Classroom Management: 3 Ways to Stay Calm and Consistent

I’ve heard over and over in my career that you can’t teach anything until you have a handle on classroom management.  If your kids are out of control, you cannot teach them anything.

There are multiple classroom management strategies out there.  You have to use whatever works for you.  HOWEVER, these three tips will work with whatever kind of classroom management system you already have in place.

3 Ways to Stay Calm and Consistent

Need classroom management ideas for middle or high school?  This strategy gives tips and techniques to help you keep your cool!

1 - Take deep breaths and relax your jaw.

If you aren’t in control of your emotions, the students will control them.  Before you react to anything, take a few deep breaths and relax your jaw.  Relaxing your jaw will help your whole body follow suit.  If you have trouble relaxing your jaw, put the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth and move it back.  Your jaw will fall and relax naturally.

2 - Move slowly.

As the leader in the room, you must project calm.  Calm is slow.  Slow is strength.  Strength is control.  Take a few seconds to S-L-O-W-L-Y and deliberately turn toward disruptive students.  When your body goes into the fight/flight reflex you react quickly.  Slow and deliberate movements show control over your body.

3 - Don’t make rules you aren’t willing to enforce ALL THE TIME.

Consistency is key.  Don’t make rules you know you won’t enforce.  I’m very laid-back as a teacher.  I’ve decided what rules are important to me, and I let the rest go.  While this doesn’t work for everyone, I do not make rules that I know I will end up letting slide later.  This one was a game changer for me.  When I first started teaching, I had lots of rules and I wasn’t consistent about enforcing all of them.  It did not work out well.  Again, don’t make rules you aren’t willing to enforce ALL THE TIME.


How do you stay calm and consistent?  Comment below!


Interval Notation INB Page

Last year, our math standards were revised.  In that, I now get to teach my Algebra 2 students how to write in interval notation.  Honestly, I strongly prefer interval notation and I'm so glad we could end the inequalities!

This notes page was taken from A Nelson Math.  I reformatted to include practice problems on the bottom.

interactive notebook pages for interval notation in algebra 2

I had students tape the top page down so that they could flip it up.  Underneath, I had them draw a table.  On the table, they wrote the interval in words, drew a number line, wrote in interval notation, and wrote in inequality notation.  It helped my students so much to be able to see the four versions together.  My students still struggled with things like x =/ 0, so I want to maybe do four or five example lines next year.

interactive notebook pages for interval notation in algebra 2


Intro Geometry Proofs INB Pages

Last year, I created several interactive notebook pages for beginning proofs in geometry.  However, this year, I'm teaching honors geometry and wanted to include more proofs practice in their notebooks.

First, we started with two-column proof tips.  I used this same page last year.  You can find the page on the link above.  However, I didn't write as many notes on the page, because I wanted my honors students to thoughtfully add their own tips to this page.

These interactive notebook pages are perfect for geometry proofs!  I always need more examples and activities for my algebraic proofs and segment and angles proofs notes.

Then, we completed this flipbook for algebraic proofs.  I had my students write all of the properties under the first flap and practice under the second flap.  On the last flap, we did a few algebraic proofs together.

These interactive notebook pages are perfect for geometry proofs!  I always need more examples and activities for my algebraic proofs and segment and angles proofs notes.

The next day, we started segment and angle proofs.  I used this foldable so that I could have students add a lot of practice proofs into their notebooks.  When we did these examples in class, I had them fill in all of the "givens" first.  I want them to see that while proofs may have lots of blanks, there is always SOMETHING that's a "freebie".

These interactive notebook pages are perfect for geometry proofs!  I always need more examples and activities for my algebraic proofs and segment and angles proofs notes.

These interactive notebook pages are perfect for geometry proofs!  I always need more examples and activities for my algebraic proofs and segment and angles proofs notes.

Once students were more comfortable with these basic proofs, I gave them a few additional theorems.  These theorems aren't in our textbook, but I use them in some honors-level worksheets that I have made.  I don't think these are a big stretch for my honors kids.  In orange, I have written the shorthand that students are allowed to use on homework and tests.  This page is in the exclusive content are of my Geometry Foldable Bundle.

These interactive notebook pages are perfect for geometry proofs!  I always need more examples and activities for my algebraic proofs and segment and angles proofs notes.


Piecewise Functions INB Pages

Piecewise functions are so challenging for students in the beginning!  I tried a totally new approach this year, and I ended up LOVING it.  Of course, my students didn't love it.  However, they understood more quickly than my students have in the past, which I consider a big win.

First, I gave students three graphs.  I asked them to write the equation of each line.  It doesn't matter what the graph look like.  Then, we cut the graphs along two different vertical lines and pieced the graphs together to make three different sections (see the picture below).  After that, I had students write the inequality for each part that they used.  Then, I showed them what it looks like written as a piecewise function.  They didn't like it.  It made them squirm...a good squirm.

Next, we looked at the function below.  I had them fill in the table and plot the points.  My students didn't like it, but it helped.

This piecewise functions foldable was great in my student's interactive notebooks!  The notes were clear, and the activity helped my students understand.

After that, we completed this foldable.  Right now, it's only available as exclusive content through my Algebra Foldable Bundle.  Under each flap, there are step by step directions and examples.

This piecewise functions foldable was great in my student's interactive notebooks!  The notes were clear, and the activity helped my students understand.

This piecewise functions foldable was great in my student's interactive notebooks!  The notes were clear, and the activity helped my students understand.

I liked that I included the DNE point in the foldable.  My students will explore that more in Pre-Cal, but I liked introducing them to the idea a little early.

My students still hate piecewise functions, but they did much better than they think they did!

7 Ideas for Teaching the Pythagorean Theorem

There are so many good ideas for teaching students about the Pythagorean Theorem!  It seems like every year I change a little bit when I teach this lesson.  However, I have found some favorite ideas over the years.

These activities and foldables will help you teach your students the Pythagorean Theorem!  My geometry students always love the video and the coloring activity!

Here are my top 7 ideas for the Pythagorean Theorem (in no particular order):

1 - Pythagorean Theorems Word Problems Coloring Worksheet - I love using this worksheet because it gets students to practice word problems, with less complaining because of the coloring.

2 - Pythagorean Theorem Proof Without Words - This post has a free download of a template for showing your students a visual explanation of the Pythagorean Theorem.  It helps so much for them to see a concrete example!

3 - Pythagorean Theorem Solve and Snip - This cut and paste worksheet also has students practice word problems!

4 - The Pythagorean Theorem - The Science of Football - I show this video every year.  It helps capture the attention of my athletes and even has interviews with football players and coaches.  It's by the National Science Foundation and very well done.

5 - Pythagorean Theorem Word Problems Digital Activity - Looking to go digital?  These digital task cards are a fun way for students to (again) practice word problems.  I like having students work with partners and take turns drawing the diagrams.

6 - Pythagorean Theorem INB Pages - I think these are my favorite notes for the Pythagorean Theorem.  They're simple and effective.

7 - Pythagorean Theorem Pennant - This pennant is adorable and would help decorate your classroom!  I especially love the squares around the triangle on each part of the pennant.


I hope you found something new that you can use in your classroom!


Help Students Visualize Overlapping Triangles

When teaching triangle congruence, overlapping triangles appear at some point.  I always teach students to draw the triangles separately before making any conclusions.  This activity/demonstration helps students create overlapping triangles and separate them to see the triangles individually.

This is an activity to help students visualize overlapping triangles. It is perfect for a congruent triangles unit!

First, fold one corner of a piece of paper to form a triangle.  Trace the triangle on the piece of paper.

Investigating Overlapping Triangles - this is a great hands-on activity to do before congruent triangles proofs

Cut along the traced edges and cut along the fold.  How do you know that the two triangles are congruent?

Investigating Overlapping Triangles - this is a great hands-on activity to do before congruent triangles proofs

Label the angles of the triangle.  Have students write a congruence statement.

Investigating Overlapping Triangles - this is a great hands-on activity to do before congruent triangles proofs
Use the two triangles to create different shapes.  Have some of the shapes use overlapping triangles.  

Investigating Overlapping Triangles - this is a great hands-on activity to do before congruent triangles proofs

See how many other shapes students can find with their congruent triangles.

Investigating Overlapping Triangles - this is a great hands-on activity to do before congruent triangles proofs


This is a great activity to do before starting congruent triangles proofs!
a congruent triangles activity to help students visualize overlapping triangles - great for high school geometry students beginning triangle congruence proofs

How to Create a Seating Chart

This post contains affiliate links.  If you make a purchase through the link, I earn a very small commission that keeps this blog running.

Teachers, do you struggle with ideas for making a seating chart?  This simple teacher hack is so easy to use in any classroom!

I always have my students sit in assigned seats.  Anytime I’ve ventured out of assigned seats, I have regretted it.  With assigned seats comes seating charts.  One thing that’s a MUST for me is that I have the seating chart up as students come into class.  Getting high school students to move seats once they’ve already settled in is near impossible.  I’ve tried making seating charts several different ways over the years, but they have all had their flaws.  

When I first started teaching, I had little cards with my students names on them that I put on their desks.  Yeah, you can imagine how that worked out between classes in a high school.  I was running around like a crazy person trying to get the next class period’s cards laid out.  Dumb idea.  Don't do this.

I’ve also tried making a powerpoint of my seating chart and projecting it for students to see on the board.  That’s fine, but that’s also how I display student’s bell work.  So, this didn’t work well either.

The software that our attendance is on has a seating chart feature.  You can arrange the seats and then print it.  It always turned out formatted funky and my students had a hard time reading it.  Yuck.

I finally settled on printing copies of a blank seating chart and handwriting my student’s names on it.  I would tape it to the board in a prominent location and my students would see it as they came in.  This worked beautifully most of the time.  However, sometimes I would write a student’s name twice and forget another student.  Occasionally, I would spell a student’s name wrong and then feel bad later.  

And then I discovered the best idea ever!  A teacher-friend shared it with me, and it’s too good for me to keep it to myself!

At the beginning of the year, I print one blank seating chart for each class period.  I also write all of my student’s names on Post-It page markers.  I know it’s a huge pain if you have a lot of students, but it’s totally worth it.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

I put the little page marker on each student’s assigned seat and slide it into a sheet protector.  Hang it on the board for students to see as they come into class.  If you ever want to move seats, you just have to move the little Post-Its.  BEAUTIFUL!

Teachers, do you struggle with ideas for making a seating chart?  This simple teacher hack is so easy to use in any classroom!


Have you ever used this method for creating a seating chart?  

8 Ideas for Sub Plans in Secondary Math

Need FREE emergency sub plans for middle school or high school?  These substitute teacher ideas would be great in any secondary math class.
This post contains affiliate links.  If you make a purchase through the link, I earn a very small commission that keeps this blog running.

At some point, all teachers have to miss school.  Between illness, field trips, coaching responsibilities, and life everyone misses a day at some point…. and it’s a huge pain.

teacher sick day

I try to keep continuity while I’m gone, and have students work on something that we have been doing in class.  However, that’s not always possible.  If you get sick in the middle of the night or something happens on the way to work, you may not get a chance to organize sub plans.  My school requires that we keep emergency sub plans in a binder, just in case.  They have to be educational, at least sort of related to the content area in which we teach, and keep student occupied and out of trouble.  Yeah, in math, that’s not always easy!

These 8 ideas can be used in almost any level high school math class.  Some would work better for older students or younger students, but all could be modified to suit your needs in a pinch.

Need FREE emergency sub plans for middle school or high school?  These substitute teacher ideas would be great in any secondary math class.

This statistics lesson is accessible for any high school student.  Also, let’s be real, EVERYONE needs this lesson.  Have you watched the news?  It is an online lesson, but if you’re not 1:1 the sub could click through the screens on the projector and students could write their answers on notebook paper.

This lessons teaches students about different number bases and the history behind them.  It’s interesting and different, which your students just may love.

You can’t go anywhere right now without seeing emojis.  They’ve pretty much taken over.  These logic puzzles are a combination of the logic puzzles you see plastered on social media and the emoji craze.  Between the 32 task cards and the extra worksheet, I’ll be able to split it into two days worth of sub plans.

This is a fun activity if you have access to some blocks or math cubes.  Students will build their own figures and draw them with a partner.  There is also a stations maze to wrap everything up.

The birthday problem is a common example used in statistics, but it’s fun to do with any math class! This video would probably be better for older or honors students, but it really is fun. 

Between the seven stations, the extra editable stations, the worksheet AND the extension activities, this could easily be used as more than one day of sub plans.  JACKPOT!  I love that kindness and growth mindset are included, because my students ALWAYS need reminders about both of those!

I’ll be honest, I did this lesson myself.  It was actually really interesting.  This is a lesson that I think students would be interested in, and it’s pretty accessible to any high school student.  

I’m not going to lie; I love this.  It’s an article that was posted in The Atlantic and is wonderful at explaining that being good at math is the product of hard work - not good genes.  I plan to have my students read this and write a paragraph or two about whether they agree or disagree.  Yay for writing in math!


Side Note:  Many of these require students to watch a video for a few minutes.  In this case, I've found that students tend to stay on task better if they share devices with a partner and each use one earbud.  In my experience, having a partner tends to keep them on the correct website a little more.  (It's at least worth a try!)  Also, I like to keep a few extra pairs of these cheap earbuds on hand for the forgetful kids.

Have you used any of these on a sub day?  How did it turn out?


Interactive Notebook Tips: Teaching a Lesson

Teachers that are new to interactive notebooks often ask me how I run a typical class period and how I teach a lesson.

In this post, I’m going to outline exactly what I do with my classes and how I do it.  For reference, my classes are 48 minutes long and I have a document camera.  I do not have a smart board or any thing like that.

This post explains how to teach a lesson using interactive notebooks. It explains how to structure middle school and high school class periods.

Warmup

My students are supposed to start their warmup as soon as they walk into class.  I don’t do anything fancy.  I typically project a couple problems that review what we did the day before or a spiral review topic.  I usually just zoom in on a couple of problems on a worksheet and project them on the board.  My students have a sheet that they do all of their warmups on and turn it in at the end of the week.  I cut them off when I’m ready to move on, regardless if they are finished yet.  Then, I write the solutions on the board and answer any questions.

Checking Homework

Next, I have students check their homework.  I project the solutions on the board and have students check their own homework.  They are supposed to write the correct answer of anything they missed.  I walk around with a clipboard and check to make sure they did it.  If they gave the majority of the problems a good effort, they get full credit.  If they only did half of it, they get half credit.  Yeah, some kids cheat on this method.  I don’t stress about it, because I can TOTALLY tell when it comes to test time.  I usually just put a note in the grade book that little Johnny has been cheating on his homework and don’t worry about it.

The Lesson

For the sake of explaining, I’m going to pretend I’m teaching my Algebra 1 classes about adding and subtracting polynomials. For this lesson, I would use my adding and subtracting polynomials flip book.

I pass out the foldable for the day and show them how to fold it (if necessary).  This is exactly what I would say:
“Ok, you have two pages for your flip book.  Look at the page that says SUBTRACTING POLYNOMIALS on the bottom.  Put it on your desk like this.”
Then, I would set it under the document camera so that the SUBTRACTING POLYNOMIALS tab is at the bottom.
“Now, set ADDING POLYNOMIALS on top of it so that they are layered.  Then, fold it over.”
I would model exactly what I am saying under the document camera.
“I’m going to pass around staplers.  They will start at the front of the room.  Please staple like this.”
I model correct stapling.
“Don’t bang on them like an idiot.  It breaks them.  You know how to staple.  When they get to the back of the room, please pass them over to my desk.”
Then, I glue the foldable into my notebook and my students do the same.  This whole process takes about 2-3 minutes, at the longest.  After about October, my students can figure all of it out themselves unless it’s a new kind of foldable.  They can usually put it into their notebooks as I pass things out.
Once I glue my flip book in my notebook, I start teaching!  I fill in everything with my students.  I have one notebook per class period and I write along with them.
First, I would open the vocabulary tab.  I would talk through the new vocabulary words and do the examples with them.
Then, we would move on to the adding polynomials tab.  I would show them the first two examples, then they would work with a partner for the remaining examples.  When they were done, I would put the answers up.
Last, I would do the subtracting polynomials tab the same way I did the previous tab.  

AFTER THE LESSON

When we are finished with the lesson, I typically let my students start their homework or we do a short activity.


Honestly, the way I present lessons isn’t much different than when I didn’t use interactive notebooks.  The big change was in what my students were doing.  Before interactive notebooks, my students just dutifully filled in their guided notes….and lost them in their backpacks…  Now, they are manipulating the pieces of the foldable, color-coding, and chunking ideas while I’m teaching.  Everything is glued in their notebooks so that it isn’t lost.  That’s the big change!


Any more questions?  Leave them below so I can help you get started!

Visualizing Intersecting Planes

Students have such a hard time visualizing intersecting planes.  It helps so much if they have something concrete to hold.

Are you teaching high school geometry?  This hands on activity helps students visualize intersecting planes.  It is perfect after teaching about points, lines, and planes.

I have a giant piece of foam board that I cut in half, and then cut slits in.  A saw works nicely for this :)  

Use foam board to demonstrate intersecting planes in geometry

Check out how awesome this looks once the foam board is stuck together.

Use foam board to demonstrate intersecting planes in geometry

I use my giant foam board to introduce the lesson and talk through the main points.  Once I’m ready to have students start taking notes and dive into specifics, I pass out two notecards to each student.  I have them tear notches into the notecards to show intersecting planes.


Using notecards to model intersecting lines and planes in geometry

Then, I have students stick their pencil through the notecard to show a line intersecting the plane.

Using notecards to model intersecting lines and planes in geometry

After that, I have students put the two planes together and use their pencil as a line.

Using notecards to model intersecting lines and planes in geometry


This works so well to have students visualize things.  Their homework typically involves true and false questions for this lesson, so I have them get out their notecards if they get stuck!

Surface Area and Volume INB Pages

I wanted to share my interactive notebook pages for my surface area and volume unit!  I like the pages that I used, but I think I will include a few more “drill and kill” pages next year.  Instead of teaching all of the surface area formulas and then all of the volume formulas, I taught all about prisms and then all about pyramids.

First, I started with this messy looking page about the parts of a prism.  I realized at the last minute that my students needed a refresher about parts of solids.  This page only had parts of prisms.  I also had a derivation of the formulas at the bottom of the page.  I cut and pasted the diagrams from my student’s textbook.  

parts of prisms interactive notebook page

Next, we did a flip book with the vocabulary formally introduced and practice problems.  I taught the cylinder as a special case of the prism.  I did not give students a separate formula.  Many of them figured it out, but they didn’t have to use it.

surface area and volume of prisms and cylinders flipbook for geometry interactive notebooks

Next, I did this page about composite volume.  The first problem has students add the volumes and the second problem has students subtract the volumes.

composite volume practice page for geometry interactive notebooks

I did another messy looking page to describe the parts of pyramids.  

parts of pyramids interactive notebook page

Another flip book with the vocabulary and practice problems came next.  Again, I taught the cone as a special case of the pyramid.  

surface area and volume of pyramids and cones flipbook for geometry interactive notebooks

Lastly, I taught the surface area and volume of spheres.

surface area and volume of spheres flipbook for geometry interactive notebooks



Area and Perimeter INB Pages

I started my area unit with a short review of simplifying radicals and special right triangles.  It’s ALWAYS needed.

The first lesson was about the area of parallelograms and triangles.  They learn these formulas in pre-algebra, but I think they needed a little review and I include special right triangles.  I also have students highlight the perpendicular parts, so that they can find the base and the height easier.  Highlighting helps my struggling kids.

area of parallelograms and triangles foldable for geometry interactive notebooks

area of parallelograms and triangles foldable for geometry interactive notebooks

The next day, we talked about the area of rhombuses, kites, and trapezoids.  The examples in the flip book include special right triangles and the Pythagorean Theorem.

area of rhombuses, kites, and trapezoids flipbook for geometry interactive notebooks

I also have a foldable that students can use to help organize the area formulas.  I made it optional for students to complete this foldable.  I also included notes about regular polygons.  I just had them take notes in their notebook for those pages.  No pictures, sorry.  :(

Then, we moved on to circles.  The first day, we talked about circumference and arc length.  I have a post about how I explain the difference between arc length and arc measure.

circumference and arc length foldable for geometry interactive notebook

The next day, we talked about the area of a circle and the area of a sector.  I didn’t do segment area with my kids this year.  They struggled with the area of a sector and I didn’t want to create a disaster.  I was allowed to leave out a few little topics this year because our math standards were being revised this school year.

area of a circle and sector area foldable for geometry interactive notebooks

The last lesson of the unit was perimeter and area of similar figures.  I broke it down as simple as possible.  On the flaps of the foldable were the different types of problems.  Inside each flap there are two practice problems.

perimeter and area of similar figures foldable for geometry interactive notebooks



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Powered by Blogger.
Back to Top