Teaching Math in Middle School

There are many challenges which we face as teachers who are dealing with kids in this transitional period from elementary school math to high school math.
At elementary school level kids were used to concrete concepts in math and they could easily see and follow manipulative s,   but now in middle school things are different and some kids find it difficult when you introduce abstract concepts like equations and inequalities and yet these concepts form the core of their high school math.

The gifted kids who make up at least 30% of your class are able to understand the concepts with ease but the remaining 50-70% really struggle. The use of calculators has really ruined their mental math capabilities since most of the kids can no longer carry out simple multiplication and or division in their heads.

They no longer get tested on multiplication tables and division tables first thing in the morning.
The kids now rush to bring out their calculators and although in the end, they may end up with the correct answers
deep down, they do not understand the basic concepts which are involved in coming up with that answer.

Classroom Management and Organization Tips

The most important factor governing student learning is Classroom Management.
In an effective classroom,the students are responsible for carrying out the procedures which have been organized for their learning.
The teacher is constantly concerned with student behavior since this impacts heavily on how the rest of the students learn.
Classroom Management refers to all of the things a teacher does in order to organize students" space,time and materials so that learning can take place in a conducive environment.
For effective Classroom Management you should consider these four areas.
1. Classroom ambiance..  the look and feel of your classroom. Do you want too much noise or controlled voices. How does your desk look like.?Does it reflect that you are an orderly person?
2. Procedures...Make sure your procedures are streamlined . Students should know what to do all the time
 and you should manage your time and students" time efficiently.
3. Engage all students...The way you deliver your lessons should have a lot of variety and animation in order
 to motivate and engage all students.You need to encourage all students and let them know that you believe
 that they can all succeed.
4. Establish discipline...Create an environment of consistency and mutual respect.You will eliminate some discipline problems and facilitate solving of others.

Teaching Philosophy/ Style

 I believe that each child possesses gifts and attributes which are unique to that child and as such all the children in my classroom are different and therefore I should find a way of meeting their individual needs and learning styles.
Each child needs to have a safe,secure and caring environment which allows him or her to learn.My role as an educator is to assist these children develop emotionally, physically and intellectually so that they mature into responsible adults.It is my duty to provide an environment which is safe and where children feel empowered to fully participate in all learning activities taking place in the classroom.
I believe that as an educator, one of my key roles is to provide guidance to the children. I should be able to direct them to where they can get information and find anwers to their questions and curiosity.
When developing a curriculum, I believe that students should be invited to participate in the process.
Given this opportunity, students will be able to contribute their own ideas.
When students take ownership of the curriculum, they are motivated to work harder in order to achieve the set goals.
Finally I believe in setting Classroom Procedures which incorporate behavior expectations.These should be fair and applied consistently across the board. I believe that students will have greater respect for their teachers,themselves and their fellow students when they feel safe and are sure of what is expected of them.
The classroom rules should be constantly reviewed in dialogue with the students. Doing it this way will
ensure that the students continue to respect these rules.
Teaching provides me with an opportunity for learning and growth and I feel Iam dedicated and excited enough to work with children as I strive to satisfy their needs.

Tips for New Teachers

The first thing you want to do is to set the tone for the whole year ahead of you. You need to have a detailed plan of how your first day at school will go and make a positive impression on your students on how the year ahead will be.
1. Have detailed classroom procedures which will cover important things like homework assignments,
 where to find  and how to deal with materials, classroom dismissal and any other classroom rules which you
 expect your students to follow .
2. Develop a detailed description of student behavior expectations and consequences and make sure these
  will blend with the overall school rules.
3. Make friends with other older and more experienced  teachers at the school.They can be very handy when
  you have questions regarding discipline, lesson planning and parent conferencing.
4. Make use of the internet. You will always find new ideas and assistance with lesson planning and other
  teaching strategies.
5. Make sure you attend any Staff Development programs which are made available to new teachers.Most of
  of them are very helpful and provide you with additional details which you may not find in school manuals.
6. Parents are very helpful and you should establish contact early enough and provide them with periodical
  updates on how their kids are doing, whether bad or good. Solicit their expertise and you will find that
  parents love getting involved.
7. Lastly always remember that the first year is always the hardest. Each year will become easier because you will gain new insights and expertise as each year passes. Remember, being a teacher is a tough job!

Web 2.0 Applications


Creating a Glogster was a brand new experience for me. I didn't realize that something like that was possible but after following the instructions over and over again I was able to set it up. I enjoyed changing and setting up different walls and videos and embedding images. The tutorial was clear although it took me a few times to actually follow all the instructions.


Social Bookmarking...


I find my delicious account to very useful, and a lifesaver many times. It allows me to visit several sites and tag them as I see fit, instead of having to worry about remembering site names. Delicious tags have changed my teaching experience!

Google Docs...


Google Docs allows me to access my documents from my Gmail account regardless of my location. This helps me a lot and allows me to work and be productive even when I do not have my account.

Google Reader...


The beauty of Google Reader is that it shows you all the blogs, pages and RSS feeds that you are subscribed to, all in one place. It also has a few useful features, bundle following, for example, that allow you to subscribe to several related feeds at once.



Wiki is a strange concept to grasp when you are setting it up. However, once you navigate a few of the tabs and do the tutorial, you become more familiar with the tools. The ability to invite people, set up  projects and define teams, edit and save your work are all features that add to the functionality of this concept.

Digital Story...

Creating a digital story was fun, simple and the website was very user-friendly. It's a useful tool to create interesting slide shows that make learning fun for students!

New Web 2.0 Tool...

I used the following website that allows teachers to create interactive graphs to demonstrate or illustrate various topics or ideas. The applications of this new web 2.0 tool are potentially endless and very promising. I strongly encourage teachers to make use of it! The website is: http://nces.ed.gov/nceskids/createagraph/default.aspx

Here is a a graph I created using this tool.

Here are the 3 blogs I have commented on:
2. Jacinto Pina: http://jepina.blogspot.com/
3. Christine Johnson: http://sywtt.blogspot.com/