September 2011 Archives

In previous posts I explained when and why it's better to ask students questions using cold calling rather than hand raising or choral response. Now, here are some tips on how to use cold calling: Call on students equally yet randomly. Some teachers rely on memory to do this. Others place Popsicle sticks with students' names on them (one stick per student) in a cup, and then pick a stick each time they ask a question. And others use technology, including St. Paul Public Schools Special Education Teacher and Technology Coach Chris Alper-Leroux who uses Microsoft Excel's random number generator ...


I observed an Algebra class recently where students were trying to multiply two polynomials, (x + 5) and (3x2 - 5x - 4). And as I roamed the room, I noticed several students who were stuck because they couldn't "FOIL it." Others, meanwhile, did FOIL it and came up with an incorrect product, 3x3 + 15x2 - 4x - 20, as a result (instead of 3x3 + 10x2 - 29x - 20). The problem, of course, is that the ever-popular FOIL Method only works when multiplying two binomials. Use it when multiplying a binomial by a trinomial, as students did in the above ...


In previous posts I gave suggestions for managing your daily supplies and documents. But there's one "thing" you manage that can't be stuffed into a tool belt or stowed in a bin: students. And since there are lots of them and only one of you, it's imperative that you control student traffic before you're sidetracked, if not steamrolled, by it. Of course, with your supplies and documents in order, you can be more vigilant, and deter students from leaving their seats unless they have valid reasons for doing so. On the other hand, even when students get up for valid ...


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