Family Math Night: MATH AROUND THE WORLD

We had a successful family Math night in Thomas Edison Charter School last November 12,2015. We had 98 students, over 50 parents, siblings and relatives who participated. To make this event possible the TECS Math team spearheaded the event plus we have dedicated and hardworking volunteers who stayed up to 7pm to do their part, kudos to the 30 staff members and ten 8th grade students. Indeed, teamwork makes the dream work. I am thrilled to see how everyone enjoyed this event. So far this is the best year in terms of attendance, participation, overwhelming support by the administration and staff that I have ever experienced. I personally think that the rewards like homework pass, dress down to dance pass, cool prizes like gift cards, special treats and a grand prize and family thanksgiving basket played a great part to attract the families to participate.

As a teacher coming from the Philippines, I have seen a great need for the inner city school students to be exposed to multicultural awareness. When I came to the US in 2006 the students thought I am from China, in their young minds they thought Philippines and China are the same. So I introduce them to different countries by using stations in my Math class and name them using different countries- Philippines, Australia, China, Canada, etc. They love the idea that they can walk around the classroom to visit different countries as they answer Math problems. It was indeed a fun learning experience for them so when my principal ask me to spearhead the Family night I thought about using the “Math Around the World” in a bigger scale. I have developed this “Math Around the World” concept to integrate cultural and global awareness in Mathematics. As an educator I go beyond teaching numbers and equations, I make sure that my students learn to see the beauty in our differences. We are all unique and regardless of our color and culture, we are to treat each other with utmost respect. I also want to make sure that my students know that thee is a big world out there and their dreams is not limited to where they are and what they see in their neighborhood. This is also a good reminder that Math is a universal language that we all understand. Math is a bond that connects our big world because math facts are consistent wherever you go… 8 times 5 is equal to 40 whether you go to Spain, Philippines, Italy or anywhere in the world.

So here’s how the procedure goes:

  1. All the participants will gather in the US station (cafeteria or auditorium). They will register their family team or student team (maximum of 5 students if they came without parents or guardians). They will receive a Math passport, Math world map and a pencil. Each team will strategically plan how they will travel the math world by visiting the country stations: Canada, Jamaica, Nigeria, Spain, Philippines, etc. Each country station must have a flag outside the classroom, Math question on the board and may play music (originated from that country) or put up some decoration.
  1. The teams will be given 25-30 minutes to travel around the math world. Using their math passport, they will show their work as they answer the math question or math challenge on each country station. They have to show work and write the final answer on the Math passport. After answering the question correctly, they will receive a visa stamp (sticker stamp) from the immigration officers (teachers/staff assigned on each country) on their passport and run the hallways to go to another country station until they completed all the country stations.
  1. Once they completed all the country stations they have to go back to US station to turn in their Math passport. The first 3 teams from K to 2, 3 to 5 and 6 to 8 will receive prizes.

It is great to see families working together as a team to answer Math problems and enjoy traveling the Math world. Some families are very competitive and they really work so hard and rushing to go from one station to another. Take note: this is the only time the students and their families were allowed to run in the school building so it was a one-of-a-kind experience.

By the way, our school provided dinner for all the participants and we each family/student team registered in the US Station (Cafeteria).

Here’s the format of our program hosted by our two lovely eight graders- Joy and Kylah:

National Anthem TECS Choir
Pledge of Allegiance (Rap) TECS Choir
Opening Remarks Principal El
Special Performance Math Girlz
Math Around the World Procedures Mrs. Flores
Awarding TECS Math Team
Closing Remarks Mrs. Yates

math night 2015Choir Screen Shot 2015-11-14 at 9.08.00 AMScreen Shot 2015-11-14 at 9.07.44 AMrun map

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Math Project #4 Fractional Me

fractional me 2This week, I started teaching fractions. My students had fun as their creativity flow on their Fractional Me project (1 day project approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour). They created portraits of themselves out of small squares (post-it note or 3×3 cut-outs). They were responsible for determining the fractional amounts of each color. This is a great way to integrate Art and Values, and for the students to remember that fractions is part of a whole on a personal level.

I also encourage my students to love their unique beauty and charm. I tell them that they must not let anyone define who they are, because they are the ones who know themselves best. During middle school years, students tend to seek approval and validation from others especially among their peers. They hear negative things people say about them, and of course, it hurts when someone tries to spread gossips. I tell my students to stand strong and embrace their unique beauty and charm. It doesn’t matter what others think about you but what really matters is how you see yourself. You know who you are so brush it off and stay positive. Let your beauty shine from the inside out.

“Love yourself and stay positive. Let your beauty shine from the inside out.” – PinkAngel26

First Day Lesson Plan for Middle or High School Math

  • Math rules
  • OBJECTIVES 
    • To understand that Mathematics does make things easy through a game;
    • To express students’ expectations through letter writing;
    • To establish a relationship between and among students by pointing out their similarities and differences;

MOTIVATION

Game: The concept of the game is to let students understand that Mathematics does not make easy things complicated; rather, it makes complicated things easier to handle.

Procedure:

  1. Let students bring out a piece of paper and pen.
  2. Let them understand that the objective of the game is to review the basic mathematical skill, simple addition. They have to give the answer as fast as they can.
  3. First step: Ask them for the answers to the following problems:
    1. 1 + 2 = 3 is the expected answer
    2. 1+ 2 + 3 = 6 is the expected answer
    3. 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = 10 is the expected answer

(Once the students have understood the pattern that numbers are being added in crescendo, ask them for the following)

    1. Give me the sum of the numbers 1- 5. The expected answer is 15.
    2. Now, give them bigger numbers like the sum of the numbers 1- 20. (This will give them a little time to answer.)
    3. Afterwards, give them bigger numbers than the previous ones, like the sum of numbers 1-50, 1- 100, 1- 500, etc.
    4. Ask: Can you give the sum of these numbers in less than a minute using the traditional method of adding numbers one after the other? (Most students might say, “Nope, that’s impossible.”)
    5. Now, introduce the mathematical formula of finding the answer to the sum of these numbers in less than a minute.
    6. After letting them see that you can actually spend one whole day adding the sum of numbers 1 – 1000, but if they use the formula taught, they would just spend a minute.
    7. Generalization: Mathematics supplies greater opportunity to make complicated things easy to handle.
    8. Afterwards, show them pictures of great technologies from simple appliances at home to technologies used outer space, space rockets, robots, etc. Tell them that this great advancement in technology that makes life on earth convenient is actually a manifestation of mathematics.
    9. Say: So, every little thing that you do, you need mathematics to make your life easy to comprehend, and that is actually the reason why I am here, not just to teach you; rather, to help you explore the wonders of numbers on earth and in beyond.

CLASS ACTIVITIES

A. Letter Writing: “A Letter to Myself” (This is a fun activity. The students will have a chance to write a letter address to them.)

Procedure:

  1. Ask them to bring out a piece of paper and a writing pen.
  2. Ask: Have you ever received a letter that made you happy, sad, or excited? (Elicit some responses)
  3. Tell: You know in classical times, men practiced writing to express their love to the women they desire. Like Shakespeare, he had a lot of sonnets and writings addressed to the women he liked.
  4. Ask: Have you ever had a chance to write a letter address to no other than yourself? What things would be in your letter if the recipient us you yourself?
  5. Say: You are to make a letter address to yourself include your expectations in this subject for the entire year. (Let them know that they are to put the letter on an envelope. They are to read their letters at the end of the year, and evaluate if all their expectations to the subject and to themselves will have met and will have achieved.
  6. Likewise, ask them to include the things they can sacrifice for the subject itself, and to what extent they view Math before and after.
B. Working by Pairs: Making Connections

Procedure:

  1. Each student will answer the All About Me and Time Capsule activity sheets
  2. They will work in pairs to complete a Venn diagram.
  3. They are to write the similarities between and among their group mates, such as their favorite sports, colors, school subjects, etc., in the intersection of the circles. After discussing their similarities, ask the students to focus on their differences.
  4. They have to write their differences, such as their special talent, dreams, goals, wishes, etc., on each circle. Ask for a representative for each pair to share what they have discovered about their group mates with the whole class.

After the activity, the teacher will emphasize on the importance of having connections/ links between and among each other in the class. The teacher will let students realize that since they belong to each class, connection must always be present; thus, everyone is responsible to each other’s learning. She (teacher) will also assure them that help will be a top priority as they strive to reach success in mastering their Mathematical skills.

C. Rules and Expectations

Using the welcome packet, the teacher will go over the learning contract, Math class (& school-wide) rules and expectations with the students.

Homework

Memorize the Multiplication facts of 1 to 10. Be ready for a multiplication drill tom.

STUDY MORE (Letting Go from Frozen)

Study More
By Mrs. Mary Angel A. Flores
(In the tune of Letting Go, OST of the movie Frozen)

The school year starts I’ll make it all right
And my class rules very clear
The kingdom of education
And it looks like I’m the queen
I have been planning for this lesson to take place
All you have to do- listen well and try

Do let them know
Do let them see
You’re a good kid you always want to be
Just study hard and don’t give up
So you will learn

Study more, study more
Can’t hold it back anymore
Study more, study more
Stay inside our classroom door
I don’t care if it takes all day
I will teach you more
You can come after school every day

It’s lovely how some lesson makes everything seem cool
And the fear that once controlled you
Can’t get to you at all
It’s time to see what you can do to take the limits and breakthrough
No right, no wrong
Just try for me
You’re free

Study more, study more your grades will be A plus and fly
Study more, study more
You’ll never fail and cry
Here I stand and here I’ll stay
Let the learning flow

My teaching strategies will help you learn it all
Our class is inspiring and excitement is just all around
And your thought is as important as your effort and time
You’ll always come to class
You’ll surely pass in our class

Study more, study more
And you’ll rise like a break of dawn
Study more, study more
The perfect score is yours
Here I stand, I will help you more
Let the learning flow
You can come after school every day

Teaching in the Inner City Schools in the USA…A Truthful Confession from a Foreign Teacher

Yellow AngelTeaching in the Inner City Schools in the United States

A Truthful Confession from a Foreign Teacher

Teaching in the United States is no easy matter! Well, that’s an understatement to begin with. Let me start by boldly and truthfully saying that teaching in the US particularly in the inner cities takes more than guts and courage! Teaching is not a job; it is a mission! If you’re only for the money, you will not certainly last! Allow me to equate it with cooking. In any vibrant and a tasteful cuisine, you need some major ingredients to bring out the flavor that you wanted. In teaching, you need love and passion in order to strive in the teaching world itself, coupled with commitment and dedication to cater with the challenges and the wide-variety of issues students face on a daily basis. I along with the other teachers who have poured their hearts out into this profession survive the challenges of teaching in the inner city schools with love for the kids, passion with the job, dedication to learning, and commitment to make solid changes. I knew that teaching in the US, particularly in the inner cities, would be very different from what I used to have back home where students have respect and high regards to teachers; but I have always believed that if I would love what I’d do, and if I’d let my students feel the love I have for them, I would be able to pierce through the boundaries and breakthrough the barriers, ultimately making the difference— a ripple in the beginning, then transforming into giant waves. With God’s help, I have kept my mission and learn along the way. Let me share with you some of the challenges I have had, and how I have dealt with them. Others may have different experience either stronger ones or less powerful in many different ways, but they all meet at some points along the way.

Overcoming Challenges

  1. Students’ negative attitude towards school: When I plan my lessons I make it fun and interactive by incorporating technology, playing games, & using cooperative learning/group works, math stations, math projects and cross-curricular activities. I also stress out the importance of education. I encourage them to go to college and pursue their dreams and goals in life. To draw even the slightest inspiration, I even share my life story with them. As Walt Disney quoted “Dreams do come true if you have the courage to pursue them.”
  2. Lack of parental involvement: I see to it that I call parents in the first weeks of school. I introduce myself and give them good reports about their child. I constantly keep in touch with them via phone call, email or print progress report to keep them inform about their child’s class standing.
  3. Heavy workload: Aside from my full time teaching load, I also serve as a math department head and after-school activities coordinator. It is overwhelming at times but the keys to surviving are time management, organizational skills, and resourcefulness. It is also important to work smart. As the quote says “You don’t have to reinvent the wheels.” You should know where and how to find the right people and the right resources to do and complete the job.
  4. Higher school district and state expectations: Preparation and planning is the key to combat this and keep up with the overwhelming expectations. Always start with a goal in mind; it’s like going to a battle with a blueprint in mind. It is also important to make your expectations realistic and have an open communication with the administration. In that way, you can keep them in the loop of what’s going on in your classroom.

Above all it is our Lord Jesus Christ who keeps me going when I face tough times. When the work itself seems to be insurmountable, when the stress is too much to handle, I just kneel down and ask for strength and wisdom from the One who gives it all.

Recognitions

 

I am very blessed to have my life featured in “The Learning,” (directed by Ramona Diaz) a documentary film featuring four Filipino teachers from the recruitment in the Philippines to the actual teaching in Baltimore City. I received special recognitions like Most Influential Teacher in 2015 (Uniffied, Inc Filipino-American Educators), Teacher as a Hero (National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia),  Rising to the Challenge of Excellence in Education (Uniffied, Inc Fil-Am Educators), Hall of Fame and Outstanding Performance Recognition Awards (Filipino Educators in Maryland), Special Recognition as Community Service Coordinator (Engine 7 Ladder 10 Outreach in Philadelphia), Outstanding Performance Award and Special Recognition as Multicultural Committee Chairperson (Truebright Science Academy Charter School), Teacher of the Month (North Bend Elementary/Middle School), I also served as Middle School team leader, Multicultural Committee Chairperson and First in Math Coordinator (North Bend Elementary/Middle School).  I am currently  serving as a Math Department Head Chairperson and School Activities Coordinator (Truebright Science Academy Charter School).

I consider teaching my very own mission in this life, and it’s all because of God’s grace and mercy that I endure and overcome the challenges it comes with. All the glory belongs to our God Almighty!

I love teaching because it’s my L.I.F.E.

L- Love

Without love in my heart I will never survive the challenges of teaching in America. I am a Filipino math teacher and I started teaching in America last 2006. After 5 years of teaching in the Philippines, I accepted a teaching job offer from Baltimore City through a teacher exchange program. Teaching in the US is one of the biggest decisions in my life because I have to leave my family who is at least 8,600 miles away from me to live alone by myself in a foreign land but I love teaching and I want to gain new experiences and insights to help me grow professionally.

I know that teaching in the US, especially in the inner cities, will be very different from what I used to have (where students have respect and high regards to teachers) but I believe that if I love what I do and if I let my students feel the love I have for them I will be a good teacher or may be a great teacher. It is the love that I pour out in planning the lessons, finding creative and innovative ways to teach Math, inspiring and challenging the students to do their best in Math and in life. As I let love rule in my heart, I can help hopeless students do Math, forgive disobedient students, be patient with difficult students and genuinely care for students inside and outside the classroom. It is love- that will keep me going when I face tough times, when I feel like giving up and when I feel so stressed out. I always look back and remember the “love” and passion I have in teaching and that I consider it my very own mission in this life.

 

I-Impact

“You never know when or how greatly your words and actions will impact someone else.” As a teacher, we have the opportunity to inspire and touch the lives of our students. What mark do we want to leave in our students’ hearts and minds?

I always try to encourage my students to reach their maximum potential inside and outside the classroom. I challenge them so they can realize that there’s more than what they thought they could do. In my 13 years of teaching, I am experiencing the fruit of my labor and the sweet reward of teaching. I have students who thanked me through Facebook, email or text message because I have touched their lives in one way or another. One of them said that she never thought she would be a very good leader until I gave her a chance and told her she had the potential to be one. Another one said that he became interested and loved math because I made it fun to learn math. I am so blessed to see my students succeed in their chosen field. It feels so great that I am part of their molding process to be the best person that they can be.

 

F- Fun

Teaching can be very exhausting- meetings, professional developments, countless hours of working at home to prepare lessons, grade papers, contact parents and tons of paperwork. Guess what? With the overwhelming demands of this profession 24 hours a day will never be enough but in spite of it all, flexible teachers still see the “fun” in teaching. Fun is relative from one teacher to another. Some teachers consider it fun when a well-planned activity goes smoothly, or when a group of struggling students master a skill, or when the students learn through a game, or when the students discover what they are supposed to learn or it is fun when learning beyond the four corners of the classroom takes place.

I consider myself a modern teacher. I try different ways to teach a certain skill. I consider it fun when I see that students solve on their own or when we do fun activities like measuring the real objects in the classroom and finding the perimeter, area and volume, exploring geometric figures, play different games for probability lessons, calculating the circumference and area of different circular food then, eat and celebrate Pi day (March 13) after all the math hard work, math around the world (stations with different math problems with real facts from different countries), roller coaster project, doing exit tweets and a lot more. There are countless ways to make the subjects that we are teaching fun and exciting. There are interactive websites, apps and professional learning communities that can help us teachers plan to make learning fun for our students and teaching fun for ourselves.

 

E- Excellence

As the saying goes “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” We always remind our students to strive for excellence and to be in their A game. People might be thinking that teachers are delighted when the result of classwork, quizzes and exams are 100’s but do you know that a 70 may be equal to 100 sometimes? If a teacher working with students who have learning disabilities, that 70% might be the best that they can get and it will feel as great as a 100%. Don’t get me wrong…it is important to pass the tests and to get good grades but test scores and grades do not define learning. It is not just the concepts learned; but the learning process and the application of it is what really matter.

I remember a student  in  8th grade who could barely add or subtract single digit numbers. He stayed after school for coach class and sometimes lunch time to learn how to solve equations. After all his hard work, he got an 80% in his test and I rejoiced with him. I told him that he was an excellent student. After some more practice, he was able to solve 2 step equations and he even got 100’s. It was such a wonderful moment to see the joy in his eyes as he received his graded work. He couldn’t wait to show it to his mom.

As we remind our students to strive for excellence, we  teachers must also do the same and strive to be a good role model for our students as we make choices and decisions to cope with the demands of our profession and every day life.

I love teaching because it’s my L.I.F.E.

…and I can never image myself doing something else.    IMG_6299

Math Project #3 Math EggQUATIONS Project

solve eggquations pic 2Objective: the students will be able to demonstrate their skills in solving equations (One step and two-step)

Materials:

* empty egg carton

*12 pieces colorful plain plastic (toy) eggs

*Coloring materials, marker/Sharpie

*Colored papers

Procedure:

1. Design the egg carton and label  with :

Egg Equations (1 Step, 2 Step or Multistep) Project or Writing Eggquations Project

2. Pick two sets of 6 item equations /inequalities questions  from the project worksheet (provided by the teacher) and students make their own 6 equations question.

3. Using a marker  write each question on  each egg shell and the solution on each egg space in the egg carton.

4. Answer each question, show all work and write down the steps on a  paper .Fold the paper and put it inside the egg  with the corresponding question that was answered.

5.  The egg  project will be graded by their classmate (assigned partner) and the teacher on the evaluation day.

6. Criteria for Grading: 

Accuracy of the answer= 50%

Solving Process (show and explain  the steps)= 30%

Project Design (neatness and  completely labeled)= 20%

Image

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