Student Teaching begins in a month

Discussion in 'Student & Preservice Teachers' started by bros, Aug 5, 2013.

  1. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Still finalizing arrangements for placement. I am sort of hoping that the district I am placed in won't have technology (as they are an impoverished district), so then I will be reassigned to a different placement, as my college is pushing use of technology in student teaching heavily and requires the portfolio to include a hefty section on technology use (However, the people who place students don't know this).

    I still have no idea how I will effectively compensate for some of my disabilities.
     
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  3. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    In my experience, low income schools often have plenty of technology. They are able to get grants and money from other places.
     
  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I agree. Besides, I think that if the school is going to place a ST there, they aren't going to accept a lack of technology as a reason for reassigning the ST.
     
  5. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    I had more resources when I worked at a full Title One school than I knew what to do with! Every classroom had a smart board, document camera, mounted projector, and iPods. Now I'm in a wealthier district, not at a Title One school, and I have a document camera, a projector (not mounted), and iPods, but no Smartboard.
     
  6. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I'm trying to understand...are you saying you want to be transferred because its an impoverished district? Or because it doesn't have technology?

    You have a month to make a plan to compensate for your disabilities. Perhaps some of the members here can help. What do you see as your biggest struggles that could affect your success as a ST?
     
  7. breezymarie07

    breezymarie07 Companion

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    The district I was in during school was all pretty low income. Two of the schools I was in were Title 1 and equipped with SMART Boards in every single classroom. However, I remember one of my cohort friends had no technology in her classroom for student teaching. All she had was an overhead. My school pushed the use of technology as well and we had to use a log. She talked with our professors and they gave her some ideas. I'm not sure what your school situation is outside of student teaching (we student taught then had a class every week). Talk with your professors/advisers and see what advice they have for you.

    I agree with czacza, make a plan to compensate. Think outside the box for technology and look into resources you could use to help you out. Do you have an iPad or some sort of tablet? Maybe you could bring that in one day to supplement a lesson.
     
  8. bros

    bros Phenom

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    It's because I don't think they have much in the way of technology - I reviewed their technology plan for the next three years that they submitted to the state, it appears that they are going to start getting SMART boards in the elementary classrooms in the 14-15 school year, as spent a large chunk of their tech budget on a 1:1 HS laptop program, and are going to expand it to the MS if it is successful at the HS.

    The reason why I don't think they have a lot of technology is because they are in a temporary setting at the moment - the school was over 80 years old, asbestos and mold were discovered in 2012, and it was demolished this June. They are now operating out of trailers and a rented out parochial school that went bankrupt a few years back. So I don't know what their tech situation is.

    My biggest struggle is the fact that I cannot write legibly. I cannot form letters properly. I have some spatial issues and some visual issues, but I compensate for the visual issues as best as I can (I pivot my head frequently to get a full view of the classroom with my good eye)

    The only big issues identified by my supervisors in the past have been classroom management - which I have been told comes with experience and using the voice effectively. I have a very... flat affect to my voice, which impairs the quality of my instruction.

    I have an android tablet. One of my biggest issues that I have identified and that I have been unable to figure out a way to effectively compensate for is math problems - that is, displaying them. I cannot write numbers legibly. Last time I wrote numbers in a classroom, the students asked me why they were so big and hard to read. So I tend to avoid things like that, also to avoid the pain induced by writing.

    If I absolutely have to, I have enough of my social security money saved up to get a projector, but I would rather not have to purchase a projector unless I have to.

    My college placed me in this district because:
    1. I was not accepted at the first school I interviewed at (although I do not believe they wanted to have any student teachers at that school anyway, that is pretty much what the principal said to me when I interviewed). After this, they had to scramble to find a placement.
    2. My college is in the northern part of NJ. I'm in central NJ. They don't know any districts down here, so they mostly contact their alumni who are principals/supers to try to arrange placement.
    3. They don't want me in the district in which I live, as the person in charge of placement told me that she thinks it would be best for me if I were placed outside of the district in which I live, even though I would've been placed there for student teaching had my supervisor not failed me in the fall for preprofessional field
     
  9. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Bros...you've got A LOT on your plate and I admire your determination and how far you've gone...still a lot for you to think about....I'm sure with a month left until ST, you are already considering the following...

    Classroom mgt...gets better with experience, but one must have a solid grounding in understanding student behaviors/goals of misbehavior and a 'bag of tricks'/strategies from the get go....many a good teacher has failed miserably (and lost jobs) because of lack of mgt.

    The writing thing...great plan to use technology! I'm not sure how you are going to deal with the MULTITUDE of writing tasks over a day using only technology, but I'm sure you'll find a way.

    Math is going to be an issue. You've said your tech is limited in visually representing math equations. You've also said you have a limited understanding of math. Consider that math IS VISUAL...not just algorithms...you could conceivably represent, say, addition problems with clip art shapes and such using technology, but it can get complex pretty fast. I'd be very concerned for student learning.

    You may have posted then about your experience failing a preservice class...I'm not remembering. What happened?



    As far as your ST placement...I completely appreciate your need for technology and now understand its not a bias against low SES schools but the tech support that has you concerned. Your sentence above is worded in a way that caused some confusion...it did seem you were hoping they DIDNT have technology....doesn't seem like you have too many placement options at this point. :(I wish you well.:angel:
     
  10. bros

    bros Phenom

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    With the writing tasks a teacher faces daily I will try them as I go. For grading, I will try to use stamps and see how that works out for me.

    I'm okay at pretty much all pre-algebraic math provided I have a calculator in front of me (as sometimes, even double digit problems will trip me up for a few seconds more than it should)

    I didn't really post about failing the preprofessional field experience because I was contemplating taking action against my college at the time, but decided against it, because there wouldn't have been any way for me to be able to do student teaching Spring 2013 no matter what an investigation or whatever turned up.

    Basically throughout the semester, my supervisor and cooperating teacher loved my lessons and varied use of technology, along with my varied group activities that I would give students. Issues identified early on were classroom management (I don't exactly have the most commanding presence in a room), effective use of voice, and issues with concluding the lessons (My lessons would fall flat in the final minutes when closing the lesson, as I couldn't think of a way to end the lessons gracefully).

    Obviously, you get better week-by-week in the classroom, especially since we could only go once a week into the classroom.

    Then Hurricane Sandy happened and the school I was in was closed for two weeks, so my whole schedule was thrown off - had to change the lesson I had planned the day before I had to teach it and my supervisor saw that one and wasn't pleased at how much I regressed, and he become much more critical for the remaining weeks of the semester. Then in the first week of December, he came for what he told me was the final evaluation, but he didn't evaluate me. Instead, after watching the lesson, and at one point interrupting my lesson to yell at the students after loudly asking my cooperating teacher if she allowed students to put their legs on the bars of the desk across from them while she taught, he yelled at the students to put their feet down on the floor and have their eyes on me, he told me that he scheduled a meeting for that Thursday (it was a Tuesday) to discuss my failure to thrive in the pre-professional field experience. The meeting had to be rescheduled because he hadn't checked if all parties involved (namely my adviser and the Learning Disabilities Services Director) could be present at the meeting, which they were unable to be on such shore notice. He told me that his significant issues with me involved my classroom management, use of the voice in the classroom (he, nor my cooperating teacher, had never used the word significant to describe the issues I faced) and that I did not listen to any suggestions that he or my cooperating teacher suggested (when in fact, I did. I just don't ask questions after being given a suggestion and I do not ask questions very often, which can be interpreted as cold/uncaring by some), in addition to him wondering how a teacher can teach if they cannot write and he was concerned as to how I would write a lesson plan for every day of the week for every single class if I cannot write, as "students who can write can just type up a lesson plan quick and make materials. You have to type up a plan and then search for hours and hours and hours to find stuff on that internet to use in your lesson, and you can't spend hours on each lesson."

    That comment, upon telling my parents about it, prompted them to call Learning Disability Services immediately. Wanting to err on the side of caution, Learning Disability Services called the Affirmative Action office, who called the head of the Teacher Placement Center about these comments and the supervisor's sudden statement that he would fail me - when it states in the rules that all parties involved agreed to upon commencement of the pre-professional field that if a significant issue is identified, a Case Report is to be written by either the cooperating teacher or the college supervisor and submitted to the head of the Teacher Placement Center, so a meeting for the purpose of remediation before the eighth week in the semester.

    A secret meeting was held the week after without my knowledge, regarding my performance in the placement. The people who attended the meeting included a representative from my department, the head of the teacher placement center, the affirmative action officer, the head of Learning Disability Services, and my supervisor. To this date, nothing has been revealed to me as to what went on in this meeting, as nobody involved will tell me (They keep telling me to talk to another person, who tells me to talk to another person, and it goes around in circles until I get back to the beginning).

    Then two days before my final day in the field, I got an email from my cooperating teacher saying that she got an email from my supervisor stating that he wanted me to teach a lesson on my final day in the field because he forgot to have my cooperating teacher fill out a final evaluation. He could only come in during Language Arts, so I was forced to do a lesson on a book I had no prior knowledge of, so the lesson was a bit off-kilter, particularly since I was required to read this book to the students.

    At one point during the lesson, a student asked a question (How old the character was at that point in the story), so I jotted a quick math problem on the board to show it (it wasn't exactly legible).

    After the lesson, my supervisor was like "I don't know what you were so nervous about writing for! You don't have any problems with writing!"

    Then he told me that he gave me a grade that is pretty much unheard of in the preprofessional field - a failing grade (as most who are going to fail are advised to pull out before the end of the semester, so an entire semester is not wasted).

    Then the meeting was held that Thursday and it was pretty much the head of the teacher placement center & my supervisor ganging up on me, while my adviser and the head of learning disability services were on my side. My adviser was annoyed that the supervisor never filed a Case Report about the supposed significant issues, and I was presented with a few opportunities: Repeat the field experience in the spring, Change my major, or drop out of college.

    I chose the reasonable option - repeat the field experience, which I did in the Spring in the district in which I live, with the teacher who I would've student taught with had I not failed the preprofessional field experience
     
  11. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    bros, after reading this I've got to say that I'm worried for you.
     
  12. bison

    bison Habitué

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    I'm worried as well.
     
  13. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Bros...are you sure you didn't psot about your preservice experience? Somehow the 'secret meeting' sounds familiar...

    In any case, I'm worried for you on many levels. I've mentored quite a few STs, so here's some thoughts from that perspective.....your CT NEEDS to know the accommodations, modifications and supports you'll need. Assuming all those are in place, YOU need to develop some behavior mod/classroom mgt skills..without them, learning is compromised. You also need to think about the teaching of math, penmanship and the need to create written, visual aids on the fly. Can you adequately explain math concepts that you need a calculator for? Consider your social issues...how will you interact with your CT, supervisor, admin, other school personnel? The impressions you make COUNT...as a teacher you'd also be interacting with curriculum coaches, colleagues, admin, support personnel...its a lot. You may have a plan for these things...and certainly situations will arise that I haven't brought up here...but I am worried for you while hoping for the best....especially for the students you will teach...that should ALWAYS be first and foremost in everyone's mind.:2cents:
     
  14. bros

    bros Phenom

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    I posted snippets about the previous experience, but not the full story.

    I will tell my cooperating teacher about my disabilities same as I did with both of my cooperating teachers & supervisors in the past. I will provide them with a full neuropsychological report which talks in depth in easy-to-understand language how my disabilities impact me.

    I can explain the math concepts well, it is just the mental calculation that throws me for a loop.

    I will interact with peers/colleagues as I have in the past - I will speak when spoken to and I will maintain eye contact with them (using tricks like looking at something right near their head, or earrings).

    I do not know how I will compensate for on-the-fly visual aids, as I wouldn't be able to draw any intelligible objects - I can't even draw a cube or a star.
     
  15. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    This seems very impersonal. If I were your cooperating teacher, I wouldn't want to read some big report on you and your disabilities. I'd want you to talk to me, tell me what you need from me, and be exceedingly specific.


    How are you going to compensate for this? By using a calculator? Do you think that might be problematic for the students you're trying to teach to mentally calculate? How are you going to teach them to do mental calculation?


    How are you going about coming up with a plan for compensating for this? This isn't a skill that is going to suddenly become irrelevant. All teachers need to be able to do this. You've got to find a way, too. What resources are you consulting to come up with ideas?
     
  16. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    Do you know what grade or subject you will be teaching?
     
  17. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I wish you and your students well, bros.:angel:
     
  18. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    Gotta think on your feet FAST!

    One thing I learned during student teaching is that you need to be able to think on your feet A LOT! So much will be thrown at you and you'll be learning how teaching from start to finish will feel. Yes, the CT may be helpful but part of the requirements will be for you to solo-teach for a pre-determined amount of days in a row! I wish you the best!!
     
  19. bros

    bros Phenom

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    I provide them with a copy of the report while I explain my disabilities. It is more of a supplement.

    Teaching the students how to mentally calculate I can explain.

    I don't know how I would do on the fly visual aids. I can't have a student draw it - or maybe I could if I could explain it adequately.

    The school I was assigned is a 3 & 4 school. Emailed the contact person last wednesday, didn't get a response, called the school today using the number my college provided, it wasn't a working phone number, called the number for the school on their site and got the secretary in the office of the school who said that the contact person might be in on Monday.
     
  20. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    One of the most effective teachers at my school is quadriplegic. He has an assistant who handles his medical needs and acts as his arms, but otherwise, he's doing his job. Has the school made accommodations? Absolutely! Has it been worth it? You betcha! Honestly, I think you're willing to work hard within your means. Schools should be willing and able to meet you halfway, just as they would any student or employee.
     
  21. Lisabobisa

    Lisabobisa Comrade

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    For math if there is no smart board or projector... Why not get or make a set of magnetic laminated numbers and math symbols. Use a large cookie sheet to display the numbers if the board is not magnetic. Then you'll be able to illustrate any math problem without having to write.
     
  22. Lisabobisa

    Lisabobisa Comrade

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    Oh and maybe for visual aids some type of wiki stick that sticks to the board that you can just bend to represent whatever it is you need. That might take a lot of time but probably less time than having a student draw what you describe.
     
  23. bros

    bros Phenom

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    That is a good idea.

    Another good idea. I'd have to play around with wikki sticks first
     
  24. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Do you think that this teacher would be as effective in a traditional setting and/or in the younger grades?

    Who pays for his assistant?

    (I'm truly not trying to be argumentative.)
     
  25. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I honestly think he would be effective. His assistant is through his medical benefits and not through the school. He has limited mobility in one hand and can pilot himself around in a wheelchair. He did his student teaching successfully in a traditional setting, so he's proven himself in a "brick and mortar" (I don't know why I don't like that term) classroom.

    With clever modifications and an open mind, I think Bros could be equally successful in his student teaching and future classroom work.
     
  26. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Speaking of "clever modifications", bros, what have you planned out for how to accommodate your own differentiations? It will probably go a LOT better for you if you walk into student teaching with a plan.
     
  27. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    This has been the advice all along. It's hard to imagine all possibilities and certainly some unforeseen things will come up, but the questions and suggestions made thus far seem to point to the need to have an as-solid-as-possible plan. Any modification/accommodation made for teacher needs should always consider student learning first and foremost.

    I'm sure we all send good wishes to you, bros, and to your students.
     
  28. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    I was thinking of magnetic numbers, too, Lisa!! That seems like it would work well. You'll know what your lessons are on ahead of time and can be prepared with magnets of symbols you might need.
     
  29. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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  30. bros

    bros Phenom

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    I rely heavily on my creative uses of technology. In classrooms I have been in, there has been an old computer for the teacher to use connected to a SMART Board - nothing that can really display any video on it reliably.

    So I do things on the smartboard that are not as intensive for the computer - such as when assigning small group activities for a social studies project, I had a member of each group come up to the board, tap a square on the smartboard, then a number would appear. They would get the packet with that number on it for their assignment.

    Yeah. I just need to figure out a few things. Most of my disabilities I have accommodations for that I already do automatically. I have a tablet for using in the classroom - but haven't found anything for Android or iOS devices that displays math how I want it without being geared for calculus, built around handwriting recognition, or being a calculator that solves the problem upon entry.

    Yeah, when i'm student teaching I will know the lessons ahead of time (I hope!), so I will be able to prepare without making the lessons boring.
     
  31. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    There's a calculator app for iOS that allows you to hand-write an expression and it solves it for you automatically. It doesn't take variables, so obviously won't handle calculus.

    I forget the name of it... I'll check tomorrow.
     
  32. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Bros has trouble with hand writing and one would want to demonstrate how to solve a problem, not have the answer appear automatically...I think that's one of the challenges here...
     
  33. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    I should probably stop replying to things after 1 AM because I read his entire post wrong :whistle:.
     
  34. bros

    bros Phenom

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    I found that app (or a similar one) for android - it only takes handwritten input. I can't write numbers legibly.

    Yeah that's one of the challenges.

    Called the school I was placed in for student teaching today - the person I am supposed to contact was not in again, but the secretary agreed to take a message this time.

    I also found out the address of the school at which I am placed (My college didn't provide me with it).

    Reading posts while tired is fun! :p

    (I do it all the time)
     
  35. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    bros, check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Formula_editor for a list of formula editors - most of them are are more complex than you might want, but that doesn't mean you need to use all the features. You could also try Googling one or more of these search strings: "math display latex ios" or "math display formula android".
     
  36. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    TG is wise and can use the interwebbies! More importantly, she knew what to seek in her search. Those look like good resources.
     
  37. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Thank you, cat. It's chiefly a matter of the old line about age and treachery.
     
  38. bros

    bros Phenom

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    I've tried pretty much every LateX editor available and honestly they are either too cluttered or too difficult to use on the fly. And most of them only display problems horizontally, when I would like to be able to switch between horizontally & vertically, as I would teach students both ways.

    I've also sought assistance from the NJ Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, who arranged a meeting for me with an Assistive Technology organization, who was unable to help me in any way - as most of the editors they recommend have not been updated in almost a decade and do not work on modern operating systems.

    Trust me, i've spent the past 14 months searching for something to accomplish this, even almost hiring a programmer to code an application for me, as none seemingly exist (I have also talked to my uncle, who is a programmer, he knows of no such program, and says it may be difficult to get someone to program something like that because its simplicity may make someone think it would be an easy job, when in fact, it would be moderately difficult to accomplish without bugs and/or issues).

    Called the school at which I was placed today because the Contact Person didn't call me back by 2 PM. I was told that she might call me sometime this week, but the secretary didn't know.
     
  39. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    I'm a little confused. What exactly are you looking for this app/program to do?
     
  40. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    I believe he's looking for something that will let him "write" math legibly for display in a classroom either via something like a Smartboard or on a projector.

    bros, you might then try looking at elementary worksheet generators: there's a page at http://www.bgfl.org/bgfl/custom/resources_ftp/client_ftp/teacher/other/worksheet_maker/, and apparently there's a worksheet generator for Microsoft Office as well.

    On the (fortunately rare) occasions when I've needed to represent an addition or subtraction problem vertically on A to Z, I've been known to type out the lines one by one, then right-justify them (to see the formatting, open a reply):

    2,347
    +5,728

    This works even better with software that allows one to control the location of the right margin, either by moving it or by embedding the lines in a text box. If the second addend has fewer digits, though, it takes a bit of thinking to get the operator (+, -, x, ÷) in the right place. You may notice also that I've underscored the addend by way of providing a sum line.

    Fractions are trickier. A single fraction in a line by itself isn't so bad; on A to Z I type the numerator, underline it, go to the next line, and type the denominator:

    21
    17

    Here again, it gets tricky when either numerator or denominator is larger than the other.

    For fractions and equations in print, sometimes I use Microsoft's Equation Editor - if you have a full version of Office, it should be included, and it will show up if you go to the Insert menu and choose Object: if one of the choices is Equation, you've got it. The version bundled with Word 2003/4 might actually suit your purposes well; it's partly icon-based, so you can get really good at the parts you need and fairly straightforwardly ignore the parts you don't; I think it might allow for vertical display of problems (though don't quote me); and it certainly does allow for vertical representation of division problems, "house" and all.

    Another option is the creative use of your word processor's table function. For a fraction, create a table with one column and two rows; type numbers in the cells, then delete all the lines except the one between the two rows. To make a vertical addition or multiplication problem, create a table with two columns and three rows; the operator goes in the second cell of the leftmost column, the factors (right-justified) go in the first and second cells of the rightmost column, and all lines get deleted except the one under the second factor. To demonstrate the process for an entire multi-column multiplication problem, simply create one more row for every digit in the second factor, and don't forget the zeroes.
     
  41. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Aug 14, 2013

    Oh, and it's entirely possible that you could get someone to write macros for you in Word that will automate some of this.
     

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