My student Madison needed help with her TenMarks online math homework. I like to pull problems from the internet, actual assignments posted by other teachers, so that my students and I can really 'do math' together.
Because kids today are so used to working on the computer, they get in the habit of doing math in their heads—which means they can skip steps and carry errors forward. If you work with me we'll always do math with paper and pencil (or marker and board). You'll learn to think a problem through, not just click an answer on a multiple-choice assignment.
Here Madison is working on equations. Can she arrange the cards so that touching sides have expressions of equal value?Madison and her twin sister Kylee sometimes work with me at the same time because they're at similar levels. I often help families with more than one child. Sometimes we meet separately, sometimes we work as a team.My student Rhodes is 8 years old. He struggled last year with 3rd-grade math, so this summer my goal is to prepare him for 4th grade.
Here he's selecting answers from the TenMarks online math program.TenMarks has given Rhodes a challenging 3rd-grade math problem, and we're reading through it to make sure he understands the question: Can he accurately compare two fractions which have different denominators? Are they equal or is one larger than the other?
I had him draw visual representations of the two fractions on a dry erase board and I guided him through the question again, using his diagrams to help him compare the two fractions. He got it right!Caitlin is one of my adult students, a nurse who studied Spanish previously and now needs a refresher course with an emphasis on medical language. To accommodate her busy schedule, we meet in the evenings at a coffee shop.
Here we're reviewing verb tenses, since after speaking to a patient in the ER, she realized she had mixed up present and past tense. I always try to tailor my lessons to a student's specific needs.This is Nobel, a student from Ethiopia. I asked him to convert 5/8 of a full circle into degrees, a problem that requires multiple steps to reach a solution. He was just arriving at the answer when this picture was taken.
He first had to recognize that a circle has 360 degrees. One quarter of that is 90 degrees, so one eighth equals 45 degrees. Five of those total 225 degrees.Zohar, who's about to enter 6th grade, is using her knowledge of coordinate grids, maps, and ordered pairs to interpret grid moves in the context of a silly word problem. She really likes art but has resisted math until now, so I let her illustrate the problem as a way to get her engaged (that's her drawing beneath the text). Letting her express herself as we work on math skills has turned her math attitude around. Who thought math could be so much fun?Nick is 16 and working on his summer math assignments with me. I often teach him and his brother Sam at home. In this photo he's using the Khan Academy online tutorial to help him improve his math skills.
As he watches, I sit next to him and reinforce the online lesson, query him about what he's seeing, and occasionally review math vocabulary he's forgotten over the years. As he's quizzed by the computer, if I notice a mistake in his computation or a misunderstanding of a concept, I can immediately correct it at the exact moment he needs it.I challenged these 8th-graders, Devion and Christian, to build the tallest structure they could with 20 pieces of uncooked spaghetti and 12 mini-marshmallows. They struggled at first because they were used to working alone, but they soon learned how to share ideas and ask each other for help and advice.
They started with a cube, but when they tried to add a second story, the base collapsed. Eventually they succeeded in building a much taller structure using triangles.15-year-old Michelle is a North Denver high-school student whose native language is Spanish. Reading and understanding nonfiction English assignments has been hard for her. I taught her a method of two-column note taking to help organize and focus her thinking. We looked at complex sentences and how to combine them into coherent paragraphs, and she worked on turning a published essay into a formal oral presentation.
Here we're discussing components of an effective presentation—a lesson she took to heart, as you'll see in the next picture.Michelle chose to research current U.S. immigration. She studied and wrote about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy that President Obama and the U.S Citizenship & Immigration Services initiated in 2012. Since she's a child of immigrants, the policy directly affects her and her family.
After three weeks of hard research and focused writing, she presented her fully bilingual slide and oral presentation to a group of immigration lawyers at the Stern and Curray Global Immigration Law Office in Cherry Creek. Not bad for a 15-year-old who was struggling to write an organized paragraph just 2 months ago.
Click the photo to see more pictures and find out what Don's students have achieved