In the spirit of the holidays, I want to share some of my favorite things with you! Keep reading until the end, because there is something for you too!

###
**My Favorite Holiday Activity**

I love decorating the Christmas tree. As long as I can remember, we have always blasted old Christmas music and put up the tree as a family. My mom would take us to the store to pick out our own Christmas ornament every year. We would put our initials on it very small at the bottom and the year. Then, when I got my own Christmas tree as an adult, my mom gave me all of my own ornaments that I picked out as I was growing up. All of them bring back memories and it's fun to put them up and tell my son about each one. I hope to start the tradition with him next year when he's a little older.

This is my Christmas tree this year:

###
**My Favorite Math Activity**

My favorite math activity is a sum 'em activity. I use them to review all kinds of concepts. They encourage students to work together and find their own mistakes.

Students are put in groups of four and each student in a group is given one card with a problem on it. When all of the students in the group have finished their problems, they add their answers together. Then, students check their sums with the teacher. If they are incorrect, they trade problems within their group and try again. If they are correct, they move on to another set of cards. I love this type of activity because it gets students working together and talking about math.

If you sign up for my Free Resource Library, there is a FREE sum 'em activity included. If you'd like to see my other sum 'em activities, you can find them here.

###
**My Favorite Math Teacher Tools**

I can't limit this to just one thing, so I thought I'd list my top three!

First, if you haven't tried Flair pens yet, you need to. It took me FOREVER before I was willing to try them. I'm kind of cheap about some things and I just thought they were overpriced. However, I LOVE them! I love that they are so bold and bright, but don't bleed through paper. I also like that they liven up the white pages in my interactive notebooks.

My second favorite math teacher tool is a timer. Really, every teacher needs a timer. Yes, I have one on my phone, but I don't really want to have my phone out around my students all day. I have this cheap, digital timer and it works great. Timers help keep students one task by putting a little pressure on them. Also, they can help by minimizing transition time.

The last teacher tool for today is STICKERS! Even my high school students like getting stickers. I always put a sticker on tests and quizzes that have earned an A. My students love seeing that they have earned a sticker. There are some amazing and cheap sticker packs out there for teachers.

## Giveaway Time!!

**Giveaway Closed**

To help you get through the holidays and the new year started off right, I am giving away a $25 Teachers pay Teachers gift card!

- Comment on this post, answering the question below.
- If you haven't already, sign up for my mailing list to get teaching tips and the inside scoop on sales and giveaways.

**What unit is the most difficult for you to teach and why?**

This

**giveaway ends Monday, December 18, 2017 at 8pm EST.**Now it's time to hop on over to Kara's blog at Learning Made Radical for another giveaway!
Most difficult unit is fractions bc students lack number sense so it's hard for them to see and understand parts of a number.

ReplyDeleteThis year my students are really struggling with subtraction with regrouping.

ReplyDeleteProbability: dependent, independent, conditional, binomial distributions...they complain there are too many formulas to remember.

ReplyDeleteThis comment has been removed by the author.

ReplyDeleteThanks again, Mrs E! I've been to your site many times before and am always leaving with some new information or resource.

ReplyDeleteMy most difficult unit is fractions. I teach 8th grade intervention. Need I say more? My students literally shudder at the mention of them. Have a wonderful break!

Fractions are difficult without a good understanding of number sense.

ReplyDeleteFractions because understanding parts of a number can be very challenging/frustrating for some students.

ReplyDeleteThe first two units that came to mind were fractions and probability, and both have been mentioned. Lol and I think these units are closely related, which could be why they’re both mentioned. I think I struggle teaching these concepts because for some students it’s difficult to understand without visual explanations or real-world examples.

ReplyDeleteIntro to equations - problems are still easy enough for guess and check and students have a hard time understanding why it's important to learn the process.

ReplyDeleteDEFINITELY fractions!!! Whenever I say the word "fraction", my students say "NOOOOOOO" in unison!! It doesn't matter what grade I'm teaching--from 3rd grade through high school--I get the same reaction! Because of this mindset, it's hard to get through to the students!

ReplyDeleteThe most difficult unit to teach the most is factoring!! Students do not know their Math facts and struggling deeply with the concept! It’s something that is heavily tested on the state exam! Help!!!

ReplyDeleteThis comment has been removed by the author.

ReplyDeleteProbability, I think because it is always at the end of the year and I have to rush through.

ReplyDeleteCongruence. I'm not sure why I need to prove one shape is the same as the other and it's the end of a very long year.

ReplyDeletePolynomial division has met with a lot of resistance these past couple of weeks.

ReplyDeleteGraph transformations when we get into flipping, stretching, shrinking, etc. I think it's hard to get a "quick" feel for how students are doing as the unit progresses.

ReplyDeleteThe unit that I feel is most difficult to teach is solving rational equations. There are so many steps and ways for my students to make small mistakes that will make their answer wrong in the long run!

ReplyDeleteFactoring trinomials - they seem to get it but the next year in geometry or Algebra 2 it's like the students have never even heard of the topic!

ReplyDeleteTeaching students surface area. Students have such a hard time understanding why you have to multiply by two. Also having not memorized multiplication facts makes it difficult.

ReplyDeleteAbsolute Value Inequalitites - for some reason this is so hard for the kids to make the leap from absolute values and inequalities to absolute value inequalities.

ReplyDeleteCircles in Geometry --- I don't like it, it's super hard for them and it's not very useful!!! ttownsend4540@gmail.com

ReplyDeleteWINNER!!

DeleteFractions have been the hardest for me this year.

ReplyDeleteGeometric proofs are difficult, as students haven't been asked to reason that way in math before. Also, circles... It's a LOT of information that feels "useless", and students often ask "When are we going to use this?". A hard question to answer sometimes!

ReplyDeleteThanks! I love your blog and activities!

Anything involving fractions - most students have not had enough concrete experiences with them

ReplyDeleteRight now, my Geometry students seem to have given up on proofs. While my Algebra 1 students are getting all their rules for exponents mixed up.

ReplyDeleteI think orthocenter, circumcenter,..... are the most difficult for my students to understand.

ReplyDeleteThe most difficult unit I teach is inductive and deductive reasoning.

ReplyDeleteThe trig unit is the most difficult for me. It is a "brand new" concept to my students. The unit only last about two weeks, but it is the longest two weeks of our Geometry lives!

ReplyDeleteGraphing linear equations. Many of my students still don't know how to graph ordered pairs even though I know they had lots of practice as 7th graders.

ReplyDeleteDilations! I teach 8th grade CC math to 6th graders and it is very hard to find good ways to teach this conceptually. They do great with rigid transformations but struggle with dilation unless they just use a formula.

ReplyDeleteOne of the most challenging topics I have taught are (high school math) writing geometry proofs (students always struggle with this!) and (middle school math) measurement/conversion/mass/volume/etc. word problems.

ReplyDeleteFractions is not an 8th grade standard but my students always seem to need me to reteach this concept ... and they still hate them!

ReplyDeleteWe have a teacher that tells the students we are going to talk about "The Dreaded F word today..." - the looks on their faces is priceless - especially when she says, "You know - Fractions!" - it always lightens up the mood before they even start... - the MathLionness

DeleteI agree with the comment on teaching geometric proofs even to 9th and 10 graders. Bur so far I am struggling to find a way to help students retain what they learn. I have group of students who do not study at all and they rely completely on what we do in class. The unit on parallel and perpendicular lines proved to be saturated with new vocabulary. By the time we got to perpendicular lines they regressed and started to shut down. I don't know if I should have divided up the unit into two and tested each one separately. Or is there a better way to help them remember. I tried flash cards, group work on proofs with parallel lines, and of course daily quizzes on vocabulary. They did fine on all three, then messed up on tests. Feedback from students was: too many things to remember. Granted, I have about 20% of them who did well on the unit test.

ReplyDeleteProofs!! For my co-lab class, the sheer volume of vocabulary involved in proofs is very difficult. And there are so many terms that they feel can be interchanged. It also does not help that all parents and other non-math teacher discourage their importance. Ugh! As if my job wasn't hard enough...

ReplyDeleteI am thankful for your blog and others! As a new teacher, I am still finding my own way, but this has been so helpful.

The Stats unit that has been added to the Algebra 1 Curriculum. It's not covered in the textbook for students to reference and finding addition resources and support is difficult at times.

ReplyDeleteVerifying Trig Functions in Pre-calc! It can be so hard for some students and there's really no substitute for practice and repetition, but so many of my weaker students are unwilling to put in the time, because it is hard.

ReplyDeleteGraphing systems of linear inequalities! Students already struggle with graphing single linear inequalities, so systems just add to the pile! Thank you for the resources!

ReplyDeleteFractions! The students struggle with this concept every year and cringe when they see them on assignments.

ReplyDeleteFractions! Most of my students have not had enough concrete experiences with them to have any number sense about them.

ReplyDeleteFraction operations are always a challenge. This year has also been very challenging on solving equations. They keep mixing up what they know. They either add everything whether they are like terms or not or when combining like terms (if they are adding 2x to a 3x) they want to add it to both sides of the equation (add 2x to the other side as well...) - I have never had these issues on this scale before. Usually it is just a small group that has these misconceptions. Every group is different I know - but I am wondering why this group is doing this on such a big scale. I have been teaching for 10 years now and have never had this much of a challenge on this one topic. - The MathLionness

ReplyDeleteAddition and subtraction of fractions is something my students really struggle with. Every year I feel I need to reteach it to my students, but I feel they don't have the conceptual understanding; they just want to follow an algorithm.

ReplyDeleteTeaching rational expressions. It is hardest for me because it really isn't a teaching unit but a review unit. Our curriculum map has us begin the year with these 2 sections. Next year I plan to start with trig and fill this unit in when I have the time.

ReplyDeleteProofs of similar and congruent triangles. This is such an abstract topic and I struggle to make it more concrete and relevant to high school students.

ReplyDeleteGraphing Sine and Cosine! The students tend to struggle because they are so used to graphing their more basic equations from Algebra! And it doesn't help that we always hit this topic right before Christmas break, so there is a definite lack of motivation.

ReplyDeleteQuadratics and Piecewise

ReplyDeleteI love the flair pens, I use those a lot when writing notes and grading.

Love your style of teaching, we are very similar.

Thanks for sharing your helpful and great ideas. Makes planning less painful some days!!!

Geometry Proofs hands down the hardest to teach and the hardest to learn! The student really need to be fully engaged. When they get it, you see the wheels turning in their brains - so cool!

ReplyDeleteVectors and Matrices! Oh man! My students find it so difficult to remember all the steps and rules.

ReplyDeleteThis is one area that pops into my head, but I am sure I have many others! Teaching how to go from knowing two points to writing the equation in slope intercept form.

ReplyDeleteI teach 7/8 in Ontario and I would say integers, using the rules it isn't so bad but using integer tiles and a concrete understanding is tricky for many!

ReplyDeleteStatistics - because getting 7th graders to understand Mean Absolute Deviation and IQR and why they are meaningful is difficult.

ReplyDeleteFractions are also a challenge for my middle school kiddos. What has been especially rough is renaming a mixed fraction so that another mixed number fraction can be subtracted. Add needing to first find common denominators, and wow! That is a lot of steps to process!

ReplyDeleteEquations! I love them and love teaching the unit, however my students do not like showing all the steps.

ReplyDeleteI agree with the congruence and proof unit with my 8th graders. We never seem to have enough time for them to really get the concept of proofs and it seems so foreign to them.

ReplyDeleteGeometry Proofs because students need to learn and remember so many new words and don't have a strong math foundation.

ReplyDeleteLinear Equations -My students can learn all of the pieces - slope, y-intercept, graphing, etc, but they can't pull it all together and interpret/put meaning to a certain point on a graph.

ReplyDeleteThe most difficult unit to teach is independent & dependent variables. My students have a hard time determining which is which.

ReplyDeleteFor me, the most difficult unit to teach is measurement. Students need to have a good understanding of fractions in order to understand the ruler. This can be quite difficult for many of the students.

ReplyDeleteHappy Holidays, and thank you for the chance.

Emily

This is my first year teaching high school Stats and we are moving very slowly. I'm having to reteach myself everything and resources are minimal. In Precalc, I also tend to move slowly when teaching graphs of trig functions.

ReplyDeleteThe unit that I find most challenging is linear regression (line of best fit). It's a very short unit, but entails correlation coefficient, association, causation, and regression lines. Not a fan.

ReplyDeleteMerry Christmas!

Writing geometric proofs seems to be the most difficult part of geometry for many students, not just mine. Despite much practice, they donÊ»t seem able to follow a logical argument. The form of the proof does not seem to matter. They tend to shy away from trying to write them.

ReplyDeleteWriting or completing geometric proofs, just in general, terrify my students. Breaking the reasons down into tiny steps and then validating each step just seems to be such a tough task that students aren't interested in even taking the risk to make an attempt.

ReplyDeleteSolving quadratic equations in all the different ways (graphing, factoring, completing the square, quadratic formula) is not necessarily tough to teach but is difficult for the students to pull all together. If I TELL them which method to use they get it most of the time, but it's when they start to apply those tools and have to decide what to use that it's very painful!

ReplyDeleteI teach tier 3 interventions 4 - 6 and my kids seem to have a harder time with division than fractions.

ReplyDeleteI teach 7th grade and graphing linear equations is the topic they struggle with the most. I recently moved it to later in the year hoping they might understand it better after they have more in their "tool box of knowledge" by then. We now have to teach slope too. I absolutely love your blog and ideas. I love flair pens too!!! Color freak I am! Thanks so much for all your ideas!

ReplyDeleteMost difficult unit to teach is proofs and how to get them to relate to everyday life. Getting the students to understand they have to break their reasoning down into small sequential steps is very challenging. They understand the concepts, but struggle with getting each step with the reasons.

ReplyDeleteDefinitely fractions and how they relate to decimals and percentages, lots of kids arrive at high school seemingly having no idea about them!

ReplyDeleteTeaching proofs is the hardest for me because I feel students struggle with even knowing where to begin. Also, I think students don’t take the time to review their work to see if it makes sense or follows a logical order.

ReplyDeleteTeaching proofs is the hardest for me. My students struggle with writing/justifying each step.

ReplyDeleteThis comment has been removed by the author.

ReplyDeleteI would have to say factoring quadratics. There's so many methods that they can't put together which one to use.

ReplyDeleteTrig Identities were challenging this year.

ReplyDeleteThis is my first year teaching geometry. (Your blog and TPT store have been great helps!) So far, constructions has been the most difficult for e to teach.

ReplyDeleteWriting Equations is always difficult for my students

ReplyDeleteLogarithms because it is backward thinking.

ReplyDeleteI would have to say the 7th grade standard for inequality and equations. I teach resource math and my kids just need more time. I however, have to stay within a week or two of my general education counterparts.

ReplyDeleteKids ALWAYS struggle with proportional reasoning, even though they've been "doing" fractions forever.

ReplyDeleteSurface Area is the hardest unit for me to teach.

ReplyDeletebecause students have trouble with the concept of the area of base shape not just the base.

DeleteSurface Area...the students have such a hard time seeing the 3D figure as a 2D figure.

ReplyDeleteTransformations on Functions, specifically the stretch/compresses. Students really struggle with it.

ReplyDeleteThe geometry unit for 8th graders. Here in Texas in 8th grade they have to use the formulas with the area of the base, B and the perimeter of the base P. The kids are always mixing up the upper case B with the lower case b and the height of the figure with the height of the base. So frustrating !

ReplyDeleteMy most difficult topic is linear equations. My students have a really hard time understanding slope as a continual rate rather than a point.

ReplyDeleteDefinitely anything geometry!

ReplyDeleteFactoring and Geometry proofs. The students just have a hard time visualizing what they are being asked to do. It ican be a bit frustrating.

ReplyDeleteThe most difficult thing for me to teach is geometry proofs.

ReplyDeleteFraction concepts are really hard for my intervention students. They struggle with finding equivalent fractions and common denominators because their fact fluency is so weak.

ReplyDeletePolynomial graphing is difficult for me because I don’t care for it, but Unit Circle would probably be my students’ vote because they see absolutely no point unless they will be taking calculus.

ReplyDeleteGeometry is a difficult unit for many students

ReplyDeleteProof are the most difficult for the students. The explaining why requires deeper understanding.

ReplyDeleteGeometric proofs because it's my first time teaching it - but I am getting better!

ReplyDeleteTeaching Rules of Exponents to my 8th graders. There are so many steps and it is hard to find interesting activities for students to do!

ReplyDeleteIt is always difficult for my students to grasp the concept of domain and range. I have struggled to find ways to help them visualize what those concepts mean. As years progress, I am improving and finding ways to help, but it is still a difficult concept to teach!

ReplyDeletePre-algebra has so many tough components. My intervention students struggle with slope and writing linear equations.

ReplyDeleteProofs. They are nothing like I did in school. I've made them short and sweet hoping my students will understand the logic better.

ReplyDeleteGeometry is the most difficult unit for me because I am an algebra thinker and I struggle with hands on.

ReplyDeleteRational and irrational numbers and everything that went with that 8th grade CC unit (scientific notation operations, exponents and exponent rules). Most of it is so abstract to them they cannot see it. They are still asking me when I am reviewing through spiral review, so you’re telling me a number will never ever end it’s going to go on forever how is that possible? It stops in the calculator see? Lol

ReplyDeleteGeometric proofs - tough for all my students!

ReplyDeleteHaving an engaging lessons to teach math vocabulary so the students will easily remember it is the most difficult for me!

ReplyDeleteI work with high school math intervention students so I don't have a specific curriculum. The hardest part for me is spending the day with pre-algebra or algebra 1 students then having a former student request help with their Algebra 2 or Geometry homework and being faced with material I have not seen in a long time - getting my brain to switch gears at the end of day can be tough.

ReplyDelete3rd grade multiplication and division

ReplyDeleteAny unit that includes fractions is difficult for my students. So many students seem to freak out once they see a fraction. This generally shows me a lack of fraction sense and, sometimes, number sense.

ReplyDeleteProbability is hard for me - because *I* struggle with it! I’m alwat second guessing myself :(

ReplyDeleteI would have to agree that fractions is the most difficult unit for me to teach. Students often don't have a solid understanding of number sense and do not make the connection between fractions, decimals, and percents.

ReplyDeleteFractions, fractions, fractions! oh, and long division. I agree with others, students don't have a solid foundation to build upon.

ReplyDeleteMy hardest part of teaching geometry in my first year is relating real life to geometry for students, without using the same ideas of measuring distances and looking at architecture. Geometry was my least favorite math class in school, because the teacher had us memorize postulates, theorems, and proofs that I never used again in life. I want students to enjoy my class.

ReplyDeleteI second what Matthew said above. I'm in my first year of teaching Geometry as well and I can tell the students are bored with triangles. Geometry is difficult to connect to their interests. The most difficult thing to teach this semester was geometric means, because I couldn't find many resources on it (notes, worksheets, etc.).

ReplyDeleteI find taking word problems and having the kids write an equation which can be solve by isolating the variable is the most difficult in my sixth grade classroom.

ReplyDeleteDefinitely the transformations of trig functions unit and transformations of exponential and logarithmic functions unit in Algebra 2. The transformations are no longer as nice as with polynomials,and students have to remember SO much for the trig functions.

ReplyDeletefractions michelle miller

ReplyDeleteFactoring. I teach Rsp/sec and they have a hard time knowing what method to use and applying each method.

ReplyDeleteSurface Area! We start the unit by the kids figuring out on their own how to find surface area of a rectangular prism using nets. They can do it! They figure out that you have to find the area of each side add all the sides all by themselves. But then I have a hard time getting them to retain and APPLY this knowledge.

ReplyDeleteFor geometry, I would say proofs is the hardest to teach because students are so used to algebra they just want an answer and having the develop a line of thought is something they fight against. For Algebra 2, it is transformations of functions.

ReplyDeleteSystems of equations because students who still struggle to solve equations have an incredibly hard time grasping systems.

ReplyDeleteProofs and logic are the most difficult for me to teach. I have self-contained students and they struggle with basic addition, let alone proofs. Trying to find more hands-on projects and webquests for them to complete.

ReplyDeleteHannah Park -- Hardest unit for me has been fraction to decimal equivalents. I have a few students who are very behind and because our curriculum spirals, they continue to get these basic skills wrong, hurting their scores. Sigh. Still... going to keep trying!

ReplyDeletesolving quadratics. Students really struggle with when to factor and when to use the quadratic formula.

ReplyDeleteWhen we used Saxon, surface area was difficult because the students couldn't visualize what it actually was. I'm hoping our new serie, Go Math, will help with that!

ReplyDeleteFractions are pretty tough, at most grade levels. And, as mentioned elsewhere, it comes from not having a good, solid grasp on basic number sense.

ReplyDelete8th grade topics such as exponential notation rules. This is my first year teaching 8th graders and I am having to learn it all in order to teach it!

ReplyDeleteI enjoy teaching surface area, but it's definitely a tough one for the students!

ReplyDeleteI think the most difficult unit to teach is geometry proofs. Students hateeeeeee this!

ReplyDeleteLong division, mainly because my students (5th and 6th graders) aren't fluent in their math facts. Makes it much more difficult for all of us.

ReplyDeleteLogarithms are the most difficult unit. It's hard to get students to understand why they have to learn it. The concept is so abstract, students sometimes can't grasp the idea. (I teach 8th graders integrated math 2 & 3).

ReplyDeleteThe most difficult unit I teach is ratios...my students struggle with this and I do not know why...I think it is because they struggle with fractions and so just the idea of something looking like a fraction freaks them out.

ReplyDeleteTheir other problem is that they wont write the ratios in words first...those that do, breeze through this topic...those that don't struggle.

My most difficult unit is teaching factoring of equations.

ReplyDeleteConverting between fractions and decimals is a struggle this year. Anything different from a positive whole number terrifies my students.

ReplyDelete