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TIPS FOR TEACHERS

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?

17.) Bring mindfulness into your classroom.

How can you take advantage of the benefits of mindfulness practice in your classroom 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!

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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Using Cheez Its to Teach Kids Area and Perimeter

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Using Cheez Its to Teach Kids Area and Perimeter

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Are you looking for a fun and engaging activity to help your kids explore and understand the properties of area and perimeter?

In my recent VLOG, I share how you can use Cheez It crackers as a hands-on tool for exploring area and perimeter. The activity includes a free worksheet and includes ideas for higher-level applications.

This lesson can be applied at the elementary and middle school levels.

Download the free lesson worksheet: CLICK HERE 

Have any thoughts on this lesson idea? 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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13 STEM Fiction Books Your Kids will Actually Enjoy Reading This Summer

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13 STEM Fiction Books Your Kids will Actually Enjoy Reading This Summer

Are you looking to send your kids off on vacation with a list of awesome summer reading STEM fiction books? 

The following list shares some fun and creative summer reading STEM books for the elementary, middle, and high school levels. The genres range from math science fiction to cooking to mystery, so you're kids will surely find something they'll enjoy reading!

Part One: Elementary Level


Image via www.amazon.com

1.) Missing Math: A Number Mystery

by Loreen Leedy

Amazon Synopsis: In Missing Math, the numbers all over town suddenly disappear. The animals can’t count, use the phone, or even find out what time it is. Rulers, money, and computers have all become completely useless...Can the town’s detective solve this numerical mystery? Will he ever bring the numbers back home again? Loreen Leedy’s clever rhyming text PLUS her amusing digitally painted illustrations EQUALS proof that we need math each and every day.


Image via www.amazon.com

2.) One Grain Of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale

by Demi Huang

Amazon Synopsis: Long ago in India, there lived a raja who believed that he was wise and fair. But every year he kept nearly all the people's rice for himself. Then a village girl named Rani devises a clever plan, using the surprising power of doubling to win more than one billion grains of rice from the raja.


3.) The King's Chessboard

by David Birch

Amazon Synopsis: A great story for children learning mathematical concepts, The King’s Chessboard tells the story of a wise man who refuses the king’s reward for completing a favor. When the king insists the man accept a reward, the man proposes a deal: He will take a payment of rice equal to each square on the king’s chessboard—doubling the amount he receives with each day. This quickly empties out the royal coffers. . . .  

 


4.) Max's Math

by Kate Banks

Amazon Synopsis: Max and his two brothers hop into a car and go looking for problems they can solve. They cruise down highway number 4 on their way to Shapeville, but they see an abandoned number along the way. Is it a 6? Is it a 9? And what's it doing on the side of the road? Once the trio reach Shapeville, there's another problem: a flood washed away all of the squares. Max and his brothers must show the town how to bring their shapes back together!


5.) The Doorbell Rang

by Pat Hutchins

Amazon Synopsis: Each ring of the doorbell brings more friends to share the delicious cookies Ma has made. This terrific and suspenseful read-aloud picture book about friendship, sharing, and cookies can also be used to introduce basic math concepts to young children. "Refreshing, enjoyable and unpredictable."


Part Two: Middle School Level


6.) Pythagoras and the Ratios: A Math Adventure

by Julie Ellis

Amazon Synopsis: Pythagoras and his cousins want to win a music contest, but first they must figure out how to play their instruments in tune, something that's never been done before. While trying to fix the problem, Pythagoras makes an important discovery--notes that sound pleasant together have a certain mathematical relationship. When Pythagoras applies this ratio to his cousins' pipes and lyres, the result is music to the ears.


7.) The Adventures of Penrose the Mathematical Cat 

by Theoni Pappas 

Amazon Synopsis: Penrose, a cat with a knack for math, takes children on an adventurous tour of mathematical concepts from fractals to infinity. When the fractal dragon jumps off the computer screen and threatens to grow larger than the room itself, Penrose must find out if fractal patterns can work in reverse, getting smaller instead of larger.

 


8.) Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi (A Math Adventure)

by Cindy Neuschwander

Amazon Synopsis: Sir Cumference, Lady Di of Ameter, and Radius are back in their second Math Adventure! This time, a potion has changed Sir Cumference into a fire-breathing dragon. Can Radius change him back? Join Radius on his quest through the castle to solve a riddle that will reveal the cure. It lies in discovering the magic number that is the same for all circles.


Are YOUR kids ready for these fun daily math challenges this summer?


9.) Fractions in Disguise

by Edward Einhorn

Amazon Synopsis: When a valuable fraction goes missing, George Cornelius Factor (a.k.a. GCF) vows to track it down. Knowing that the villainous Dr. Brok likes to disguise his ill-begotten fractions, GCF invents a Reducer—a tool that strips away the disguise, reducing the fraction and revealing its true form. Equal parts of action and humor add up to a wholly entertaining introduction to simplifying fractions.

 


10.) Math Curse

by Jon Scieszka

Amazon Synopsis: Did you ever wake up to one of those days where everything is a problem? You have 10 things to do, but only 30 minutes until your bus leaves. You have 3 shirts and 2 pairs of pants. Can you make 1 good outfit? Then you start to wonder: Why? Why do 2 apples always have to be added to 5 oranges? Why can't you just keep 10 cookies without someone taking 3 away? Because you're the victim of a Math Curse. That's why. But don't despair. This is one girl's story of how that curse can be broken.


Part Three: Upper Middle + High School Level


11.) The Number Devil: A Mathematical Adventure

by Hans Magnus Enzensberger

Amazon Synopsis: In twelve dreams, Robert, a boy who hates math, meets a Number Devil, who leads him to discover the amazing world of numbers: infinite numbers, prime numbers, Fibonacci numbers, numbers that magically appear in triangles, and numbers that expand without. As we dream with him, we are taken further and further into mathematical theory, where ideas eventually take flight, until everyone - from those who fumble over fractions to those who solve complex equations in their heads - winds up marveling at what numbers can do.


12.) The Man Who Counted: A Collection of Mathematical Adventures

by Malba Tahan

Amazon Synopsis: The Man Who Counted is a book on recreational mathematics and curious word problems by Brazilian writer Júlio César de Mello e Souza, published under the pen name Malba Tahan. 


13.) The Math Inspectors

by Daniel Kennedy

Amazon Synopsis: Armed with curiosity and their love for math, Stanley, Charlotte, Gertie and Felix race around town in an attempt to solve the mystery. Along the way, they butt heads with an ambitious police chief, uncover dark secrets, and drink lots of milkshakes at Mabel's Diner. But when their backs are against the wall, Stanley and his friends rely on the one thing they know best: numbers. Because numbers, they never lie.


Did your favorite STEM fiction book make the cut? 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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7 Handy Ideas for Packing Up Your Classroom

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7 Handy Ideas for Packing Up Your Classroom

Another school year is almost in the books and you're ready to shift your attention away from testing, grading, and partying and towards packing up your classroom and starting your summer vacation.

Experienced teachers will tell you that spending a little extra time and effort on packing up your classroom the right way will make your life much easier in the long run. And it's easier than you think!

So, if you're willing to resist the temptation to randomly throw your stuff into boxes, the following tips will help you pack up the right way, without exhausting yourself. And, as a bonus, you'll ensure yourself a stress-free start when school picks up again in a few months.

1.) Take Pictures First

Save yourself the time of planning and arranging your ideal classroom setup next year by taking a few pictures of what your classroom looks like now. You'll be able to reference these photos when setting up your classroom again in the fall.

Take pictures of what your classroom setup looks like before you start packing up.

Take pictures of what your classroom setup looks like before you start packing up.

2.) Start Early

Waiting until the last second to pack up your classroom almost guarantees a stressful and disorganized experience. By starting the process three or four weeks prior to the last day of school, you can break the task down into smaller and more manageable pieces.

Don't wait until the last days of school to start packing up your classroom.

Don't wait until the last days of school to start packing up your classroom.

3.) Organization is Key

While organizing all of your supplies and paperwork will be the most time-consuming task of packing up, the payoff will be huge when you return to school in the fall. It's much easier to get your things in order now when your mind is used to being in the classroom every day.

Taking the time to organize your stuff before you pack will pay off in the long run.

Taking the time to organize your stuff before you pack will pay off in the long run.

4.) Get Students Involved!

Don't take on the burden of packing up your classroom alone. Your kids will be glad to help you and many of them will willingly stay after school or come in during lunch to help you pack, organize, and clean. 

Your students are like your own personal moving team.

Your students are like your own personal moving team.


Looking for fun ways to get your kids WRITING about math and science?

 
 

5.) Label Everything

You may know exactly what's in those storage bins right now, but you'll have no idea come the fall. By clearly labeling everything you pack, you can easily prioritize when unpacking again at the start of next school year. If you don't have a label maker, a strip of painter's tape and a sharpie work great!

Labeling helps keep you organized and makes unpacking much easier.

Labeling helps keep you organized and makes unpacking much easier.

6.) Use Packing Tubes for Posters

Classroom posters, banners, and signs seem to always get crumpled and bent during the packing process. You can keep yours in excellent condition and reuse them year after year by keeping them safe in cardboard packing tubes. You can get them at any office supply store for around $5.

Packing tubes will keep your posters, banners, and signs from getting crumpled and bent.

Packing tubes will keep your posters, banners, and signs from getting crumpled and bent.

7.) Throw Stuff Away

The end of the school year is a perfect time to assess which materials and resources are no longer useful. It's ok to throw away items that you never use, especially old textbooks and workbooks that are a pain to pack and unpack. If an item is not adding value to you and your students, get rid of it!

The end of the school year is the perfect time to purge yourself of useless items.

The end of the school year is the perfect time to purge yourself of useless items.

Do you have any additional advice for teachers packing up their classrooms? 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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