Problem Solving is one of the most important topics we can teach our students! However as I’ve seen from my own experience, problem solving is not emphasized enough. There are SO many things we can learn through problem solving and I believe one of the reasons it is not emphasized in the classroom is because of the teacher’s lack of understanding in problem solving.

Problem solving has so many positive effects on the learning experience that it would be naive not to teach it to our students. Students can slowly be introduced to problem solving by introducing easier problems first that use more of a guess-and-check method. For example, having the students solve Sudokus. Also, the problems presented to students could include more information or hints to help them arrive at the answer. Take this problem for example:

You have 100 coins and you know that one is fake but you do not know if the fake coin is heavier or lighter. You are provided with a non-digital weighing scale. How can you determine which is the fake coin?

For students first being introduced to problem solving, the above problem could be altered to let the reader know if the coin is heavier/lighter. This would dramatically reduce the number of trials one would have to complete to find the fake coin.

All in all, the many approaches to problem solving can be applied to every day life. It enhances logic and decision making drastically that it’s crazy NOT to teach it to our students or children!


For the past three weeks I’ve been doing my JPE (Junior Placement Experience) at a local middle school. I observe two classrooms three days a week in preparation to begin teaching a unit on Probability in April. Being that I’ve only ever learned how to teach math in theory, I am pretty scared to actually get up in front of my eighth graders and start teaching. I don’t want to show them how nervous I am because kids pick up on subtle things. Throughout all of the education classes I’ve taken in college, none of them have been about classroom management! How am I expected to go into a classroom and command my authority when some of their questions catch me off guard and I stumble for an answer? I haven’t learned when a student asks question x, this is how you should approach it, with answer y.

I have also had no experience, within my 2 1/2 years at college, in front of any classroom of students where I was able to practice how to conduct a classroom. Whenever “mini-lessons” were done in front of my peers, I was not able to do secondary mathematics lessons properly because college students should know everything I was going to teach in my mini-lesson. This made it very difficult to practice timing, how much material should be covered in one lesson, and so on.

On Wednesday, my co-op approached me and asked me how comfortable I was with measurements to conduct the “do-now” with the students. I was a little nervous but I was going to have to do this someday so why not now?? So as the students filtered in, I directed them towards the directions on the side board and reminded them as they finish their work to please put their hand up. As hands went up, I went around to students asking them to put up problems on the board. I then went through each problem, dissecting it and discussing how it related to subtraction with numbers, where you borrow from the tens, hundreds, etc. None of the students had questions, except one student asked me if he didn’t simplify 3 feet to 1 yard would he get the problem wrong? At this point, I was not the one grading their papers so I thought for a moment and told him he would have to ask his teacher. I don’t like giving students an indefinite answer because it confuses them and doesn’t leave them with any answers, so I’m not sure what to do in that situation, any suggestions?

I then had students read through word problems and then work in pairs and work on the even problems. I had students again put answers up on the board and then had other students be “checkers”, to make sure all students were engaged in the activity. When going over the problems, I would ask if students had any questions and of course none of the students did, even though I knew some students had not gotten the right answer. How am I supposed to make sure students understand the material without having them embarrassed at being the only student who doesn’t understand? Also, when I asked questions such as “Would it be practical to convert this problem into inches and then convert it back when you’re done?” All of the students stared at me and I had to pry the answer “no” out of them so I’m unsure of how to get them to engage in conversation with me!

It is frustrating being a student teacher because I don’t have a lot of tools in my belt. Any tips or comments are greatly appreciated! I hope to apply everything that I’ve learned in the classroom.

I am almost ashamed to admit that I watch any so-called “reality” show but two nights ago I found myself snuggling up on the couch to Season 14’s The Bachelor.

I started to get really into the show and the lives of each of the girls. Within the two hour duration of the show, I found myself judging each and every girl based on how ABC chose to represent them within those two hours.

I want to believe that ABC is delivering me a real show about a man searching for love with twenty-five or so eligible women. However, I know that reality shows script segments for drama and entertainment (such as keeping Wes around on the Bachelorette last season) but I highly doubt there would be no real drama in a house of twenty-five women fighting over one man. So I’d like to believe that ABC is selling me the real deal but I know that is never the case, yet I am still torn between what’s real and what isn’t.

On the show two nights, one of the women Rozlyn was pulled aside by Chris for a confrontation. He informed her that he knew about her “inappropriate relationship” with a staffer and she proceeded to stare at him and say “My personal business is nobody’s business”, yet it sort of is when you sign up to be on a show under ABC’s rules.

The problem here though is the conflict of available information. Rozlyn has stated that no physical relationship ever ensued between her and staffer and the situation erupted when producers failed to let her see her seven-year-old son during the taping of the show. So now this raises the question: Did ABC get rid of her to avoid a possible scandal?

If so, that’s pretty low even for reality show standards. Let me know what you think, don’t hold any thoughts back. We’ll obviously never really know the truth without any footage so it remains a mystery!

I received a Kindle 2 for Christmas and I absolutely love it! For anybody who doesn’t know what a Kindle is, it’s an electronic reading device (eReader) that uses special technology designed to not strain ones eyes, like a computer screen does. I fell in love with the Kindle and for these reasons:

1. Battery Life – I haven’t charged my Kindle once since I got fully charged on Christmas. I use it for about one to two hours everyday, so I’d say that the battery life is pretty good. The battery also drains less when you keep the wireless off. The wireless is only needed when purchasing books via Kindle or moving books from your Archived folder. Other than that, it’s unnecessary to have it on and waste your battery life.

2. Weight – It’s extremely light weight, weighing in at 10.2 ounces and only 1/3 of an inch thick (about the thickness of a magazine). It’s light enough to not add a significant amount of weight to your purse or bag. Is also very easy to hold the device with 1 hand and easily press the button for the next page. It’s so easy that I was able to read my Kindle and hold it with one hand while walking on the treadmill! It was great and the time flew by.

3. Availability of Books – The books available for purchase on your Kindle are offered through Amazon at low prices. Many additional websites also offer many books, either in a Kindle format, or a format that can be easily adapted to the Kindle. Also, every month Amazon has about 30 books free for a limited time. Many of the books being offered for free are definitely worth the read, especially when it’s free! Here is a blog that continuously updates the list of free books available from Amazon:

50 Free Books in the Kindle Store « Kindle Review – Kindle 2 Review, Books.

4. Functional – I’m able to have hundreds of books on hand to read at my leisure without having the clutter of hundreds of actual books lying around the house. It also comes in handy when you’re going on vacation or in between reading books. This way you don’t have to lug around more than one book with you because they are all on your Kindle! Doesn’t take up any more space in a suitcase than a magazine would.

5. Extras – Dedicated readers could not ask for anymore than a device that optimizes the act of reading. However, there are a little extras on the Kindle that make it more than a reading device. It offers a digital bookmark, option to take notes, and highlight sentences. The Kindle also has a basic Minesweeper game and version of tic-tac-toe. Text-to-speech is also available for books or subscriptions which allow the feature to be enabled.

All in all, the Kindle is a GREAT buy for dedicated readers and it’s ideal for commuters with the long battery life and its light weight. Even though books can be rented at the library for free, the Kindle offers the convenience of buying books directly from the device without having to leave the home 🙂 Anybody who loves reading anywhere and anytime should definitely invest in a Kindle.

I have decided to start keeping a blog because I recently realized I don’t really have any hobbies. I enjoy cooking but don’t practice it enough and I enjoy reading but don’t really consider it a hobby. I do many things but nothing I would really consider a hobby.

I am a secondary ed. math major and I have about 1 and half years left before I acquire my degree. It’s been a rough few years being a math major. Math is not the easiest subject for me, but I enjoy it because it makes sense. I was inspired to pursue a career in education by a math teacher I had in high school. She made the subject seem so clear and attainable for any student, whether gifted in mathematics or not. I realized I wanted to offer that same clarity to students and make math a subject any student could master. Having been only 3 years out of the secondary school system, it is still vivid in my mind how many students hated and failed at math.

And I believe, hopefully, that I can change students’ outlook on mathematics 🙂


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