The Quick & Easy Route to Interactive Notes
How to Use DIY "Doodle Note" Stickers to Let Students Convert Any Notebook Page Into a Memory-Boosting Graphic Note Sheet
If you are hoping to boost your students' understanding and retention of a lesson, you can't beat graphic notes!
Visual note-taking is a surefire way to build connections in your students' brains and increase:
An easy way to maximize these brain benefits without having to do a ton of prep work is to use DIY doodle note stickers.
Grab your free set, then print this list of all of your options. There are so many ways to use these!
Since it’s the end of a semester and nearly the beginning of a new year, it is the perfect time to teach your students the best techniques on setting new goals for the coming semester.
We all want to help our students in every possible way; teaching the best techniques for goal setting is the perfect way to do this. Not only will you be helping your students to reach success in your class, but you these are essential lifelong skills. Your students will be able to apply these techniques to just about anything they want to achieve in life.
These seven steps / strategies will help you guide your classes through the process, including follow-ups afterward.
Before you have your students set goals for the future, they must first assess their work from the previous semester. First, have your students write down their grades, comments, etc. from the past semester. Some other important areas to reflect on are effort and work ethic and their behavior in class.
Next, have your students identify their strengths; they should think about what they are proud of. This is so essential for determining goals. Not only does identifying strengths boost self-confidence, but also it can encourage reflection on why these are strengths.
After students identify their strengths, they should determine areas that need some improvement. It is important to keep things positive when going over this; remind students that although theses areas need attention, they possess the power to make improvements.
For an efficient, engaging self-assessment, you can download and print copies of this Goal Setting Doodle Note Sheet; it includes many beneficial goal-setting techniques. This sheet can be a great introduction to Doodle Notes too, if you haven’t tried them yet!
Teach SMART Goals
Once students identify strengths and areas to improve, they are ready to begin setting goals! Make sure they have an understanding of how to compose a good goal.
An easy acronym to teach is SMART. This means that all of their goals should have the following criteria:
-Reasonable and Relevant
-Timely and Trackable
Create an Action Plan
Arguably, the most important step of goal setting is creating a step-by-step plan of how to reach your goal! If your goal is to get from point A to point B, then you need to know how you’re going to get to point B.
Creating small steps to achieve a larger goal makes it all seem a lot more attainable, and less overwhelming.
It may be helpful to come up with a hypothetical goal and an example action plan as a class.
You can use this as an example:
Goal: Raise test scores from B’s to A’s
Step 1: Complete all homework on time
Step 2: Ask for help and clarification as needed
Step 3: Study uninterrupted for 45 minutes each school night
GOAL: Get an A on the test
Be sure to tell your students that SMART goals are not easy to write and will take some time. A SMART goal is not just a goal they want to achieve; it includes an specific action plan.
Sometimes setting and achieving goals can be easier said than done. We all have roadblocks that can keep us from achieving our goals, and it’s important to help your students recognize their roadblocks so they can overcome them. Maybe they continually miss a connection in the lesson? Maybe they have too many distractions at home, like social media, friends, or video games?
Once they recognize their obstacles and consider how to overcome them, your students can push through their action plans and achieve their goals.
Schedule time every week or two weeks for you students to reflect and evaluate how they are doing on their action plans. Which strategies are working and which ones are not? Are there any new obstacles to overcome in order to follow your action plan?
Be sure to remind your students that they are aiming for progress, not perfection. After all, achieving goals takes time, and progress lets you know you are heading in the right direction.
A great strategy to teach your students is accountability; teach them ways to hold themselves accountable.
For example, a little peer pressure doesn’t hurt. Pair or group students with accountability partners, or “accountabili-buddies.” Every few weeks, have the students meet for a few minutes to discuss how their plans are coming along.
Another way to help students be accountable is to include parents. You can send a paper home to parents, explaining the class’ goal setting and asking for their support. Parents can support you by questioning their child about his/her goals and plans, or give advice to help.
Celebrate Reaching Goals
Finally, after your set time to achieve goals you can hold a small celebration for all of the hard work your students have done.
Maybe that means bringing in a treat for the class or allowing them to bring in a snack, and giving them the opportunity to tell their class about their goals and their plans of action.
Do you have any foolproof strategies for setting goals? Please let us know in the comments below. Don’t forget to enter your email to subscribe to Math Giraffe!
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Holiday Activities for Middle and High School Math Class
Even though Thanksgiving is my own personal favorite, I love the Christmas holiday season too! I always make a point to bring the holiday cheer into the classroom.
During such a busy time of year, when combined with the rising emphasis on our students’ test scores and meeting all standards, I know many teachers find it difficult to find the time. No one wants to waste precious teaching and planning time with too much “frill”.
I never like to add anything into a class period unless it has a valid math purpose! We just cannot afford to waste time in the curriculum schedule, especially in math class.
With so much to cover, I love finding ways to incorporate rigorous math activities into the fun of the Christmas season.
Congruent Triangles: Winter Snowflake
Level: 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th
One of the easiest ways to bring holiday cheer into your classroom is through decorations. This FREE activity incorporates challenging problem solving and provides pretty student-made winter decorations for your walls. It’s a worksheet style set of practice problems including:
- Writing congruency statements
- Using Triangle Sum Theorem
- Identifying corresponding parts of triangles
- Using base angles of isosceles triangles
- Setting up and solving linear equations to find missing angle measures
Level: 6th, 7th, 8th,
This hands-on activity puts your students’ math skills to work! In groups, your students will work together to measure all sides, heights, and angles, classify polygons, find the area and perimeter of each piece, identify two separate pairs of similar figures, and cut to construct trees. By the end, you will have a whole winter forest of trees you can post on the bulletin board or wall!
This activity covers the following concepts:
- Measuring with a ruler
- Measuring with a protractor
- Finding the perimeter
- Finding the area of triangles and trapezoids
- Identifying similar figures
- Classifying triangles
- Classifying trapezoids
Level: 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
This awesome and fun activity created by PNC, helps you introduce basic economics to your class by pricing out each gift from “The Twelve Days of Christmas”. Your students will work in groups to search on the internet and through ads to calculate the total cost of the twelve gifts mentioned in the song.
There are more activities in the free downloadable lesson plan to guide you if you are looking to extend the lesson!
Level: 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th
In this activity you can have your students work to solve equations to color in beautiful ornaments, like a color by number.
The awesome thing about this activity is how easily you are able to differentiate learning for your different learners. There are three different sets of equations. Set A is the easiest and contains a variable only on one side of the equation. Set B has a medium difficulty level with variables on both sides of the equation. Set C is the most challenging. You can choose one set, or choose to use any combination!
Level: 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th
File Folder Fun provides an awesome free downloadable resource! Download and print these 3-D shapes for your students to cut out and glue together, allowing them to have some hands-on experience with shapes. Then, let them decorate their creations like holiday ornaments to hang around the classroom! You can even make a tree on your bulletin board (or a full, live tree if you have a spare corner in your room)! If possible, have students use tape instead of glue for easier assembly of the flaps.
Level: 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th
This activity includes a set of challenge equations, providing a fun approach to algebra and building problem-solving skills.
Three levels are included:
- 4 basic (easy) cards that can be used before or during middle school grades for critical thinking
- 4 medium level cards that are perfect for middle school or high school students
- 4 difficult cards that offer a challenge, even for high schoolers
You can also use these when teaching substitution or the transitive property!
Level: 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th
Advent is a very special time for the Church; you want your students to be thinking about it throughout the day. In this bulletin board sized Advent calendar, you get 24 flaps that each have a problem of the day based on the nativity.
Your students will love entering the room each day knowing they are getting an exciting new problem. The best part is how it perfectly integrates math and religion!
With this product you get many choices, so you can choose what’s best for you and your students. You have a choice of three designs (options for color printers as well as black and white on colored paper).
There are three sets of problems included, one for grades 3-4, one for grades 5-6, and one for grades 7-8. Mix and match questions from each set of questions to perfectly fit what your students are covering, or simply print the set that best fits the grade(s) you teach. You will have plenty of options!
Level: 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
An article on The Guardian shares an idea that includes making beautiful Christmas cards with the use of math through stitching geometrical designs on cards. Essentially, you draw two straight lines that intersect, and then draw points along those lines at equal distances. When you join dots from one line to the other, you get a perfect parabola. The article also shares how to achieve other intricate designs, and tips to make the project run smoothly!
Do you have any ideas to bring the holiday cheer to your classroom? We would love to hear more!
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