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Category: TeachBetterTuesday

TBT – Encourage Creativity

TBT – Encourage Creativity

Unfortunately, many of today’s students view mathematics as a non-creative field. They’ve been told that there is only one way to solve a problem. Rather than search for solutions, they have become conditioned to waiting on their instructor to tell them what to do and how to do it. First, students need to dispel that myth that there is only one way to solve a problem. This week I was introducing the general addition formula for finding the probability of…

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TBT – Agile Students

TBT – Agile Students

One of my goals is to be an agile teacher. I also want that for my students. Often students arrive in my class preferring to work with one method that works for every problem of a certain type. I want them to flexible and use the most efficient solution depending on the particular problem. Case in point – quadratic equations. Students who have seen this material before want to use only the quadratic formula, as they know it can be…

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Students Generating Their Own Data

Students Generating Their Own Data

Lately I have been thinking about how great a job we have done in modernizing our intro stats courses, and how we have not done that in our algebra courses. In statistics we have embraced technological changes, such as transitioning from the binomial formula to binomial tables to using technology like StatCrunch/TI to compute probabilities. In algebra, that sort of transition is far from wide spread. When students have more ownership and control, they are more motivated to learn. In…

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TBT – Reflection

TBT – Reflection

The cycle of learning that I use with my students is one of Discover – Engage – Reflect, and today I want to focus on Reflect. It is hard to imagine that true learning can happen without some sort of reflection. What have we done? How is it similar to what we have done before? How is it different? What are my key takeaways? What concepts are not as clear as they need to be? On Monday I revisited using…

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TBT – Graphing Absolute Value Functions

TBT – Graphing Absolute Value Functions

This week in my intermediate algebra class we covered graphing absolute value functions. I began by having students create an x-y table for . We plotted the points and they could tell the shape of the graph, and I asked them which point was the most important point. They knew it was the turning point of the graph. So far, so good. Next, I put up this equation: . I then gave them a few minutes to figure out where…

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TeachBetterTuesday (TBT) – Involving Students in Discovery

TeachBetterTuesday (TBT) – Involving Students in Discovery

Yesterday was the first day for my intermediate algebra class, which meets for a 2-hour block. Students spent the first hour solving linear equations (a review topic) with no instruction. We followed up with a class discussion regarding which problems they struggled with, and got students to offer their advice for those problems. It was a great start – students being responsible, communication, positive classroom atmosphere. I also had opportunities to sneak in some growth mindset ideas: speed is not…

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TeachBetterTuesday (TBT) – First Day of Class

TeachBetterTuesday (TBT) – First Day of Class

This semester on the blog Tuesday will be “TeachBetterTuesday” or TBT. I will be posting articles focused on getting the most out of your teaching by focusing on new approaches and student-centered instruction, as well as looking for areas to improve my own teaching. I’ll begin this series by sharing my approach to the most important day of the semester: the first day of class. On the first day of class, especially in a developmental math class, our students are…

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