to supplement our curriculum. What had once been a curriculum catastrophe, turned into a long term victory, thanks to TpT for Schools.
Besides the convenience of TpT for Schools, they also have top-notch customer service! Anytime I have a question or suggestion, they quickly respond via email. They assured me that it is a priority of theirs to help make the platform even better for us. Also, they check in with me every other week to see how we are doing with it and if we have any other suggestions or ideas, etc. You can tell they truly want this to be the best solution for all schools, and it’s a team effort between them and us. The TpT team is outstanding because they are:
Sign up for TpT for Schools NOW
So, as you can see…..TpT for Schools SAVED ME! What does this mean for you?! It means that it can save you too. Maybe your school doesn’t have the same issue as we did, but teachers are ALWAYS in need of more innovative resources that books from publishers do not provide. Therefore, I highly recommend you reach out to your admin and ask them to sign your school up for TpT for Schools so that you can start enjoying the benefits too!
Share TpT for Schools with your administrator to begin the conversation:
I have spent a lot of time on YouTube looking for videos for warm-ups or even to use as review for my students. Over the years, I've found a lot of quality channels that I subscribe to, so I thought I'd share my favorite ones. They are not in any particular order because they are all mathtastic in their own way. You can click on any of the titles to go right to their home page.
There are over 4,000 videos at your fingertips from this non-profit organization. The videos are mainly for middle and high school math and science. Teachers, professors, NASA scientists, Ph D.’s, and many other experts created the videos. Here is a neat one on Linear Functions.
This is my steady Eddie. Whenever I am having a difficult time finding a video for a specific topic, this is the channel I find myself going to for help. James has created over 5,000 math videos from arithmetic to calculus III and beyond. The videos with the yellow background are mini-lessons and the videos with the graph paper background are examples only. He also has a website with a list of videos for each subject, which is easier to navigate than the YouTube channel.
Clear and concise best describes Derek’s videos. He has over 1,000 videos covering Pre-Algebra to Calculus topics, and even some Physical Science and Physics lessons. He organizes his videos by chapters of study, so it is easy to find what you are looking for. Here is one that uses great visuals for Adding and Subtracting Fractions.
When I first began searching on YouTube for videos for my calculus warm-ups, Patrick was my go to guy. He covers anything and everything calculus. While I mainly use him for calculus videos, he also covers other areas, such as SAT and GED math problems. He just seems like a cool, down to earth guy that loves math. Here is a quote from his bio page: “Trying to empower people with a bit of math know-how. I make straight, to the point videos on how to tackle different math problems. No gimmicks and no distractions. My goal is to make your time as useful and effective as possible when studying. These videos are intended to be a supplement to what a (hopefully) good teacher is providing you with in the classroom.”
The All Around Math Guy
This guy has some really cool real world examples in his videos. Here is one of his real world videos that I particularly enjoyed: Understanding Engine Size – The Volume of a Cylinder. You also can find math examples for Grade 8 to AP Calculus.
Unless you are a math teacher living under a rock, you’ve heard of Khan Academy. While this may be one of the most popular channels for math videos, it is not my all time favorite, nor my students. However, there are tons of topics on this channel that are covered thoroughly. Khan has even expanded to a full website that includes more subjects beyond math where students can work their way through topics that they choose or that are chosen by their teacher.
Firefly Lectures - Calculus
At first, it looks like a Khan Academy video, but then this guy pops up in the bottom right corner of the screen and you’re like woah, who’s this? Well, I actually don’t know his name, but I do like that he added himself to the videos. It’s nice to feel like a person is talking directly to you, as well as clearly seeing the math steps on the screen. If you teach Algebra or Calculus (I, II, and II), his videos will be a great resource for you! Here is one on the Absolute Value Function: Domain and Range.
This channel also has over 4,000 videos and the majority of them cover middle and high school math concepts. The best part is that most of the videos are three minutes or less, so they are great if you want to use it in class or assign it to your students to watch at home for quick review. Here is one on how to Solve Linear Equations with Variables on Both Sides.
Nancy, a MIT graduate, explains Algebra and Calculus topics. Even though she does not have a huge library of videos, she does have over 370,000 subscribers. I don’t use her videos a lot because most of them are over 10 minutes long, and I usually select videos that are 5 minutes or less for my students. However, I know several of my students really like using her videos to review concepts. Here is one on Solving a Quadratic Equation by Factoring.
High tech and fun videos! This is a fairly new channel that was established in 2015, so the library is small with only 139 videos, but it is still growing. This is a perfect channel for primary and middle school math. This one is great for introducing Slope.
Krista King (formerly known as Calc Expert)
She has changed her YouTube channel name so many times, it may even be different by the time I post this! It doesn’t matter what her name is, she has quality videos for Pre-Algebra to Calculus III and has been posting videos since 2010. I find that she is very thorough in her videos, and they don’t take over 10 minutes, which is a plus. Here is one that explains Limits and Continuity.
A hodge podge of lessons, lectures, and examples. You have to dig a little to find what you are looking for, but a lot of them have fun visuals and cool sound effects which students love. There are topics for Pre-Algebra to Algebra 2. Even though the resolution in this video is not perfect, I really like it for a Graphing Quadratics Overview.
I subscribe to many more channels, however I didn't want to overwhelm you with too many channels, so I stuck to my top twelve. Here are some notables you might find helpful as well. They are listed by channel name and subject(s) that their videos cover:
Math Easy Solutions – Calculus
Math Meeting – Algebra to Calculus
My Why U – Pre-Alg and Alg (about 100 videos)
Miller Math – Calculus
Mathman 1024 – Algebra
My Secret Math Tutor – Precalculus to Calculus
Math Gives You Power – Precalculus to Calculus
MSLC Mathematics – Calculus
Rootmath – Calculus
Scott Haselwood – Precalculus to Calculus
Carrie Kyser – Statistics and Calculus
Math Planet Videos – All math levels
Charlie LIndelof – Calculus
Straighter Line – College Algebra, Precalc, Calculus, and Business Statistics
Timothy Kasper – Geometry
Tracey Jensen – Algebra to Calculus
Vividmaths.com by Steve K – Grades 7-12 math
I hope you found some new and helpful YouTube Channels to follow for middle and high school math! Email me or comment below with some of YOUR favorite YouTube Math Channels, so I can check them out!
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Teachers plan and prepare lessons, attend meetings, help students, create resources, grade assessments, communicate with parents, learn new teaching strategies, learn technology…and the list could go on forever. With so many things to do, I find that thinking of a new way to decorate my room each year can become daunting. Don’t get me wrong, I love decorating my walls and bulletin boards, but it’s the with what that sometimes stumps me.
After searching the internet, I discovered some amazing ideas and came up with a few of my own. I divided the ideas up into four main categories – informative, interactive, student work, and motivational. Check out what I found and am using in my classroom this year…
These types of bulletin boards display information that provides students with visual reference throughout the year.
1 – Word Walls
Love them! Scaffolded Math and Science has the most amazing ones and she explains why they are so important for high school students on her blog.
2 – Graphing Calculator Reference Sheets
Students constantly forget the steps they need to use on a graphing calculator. These sheets are great for students to put in their interactive notebooks, binder, etc. I hang them up on folders and then place the sheets for my students behind the picture so they are ready to go whenever they need them. Read about them in my blog post or snag them in my store.
3 – Math = Love Blog
All of her ideas are awesome! Her blog is filled with so much creativity, which includes ways to decorate your room with math. I used her Perfect Squares and Perfect Cubes sheets this year and my students were so appreciative, especially for the simplifying radicals quiz.
Bulletin boards where students engage with the pieces on the board. There are several types out there, but I found this one to be great for math class.
4 – Boggle
Students interact with this vocabulary Boggle bulletin board designed by Math Giraffe. Learn about this idea and how to set up a classroom that works for teens on her blog. This is great for stations, bell ringers, or even early finishers. Lessons with Coffee also has a Boggle bulletin board for math expressions which you can find here.
Show off your student's hard work!!!
5 – Math is Everywhere
Every year I use this bulletin board idea from the Middle School Math Man. I have my Algebra 2 and Calculus students think of a place they see or use math in the real world. Then they are to create a sheet that includes one Algebra skill, one Geometry skill, and then one more math skill of their choice (Algebra, Geometry, Statistics, etc.) that ties to the real world setting. I have added a rubric, example, and bulletin board letters for this activity in my FREE Resource Library, so SUBSCRIBE to my email list to get instant access!
6 – iMath resources
A fun spin on student’s favorite iPhone Apps – Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and iMessage. Students add sheets to their phone throughout the school year to show what they know and document their growth. At the end of the year they use it for review before their final exam. Check them out here.
7 – The Fridge
Easy way for student’s to display their hard work! Check out how Scaffolded Math and Science sets it up in her class.
8 – Math Pennants
Scaffolded Math and Science does it again! Her blog is full of fun and witty ideas. These pennants are a way for students to confidently display their knowledge and understanding of math topics.
We can all use some inspiration in life, right?!
9 – Growth Mindset Posters
I’m all about GRIT this year, which you can read more about in my blog post on To-Do Lists and True Grit. I used Mrs. E Teaches Math’s growth mindset posters to encourage my students to be gritty. Check them out here.
I hope you found some ideas to use in your classroom! I would love to hear about more cool ways to decorate a math classroom, so send me an email at email@example.com with ideas.
*All photos are from my classroom, unless otherwise noted in the photo caption.
We often talk about SMART goals with our students and make some for ourselves each year. The whole idea and process of organizing your goals and writing them down is fantastic! But then what?
First, it is critical to make a list of what you want to complete each day in order to work towards that goal. Your list also needs to include additional things that you need to complete that affect other areas of your life, career, etc. Including those things on your list will help you budget your time better and stay organized. I have always been a list maker and love crossing off items as I go through the day. It gives me a sense of satisfaction and purpose. Which leads me to my second thought. How many quality tasks am I actually accomplishing every day, week, month, etc.?
Thank goodness for sticky notes! I keep a stack handy to write down all my to-do's and then throw each one away as the task is completed. Sounds logical, right? This video made me think a little differently. Perhaps I was going about it all wrong. Watch the video and then read about how it helped me.
This video made me really think about true grit. It helped me realize that just writing down tasks, completing them and moving on was only a percentage of what goes into achieving goals. I started to realize that I should be documenting my strides and also reflecting on what I am actually doing to accomplish my goals. In other words how gritty am I?
Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to assess your to-do lists and grit:
Did I challenge myself with difficult tasks?
Did I stay focused in order to complete many tasks?
Did I problem solve effectively and efficiently?
Let's get out there and not only make SMART goals this year, but also...
Above is the template I will be using this year. It can be used for any area of your life: career, family, home, savings, etc. There are eight bullets for each day. If necessary, you can always add a sticky note on top of a section. Then each completed to-do list will go into a binder. How rewarding will it be to reflect on what has been accomplished, not only weekly, but for the entire school year!
Click on the photo below to download the To-Do List sheets and go get gritty!!!
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What am I selling? Math education
Who are my clients? My students
How is the market this time of year? TERRIBLE
Why? Because it’s the end of the year and they are burnt out!
What am I going to do now?! Sell it with a SMILE! And a few other tips…
1 – SMILE.
It’s the end of the school year and everyone seems tired, bummed to be at school, and over learning/teaching. But let’s take a moment and think back to the beginning of the school year when you were anxious to get back to the classroom and see your students. You had a pep in our step and you were smiling from ear to ear. This is the person that needs to finish the year off right! There are several studies that show that smiling is very powerful. You can find information on these studies and others in this article by Ron Gutman from Forbes or from his TedTalk. The main points are summarized below, to give you an idea of what a smile can do for you and your students.
2 – SURPRISES.
If you are still giving out quizzes, as I am, surprise your students one day with a partner quiz or open note quiz, but don’t tell them until the day of the quiz. I did this the other day and you could visually see the weight and stress being lifted off of their shoulders. Some may think it’s not good to allow this type of quiz, but I find the opposite. Students take more time to discuss problems with their partner or go through their notes more thoroughly to be sure they are using the right process. At the end of the day, they will need to know this material for the final, so to ease the pain a bit, give them this little surprise.
3 – CONTINUE THE FUN.
Whatever you do that makes your class fun and engaging, keep it up! Keep playing games, using student whiteboards, fun hands-on projects, stations, etc. If you weren’t doing any of these things…GAH! Get your little tail over to my FREE resource library with over 25 activities you can start using right now! If you can't find what you need there, you can always find tons of fun stuff on Kahoot, Blooket, or Teachers Pay Teachers!
4 – THE FUTURE.
What do you and your students have to look forward to? Talk about those things. It could be their summer plans, course schedule for next school year, their interests, college, work, life, etc. I find that students enjoy these conversations and it takes their mind off of the present stress they have with final exams on the horizon.
Looking for more ideas on how to keep students motivated, happy, and engaged the final days of the school year? Check out this blog post by Scaffolded Math and Science or this blog post by Kacie Travis - The Efficient Classroom, where other teachers share their tips and tricks.