What is your favorite topic of all to teach?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Mathemagician, Jul 5, 2012.

  1. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician Groupie

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    Not your favorite class, but your favorite topic. I haven't taught much (only tutoring and student teaching), but my favorite was teaching matrices and their relationships to solving systems. It was great to show them the tricks after they spent so much time calculating the systems by hand. I am a little disappointed they aren't being taught in algebra 2 any more, but I'm sure I'll love some other topic just as much.

    What is your favorite topic to teach? What class do you teach it in?
     
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  3. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

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    I teach 6th grade math and my favorite topic is integers.
     
  4. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician Groupie

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    How do you teach why a negative times a negative is a positive? I'm just curious. Do you have an interesting way?
     
  5. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Writing poetry
     
  6. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I love teaching "A Modest Proposal" by Swift. It's so fun to see the different reactions to it. I taught it in Brit Lit.

    I also really enjoyed teaching The Hunger Games this year and taught it to both my 10th graders and my 8th graders.

    My favorite book of all time is The Outsiders so I love teaching that one too :) 8th graders read it this past year.

    I really enjoy most of my units. Some others that have had great discussions include An Ordinary Man and All But My Life both of which I taught to my 10th graders.
     
  7. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    I loved teaching figurative language to my 6th graders!!!
     
  8. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    English: The Great Gatsby
    Psychology: Principles of Behavior
     
  9. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    Any of the Shakespeare plays.

    I think they accurately capture what a character in any of their situations would actually say, think, and feel. As a result, I attemp to sell it to the kids as showing that the human condition is timeless and that's why something written over 400 years ago is still relevant to us today.

    Whether they actually grasp onto that or not, is an entirely different issue.


    :dunno:
     
  10. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I love this as well. I'm going to miss teaching now now that I'm moving to a split grade 5/6 class.
     
  11. Myrisophilist

    Myrisophilist Habitué

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    Natural selection and evolution. Most people use the term "evolution" without really understanding the process.
     
  12. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician Groupie

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    So true, but we all know the can of worms that opens when it is up for discussion here ;)
     
  13. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Astronomy! The wonder and allure of the stars is amazing and we are on the verge of so many exciting discoveries with all the exoplanets out there and the amazing advances we're making in the realm of physics that might propel us there.

    I'm joining Starfleet as soon as the first Warp Drive comes online. xD (Gotta toss all of my red shirts though. Don't want my career to be short-lived.)
     
  14. HWilson

    HWilson Comrade

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    I know this question was not directed at me, however I have a way that ALWAYS helps the students understand.
    I will have a difficult time explaining this so stay with me and if you still don't get it, PM me and I'll draw it, scan it and email it to you.

    There are two different figures you can use
    1. My students call him Doritos man or I call him mouse man. Draw a triangle upside down (so your bottom line is at the top and the point is facing down). At the top draw 2 negative signs then close to the point draw a plus sign. It should look like you have 2 eyes and a mouth.

    2. Peaceman. Draw a peace sign except when you get to the bottom where the 2 lines split out this is where your vertical line stops. (typically the vertical line goes from top to bottom of the circle but in this situation it should stop at the point where the line splits). It will look like you have 3 pieces of unevenly divided pie. In the top 2 sections draw a negative sign (-) then in the bottom section draw a positive sign (+). Again this should look like a person with 2 eyes and a mouth (which is in a peace sign, hence "peace man").

    If you are still with me this is how you use "peace man" or "Doritos" man. So when you have a multiplication or division problem, do the math first then cover the signs you use. The sign left is what the answer is. For example: -2 * -3= 6. Cover the negative signs ( bc both negative sign were used) and the sign left showing is the positive sign. Another example. -2 * 3= -6 In this case you have covered up a negative sign and the positive sign so what is left showing? The negative sign.


    Ok, I feel like I just took a quick, easy trick and made it hard. I've never had to do that before with out showing how to use it while explaining it. If you don't get it let me know but I'm telling you it is an awesome trick. You should really give it a shot.
     
  15. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    It kind of looks like a rabbit face. They should give it rabbit ears. x3
     
  16. queenie

    queenie Groupie

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    I love teaching addition with regrouping and subtraction with ungrouping and Cursive Writing because my 2nd graders are so surprised that you can add and subtract that way- they think they're doing Third Grade Math, and because they have been waiting and waiting to learn Cursive by the time we do it!

    I also love teaching how to collect data and display it in tables, charts, and graphs.

    I know there are more, but these are the first ones that came to mind.
     
  17. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    • Haiku Poetry
    • Cause and Effect
    • Making Inferences
    • Double Negatives (Most lightbulb moments ever...each year!)
    And there are a couple of short stories I so look forward to each year. And novels, too.

    Although, honestly, there are history and science topics I'd love to teach even more! :)
     
  18. queenie

    queenie Groupie

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    I knew I'd think of more! I also love teaching about the states of matter, parts of a plant, and sound. I love love love teaching Science!
     
  19. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Do you have any good resources that you can send my way about teaching data collection and organization? I've noticed a lot of my students simply don't have this skill when they come into my class, and I really want to hammer it in at the beginning, but my google searches come up with completely unrelated things.
     
  20. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Too many.

    I love proofs, and I love the circle chapter in Geometry.

    I love trig, pretty much all of it. Particularly proving trig identities.

    I love systems of equations with matrices.

    In Calc, I love the derivative by defintion, and related rates problems.
     
  21. beccmo

    beccmo Comrade

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    Light, reflection, diffraction and refraction.
     
  22. AZMrs.S

    AZMrs.S Cohort

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    I really enjoyed teaching states of matter, fractions, and the human body! I'm sure I'll develop more as I continue to teach :)
     
  23. alioxenfree

    alioxenfree Rookie

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    Figurative Language

    It's hard to choose just one! I taught similes and metaphors using tall tales last year. Then my third graders wrote their own tall tales. I love teaching reading and writing in general. This topic was especially fun and resulted in some excellent and entertaining student writing.
     
  24. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    Definition of the definite integral. You know, that whole mess.

    [​IMG]

    Scary at first glance, but so beautifully intuitive when explained graphically.

    I also like mathematical induction. And the quadratic formula for some reason. Probably should throw in simplifying complex fractions, solving equations using the natural log to "bring down" the variable exponent, solving trig equations for values of theta in a given interval... I also LOVE analytical statistics (z-scores, binomial distributions, etc.).

    I'm a bit of a nerd.
     
  25. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician Groupie

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    Some good stuff in there. I love showing a PowerPoint with the derivation of the quadratic formula by completing the square set to dramatic opera music that climaxes right when they see what is happening.

    Never really been a huge stat person though, but should be interesting as this is the first year algebra 2 is incorporating a large chapter on statistics (there used to be a cursory one that was often skipped due to lack of time, but now we do the normal distribution, binomial distribution, types of studies and more....should be interesting).
     
  26. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    I love stats. I was really turned off from it in HS since I had a horrible Math B teacher who didn't explain things well, so I ended up making roller coasters out of the normal distribution.

    Then I took Honors Analytical Stats my first semester in college and really clicked with the prof. He ended up becoming my mentor and unofficial adviser. That class remains my absolute favorite. When I told him I sold my stats book for the tuition $$, he literally gave me his copy and said "You'll get more out of this than I can at this point".

    Next semester I'm taking a stats elective called Stats for Scientists which focuses on applying stats to the life sciences. Then at some point I have to take 300-level Advanced Stats w/ Analytical Calculus, and I'd like to take a 400-level mathematical stats class.

    Love love love stats.

    Would you mind sharing that powerpoint? I'd love to see it.
     
  27. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician Groupie

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    Sure. I sent you a PM. Just send me your email and I'll send it to you.

    I took 481 Stats w/ Calc. It was a true nightmare. The prof was German. One of only two math classes I didn't get an A in in college (got a B+ happily). NOT a fun course for me. That guy required us to know complex analysis for his exams even though complex analysis was not a pre-req and only 1 person in the class had actually taken it. He was crazy.
     
  28. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    Ouch. That's ridiculous. I was aiming for a 4.0 math average, but the C+ I got in Calc 2 kind of ruined that :lol:. Otherwise I've gotten all As so far.

    Luckily the college I'm transferring to is tiny, so there is only one professor for stats beyond intro to stats, and she's apparently incredible according to RateMyProfessors.
     
  29. platypusok

    platypusok Companion

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    To Kill a Mockingbird is my favorite thing to teach.
     
  30. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Poetry is my absolute favorite. I like convincing kids that poetry isn't so bad. I like teaching Walk Two Moons and The Outsiders, but the kids also like them, so it's not as much of a challenge.
     
  31. rdgrocks

    rdgrocks Rookie

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    I LOVE teaching Poe! I do it right before Halloween, and my 8th graders get so into it!
     
  32. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

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    Ususally using number lines like here (there's a baby on a number line towards the bottom). I usually have them take steps also, but this year I think I'm going to make a huge number line for them to walk on out of butcher paper and get it laminated. Should be fun!
     
  33. linswin23

    linswin23 Cohort

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    I love teaching this book called The Looking Glass Wars--my 7th graders absolutely love that book. It's the last novel we do for the year and it's so fun.

    I love teaching any novel, actually. :)
     
  34. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    This is where students get into trouble when they've been taught that multiplication is repeated addition or a grouping operation, instead of a scaling operation, which is what it really is.

    If you look at it graphically, you can imagine a number on a number line and then imagine a line drawn from the origin (0) to the number. So lets say the number is 4. Imagine that we have 4*2. That line stretches by a factor of two. If we have 4*1/2, it shrinks by half, and so on and so forth.

    Now, the negative flips the line to the other side of the 0. So, if you have 4, it's on the right side of the 0, but -4 flips the same line over to the left. You can think of -4 as -1*4 and watch it happen. So, if you have 4*-2, first you stretch the line by two, then you flip it. Now, if you have -4*-2, it gets flipped twice (two negatives, two flips). Where does the line wind up?
     
  35. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    Off-topic, but I was working on the curriculum for my multiplication unit, and I remember this discussion from a few years ago. Here's my question: any suggestions on how you would describe multiplication as a scaling operation in a concrete way to 3rd graders? Feel free to PM so we don't get this too off course!

    Back to the regularly scheduled thread:
    I love teaching fractions and 2-digit multiplication (yay for early exposure to the distributive property!). I really enjoy our basic economics unit and persuasive writing.
     
  36. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    Using a protractor
    Making inferences
    The regions of the US
    Biomes/Life science

    **Still looking for great lessons on photosynthesis. :)
     
  37. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician Groupie

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    Sounds awesome! I did something like that for absolute value equations...very helpful!
     
  38. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician Groupie

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    Another good approach! I had a college professor who made a video of himself walking and then rewinded it or something like that.
     
  39. HWilson

    HWilson Comrade

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    I bet that will work too. If they don't understand "peace man" then I'll use this method! Thanks! :)
     
  40. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    With literature, it always depends on the classes. You never know how the kids will react to it. To Kill a Mockingbird is an all time favorite but sometimes the kids don't get into it. This year my honors classes really got into Great Gatsby so that was fun. They liked Things Fall Apart too, so I am hoping that will be an awesome unit this year because my sister will be in Africa and is doing a classroom connection with us through Peace Corps. Should be cool!
     
  41. smurfette

    smurfette Habitué

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    I love teaching geometry, fractions, light, and sound.
     

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