Why Every Teacher Should Learn to Say 'No'

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Why Every Teacher Should Learn to Say 'No'

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“What you don’t do determines what you can do!” –Tim Ferriss

Here's a fact: Dedicated teachers are in short supply and students, parents and administrators are masters of—often unfairly— squeezing every last drop of energy from them.

Here's another fact:  You have the right to say 'no' to unreasonable requests without feeling guilty!

It's true that teaching is an inherently selfless profession and many view themselves as servants to their students, schools, and communities.

It's also true that well-balanced students have well-balanced teachers. 

Saying 'no' is never easy. You want to do everything that you can to make a positive impact on your students and your school. In Kenny Nguyen's TED Talk, The Art of Saying No, the practice of declining certain requests is the key to saying yes to others. If you have set priorities for your students and yourself and expect to get through the school year with your stamina and sanity intact, then you simply can not say 'yes' to every request. 

Great teachers, of course, are team players, and saying 'no' sometimes won't change that. Know your limits and never feel guilty about putting a cap on how far you're willing to extend yourself.

Otherwise, like many teachers often do, you can fall victim to exhaustion and burnout towards the middle/end of the school year, leaving you feeling overwhelmed, unhappy, and ineffective.

You just may find out that saying 'no' more often prepares you for the perfect times to say 'yes'!

Do you think it's important for teachers to learn to say 'no' more often? 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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21 Back to School Tips Every Teacher Needs

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21 Back to School Tips Every Teacher Needs

You can take the teacher out of the classroom, but—well you know where this is going.

Free from the seemingly endless demands of full-time teaching—and hopefully in a state of rest and relaxation—you now have the luxury of reflecting on the past year and considering ways to better meet the needs of your next group of kiddos.

If you’ve ever had to teach the same courses over and over again, then you know that teaching “on repeat” gets old quickly.

The fun of being an educator comes from the constant challenges and the endless opportunities to be creative and to further master your craft.

Like her students, a great teacher is a lifelong learner. Always growing. Learning from mistakes. And inching closer to the best version of herself that she can possibly be.

Whether you want to honestly evaluate your performance last school year, engage in online professional development, finally attend that conference, dabble in that new teaching trend that you keep hearing about, or just want to lead a more balanced teaching life, then you’re in the right place.

The following list (each a chapter from the book 21 Back to School Tips Every Teacher Needs) is a great way to focus your thinking. To go more in-depth on any topic, download the full PDF eBook here.

1.) Reflect on what you did well the past school year.

Looking for guided reflection strategies?

2.) Identify your weaknesses

Do you need help evaluating your performance?

3.) Apply strengths to improving weaknesses

How can teachers maximize their strengths?

4.) Make a plan.

How can you establish teaching goals and hold yourself accountable?

5.) Take time to relax and recharge.

How can you give yourself permission to relax?

7.) Attend a conference.

How can you finally attend that awesome conference without paying out of pocket?

8.) Participate in Twitter chats.

How can teachers build a PLN using Twitter chats?

10.) Get better at saying "no!"

Do you know how to say "no" without feeling guilty?

13.) Consider a new approach to homework.

Looking to tweak your approach to homework this year?



14.) Consider flipping your classroom.

Are you ready to experiment with flipping this year?

Looking for an in-depth discussion on all 21 topics? You can now download my PDF eBook 21 Back to School Tips Every Teacher Needs for only $4.99!

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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Learn Math in VR with This 360-Degree Puzzle

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Learn Math in VR with This 360-Degree Puzzle

Are you seriously ready to see something cool?

You've probably seen 360-degree and/or VR videos on YouTube or Facebook. Maybe you've seen one of a guy surfing a huge wave in Maui or another giving you a stunning, real-time view of a sun rise over Machu Pichu.

And while these videos often reside in the entertainment realm, many of them can be used to enrich learning experiences in the science and history classrooms.

But when it comes to teaching and learning math, you've been out of luck. There are simply no 360-degree/VR math activities to share with your kids.

Until now.

I believe that the future of math education has a strong VR component to it - there are just too many fun, visual, and engaging applications to ignore. So, I spent the past few months experimenting with and creating 360-math lessons and puzzles for you to share with your kids!

Shooting on the VR stage at UploadVR in Marina Del Rey, CA, with VR specialist Craig Dacey, I filmed hours of content to use to create math challenges, puzzles, and lessons that can be viewed in 360-degrees!

And the very first VR math lesson is finally live and can be viewed on YouTube right now! It's a Back to School themed math challenge puzzle that your kids will love!

The puzzle can be viewed on any device (desktop, laptop, phone, or tablet), with or without a VR headset. It also includes a solution at the end of the video. 

Before you watch the video...

You can support my efforts to continue to create new VR math content by doing any or all of the following:
-Watch the video on YouTube
-Give it a thumbs up
-Leave a comment
-Subscribe to my channel
-Have your kids subscribe as well (my channel is 100% approved by Google Education)

What do you think!? Your ideas and input are valuable to me - please share your thoughts in the comments below!

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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Why 'Yet' Is the Key for Teachers to Nurture a Growth Mindset in Math

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Why 'Yet' Is the Key for Teachers to Nurture a Growth Mindset in Math

Yet—It’s a simple word with the power to forever change a student’s mindset for learning.

When you add yet to the end of a proclamation, it implies a work in progress, soon to be, under construction, to be continued...

Yet gives hope.

And when your kids embrace the power of yet, they are able to develop a growth mindset—the attitude that learning is a process where mistakes are nothing more than opportunities to grow.

“Individuals who believe their talents can be developed (through hard work, good strategies, and input from others) have a growth mindset. They tend to achieve more than those with a more fixed mindset (those who believe their talents are innate gifts)” says Stanford professor and mindset guru, Carol Dweck.

With a growth mindset, I can’t becomes I can’t...yet, which blazes the trail to I can!

This empowering mindset is critical in today’s math classroom, where the myth that only certain individuals are capable of understanding math continues to harm students and make them feel as if excelling in mathematics is forever beyond their reach.

But with a new school year comes a fresh opportunity to change your kids’ mindsets and to show them that everyone is capable of learning math as long as they are willing to work hard and learn from mistakes.

Are you ready to help your kids embrace the power of yet? Here are a few tips to get you started:

1.) Practice at Home: Add yet to the end of sentences.  Go from “I can’t do this” to “I can’t do this yet.” Did you hear the change?  Subtle, but powerful.

2.) Practice at School:  Once yet becomes more frequently used in your home vocabulary, you can begin using it more often at school.  Start with your colleagues. Go from “we can’t do it that way” to “we can’t do it that way yet.”  Now sit back and watch how contagious such a positive mindset can be!

3.) Bring "Yet"  Into Your Classroom: When students complain, “I can’t do this,” rephrase their proclamation by adding yet. "I can’t do this...yet” changes everything.  With yet at the end of this statement, your students can see that there is room for improvement. With hard work and persistence, kids can bridge the gap.

4.) Practice Often: Use yet liberally and with great emphasis. You’ll quickly notice your students using yet more often as well. It won't be long before you see great changes in the culture of your classroom.  

5.) Allow Yet on Assessments: By tweaking the popular text abbreviation IDK ("I Don't Know") to IDKY ("I Don't Know Yet), you empower students to apply growth mindset thinking on exam questions, which opens the door for further discussion, remediation, and review.  

By Mary Kienstra

Mary’s goal is to take the curriculum and shake it up, creating lessons that will engage and excite her students. She takes an unconventional approach to teaching, always encouraging student enthusiasm and excitement.  She believes that learning is best when it’s part of an experience, not a worksheet.  Mary’s career includes teaching math and reading to elementary age students, coaching, and blogging at www.marykienstra.com.  

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Are You Ready for This Eclipse 2017 Learning Activity?

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Are You Ready for This Eclipse 2017 Learning Activity?

On Monday, August 21, 2017, all of North America will be treated to one of nature's most awe inspiring sights - a total solar eclipse!

And with this special astronomical event comes a variety of learning opportunities to get your kids excited about science, technology, engineering, and math!

For general information about the eclipse, NASA has a created a website that shares activities, events, interactive maps, safety tips, broadcasts, and special resources. They are providing a ton of cool learning materials, including free, downloadable maps and infographics.

 
You can download this free solar eclipse 2017 map at www.eclipse2017.nasa.gov

You can download this free solar eclipse 2017 map at www.eclipse2017.nasa.gov

 

And if you're looking for a more math-specific activity to share with your kids, check out this free Eclipse 2017 Math Puzzle:

 
 

The solution to the puzzle is: star = 20, planets in orbit = 10, eclipse = 5, USA = 15, ? = 0

Download the puzzle for free by clicking here.

Do you have ideas about getting kids excited about the 2017 eclipse? Share your thoughts and suggestions 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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