Number Talks in High School Math

Though there are times I fly by the seat of my pants, I usually have plenty of printed materials ready to go for my students. To do Number Talks right, printed material had to go right out the window along with calculators, pencils and even blank paper. It was uncomfortable and weird, but after our third Number Talk, I found myself feeling more successful as a teacher than I had in a while.

Tips for Staying Confident While Taking Tests

I like to tell my students about the day I took my mathematics teacher test. Hundreds of other teachers and prospective teachers gathered in a high school auditorium to hear about the cell phone policy and to eventually be directed to the classrooms where they'd spend the next 4 hours. Some looked nervous, others looked confident. It was amazing that so many of us were all there for the same reason. I was one of the nervous ones, but was holding it together for the most part.

Earth Day Activities (and 12 COOL Earth Facts) for Students

It's almost Earth Day, so I asked some friends if they had any Earth Day activities (like the coordinate graphing activity from Hayley Cain that is linked at the bottom of this post). No matter what your stand is on global warming or recycling or any other environmental issue, our planet is pretty freaking awesome! For example, right at this very moment we are speeding through space 15 times faster than the fastest jet ever made. How crazy is that?! This is the kind of stuff about our beautiful planet Earth I like to think about and that I wanted to highlight in this post.

Systems of Equations Quick Check Sheet

Systems of equations quick check

This past week in Algebra 2 we saw that solving radical equations was a lot like solving systems of equations! One of the many, many things I have learned from math teachers at my school is that any equation at all can be solved with a graphing calculator. We just have to put each side of the equation into y1= and y2= and find the intersection. I never thought of it, but it makes total sense. The only thing to remember is that the y value at the intersection wouldn't be part of our solution since we are forcing one 1-variable equation into two 2-variable equations. Other than that, what a great trick!

1040 Income Tax Cheat Sheet for Kids

I recently posted on Instagram about doing my students' taxes. All of my seniors, most of whom have after school jobs, learned how to file a 1040 income tax return in our Consumer Math class. Still, some feel nervous about doing the "real thing". The idea that my students aren't getting their tax refunds because the process is so confusing really bothers me. Nevermind that wage theft is a major issue anyway, lots of people are leaving even more money on the table because of how confusing our tax code is. It's not right.

1040 Tax Cheat Sheet for Kids

4 Ways to Fill 5 Minutes in the Secondary Math Classroom

By Daylight Savings, the clocks in our building are always off by up to 4 minutes. This might not sound like a big deal to anyone who isn't a teacher, but to us, this is a BIG DEAL. My students start lining up at the door and an exhausting game of wack-a-mole begins to get everyone back into their seats. 

Free Exponential Functions Flowchart

One of the hardest things about learning the different exponential functions is knowing when to use each one. 

Exponential Functions Flowchart

Free Quadratic Zeros Quick-Check Template

A few years ago I had a lot of Algebra 2 students and not enough graphing calculators. That year, I decided to combine our graphing calculator unit with our projectile motion unit when graphing calculators were an absolute must. It ended up working out. Now I intentionally combine the two units because it offers a high-interest context for learning all the ins and outs of the graphing calculator. 

Quadratic Zeros Quick-Check Template