I am a HUGE advocate for teaching students how to use a graphing calculator to check their answers. In fact, it’s probably one of the MOST important skills I’ve taught my students. Yes, I know…being able to find a solution algebraically is extremely important, and of course, I teach them that. And, of course, I require them to show their work. BUT, when they turn in an assessment, I want them to be confident that their answers are correct. Feedback is extremely helpful, and by using the graphing calculator it can be instant!
You know, I probably should have titled this post “The Lost Art of Checking Your Answers”. Sometimes I simply don’t understand why students don’t check their answers?!?! I know that some students are just too “lazy” to check, algebraically. Yes, I said it! BUT, at they could at least use their calculator to confirm or disaffirm their answer. Just think, if students were able to check every problem BEFORE they turn in their work? Then, they would know immediately if they have an answer right or wrong…and if wrong, they can fix it!
There are soooooo many math topics that students can use the calculator to check their answers. Here are just a few ways:
Do you want to make it easier for your students to navigate the TI-84 graphing calculator? Watch my video that covers some tips and tricks you may not know about the TI-84. You will also learn some great ways for students to check their algebraic answers using the calculator, as well as unique ways to graph. After all, calculators are only as smart as their user!
To watch the VIDEO and receive FREE Graphing Calculator Reference Sheets, click on the image below:
If you are looking for a complete bundle of all of my TI-84 or TI-Nspire calculator sheets, to help your students easily maneuver though the calculator, you can click on one of the images below:
These sheets will help you integrate calculators into your lessons as a central tool in developing students’ mathematical connections, conceptual understanding, and procedural fluency.
Have you ever had a student that was AMAZING at one math concept and was either average or poor at other math concepts? I had such a student. I nicknamed this student “Factor Master”. He found factoring so easy and was able to do it extremely fast. I could tell he was very proud of this skill, as was I. It’s then that I realized I wanted to give math award certificates to highlight the math concepts that students were specifically strong at in middle and high school.
I searched the internet first and found math awards that were general for math achievement, but not specifically for certain math concepts. I decided I’d have to create my own. I wanted the award certificates to be fun, but not too cutesy for middle and high school students. I decided to use my friend, Sarah Pecorino’s, Dot Dude clip art. She is the BEST clip artist…I absolutely love everything she creates AND she is an awesome person too!
Next, I made a list of grades 6-12 math concepts to use. I was able to come up with 50 fun superlative and alliteration award certificates! I made them ready to print AND editable, so teachers can type in the student names and dates.
I found that recognizing my students’ strengths helped develop a positive culture within my classroom. When students know that their hard work is being noticed AND appreciated, they tend to work even harder and feel better about it.
You can see all of the math awards in this video:
Here are what other teachers have to say about these FUN math awards:
Very creative and my students really enjoy these at the end of the school year and just from time to time. – MathBott
I absolutely adore these! Make math class so much more fun! – Math with Ms Calabro
So creative! I'm excited to use them this school year with my high school students.
– In Math Class
These are so fun and creative! My students loved receiving them as an end of the year treat! – Ashley B.
These are fun and great motivators for the students. – Julie L.
My students loved choosing who earned what award. Great math twist! – Susan M.
Love these!! Every year I am required to give math awards and always struggle to come up ideas. These will make my life so much easier! – Fractions are Friends
What a great way to celebrate our students. – Karen K.
Click on the image below to go directly to the math awards:
Looking to boost teacher morale too?!
I want to preface this post with the fact that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all strategy for how to conduct parent-teacher conferences. There are MANY ideas and methodologies that have been used by all levels of teachers. It is important to choose the best method that works for YOU.
I’d like to share a strategy that worked for me and can be used to help you set up your parent-teacher conferences. I have included two FREE templates for you to use to prepare for parent-teacher conferences.
Begin by using the SET IT UP template to decide WHAT you want to achieve during the conference and HOW you want to achieve it. This handout can be used digitally by typing in your content or if you are a paper/pencil person, you can print and complete it that way.
CREATE A GOAL
Decide the important topics you want to share and/or discuss during the conference. Let’s face it, you simply cannot cover everything you want to during the conference. My conferences were always set for 15 minutes, so I had to pick and choose 3-5 areas I wanted to discuss to give the parent/guardian a good picture of their child’s progress.
CHOOSE A METHOD
I find having some kind of form filled out prior to the conference helps keep the meeting focused. I prefer a RUBRIC in which I fill out for each student that includes the level of understanding for the units of study for the semester, work ethic, attitude towards learning, and attention. This has been by far the best thing I’ve done for having successful parent-teacher conferences!
I usually print the rubric and highlight each area, so parents/students can leave with a hard copy. But, you can also share each rubric with them virtually by sharing your screen and/or via email. Click on the image for an editable version of this rubric.
I used to only meet with the parent/guardian, but one year I changed it so that the student had the option to attend. I found that students enjoyed hearing about their progress and the good things they were doing in class. It was also helpful for them to be part of the honest conversation on areas they could improve. I truly think who attends varies on each teacher’s situation, so again, do what is best for YOU.
EXECUTE YOUR PLAN
What needs to be prepared in advance? For me, I filled out a rubric for each student and made a checklist of appointments to keep the meetings efficient and on time. During the conference, I explain each area of the rubric and give a few examples. Parents were also happy to walk away with something they could reflect on with their child.
I am the type of person that always wants to improve! I am constantly analyzing lessons, projects, activities, etc., so of course I want to reflect on how I set up and execute my conferences to make them even better the next time.
Using the SET IT UP document helps me plan for conferences each year and having a RUBRIC I can edit for each quarter/semester helps me make the necessary adjustments for each conference.
Here are some other strategies my fellow mathtastic friends have used with their students:
by Math Giraffe
Work together as a team to prepare for each conference. Students do self-evaluations that they present to parents alongside the teaching team's evaluation.
Homeroom teachers act as representatives of the entire teaching team, while students take accountability and share input about any discrepancies / similarities between the two forms.
(free download included)
We hope you find these
parent-conference strategies helpful!
Have you had a few school days when you wake up to find out you are teaching virtual today instead of in-person learning? And then think…NOOOOOO, I had the BEST activity planned today! This is becoming more and more common. It causes teachers stress, disruption to learning, and overall, is very frustrating.
Well, guess what?! I have some MATHTASTIC resources to share with you that you can either use in-person OR virtual because they are printable and digital. That’s right, with ONE resource you have access to both versions, which means you can switch from in-person teaching to virtual (and vice versa) and continue with your original lesson plans.
Start using these resources today to save yourself the frustration of having to change your lesson last minute!
ALGEBRA AND BEYOND PRINT & DIGITAL RESOURCES:
REAL WORLD PROJECTS – Are you out for a few days and need students to do independent work? These projects are perfect! Students learn how to connect what they learned in class with real world scenarios.
BATTLE MY MATH SHIP – Students love this spin on the classic game of Battleship! Students try to sink their opponents' ships by solving math problems. Perfect partner activity to review any math topic. Set them up in a breakout room and away they go! Over 70 battleships to choose from!
NAME THAT FUNCTION – Working with functions? Great! These activities help students critically think about graphs and their attributes. These were the best for when I had half my class in person and half virtual because students could discuss and learn together no matter their location.
ALGEBRA LESSONS WITH VIDEOS – Teaching a new topic today? No problem. These lessons can be shared with your students via a password protected site. They include a video warm-up, guided notes, and homework. You can demonstrate the learning in Zoom or use some of the FREE pre-recorded videos you will find here: INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEOS
MORE MATHTASTIC PRINT & DIGITAL RESOURCES:
STATIONS MAZE from Mrs. E Teaches Math – Stations mazes are great because they get students up and moving around the room. They also encourage students to check their work carefully since an incorrect answer will eventually send them back to a problem they have already solved. A digital version is included for absent students.
BOOM CARDS from Kate's Math Lessons – Your students will LOVE getting instant feedback with these digital task cards! In a nutshell, Boom Cards are interactive, self-checking activities. Students are shown one question at a time and get immediate feedback on their answers. Boom Cards can also be printed if you prefer paper task cards for stations, games, or scavenger hunts. Read more about these activities HERE.
MINI MYSTERIES from Lauren Fulton –Who doesn’t love a good mystery? With Mini Mysteries, students use standards-based math problems to solve murder mysteries! Each mystery comes with a mystery story, clue sheet (AKA, math problems that don’t feel like math problems), and a class set of suspect cards. As students work their way through the clue sheet, they narrow down the suspect list to find the guilty suspect! Print & digital versions come in each set.
OLD MATH GUY from Free to Discover - Engage your math students in interactive matching activities TWO different ways! Students play Old Math Guy (think Old Maid) in small groups. “Matches” are mathematical matches between 2 cards (ie 2(x+4) and 2x+8). Need a digital solution? The same cards can be used to complete an individual drag-n-drop practice activity in Google Slides.
PRINT AND DIGITAL MATH PUZZLES from Scaffolded Math and Science – Each set of math puzzles comes in both print and digital form. The digital versions are drag-and-drop in GOOGLE Slides. The puzzles make for engaging classwork, station activities, partner work and review.
How do you use clip charts?
I'm an educational blogger and curriculum designer. I am enthusiastic about providing creative, comprehensive, and clear resources for middle and high school math teachers. My goal is to create content that is easy to implement for the teacher, and helps students Connect Knowledge with Understanding - One Lesson at a Time.