### Valentine's Day Hop! Five Things I Love About Teaching

Welcome to this stop on our wonderful "Feeling the Love" blog hop!

What do I love about teaching?
1) I truly love helping students to learn! This may seem like a very obvious statement from a teacher, but I'm thinking particularly about those students who may have a little more difficulty understanding a concept and need some extra time to work with me. When we spend that time and that student really "gets" what we've been working on, I can see it in his or her eyes, and I know that they are starting to really understand. Those moments make me so grateful that I have had unlimited opportunities to help children learn over the past 23 years.
2) I love to observe students' "written" thinking. Seeing the way they express their thinking in writing helps me to understand their thought processes. It also helps my brain generate ideas!
3) I love to listen to students' conversations when they are trying to solve problems. It's so interesting to hear the different ways they express their thinking!
4) I love observing the way students can help one another understand concepts!
5) I love creating materials that present concepts in different ways. The freebie on this page is a fold it up that I just created to help students understand the way the ladder method can help them find GCF and LCM, and can help them to factor expressions as well! This will be added to our Fold It Up book:)

Thanks for reading and enjoy the blog hop!

1. So happy to have a secondary math teacher along our blog hop!
~Julie

1. Thanks! Glad to be a part of the hop:)

2. I love cross-curriculum activities because they show students that their classes do connect and are not stand alone islands. The fact that your classes combine math and writing is awesome.

Happy Teaching,
Connie Casserly
http://www.teachitwrite.blogspot.com/

### Memory Wheels - First Day, Last Day, and Any Day in Between!

This post has been moved to:  http://www.cognitivecardiowithmsmm.com/blog/memory-wheels-first-day-last-day-and-any-day-in-between

### Math Class - First Day Activity

Rectangle of pentominoes Many 6th graders seem to have a pretty negative attitude about math, so I try to do something interesting to "grab" them during our first class. Last year, during the first math class, we spent part of the period working with pentominoes. Before working with the pentominoes, however, we played a name game so we could learn each others' names (I find it impossible to start anything else if I don't know some names, and fortunately, I learn them fairly quickly). rectangle outline For the activity, I divided the students into groups of 3 or 4. The directions for the activity were not complicated - the task was to make a rectangle, using all of the pentominoes. I gave students an outline of the rectangle, as pictured to the left, so they would know the correct size of the rectangle. The squares in the grid are each one inch. The rectangle is 5 squares (inches) wide and 13 inches long (13 inches includes the row that has the "Pent

### Ratios Fold it Up!

Getting started with ratios! We pretested ratios, rates, and proportions last week, and I found mixed results in the item analysis. I was surprised to find that very few students were able to write a ratio (the pretest question was: there are 2 hamsters and 1 gerbil - write a ratio of gerbils to hamsters). It wasn't that they wrote the ratio as hamsters to gerbils rather than gerbils to hamsters....they either left it blank, or wrote something that did not resemble a ratio. So, I was glad that I had prepared a couple of Fold it Ups for them to use this week! I think this is the first time I've used this version of Fold it Up (with the triangles folded in) this year, and a few students commented that they like this version better than others (like the one I made for Wed...bummer), because this type won't rip as easily. Click to download...a pic of the inside is in the document. Do you have any favorite ratio activities? Subscribe to Middle School Ma