7th & 8th Grade Math - I'm LOST! PLEASE HELP!

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by SamanthaJ, Sep 5, 2015.

  1. SamanthaJ

    SamanthaJ Rookie

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    Sep 5, 2015

    Hi All,

    I am in my first contracted year as a middle school teacher at a local Catholic school. I am fine teaching all subjects except...

    7th and 8th grade math.

    I was hired by the principal who KNEW and KNOWS that I am *NOT* certified to teach secondary math (PA certification is K-6 Elementary, then you take the Praxis for grade specific subjects after that).

    The first week of school is already done, and a lot of my 8th graders know more than I do, since I'm so out of practice. Some of my 7th graders also know more than me. It's very stressful, and I'm feeling so afraid knowing I have to challenge these 8th graders to get them ready for high school! Geometry? I can't remember the last time I did it! Fractions? Why? I hate fractions!

    Can anyone recommend resources to me? YouTube Videos, printables, websites, ANYTHING!!!! I need to make this work, and I am at a great loss!

    I appreciate any input!

    Thanks!:help:
     
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  3. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Sep 5, 2015

    Go to Khan Academy online and get instruction in the content of your curriculum, chapter by chapter. Go to your textbook publisher's site to see what help you can get. Go through your teacher manual and make sure you can demonstrate example problems proficiently.

    This will be tough unless you have some math abilities. You need to prepare, prepare, prepare. Will the kids have workbooks? You'll probably need to stick to the book. Luckily, there are tons of lessons and printables on every middle school topic online.
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    7th and especially 8th grade math can be tough under current standards when one hasn't worked with the concepts for quite some time. If the students are already ahead of you it's going to be VERY hard to get up to speed and knowledgeable enough to teach these rigorous math concepts expertly. Is there any chance your principal would allow you to not teach math by setting up a schedule where another experienced and math certified teacher takes your math kids and you take that teacher's LA students (or other content area in which you have expertise)? I think this would be best for your students. :2cents:
     
  5. renmew

    renmew Rookie

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    KHAN Academy for sure. I am qualified to teach math, and I still use videos via youtube to teach many topics. I teach in a flipped format, so students watch the videos and complete short practice activities at home. I provide additional help with the more difficult problems during class time.

    If I were in your position, I would use videos to teach the topics and prepare ahead of time to be able to explain specific problem sets in the text.
     
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  6. SamanthaJ

    SamanthaJ Rookie

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    Thank you!
    I have enter heard of Khan Academy, but will be looking into it today as I make my lesson plans! I also had never thought of going to the publisher's website.

    Thanks for your advice!



     
  7. SamanthaJ

    SamanthaJ Rookie

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    Unfortunately, a change is not an option, although I truly wish it was! I'm going to have to make this work!

     
  8. SamanthaJ

    SamanthaJ Rookie

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    Ok, I am definitely checking out this Khan Academy, and also, I'm adopting your flipped format. This makes the most sense for me AND my kids, to ensure they get accurate instruction. That's it... I'm doing it!

    Do you know of any particularly helpful video sites?

    Thanks!


     
  9. OneBerry

    OneBerry Comrade

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    Sep 6, 2015

    Another couple of resources to check out are Engage NY and Betterlesson. If you have a textbook then I'm sure that is a great help, but as an open-curriculum teacher myself, I find these websites to be helpful.

    I would like to try to encourage you and say that I think you will catch up to the students if you put some effort in, which of course you are. I suspect that some concepts will "come back to you" as you reteach yourself, and while some will be new... you can do it.
     
  10. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Just go to YouTube and put in your topic. Say, adding integers or something. You will most likely get quite a few to choose from.

    If you search for middle school math, you will find lots of sites for practice.

    I have taught middle school math as well as other subjects. Feel free to pm me.
     
  11. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I was going to say Khan Academy also. It also has practice problems.

    I would be careful though using this as your "teaching tool" all the time because if I was paying for my child to be educated at a private school and math was taught using Khan Academy the majority of the time, I would be wondering why. It is great tool for you to brush up on your skills and also a tool to point kids to do on their own, but be careful that it doesn't become your curriculum.
     
  12. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I'd be concerned as a parent that online videos were the way my kids were getting 'accurate instruction'. :sorry: I know you are in a difficult situation and making the best of it, but this is not only not ideal for you, it's not what's necessarily best for your students.:2cents:
     
  13. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    The op didn't ask whether or not to accept this assignment, so we don't need to discuss whether or not it is an ideal situation.
     
  14. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    No doubt. It's going to get harder however....videos can supplement, but can't substitute for good, knowledgeable teaching however. Perhaps the op could be planning with her other math teaching colleagues, asking for a mentor, or proposing a content area PLC in order to get up to speed as quickly as possible. :2cents:
     
  15. SamanthaJ

    SamanthaJ Rookie

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    I do have a textbook and will be using it a great deal (as I'm usually a way more creative teacher). Thanks for the other resources!

    And you're right--it will come with effort. Thanks for answering my question! :)

     
  16. SamanthaJ

    SamanthaJ Rookie

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    Thanks for your help...I wouldn't be surprised if I end up PM'ing you!

     
  17. SamanthaJ

    SamanthaJ Rookie

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    Khan academy it is. No, I would never be a lazy teacher and only use that as my resource/method of teaching. But I do need as many resources as I can get. Thanks!


     
  18. SamanthaJ

    SamanthaJ Rookie

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    Thank you for helping to keep it relevant! :2cents:


     
  19. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    And I meant to use Khan for your own education and prep before teaching a topic. I happen to love teaching middle school math. I have seen the complexity increase quite a bit over the years. Don't hesitate, SamanthaJ.
     
  20. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    First I want to say that I did not call you lazy. I didn't even think that nor did I imply you were.

    I apologizes if I misunderstood how you were going to use Khan Academy and other "on-line" sources. I've seen a partially "flipped" classroom, but the teacher created her own videos instead of relying on options outside of her control.

    I know you are in a difficult position. I apologize for misunderstanding what you were thinking of using for your potential "flipped" format. My comment still stands though. If the majority of your "instruction" comes from on-line resources in a "flipped" classroom, do not be surprised if you have some unhappy parents coming to the administration even though the administration put someone in the position that wasn't qualified by certification to teach the class.
     
  21. SamanthaJ

    SamanthaJ Rookie

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    Of course... Thanks for your help! Talk to you soon!

     
  22. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    SamanthaJ, my teaching partner could have written your initial post. I'm helping her get started and gain some confidence. PM me as well if I can help in any way.
     
  23. MLB711

    MLB711 Comrade

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    In addition to Khan Academy, there is a website called showme.com that is basically a bunch of tutorial videos/lectures. You could potentially find some "flipped" lessons on there to use with your students, provided they are content you teach in the manner you want students to emulate. I find ShowMe better than YouTube because the content seems more scholastic. With YouTube, I never know what's going to come up in the "suggestions" bar on the right, and sometimes it is not content my students should see. My friends in the MS math department have found several useful videos on ShowMe so I wish you luck.
     
  24. SamanthaJ

    SamanthaJ Rookie

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    Thank you so much! I will be reaching out to you!! :D


     
  25. SamanthaJ

    SamanthaJ Rookie

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    Thank you! I didn't know about Showme! I appreciate it!


     
  26. renmew

    renmew Rookie

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    I still do a heavy amount of direct instruction during class time, but I think kids benefit from seeing what is possible through technology. Right now, you can learn anything if you only know where to look.

    I mentioned Khan because of their overall structure, which I thought might be very helpful for the poster. For my class, I've spent hours online locating the videos I like for my students. My website also includes written instructions from me to go along with the video, as well as practice activities from the text. I am teaching my students to actually read and work through the example sets provided in the text. When they show up to class the next day, they're pretty prepared on the basics of the lesson, and I can focus more on the more difficult and time-consuming word problems that often get skipped for lack of time. In fact, my students have already told me they are happy to be spending so much time on the word problems, since their last teacher skipped all of those. Something tells me not too many parents are going to be complaining about all this time we spend on the real point of math, because I've found a way to make the best use of my limited class time.
     
  27. SamanthaJ

    SamanthaJ Rookie

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    Hi Renmew,

    Thanks for explaining further. You definitely understood my question: I'm looking for what is effective, efficient, and beneficial to both the students and me. So I appreciate your answer, and I understand the context of videos and instructional aides in your classroom. Thanks again! :):thumb::thumb:

     
  28. renmew

    renmew Rookie

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    I'm glad you found it helpful :)

    I'm going to try to pm you a link to my classroom website. Look around at any of the pre-algebra classes. They're really the same, but I have three classes running at three different paces.
     
  29. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Not all of us are lucky enough to be placed in the perfect teaching situation. I admire you taking this challenge head on. Your students will see that you are willing to put yourself out there and continue learning yourself. Good luck!

     
  30. SamanthaJ

    SamanthaJ Rookie

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    Thank you so much, and I sincerely appreciate that you recognize the heart of this matter: I am willing to take on a challenge, conquer it, and make it the best for my students as well as myself!

    Thanks to the advice from many of the replies I got on this forum, I was able to consult those website resources, and have my 8th graders walk out my door today truly understanding square roots. There were so many "Oh!" moments from them--it was very rewarding. This is why I like to network with other teachers, and this is why I'm not afraid to step outside the box.

    Thanks!


     

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