Teacher Habits; Irrational Numbers; What Not Say

1. Roxanna Elden offers "Six Student Study Habits That Teachers Need, Too."

Do more work in class, and you’ll have less homework. If you find ways to finish tasks during the school day, you don’t have to take them home at all. Can you assign some jobs to student helpers? Can you grade a few papers or give feedback on the spot while students work?

Fernando Acosta, a KIPP teacher, always impressed me with his skill mobilizing and deploying student helpers. It's a two-fer. Teacher life gets easier, and students feel greater responsibility.

I've also seen teachers try to deploy student helpers, get frustrated, and then give up and go back to doing everything themselves.

Rookie teachers in particular would benefit from a "how-to" guide here with specific case studies and scripts from effective teachers. It's been on my to-do list for ages but perhaps someone else can jump in here.

2. Kate Nowak writes:

Thanks for all the ideas about how to talk to eighth graders about irrational numbers. Here is my stab at a question progression....

Which numbers is √10 between, rounded to the nearest tenth? Find these by hand. Place them CAREFULLY on the number line.

Which numbers is √10 between, rounded to the nearest hundredth? Find these by hand. Place them on the number line.

How much more precise can you get?

You may have learned that when you turn a fraction into a decimal, the decimal eventually either ends altogether, or ends in a chunk that repeats over and over forever.

For example, 3/8 = 0.375 and 1/7 = 0.142857142857142857… However, the square root of ten never ends or makes a repeating pattern! You can compute its value as precisely as you want, but there is no way to write it exactly as a decimal. (If you think about it, a decimal is really a bunch of fractions: tenths and hundredths and thousandths, added all up.)

This may seem too weird to be believed. However, we can come up with possible, theoretical non-repeating decimals.

For example, can you spot a rule suggested by the start of this number, and write more digits? 0.13113111311113__________________

Read the whole thing.

3. A Match Teacher Resident asked Caleb Dolan for:

A “top 10″ document of things not to say to kids in serious situations, or at least ten things you should avoid saying when it comes to talking about character.

Ask and ye receive. Caleb made one. The 10 are common sense but not always to rookies -- except this one, which is more complex for all teachers.

Don’t contradict a child’s parents or another teacher in your school. If you disagree, than speak additively. So, if a kid tells you, “My mom said gay people are going to hell,” you should say, “At our school, we respect everybody, no matter what.”

Read it here.