I just got my first job (I graduated college this spring). I will be teaching 8th Grade math at an upper income middle school here in Minnesota. I was just wondering if new or veteran teachers good give me some advice to start out the year on a great foot. I have no concerns with the staff as they are very supportive, and I have a mentor teacher. Thanks!

mnteacherguy: congratulations on your new job! I've been subbing for about 6 years, and recently got a job at a private school. I am no math expert, but I can tell you to glean as much as you can from your mentor teacher. He/she is there specifically for you to help in making your job productive as well as enjoyable. The fact that you will be working with a supportive staff is also wonderful. If I can give any advice it would be to get yourself as organized as possible. I am beginning to do that now. I am mapping out a year-long plan to just give myself some peace of mind as to what I will be able to cover for the year. (I'm going to be teaching either 2nd or 4th grade, and also art 3 days a week after school). Being organized is a huge component in your sanity as a teacher! Oh, also....be passionate and LOVE what you teach! (whicn, I'm sure you do.) Your students will pick up on that vibe immediatley. Our students want sincerity and honesty from us, and when they see you are "real", that will bode well in your favor. Don't try to be their friend, get a strong discipline plan set up immediatley and communicate that w/confidence and strength on the first day you have w/them. Just be the best teacher you can be, and they'll love you. I hope you have a wonderful school year mnteacherguy!

Hi! Welcome and congrats!! I taught High School math for 20 years. After 6 years home with the kids, I'm going back-- to teach grades 6 and 7!! Give some thought over the summer to: -discipline policy -homework: figure about 20 minutes or less per night -tests: In my experience, a test on one full sheet of 8x11" paper, with room left to show work, takes the average class a 40 minute class to complete. In Precalc that might mean 2 problems, with the younger kids, a lot more. -quizzes: how often? (Answer: VERY! figure on at least one per week.) Will you give surprise quizzes? If so, let the kids know that up front. Also, I think that, with all due modesty, I give GREAT notes! I think that a math notebook should be part problems, part instruction manual. So if I'm covering a new topic I: a) do one problem slowly, explaining what I'm doing and leaving enough time for them to copy everything down b) Write down "Proces" or "Steps". Then we go through the problem again, writing down the steps that got us from point A to point B (For example: a. Quadratic Equation b. set equal to zero. c. Factor completely d. set each factor = to 0. e. Solve for each factor. f. make solution set. g. check) Otherwise, kids get home with a notebook full of problems they no longer know how to do! I'll think of more. For now, just bask in that wonderful "I got a job!!" feeling.

new too Hi MN - I too will be a first year teacher this year - 7th and 8th math in a well-to-do private school in Chicago. I will be team teaching, which I anticipate being a great help, since there is still so much to learn! One thing I learned from student teaching 8th grade math is to really let them know that they will NEED to know this stuff to pass their high school math classes. Once they believed that, there was much less resistance. (The kids there were already college-oriented so high school grades mattered to them - not their 8th ones though...) Also, since it was the end of the year and they were pretty checked out, I did some cumulative reviews with them of statistics and geometry where they did review packets and a project of their choice - they could use any of the statistics topics we covered and do a survey, collect data, etc. and eventually compare it in a variety of ways and present it. The real-world applications work well - figuring out the target market of Nike could actually be a cool job someday! I don't have a lot of advice since I am new too, but I hope we can share some ideas this fall! Where in MN are you? My parents live in Park Rapids.

The stat project is a GREAT idea; the kids love doing it and really learn. I have them do a survey of 20 people on a topic I assign.Then for one question, they have to find mean, median, mode, for another make a bar graph, and so on. Then they have to make generalizations based on their statistics. I count it as 2 test grades, and they really pour their hearts and souls into it.

I was hoping to do a simikar statistics/survey project with my 7th graders. Anyone have a copy of the handouts?

No. I did it with my freshmen, and haven't taught that level in about 20 years. But at some point this year I'll be doing another one!

I too will be in the same boat as you! Except I will be in the High School teaching Math in a different state.

I have also done a similar assignment. The students had to choose a survey question that did not include the word "favourite" (they were given examples--"What is a reasonable bedtime for grade 5 students?" "How much allowance should 11 year olds receive each week?" "How much gym time should we have each week?") The students then needed to decide who they would survey, make predictions about their results, conduct their survey, display their results on a tally chart and 2 different types of graphs, and write a paragraph comparing their results to their predictions. They loved doing this assignment and it covered almost all of the curriculum expectations in Data Management for one term.

Great advice about not including the word, 'favorite'. Thanks. I teach 8th math just one period a day. I can't add much, but: Help them see the connections. Some 8th graders look shocked when I tell that that fractions are division problems. Relate to real life experiences. They relate particularly well to shopping and sales. I don't allow calculators, so I do a brief review in the beginning of the year on short division, mixed numbers, dividing fractions. Show them strategies for mental math and call them shortcuts. Example - to multiply 300 by 27, first multiply 300 by 20, then 300 by 7, and add (distributive property). Use correct terminology all the time. If a student says, 'has no numbers that go into it', use the term 'prime number' in your answer. Every time you multiply, use the word factor. Allow time once in a while to play games like Set (visual perception, attributes, and set theory - see www.setgame.com ) and Pico, Fermi, Bagels (deductive reasoning).

Some fun problems to mix in. *****Take the number of days in February of 1968 (29) add the number of days in Lent (40) subtract the day on which Memorial Day falls (30) add 39. What is the answer???? 29+40 = 69 – 30 = 39 + 39 answer is 78… ******Write the number of girls in the family in Little Women (4) add the number in a baker’s dozen (13) and subtract the number in ___________Little Peppers and How They Grew (5) What is the answer? 4 plus 13 equals 17 – 5 and the answer is 12…. ********Take the number of feet in a mile (5,280) divide by the number in a quintet (5) add the number of fifths in a case of bottled liquids (12) What is the answer? 5280 divide by 2 = 1056 plus 12 and the answer is 1068 *******MIND READING MATH Write down a three digit number.. ---the first and last digits must differ by more than one………….Reverse the digits……Find the difference between the two numbers….. Reverse the digits in the answer and add. …….The answer is 1089!!!!! And always will be regardless of the number you begin with……. Every even number is divisible by 2 ----Numbers ending in 0, 2, 4, 6, and 8 are divisible by 2 A number is divisible by 3 if the sum of its digits is divisible by 3 ---The sum of the digits is 462 is 4+6+2 or 12. 12 is divisible by 3, so 462 is divisible by 3 A number is divisible by 4 if its last two digits are divisible by 4 ---The last two digits in 216 are 16. Since 16 is divisible by 4, 216 is divisible by 4. Every number that ends in 0 or 5 is divisible by 5. ---95 ends in 5. It is divisible by 5. Every number that is divisible by both 2 or 3 is also divisible by 6. ----366 is divisible by 2 and 3. It is also divisible by 6. A number is divisible by 9 if the sum of its digits is divisible by 9. ---The sum of the digits in 5,373 is 5+3+7+3 or 18. ---18 is divisible by 9, so 5,373 is divisible by 9 Every number that ends in 0 is divisible by 10 ---9,860 ends in 0. It is divisible by 10.