My Teaching Journey

through the intersection of math and middle school

Monthly Archives: April 2012

EDMS Presentation Links

Powerpoint slides (.pptx or .pdf)   |   Handout (.pdf)

New Teacher Resources

  • A six-page list of assessment strategies with lots of options for checking understanding at the end of a class
  • My collection of Teaching Ideas – This is a Google Document that contains my running list of good ideas. I haven’t had the chance to use most of them, but keep the list as a place to add new ideas. I refer to it at the beginning of each school year as I decide what changes to make from the previous year. Please comment on what is there by using use the comment feature (duh) to leave your thoughts.
  • Building Our Classroom – A collaborative site created by two preservice teachers as an “organized collection of thoughts about what makes a classroom work…everything from the nitty-gritty to the whopper questions, from homework hand-in to common core values.” There are 7 categories across the top of the site (e.g., Physical Spaces, Norms), with many specific topics in each one. Many of the comments are from educators who are well-known bloggers and spend a great deal of time advancing the online education community.
  • Success in the Classroom – From the site tagline: “Practical tips and strategies for new teachers and student teachers”
  • DisciplineHelp – “A resource for handling 124 behaviors at school and at home.” Register for a free account to get access to all 124 behaviors. Behaviors are divided by category (e.g., Attention, Power), and given helpful names (e.g., The Blurter, The Rude). It’s definitely worth using as soon as you start to become familiar with your students.
  • TeacherVision’s New Teacher Resources – There is a multitude of categories, each with several short pieces of advice. I enjoy going through the categories and finding a gem of an idea to implement in my class.
  • The Cornerstone for Teachers

Twitter for Educators: Twitter Hashtags for Educators

Blog Links: Educational Blogs by Discipline (a rather comprehensive list)

Blogs for Middle School Teachers (these are my favorite due to their creative lessons, helpful advice, or my ability to relate to them as an educator)

  • Bluebird’s Classroom – Mrs. Bluebird writes about her seventh grade classroom and her students. Her writing is always relevant to a middle school teacher and frequently humorous as well.
  • Always Formative – Jason Buell teaches middle school science and uses standards-based grading in his classes
  • The Line – Dina is a seventh-grade ELA teacher; her blog is the sole recommendation from my wife
  • The Teacher’s Lounge  – there are several educators who post here about a variety of teaching tips and issues (refer their post on who writes for the blog)
  • Crazy Teaching – Terie teaches high school science in Illinios in a one-to-one classroom; she uses a variety of project-based learning and Web 2.0 tools to teach her students

Blogs for math teachers

  • I Speak Math – Julie teaches 6th and 7th grade in North Carolina; she includes lots of foldables
  • Mathemagical Molly – Molly is  first year high school math teacher in Philadelphia
  • Mathy McMatherson – Daniel is a first year high school math teacher in Arizona
  • Teaching Ninja – A high school math teacher in her 8th year of teaching; she has some good posts on number sense
  • Overthinking my Teaching – Christopher is a former middle school math teacher and current math education professor in Minnesota; I mentally equate him to a Dr. Dorothy White of the blogging world.
  • f(t) – Kate is a high school math teacher who writes a lot of the curriculum she uses and shares much of it on her blog
  • Questions? – David Cox has been teaching middle school math since 2005; he focuses largely on how he can deepen his students’ thinking
  • dy/dan – Dan Meyer’s blog is what first started my interest in blogging; he used to write a lot about his classroom, but more recently has been writing about math curriculum and big ideas in math education.

Other online resources:

  • Teaching Channel – a large and growing selection of videos created by educators on topics including differentiation, lesson planning, assessment, collaboration, and Common Core; videos can be sorted by topic, subject, or grade level
  • Pinterest – search for a term (“middle school organization” or “linear equations”) to get lots of ideas
  • Free Technology for Teachers – includes ideas for integrating technology in all subject areas; frequent posts/updates

Book Recommendations

My resources for being a lifelong learner:


New Kids on the Block

Every year in April, there is one day to which I look forward. I look forward to it for weeks in advance. I can’t sleep the night before. I get nervous. It’s kinda like when you were a kid and your birthday never seemed to get any closer.

This is how I feel about facilitating a presentation for the UGA middle school education student teachers. I get to do that next Monday. I started working on the presentation a few weeks ago, incorporating a few ideas I had thought of in January. Last year I focused on techniques of effective teachers, using the blogosphere for your own professional development, and standards-based grading. For the techniques of effective teaching, I pulled from a running list that I keep in Google Docs, which I’ve collected from my preservice experience, teaching books, and the blogosphere; feel free to add your comments. I also shared some of my personal brainstorming ideas about teaching; again, feel free to add your comments. I tried to cover too much. Everyone was good until I got the standards-based grading, and then their eyes glazed over.

This year, I’m sticking to the first two topics–techniques of effective teachers and using the blogosphere for your own PD–with a heavy emphasis on the latter, as well as including resources from across the web (both blogs and non-blog resources). The six-panel meme at the top is how I’m going to segue into the section on needing to continue your own PD. Here are some of the ideas I’m including:

If you were presenting to 50 preservice teachers who had just finished their student teaching, what resources would you share with them?