Inspiration, Ideas, and Resources for Teaching Teenage Students
I don’t know about you, but the creators of Pinterest are heroes in my eyes! Now, more than ever, nearly every teacher is on Pinterest.
This platform not only provides endless inspiration and countless classroom ideas and strategies, but some studies show that most teachers are heavily relying on it to help develop lesson plans and curriculum.
According to a US News article, nearly half of teachers in a large study reported spending more than four hours a week developing or selecting their own instructional materials. As a result, 99% of teachers take to the internet for instructional materials and ideas!
If you teach teenagers and are an active Pinterest user (who isn’t?!), then you need to keep reading. I’ve rounded up 8 of my all-time favorite Pinterest boards specifically for teaching teens (including some of my own I’ve been building to help you out!).
With these boards, there will never be a lack of fantastic ideas on your feed, including everything from top-notch behavior management techniques to uniquely engaging strategies!
Her passion for teaching shines through her pins. Every pin is bright, colorful, and fun.
Recently, she’s pinned dazzling door and bulletin board ideas, valuable strategies for a high school English Classroom, and amazing ideas for getting reorganized.
2. Classroom Ideas and Management
This board on the Math Giraffe Pinterest is a consistent stream of quality high school classroom management ideas! You should follow this board to get quick access to awesome and free blog posts filled with strategies to help you run your classroom smoothly.
3. Teaching Teens
I love being able to share wonderful ideas and resources from all different sources. Teaching Teens is definitely one of my most popular (and one of my favorite) boards I’ve created and pinned to regularly!
Follow this board for quick and easy access to free resources, quality infographics, and research-backed strategies!
4. Brain Based Learning
Another one of my favorites is my board all about brain based learning. The teenage brain is very interesting and requires a lot knowledge; just check out this blog post, What Teachers Need to Know About Teen Brains. Luckily, there are many research based strategies for students.
This board consists of pins that delve into the most beneficial ways for students’ brains to acquire new knowledge. It has everything from unique lesson plans and activities to informative research on brain based learning.
5. Teach with CREATIVITY
Teaching this age range requires a lot of creativity- from you and your students- to learn and succeed. Follow this board for fresh ideas on anything and everything involving teaching with CREATIVITY in the classroom.
This board has a focus on visual-learning, and how teachers can bring artwork and ingenuity into rigorous learning.
6. High School Management, Inspiration, and Organization
The title of this awesome group board says it all. The members of this group board love to be inspired! Their board is filled with freebies, decor ideas, pictures, storage, management ideas, and links to share ideas; it’s perfect for high school inspiration.
You’ll find tips and ideas from teachers from all over the country (and Canada!) and from all different subject areas and schools- with one common thread- managing teens!
7. Tools for Teaching Teens
This awesome group board will provide you with a complete toolbox of ideas for teaching teens. You'll find great ideas that span 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grade content areas!
You will see fantastic generic tips that can be used in ANY classroom - but you may occasionally see an idea specific to English, math, social studies, science, or other classes.
8. The Teenage Brain
As I previously mentioned, the teenage brain is a curious thing; you want all the possible resources on it to successfully teach your teens!
Jackie shares awesome resources on the ins and outs of the teenage brain on this board. By following her board, you’ll see tons of pins on mindfulness in the classroom, how body movement can help teens learn, and insightful research and infographics!
What are some of your favorite boards to follow for teaching teens? If you have a rockstar board, link it in the comments below, so everyone can see!
Don’t to subscribe and join the Math Giraffe email list!
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There’s no denying that we are in a digital world. Just take a look around your classroom, and you can see technology all around!
Children and teens have been labelled as digital natives, because they heavily rely on and use the internet and digital technology. Teens’ lives extend into their Facebook, Instagram, Twitter accounts. It makes sense; they are surrounded by technology in nearly every part of their day.
Technology has quickly permeated the teaching space, and has been extraordinarily helpful in so many ways. For instance, it has provided new and easy ways to differentiate material, assign lessons or projects, communicate with students and parents, access new bright ideas for teaching, and so much more.
BUT, technology does have downsides that are extremely important to not be forgotten.
According to an NPR article, “Last fall, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development published its first-ever, and one of the largest-ever, international analyses of student access to computers and how that relates to student learning. (The OECD administers the PISA test, the world-famous international academic ranking.)
For this report, the researchers asked millions of high school students in dozens of countries about their access to computers both in the classroom and at home, and compared their answers to scores on the 2012 PISA. Here's the money quote:
‘Students who use computers very frequently at school do a lot worse in most learning outcomes, even after controlling for social background and student demographics.’
Keep reading to find out why we should slow the roll on tech- we don’t need to be full steam ahead by replacing everything with a digital version!
Reading on a Screen is Not as Effective
There is a lot of research on reading print versus reading on a screen. I have gathered the information that seemed to be the most consistent across the board.
According to Naomi Baron in her article, Why Digital Reading is No Substitute for Print, she shares her extensive research findings on reading digitally versus reading print. Most students responded that print was more “aesthetically pleasing”. Students say they are also less likely to multi-task and their eyes aren’t strained when reading from a book. Another positive student outlook is the fact that in a book, students are able to “see and feel” where they are in the book.
In addition to students’ preferences, Baron also looked at a bigger question- do the students learn better from reading print or reading on a screen?
This is where research becomes conflicting; many studies have sought to answer this.
Some studies show students attain better test scores when reading print. However, many more studies conclude the medium does not make a difference.
According to Baron’s article, “The problem, however, with learning-measurement studies is that their notion of ‘learning’ has tended to be simplistic. Reading passages and answering questions afterwards may be a familiar tool in standardized testing, but tells us little about any deeper level of understanding.
She also informs us that, “Some researchers are beginning to pose more nuanced questions, including one scholar who has considered what happens when people read a story in print or on a digital device and are then asked to reconstruct the plot sequence. The answer: Print yielded better results.”
Writing on a Screen is Not as Effective
There was a study published in Psychological Science by Pam Mueller & Daniel Oppenheimer of Princeton University and UCLA in 2014. Several students wrote out their notes either by hand or on a laptop. The study found that the students that wrote their notes by hand actually learned more. Their memory was tested for factual detail, conceptual comprehension, and synthesizing capabilities.
The students who used laptops ended up with more words from the lecture in their notes, but their understanding of the concepts was weaker than the students that hand-wrote their notes.
Scientific American tells us that even though people generally type faster than write, more notes aren’t necessarily better.
Implementation is Often Ignored
There are, of course, many many upsides to using technology in the classroom; it just needs to be implemented the CORRECT way. There are a few considerations to keep in mind.
First, an article from Business Insider tells us it’s essential to analyze the task at hand, and then decide which medium is the best fit.
“One of the most consistent findings from our research is that, for some tasks, medium doesn't seem to matter. If all students are being asked to do is to understand and remember the big idea or gist of what they're reading, there's no benefit in selecting one medium over another."
The article goes on to explain, “But when the reading assignment demands more engagement or deeper comprehension, students may be better off reading print."
One key idea is that teachers should remember to teach their students to be aware that the medium they choose could affect their learning. This would help boost metacognitive learning and reading comprehension.
Finally, I’d like to end with Robert A. Bjork’s 20 year old concept, “desirable difficulty.” It simply states that sometimes, doing things the easy way actually hinders our ability to learn. Obstacles that frustrate us help us learn. While technology can make note taking and learning seem easier and more fun, it takes away the challenge and creativity.
Strategies like the doodle note method maximize the advantages of learning through hand-written notes along with extra brain benefits. By engaging both the visual and linguistic pathways of the brain and incorporating both hemispheres, students can strengthen their focus and retention much more than with notes on a laptop.
How are you going to incorporate technology with this information in mind? Leave us a comment below!
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Whether you’re a first-year teacher or an experienced teacher, it’s always great to get some new ideas for the upcoming school year, and there’s no better time to think about it than over the summer!
Grab a summer drink and get ready to get inspired, because I’ve rounded up 10 things you absolutely MUST try in math class for the 2018-2019 school year!
1 Note-Taking Grades
Getting your students to take good notes can be quite a challenge, but I’ve noticed that giving a notebook grade greatly increases the number of students who are engaged in the note-taking process.
I allow my students plenty of freedom, but do require a different section for: vocabulary, class notes, and homework. I give a total of fifty points for the notebook each quarter. (Pro tip: Grade notebooks during a test, instead of lugging 150+ notebooks home!)
I keep a list of each section (by lesson topic) of notes that should be present in the notebook and quickly flip through to verify that the notes are there. After looking at the first three notebooks, the rest usually take only about two minutes per notebook. I can quickly tell if something is missing.
To read more about how I give out notebook grades, read this post!
2 Notebook Stickers
If you are hoping to boost your students' understanding and retention of a lesson, you can't beat doodle notes! However, some days you might be in the mood for a twist while keeping it a “little-to-no-prep” lesson.
An easy way to maximize the brain benefits of visual note-taking without having to do a ton of prep work is to use DIY doodle note stickers.
Head to this post, grab your free set, then print the list of all of your options, and read about all of the ways use can use doodle note stickers!
3 Competitions / Challenges
Want to make your math class one all of your students look forward to? Consider creating a weekly or monthly challenge that will both get your students’ spirits up, and get them thinking hard about math!
Students love to be deemed the “Weekly Mathematician.” Set up a fun bulletin board in your classroom with room for a weekly challenge problem. Post an envelope or craft a box where students can easily slide their answers.
A classroom tournament is a great way to kick off the year. These middle school tournaments review the previous year's curriculum and can be used at the end of the year or at the beginning of the next as a review.
I have always been hesitant to offer too many prizes or rewards, but sometimes I notice that even just bothering to put a stamp, sticker, or handwritten note on a student paper goes such a long way!
Grab a colored pen and take 20 seconds per student to write a special note on the next quiz you grade.
Or, check out this list of inexpensive rewards for teen students. These are simple and creative ideas that will get your kids motivated.
5 Station-Rotation Models in a Blended Classroom
As more classrooms become 1:1 (one tech device per student), it’s important to incorporate the available technology, so that your students become more and more comfortable and knowledgeable with it. My friend, Leah shared her take on a station-rotation model that is both simple and effective!
She shares, “Station-Rotation is pretty much exactly what it sounds like--the teacher sets up several stations, at least one of which is digitally-based, and the students rotate through the stations in small groups.
This model is most commonly used in elementary schools, but I think there is a place for it in secondary. It's good that the students are moving and it offers the opportunity for flex grouping and small group instruction.”
Consider incorporating available technology into your lessons for the upcoming school year! Leah’s blog (linked to above) is an amazing resource for teaching with technology. Most importantly (at least to me) is that she blends the tech into her classroom. This blended approach means that she still uses paper and pencil, discussion, and hands-on activities where it’s appropriate. When using technology, it’s so important to not overdo it. Leah’s “blending” strategies allow her to get the best of both worlds and choose whether old-school or tech-based is most effective for each lesson objective!
6 Always, Sometimes, Never Questioning
In a high school Geometry course, I noticed some kids were having a lot of trouble thinking critically to determine whether statements were true or false; I realized that we need to explicitly teach this skill all throughout math subjects. The easiest and most concrete way I've found to do this is through "always, sometimes, never" questioning.
Kids cannot think through these types of questions without mentally testing cases. Testing and finding counterexamples is such a key skill to practice!
If you go a step beyond to have them support their answers, they will be forced to justify by using both examples and counterexamples.
To read more about “always, sometimes, never” questioning for different topics in math, read this post!
7 Test corrections
I’ve tested and tweaked an awesome structure for test corrections, and it has been incredibly effective for me in EVERY secondary math class I have taught, from basic 6th grade math to Honors Algebra 2. If you have not tried offering test fix-up opportunities, think about trying this procedure.
I allow students who complete test corrections to earn back half of the points that they missed on the test. A student who did poorly, but is willing to go back and figure it out can make an appointment with me to go over the material together. They can bring their test grade up just a bit, but not as much as if they had gotten the problems right the first time.
The key to developing a good correction strategy is to keep students accountable while working toward the goal of mastering concepts even after the chapter is over.
To read the details of my procedure for test corrections, check out this post!
8 Math memes
Using humor in math class not only makes it more enjoyable, but it has SO many benefits, including boosting retention, building relationships, and reducing math anxiety and stress.
Incorporating humor is actually easier than you may think! Try starting off the class with a giggle-worthy math meme, or a personal funny anecdote. For more tips on this, read Brain Benefits of Humor in Math Class.
To find more hilarious math memes and jokes, head over to my Math Humor Board on Pinterest!
Geometry concepts stick best in student brains when they are investigated in a hands-on way. An inquiry structure helps students to understand a concept more deeply, connect ideas, and remember properties.
My favorite tool for teaching Geometry with technology is GeoGebra. With the GeoGebra software, you can set up a lesson for your students in only a minute or two, and they can see relationships in figures that are impossible to view and manipulate in a typical math lesson or lecture.
This software is free for teachers and students to use. I have put together a quick-start guide with a few sample lesson ideas, that you can read in this post.
10 Make Math More Relevant
A common complaint in math (that I’m sure you have heard many times) is “When are we ever going to need this?!”
To combat this silly misconception, consider using some of Noelle’s ideas, from Maneuvering the Middle, on this exact topic- 7 Ways to Make Math Relevant.
One of my favorite ideas is to teach your students financial literacy, because there is NO DOUBT they will need this someday. You can incorporate salaries, taxes, expenses, etc. depending on where you are in your curriculum. This unit covers it all in a fun way where students choose their home, vehicle, and more!
What new ideas are you going to incorporate into the upcoming school year?! Leave a reply below for the rest of the readers to let us know what other cool trends or standby no-fail approaches we are missing in the list!
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