31 Essential Items That Should Be in Every Teacher’s Desk Drawer

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31 Essential Items That Should Be in Every Teacher’s Desk Drawer

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Are you ready to make life easier for your future self?

A teacher's desk is a like a mini-home-away-from-home and keeping it supplied with the right stuff will ensure that you are prepared for anything that comes your way this school year. 

In this post I’ll share 31 essential items that your should always have in your classroom.

So, which ones are you missing?

First and foremost, keep these simple rules in mind:

• Classroom items have a habit of disappearing so avoid keeping anything too valuable in your desk.
• When it comes to food, be mindful of storing perishable items or things that will attract insects and critters.
• Be considerate when sharing your desk with someone else.
• Keep your desk locked if you can.

1.) Basic Supplies

This may be a no-brainer, but it's always important to keep your desk stocked with basic teacher supplies including colored markers, staples, and post-its.

2.) Plastic Utensils

Because sometimes you need to eat your lunch in peace, without making that etxra trip to the teacher's lounge.

3.) Water Bottles

Teachers are notoriously dehydrated individuals. Keeping water in your classroom will help you stay hydrated and healthy!

4.) Cough Drops

For those days when your throat is not up to the task of speaking.

5.) Tylenol

It's hard to think of many things that are worse than dealing with a classroom full of students while you have a headache.

6.) Gum and/or Mints

Millions of teachers suffer from undiagnosed coffee breath. Don't let it happen to you.

7.) Disinfectant Wipes

For all the snot, spit, and spills that cover the surfaces in your classroom.

8.) Sunscreen

You never know when you'll have to spend time outdoors before, during, or after school.

9.) Phone Charger

An extra phone charger is an absolute essential.


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10.) Duct Tape

You can fix almost anything using duct tape. It will come in handy more than you think!

11.) Hand Sanitizer

Always keep a small bottle just for yourself.

12.) Tissues

Kids are excellent at using up all of the tissues. Be sure to have a secret stash.

13.) Paper Towel

Because you're over-due for a coffee spill.

14.) Deodorant and Other Personal Hygiene Products

We all have our awkward moments; being prepared helps you get through them.

15.) Hand Lotion

Because chalk, markers, and glue are your hands' worst enemy.

16.) Vitamin C Supplements

Keep your immune system strong, especially when everyone around you is getting sick.

17.) Extension Cord

For those days when the technology isn't agreeing with you and improvising is required.

18.) Headphones

Have you ever tried listening to music or a podcast during your planning period?


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19.) Healthy Snacks

For those days when there's no time to sit down and eat.

20.) A Deck of Playing Cards

They're dirt cheap and have a variety of uses. Why not?

21.) Change of Clothes

It's always a good idea to keep a spare outfit for coffee spills, the gym, or after-school events.

22.) Tote Bags

For teachers who are always carrying stuff in and out of their classroom.

23.) A Good Book or Two

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You never know when you'll have some down time to catch up on your reading.

24.) Umbrella

Why get soaked running to your car when you don't have to?

25.) Air Freshener

Because they're serving Sloppy Joe's for lunch in the school cafeteria today.

26.) Portable USB Stick

These are awesome for transporting and backing up large and/or important files.

27.) Money

Keep a few small bills in your desk for fundraisers and vending machines.

28.) Band-Aids

Seriously, there may be no greater essential than band-aids!

29.) Blank Birthday Cards

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Because you will forget grandma's birthday again this year!

30.) Stamps

Because if you send grandma's card during your lunch break, it will make it to her on time!

31.) Takeout Menus and Coupons

For those extra long days when you need to pick something up on your way home from school.

What essential items do you always keep in your desk? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

(Never miss a Mashup Math blog--click here to get our weekly newsletter!)

By Anthony Persico

Anthony is the content crafter and head educator for YouTube's MashUp Math and an advisor to Amazon Education's 'With Math I Can' Campaign. You can often find me happily developing animated math lessons to share on my YouTube channel . Or spending way too much time at the gym or playing on my phone.

 
 

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10 Best Math Movies for Middle School Students

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10 Best Math Movies for Middle School Students

Are you looking for school appropriate movies to show your middle school math students?

Whether you want to give your kids a break from testing, supplement your instruction, or share some well-earned Friday fun time, showing a math-themed movie in class can be an educational and enjoyable experience. 

While it can be challenging to find movies that are directly related to mathematics, there are plenty of creative ways to appropriately show full movies and movie clips in your classroom.

 
Image Source: http://pixar.wikia.com

Image Source: http://pixar.wikia.com

 

Many movies have strong mathematical elements that an be used to spark discussions and help your kids make connections with what they are learning in class. For example, in Pixar’s WALL-E, the main character spends his days compressing garbage into cubes and stacking them into massive piles. The applications to lessons on volume and surface area are practically endless!

So, if you are struggling to find a math movie that is right for your kids, check out the following list, get the popcorn ready, and enjoy!

*Disclaimer: You should always get permission from your administration and use discretion before showing any movie or movie scene to your kids.


1.) A Beautiful Mind (PG-13)

IMDb Synopsis: After John Nash, a brilliant but asocial mathematician, accepts secret work in cryptography, his life takes a turn for the nightmarish.

Why? A Beautiful Mind is more than just an interesting tale about a paranoid mathematician, it shares several examples of how beautiful mathematics truly is and how it applies to our everyday world.


2.) Life of Pi (PG)

IMDb Synopsis: A young man who survives a disaster at sea is hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery. While cast away, he forms an unexpected connection with another survivor: a fearsome Bengal tiger.

Why? While there's not much math in this movie (beyond Pi being giving his nickname for winning a competition to recite the most decimal points in the value of pi), the movie shares an incredible tale of overcoming tremendous odds and traveling thousands of miles across the sea. 


3.) WALL-E (G)

IMDb Synopsis: In the distant future, a small waste-collecting robot inadvertently embarks on a space journey that will ultimately decide the fate of mankind.

Why? WALL-E is a fun movie with very little dialogue that touches on ideas including robotics, AI, environmental protection, and space travel. With a little creativity, you can connect a variety of math topics and ideas to the events of the film.


4.) Moneyball (PG-13)

IMDb Synopsis: Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane's successful attempt to assemble a baseball team on a lean budget by employing computer-generated analysis to acquire new players.

Why? You won't find a movie that demonstrates the tremendous role that mathematics plays in professional sports better than Moneyball. Showing the full movie will give your kids a better idea of how mathematics applies to the real world as well as possible career paths, such as becoming a Major League Baseball scout, that require a deep understanding of applied mathematics.


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5.) Tron: Legacy (PG)

IMDb Synopsis: The son of a virtual world designer goes looking for his father and ends up inside the digital world that his father designed. He meets his father's corrupted creation and a unique ally who was born inside the digital world.

Why? Tron: Legacy is a visually exciting Disney movie that takes place in a geometrical, digital arena. I always show the famous lightbike scene to my students before starting a unit on angle relationships or parallel lines cut by a transversal. 

 


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6.) The Martian (PG-13)

IMDb Synopsis: An astronaut becomes stranded on Mars after his team assume him dead, and must rely on his ingenuity to find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive.

Why? The Martian is probably the best STEM movie ever. There are countless scenes where Matt Damon has to use mathematics and mathematical reasoning to overcome challenges and advance his quest for survival. If you are looking to show your kids that math can take you places, then The Martian is your best choice!


7.) October Sky (PG)

IMDb Synopsis: The true story of Homer Hickam, a coal miner's son who was inspired by the first Sputnik launch to take up rocketry against his father's wishes.

Why? October Sky is another awesome STEM-themed movie with plenty of examples of how mathematics can be applied to the real-world. This teacher-favorite is popular with students because the main characters are rebellious (in a good way) grade-school students. 


8.) Back to the Future (PG)

IMDb Synopsis: Marty McFly, a 17-year-old high school student, is accidentally sent 30 years into the past in a time-traveling DeLorean invented by his close friend, the maverick scientist Doc Brown.

Why? You can never go wrong with this 1985 classic, which comically explores math in the context of time travel. If you have not seen Back to the Future in a while, you'll be surprised by how many references are made to math topics including rates and unit rates, probability and statistics, and estimation. Check out this Education Week journal on the mathematics of Back to the Future for more ideas.


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9.) 21 (PG-13)

IMDb Synopsis: 21" is the fact-based story about six MIT students who were trained to become experts in card counting and subsequently took Vegas casinos for millions in winnings.

Why? Based on a true story, 21 demonstrates how being able to think mathematically can give you a tremendous strategic advantage in a game like Blackjack, which can lead to the ability to earn millions of dollars!


10.) Donald in Mathmagic Land 

IMDb Synopsis: Donald Duck goes on an adventure in which it is explained how mathematics can be useful in real life. Through this journey it is shown how numbers are more than graphs and charts, they are geometry, music, and magical living things.

Why? Did you really think that this 1959 classic would not be on this list? This timeless gem was made to show kids that mathematics is more than just a set of procedures and rules. Despite its age and short duration (it's only 27 minutes long), it still stands up and is a beloved by students and teachers alike. And did I mention that you can watch the full movie for free on YouTube


Did I miss your favorite math movie or tv show? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

(Never miss a Mashup Math blog--click here to get our weekly newsletter!)

By Anthony Persico

Anthony is the content crafter and head educator for YouTube's MashUp Math and an advisor to Amazon Education's 'With Math I Can' Campaign. You can often find me happily developing animated math lessons to share on my YouTube channel . Or spending way too much time at the gym or playing on my phone.

 
 

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10 Examples of Real World Connections in Math

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10 Examples of Real World Connections in Math

When am I ever going to use math in real life?

When your kids understand why and how their math skills will apply outside of the classroom, they will become more motivated, interested, and inspired to learn.

And it’s not hard to find interesting examples of math in the real world because math is everywhere!

You can help your kids understand how math applies in real life by sharing examples of real-world math connections, making bulletin boards, hanging posters, reading articles, and engaging in class discussions.

Not sure where to get started? Here are awesome 10 examples of how mathematics applies to the real-world:


1.) Building Design and Architecture


2.) Sports Performance Analysis


3.) 21st-Century Medicine


4.) Urban Planning


5.) Athletic Training


6.) Electronic Music Production


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7.) Quantum Physics


8.) Fashion Design


9.) VR Video Game Design


10.) Automated Transportation Design


Do you have more ideas for connecting math to the real-world? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

(Never miss a Mashup Math blog--click here to get our weekly newsletter!)

By Anthony Persico

Anthony is the content crafter and head educator for YouTube's MashUp Math and an advisor to Amazon Education's 'With Math I Can' Campaign. You can often find me happily developing animated math lessons to share on my YouTube channel . Or spending way too much time at the gym or playing on my phone.

 
 

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5 Ideas for Writing in the Elementary Math Classroom

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5 Ideas for Writing in the Elementary Math Classroom

Kids love to write.

In nearly every class, students are expressing their thoughts, feelings, and ideas in writing. 

But why is communicating with written word often excluded in the elementary math classroom?

Writing about math encourages creativity, exploration, and communicating one's thoughts and feelings. Students must organize their thinking, use key vocabulary terms and phrases, and communicate mathematically—which leads to deep and meaningful understanding.

And teachers can use students' writing to assess their learning. When you can read exactly what a student is thinking, you can easily pinpoint how they understand a topic and where their strengths and weaknesses are.

So, are you ready to give your students more opportunities to write about what they are learning in math class? Here are five ideas that are sure to get you started:


1.) Start a Daily Math Journal

Since writing about math may be a foreign idea to many of your students, it will take time to get them used to expressing mathematical ideas and concepts in words. By logging in a daily math journal, kids can develop their math-writing-muscles over time. The best way to incorporate a math journal into your lessons is as a warm-up or exit activity where you give kids five minutes to write about a given topic, question, or idea.


2.) I Think, I Notice, I Wonder

Math teachers often struggle to find topics for their kids to write about. And while direct questions and writing prompts are effective, sometimes the best way to encourage creativity and exploration is simply posting an image and asking students to describe what they think, notice, and wonder about what they are seeing.

These kinds of writing experiences are highly engaging and spark deep thinking and mathematical curiosity. Try using them as a warm-up activity to get your kids' brains revved up for the upcoming lesson.

See Also: Get your 101 Think-Notice-Wonder Writing Prompts for Math Students PDF eBook

 
 


3.) Read and Write

Reading and writing about math is another highly engaging and creative activity.

Suppose that you had your kids start math class by reading this LiveScience article about Whale Sharks. You could then prompt them to describe three ways they could apply what they are learning in math class to learn more about this particular species. For example:

  • Find the ratio in size between an average Whale Shark and an average Great White.
  • Use daily averages to find out how many pounds of plankton a Whale Shark eats over its 125-year lifespan.
  • Apply percentages to estimate the number of Whale Sharks living in both the Pacific and Indian oceans.

4.) Exit Ticket Activities

If you're pressed for time, then incorporating writing into your exit ticket activities is a great strategy. It allows you to formatively and/or summatively assesses your kids' understanding of the day's lesson. The Share Your Thoughts in Writing exit ticket activity below is a great way to assist student thinking and to get them to summarize and describe their learning.

 
You can wrap-up any lesson by having kids complete each statement in writing.

You can wrap-up any lesson by having kids complete each statement in writing.

 

Source: www.writeaboutapp.com

Source: www.writeaboutapp.com

5.) Storytelling

Teaching elementary math topics through storytelling is rapidly growing in popularity.

In fact, September 25th was named National Math Storytelling Day in 2009 and is now celebrated as a day to share fun math-related tales and adventures with kids. 

You can engage your students in storytelling by giving them opportunities to create their own math-related narratives. Here is a list of prompts to get you started.


Do you have more ideas for incorporating writing the math classroom? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

(Never miss a Mashup Math blog--click here to get our weekly newsletter!)

By Anthony Persico

Anthony is the content crafter and head educator for YouTube's MashUp Math and an advisor to Amazon Education's 'With Math I Can' Campaign. You can often find me happily developing animated math lessons to share on my YouTube channel . Or spending way too much time at the gym or playing on my phone.

 
 

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Teach Your Kids to Multiply Using Area Models

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Teach Your Kids to Multiply Using Area Models

Area Models are one of the best visual tools you can use with your kids to help them conceptually grasp how to multiply two-digit numbers.

By creating an area model and using it to perform multiplication, your kids are actively engaged and mathematically thinking (instead of relying on memorized procedures or using a calculator).

If you are looking to teach your kids how to create and use area models to multiply two-digit numbers and solve word problems, you can start with my latest YouTube video, which explores a real-world scenario involving area models.

Learning Standard: 4th Grade Operations and Algebraic Thinking

Multiply or divide to solve word problems involving multiplicative comparison, e.g., by using drawings and equations with a symbol for the unknown number to represent the problem, distinguishing multiplicative comparison from additive comparison.

If you find the video helpful, please give it a thumbs-up on YouTube, leave a comment, and subscribe to our channel. Your support is greatly appreciated :)

(Never miss a Mashup Math blog--click here to get our weekly newsletter!)

By Anthony Persico

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Anthony is the content crafter and head educator for YouTube's MashUp Math and an advisor to Amazon Education's 'With Math I Can' Campaign. You can often find me happily developing animated math lessons to share on my YouTube channel . Or spending way too much time at the gym or playing on my phone.

 

 
 

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