Great news! The Pre-Algebra full course of doodle notes is now available in printed hard copy paperbacks! Yep, I've gotten it officially published and you can now order copies to get shipped right to you. Your school can order these for your classroom through Barnes & Noble here. This is a great way to purchase a class set, and receive one book per student.
This option is also wonderful for homeschool, since you can pay per student rather than purchase the teacher license for the digital file. Those digital licenses that have already been available on TpT are per teacher and entitle you to print for all your own students each year. This is still an option, and is very cost effective for teachers with entire classes of students who are willing to print and copy pages themselves. But this new paperback, on the other hand, must be purchased for each student. Copying is prohibited. It's a high quality book with sturdy paper all bound in one place for students to keep as a workbook of doodle notes for all 10 chapters of middle school Pre-Algebra content. If you have any questions about the two options, just let me know.
Here is a video with more detail, so go take a peek inside! Once you check out the options, let me know how I can help you decide which version of the book is right for you and your middle schooler(s). You can use this to cover all the key topics from 6th-8th grade Pre-Algebra. They'll love the brain-friendly interactive blend of graphic and linguistic input, and will enjoy the added benefits of focus, creativity, and better retention of their math lessons.
When students start out with any confusion at all with converting between congruence statements and equations, they struggle through each next step all the way through proofs. Take time to tackle this key skill before moving on.
As a geometry teacher, this pet peeve that would pop up over and over again: I'd be grading and see students mixing up their usage of congruent and equal in lines of a proof. Since I make kids write out separate lines for each step, including converting from a statement of congruence over to an equation with the measures, missing this was really messing up their scores, along with driving me crazy. Every class, with no exception, would continually mix these up for weeks on end.
Eventually, I discovered that it was worth taking time to explicitly teach this skill. We took a while to practice converting between the two types of statements. I explained how when you describe figures you use the term congruent, and when you are describing numbers you use the term equal.
We had to bother to take time showing how to switch back and forth between a statement like "length AB = length BC" while saying aloud "The DISTANCE between A and B is a NUMBER!" and a statement showing "SEGMENT AB being CONGRUENT to SEGMENT BC." Talk these through out loud before assuming that students can see the distinction. Practice converting back and forth before you allow them to actually use these statements in a Geometry proof.
Trust me, it is worth the time.
Otherwise, you’ll see hybrids such as <2 = <5 over and over again, which leads students to stumble between steps in their proofs.
It helps to display a Reminders poster, like the one below in the room.
Then, after practicing a few examples, we work on determining if a statement uses congruent or equal correctly with statements like the ones below.
Lastly, I’d pull up the answer key, and we would discuss why each statement was either correct or incorrect.
Here is a PDF dowload version for you if you'd like to use them too.
This really comes into play in examples like the following proof:
Students MUST convert from the congruent notation in the first line into an equation in order to use substitution later on in the proof. Segment addition postulate does not blend with congruent statements. It only works with statements of equality, since addition is required. To work in an equation format, which is necessary in many proofs, students need to be able to smoothly switch from congruence statements into equations and vice versa.
Hopefully these short little downloads and this tip will help you prioritize this skill and take 15 minutes now to save yourself many future headaches and give your students a boost to help them through proofs. What's your own pet peeve when grading proofs?
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Gen Z: Tips Customized Toward TODAY'S Teens and Pre-Teens
“Kids these days!”
Don’t be that adult. Although each generation is different, as teachers, we need to see both sides- the pros and the cons. We need to look past our own biases. Realize that even though teens and pre-teens exhibit differences from your generation, not all differences are negative. I’m sure our generation wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies as teens, either!
Julian Krinsky Camps and Programs shares the definition of Generation Z. “Generation Z refers to young people who were born between 1996 and 2014. This generation stands out from the previous generations – millennials and generation X – for a ton of reasons…”
So let’s dive into Generation Z! We’ll discuss what characteristics they exhibit, why they exhibit these characteristics, and how we can adjust our teaching to overcome the challenges and enhance the positive features.
Explanations of Characteristics of Gen Z
Today’s teens and pre-teens are full of characteristics- both good and bad. It’s important to lay it all out, so you can analyze them. See if any of these resonate with your Gen Z students’ characteristics, (Hint: they will), and how some of these characteristics are interconnected.
Greater Awareness of Technology
Let’s start with the obvious, and what first popped into your mind. It’s probably not a surprise to you to hear that this generation has essentially unlimited access to technology, so they have greater awareness and a greater understanding of how it works and can improve life. Pearson Education shares that “while Millennials used three screens on average, Gen Z students frequently use up to five. Most use a smartphone, TV, laptop, desktop, and a tablet. These devices occupy ten hours of Gen Z’s daily activity." TEN HOURS!
They understand technology, and use it constantly.
They were born with the internet, and will never know life without it. They have always had all the information they needed right at their fingertips. This segues us right to the next characteristic!
Need for Instant Gratification
Do your students turn in an assignment and expect it graded and handed back the next class period? This is because they are so accustomed to instant gratification.
Pearson Education talks about the way technology consumes Gen Z’s time. “The constant stimulation and access to all the world’s information at their fingertips has given them an eight-second attention span and has trained their brains to expect instant gratification.”
Even when analyzing their behavior as consumers, this generation demands instant gratification. “A few decades ago, quality was the most prized attribute. Then it became “quick and easy.” In the current environment, the demand is for “right now;” according to Huff Post.
Tendencies Toward Attitudes of Entitlement
You might recognize this trait in your own students. The Odyssey shares, “The biggest criticism of Generation Z would be that they are an entitled group of individuals who expect people to cater to them. They are often associated with narcissism and how their narcissistic entitlement leads them to believe good things will come their way because they are deserving of them. Some might also harshly label them as clueless as to how the real world operates.”
Not only do they want their assignments graded and handed back instantly, but they expect it. Of course, not all young people have this characteristic. But more and more, we need to specifically teach AGAINST this attitude in order to prevent it. Without being on guard for entitled attitudes and constantly addressing this, we as parents and teachers may allow kids to default to feeling entitled. Luckily, we can combat this by teaching gratitude.
Lack of Accountability
Do your students ever turn in work late, and expect it to be ok? This goes hand in hand with entitlement. Many students may expect you to cater to their needs.
The worst part is that sometimes even their parents encourage this behavior! I’ve had countless parents reach out to me, on behalf of their child, and ask for an extension. But for many students, this door does not swing both ways. Some expect teachers to have work graded immediately (pointing back to the instant gratification), even if they turned it in late. It can be really frustrating as a teacher to have a student walk up after only one class period has passed and ask whether you graded the work they handed in earlier that morning that was a week late! We know how often this happens in the current school atmosphere.
Ok, let’s get to the positives. We can certainly be aware of the above challenges and how serious they are, and we do need to address them. But the intent here is not to bash today’s children. They are wonderful people, and as much as we can criticize their deficiencies (in a very generalized way), we need to praise and admire their beauty!
This group has such promise in so many ways!
Desire to Make a Difference/Create Culture
I don’t know about you, but this trait makes me breathe a sigh of relief for the sake of humanity!
The Atlantic tells us Gen z has already shown evidence of an “active social conscience.” For example, Afghan teen Malala Yousafzai is an activist for female education around the world. At age 18, she became the youngest person ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize. There are many lesser-known activists, as well.
Read more about Malala here.
These kids and teens CARE about the earth. They have such a strong desire to see the world as a better place in the future. They know how to spring into action and take advantage of the web at their fingertips to use it to impact society.
Independent and Autonomous Tendencies
According to Julian Krinsky Camps and Programs, “they do not rely on their parents as much as previous teen generations did. The reason is that the internet and technologies allow gen Zers to start earning money at much earlier age than their parents.”
In fact, many don’t have a “typical teenage job,” but instead, have a creative side hustle. They do things like teach in-home piano lessons or review video games on youtube, etc. The opportunities are as extensive as their creativity!
By feeding their creative spirits, we can unearth the wonderful passions that will transform the world in the very near future!
Strengths in Visual Learning
Education Week shared an article on Gen Z’s preference for Youtube when learning something new. This signals a rise in visual learning; students find it easier to grasp concepts when they have a visual reference.
Expertise in Multitasking
Gen Z kids can scroll through instagram, send texts, gossip with a friend, and successfully study for a test all at once! Okay, that may be an exaggeration, but you get the idea. Basically, these kids are so accustomed to getting information and entertainment instantly, that they are excellent multi-taskers as a result.
How to Teach Gen Z
Teaching Generation Z requires thoughtful consideration to both adjust your teaching to overcome the challenges, and take advantage of their positive features.
Adjust to Overcome
“It's very simple, and it has improved my classroom management and instruction, and above all, my quality of life. Are you ready for it? Here it is:
I don't take late work.”
It’s simple, yet effectively solves the problem. This idea can span across various situations, like when students expect an assignment handed back instantly. Simply explain to them at the beginning of the school year that you will do your best to keep up with assignments and grading, you want them to succeed, but you have your own life outside of school. They will get it back whenever it fits into your schedule.
Take Advantage of Positive Features
Do you have any thoughts to add, or tips to share on teaching Gen Z? Feel free to share below.
If you do teach this generation, be sure to register for the free "Teaching Teens" email series - It includes information, advice, and resources that you can print and use right away!
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