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Math Teacher's Survival Guide: Practical Strategies, Management Techniques, and Reproducibles for New and Experienced Teachers, Grades 5-12



Math Teacher's Survival Guide: Practical Strategies, Management Techniques, and Reproducibles for New and Experienced Teachers, Grades 5-12

Judith A. Muschla, Gary Robert Muschla, Erin Muschla

ISBN: 978-0-470-57499-7 January 2010 Jossey-Bass 368 Pages

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Classroom-tested strategies to help new and experienced math teachers thrive

  • Math teachers must not only instruct their students in basic mathematical skills and concepts, they must also prepare them for standardized tests, provide instruction in the use of technology, and teach problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. At the same time, they must also manage their other responsibilities – taking attendance, planning, grading, record-keeping, disciplining, and communicating with parents and administrators. This book provides efficient and practical information on the management skills necessary to succeed in this most challenging profession.
  • Offers realistic suggestions and strategies for planning and delivering effective math instruction
  • Helps math teachers achieve excellence and continue to be enthusiastic and successful in their teaching careers
  • Includes reproducible forms to help math teachers stay on top of everything they need to do
  • The Math Teacher's Survival Guide contains a wealth of useful tools and strategies that can help any math teacher succeed in the classroom.

About This Book v

The Authors vii

Acknowledgments ix

Section One: Embracing the Profession of Teacher of Mathematics 1

Traits of Great Math Teachers 1

Meeting State Standards and District Math Goals 3

School Policies and Procedures You Need to Know 4

Professionalism and Common Sense 7

Professionalism Outside the Classroom 9

Maintaining Your Professional Expertise 9

Quick Review for Embracing the Profession of Teacher of Mathematics 12

Section Two: Before the First Day 15

Starting the Year Early 15

Things to Do Before School Starts (Reproducible) 17

Greeting Administrators, Colleagues, and Support Staff 18

Getting a Head Start on Paperwork 18

Your Schedule and Class Lists 19

Seating Charts 20

Seating Chart Grid (Reproducible) 21

Seating Options 22

Setting Up Your Classroom 23

Arranging Furniture to Enhance Math Learning 23

Checking Equipment 23

Checking Materials and Supplies 24

Hall Passes (Reproducible) 26

Classroom Sign-Out Sheet (Reproducible) 27

Decorating Your Room 28

Preparing for the First Day 29

Setting Goals 29

Rules and Requirements of Your Classes 29

Rules and Requirements of Ms Smith’s Algebra I Class 31

Activities for the First Day 33

Making Copies Before the Copy Machine Crunch 33

Being Connected: Checking Communications Systems 34

Especially for the First-Year Math Teacher 35

Learning the Layout of Your School 35

The Value of Orientation 36

Reviewing Handbooks 37

Finding a Mentor 37

Quick Review for Before the First Day 38

Section Three: The Math Teacher’s Tools of the Trade 41

Basic Supplies, Materials, and Equipment 41

Common Math Manipulatives 42

Sources for Math Materials and Manipulatives 45

Technology 46

Calculators 46

Computers 47

Interactive Whiteboards 49

Resources on the Internet 50

Sources of Supplementary Teaching Materials 53

Quick Review for the Math Teacher’s Tools of the Trade 54

Section Four: Becoming a Valued Member of the Staff 55

Working Effectively with Others 56

The Chain of Command in Your School 56

Working with Other Teachers 57

Working with Para-Educators 58

Working with Support Staff 59

Committees and Teamwork 59

The Roles People Play in Committees 60

Working Together in Sharing 62

Getting Along with Others in Your School 63

Evaluations for Math Teachers 65

How Not to Be Nervous During an Observation 66

Preparing for an Observation 67

An Evaluation Checklist 67

The Pre-Observation Conference 69

The Observation 69

The Post-Observation Conference70

The End-of-the-Year Evaluation 70

Becoming a Mentor for New Math Teachers 70

Responsibilities of a Mentor 71

Responsibilities of a Mentee 72

After School and Beyond 73

Providing After-School Math Help 73

Extracurricular Activities 75

Quick Review for Becoming a Valued Member of the Staff 75

Section Five: Organizing for Success 77

Your Master Schedule for Organization 77

The Value of an All-Purpose Binder 79

Practical Routines 79

Daily Reminders (Reproducible) 81

How to Avoid Letting the ‘‘Little Things’’ Pile Up 83

Organizing Your Classroom 84

Special Organizational Considerations When Sharing a Classroom 85

Record of Used Supplies or Malfunctioning Equipment (Reproducible) 87

Organizing Files 88

Your File Cabinet 88

Electronic Files 89

Necessary Information to Maintain 90

Managing Your Paper Load 92

Taking Control of Time 93

The Importance of Effective Substitute Plans 94

Sub Plans That Move Your Students Forward 94

The True Emergency Plan 94

Long-Term Absences 95

Essential Components of a Sub Plan for Your Math Class 95

Quick Review for Organizing for Success 96

Section Six: Planning a Great First Day 99

The First-Day Basics 99

If You Have a Homeroom 100

Record of Materials Returned by Students (Reproducible) 102

Double-Checking Materials and Supplies 104

Keys to Being Calm and Composed 104

Welcoming Students at the Classroom Door 105

Introducing Yourself 105

Getting Started 105

Providing an Overview of Your Math Class 106

Responsibilities of Math Students (Reproducible) 107

Learning About Your Students 109

Facts About You (Reproducible) 110

Name Cards 111

Circles of Me: A Getting-Acquainted Activity 111

Circles of Me (Reproducible) 113

Providing a Math Activity on the First Day 114

Number Puzzlers 114

Handing Out Texts, Workbooks, and Other Materials 115

Quick Review for Having a Great First Day 115

Section Seven: Managing Your Math Classroom 117

Establishing Efficient Classroom Routines 117

Taking Attendance 118

Dealing with Students Who Arrive Late to Class 118

Smoothly Handling Requests to Leave the Classroom 118

Distributing and Collecting Materials 119

Procedures for Student Computer Use 121

Computer Sign-Up Sheet (Reproducible) 122

Computer Etiquette (Reproducible) 124

Achieving a Smooth Flow of Classroom Traffic 125

Creating a Productive Math Class 126

Beginning Class with a Math Do-Now 127

Agendas or Assignment Pads 128

Classwork 128

Group Work 129

How to Work in a Math Group (Reproducible) 131

Homework 132

Math Journals 133

Math Journal Writing Prompts (Reproducible) 135

Math Notebooks 136

Tips for Keeping a Math Notebook (Reproducible) 137

Procedures for Making Up Missed Work 138

Math Makeup Work (Reproducible) 140

Procedures for Ending Class 141

Helping Your Students Learn to Follow Directions 142

Quick Review for Managing Your Classroom 143

Section Eight: Building a Positive Environment for Learning Math 145

The Physical Classroom 145

Setting a Tone of Respect and Courtesy 147

Respect and Courtesy Guidelines (Reproducible) 149

Preventing and Responding to Bullying 150

Creating a Positive Math Environment for Diverse Students 152

Gifted Math Students 152

Underachieving Students 154

Mainstreamed Special-Needs Students 155

Students with 504 Plans 158

Students with Attention Deficit Disorders 159

Students Who Are at Risk of Dropping Out of School 162

Economically Disadvantaged Students 164

Students Who Speak Little or No English 165

Avoiding Gender and Ethnic Bias in Math Class 167

Appreciating Cultural Diversity 168

Helping Students Overcome Math Anxiety 169

Steps to Beat Math Anxiety (Reproducible) 170

Quick Review for Building a Positive Environment for Learning Math 171

Section Nine: Interacting with Your Students 173

Maintaining a Professional Role with Your Students 173

Your Appearance 174

Your Language and Tone 174

Your Behavior 175

Avoiding Potential Trouble 176

Discretion and Your Personal Life 176

Getting to Know Your Students 177

Communication and Being a Good Listener 178

Tips for Positive Communication in Math Class (Reproducible) 180

Guiding Students to Become Successful Math Students 181

How to Become a Successful Math Student (Reproducible) 182

Helping Students Develop Math Study Skills 183

How to Improve Your Math Study Skills (Reproducible) 184

How to Read a Math Textbook 185

Guidelines for Reading Your Math Text (Reproducible) 186

How to Prepare for and Do Well on Math Tests 187

How to Prepare for Math Tests (Reproducible) 188

Math Test-Taking Tips (Reproducible) 190

How to Conduct Successful Math Conferences with Students 191

Preventing and Dealing with Disruptions 192

Helping Students Cope with the Pressures of Being a Student 194

Serious Problems Requiring Immediate Action 195

Quick Review for Interacting with Your Students 196

Section Ten: Designing Effective Math Lessons and Activities 199

Making Time for Planning 199

Planning a Variety of Math Lessons and Activities 200

The Foundation of Successful Math Lessons and Activities 201

State Math Standards 201

District and School Math Goals and Objectives 202

Curriculum 202

The Principles, Standards, and Focal Points of the NCTM 203

Objectives 203

Resources for Planning Math Lessons and Activities 204

Components of Effective Math Plans and Activities 205

Addressing the Needs of Diverse Learners 205

Building on Prior Knowledge 207

Including Material for Critical Thinking in Your Math Plans 208

Incorporating Technology in Math Plans 209

Providing a Means for Assessment 210

Types of Math Plans 211

Basic Course of Study Planning Guide (Reproducible) 213

Unit Plans 215

Unit Plan Format (Reproducible) 217

Sample Unit Plan 220

Daily Lesson Plans 222

Daily Lesson Plan Format (Reproducible) 224

Sample Daily Lesson Plan 227

Overcoming Common Problems in Planning 229

Pacing 229

Pull-Out Programs 230

Lessons and Activities for Special Days 231

Adjusting Lesson Plans 232

Avoiding Planning Pitfalls 233

Incorporating Literature into Your Math Class 234

Elementary/Middle School 235

Middle School/High School 236

High School 237

Incorporating Writing into Your Math Class 238

The Writing Process (Reproducible) 240

Quick Review for Designing Effective Math Lessons and Activities 241

Section Eleven: Providing Effective Math Instruction 243

Being a Facilitator of Learning 243

Meeting the Needs of Diverse Learners Through Instruction 244

Using Various Instructional Methods for Teaching 245

Fostering Problem-Solving Skills in Your Students 247

Steps for Solving Math Word Problems (Reproducible) 248

Motivating Your Students 249

Improving Your Instructional Delivery Skills 250

Speaking 250

Body Language 251

Using the Traditional Board, Overhead Projector, or Interactive Whiteboard 252

Handling Math Manipulatives Effectively 253

Using Technology with Expertise 254

Managing Interruptions and Getting Back on Task 257

Monitoring Learning During Instruction 259

Videotaping Your Delivery and Building Confidence 260

Quick Review for Providing Effective Math Instruction 261

Section Twelve: Evaluating the Progress of Your Students 263

Devising a Fair System of Grading 263

Ways to Assess Student Learning 264

Assessment Through Tests and Quizzes 265

Assessment Through Open-Ended Problems 266

Assessment Through Group Activities 267

Assessment Through Math Notebooks 268

Assessment Through Math Projects 269

Assessment Through Writing 270

Assessment Through Math Portfolios 270

Assessment Through Classwork 271

Assessment Through Homework 272

Preparing Your Students for Standardized Math Tests 273

Tips for Taking Standardized Math Tests (Reproducible) 275

Evaluating Assessment Results 276

Record Keeping 277

If Your Grades Are Challenged 279

Quick Review for Evaluating the Progress of Your Students 280

Section Thirteen: Managing Inappropriate Behavior 283

Addressing Inappropriate Behavior in Your Math Class 283

Involving Parents and Guardians in Addressing Inappropriate Behavior 286

Record of Parent-Guardian Contact (Reproducible) 288

The Value of Behavior Contracts 289

Sample Behavior Contract (Reproducible) 291

Involving Administrators in Addressing Inappropriate Behavior 292

The Major Incident Report 293

Major Incident Report Form (Reproducible) 294

Common Examples of Inappropriate Behavior and How to Handle Them 295

Habitual Lateness to Class 295

Inattentiveness 296

Incomplete Work 296

Repeatedly Requesting to Leave Class 297

Excessive Talking 297

Passing Notes 298

Sleeping During Class 298

Attention Seeking 299

Inappropriate Use of Technology 300

Cell Phone Use 300

Eating or Drinking in Class 301

Inappropriate Words and Comments 302

Defiance 302

Stealing 303

Cheating 303

Vandalism 304

Verbal Abuse 305

Violence 305

Quick Review for Managing Inappropriate Behavior 306

Section Fourteen: Working with Parents and Guardians 309

The Expectations of Parents and Guardians for Their Child’s Math Teacher 309

How to Make Parents and Guardians Partners in Math Education 310

How Parents and Guardians Can Help Their Children with Math 312

Guidelines for Helping Your Child with Math (Reproducible) 313

Preparing for and Conducting a Successful Back-to-School Night 314

Sample Back-to-School Night Information Sheet 316

Parent-Guardian Sign-In Sheet (Reproducible) 318

Conducting Successful Conferences with Parents and Guardians 319

Parent-Teacher Conference Log Sheet (Reproducible) 322

Dealing with Difficult Parents and Guardians 323

Working with Parents and Guardians Who Speak Limited English 324

Expanding Your Role as a Math Teacher 325

Quick Review for Working with Parents and Guardians 328

Section Fifteen: Keeping the Flame Burning 329

Causes and Symptoms of Teacher Burnout 329

Avoiding and Overcoming Teacher Burnout 331

Becoming the Most Effective Math Teacher You Can Be 333

Student Course Evaluation Form (Reproducible) 334

Quick Review for Keeping the Flame Burning 336

References and Suggested Reading 337

Index 341