Monthly Archives: November 2011

“If you can’t touch the person you’re talking to,…”

I’d love to tell you my class is always under control, but they’re not. Sometimes they get a little noisy and start shouting across the room to one another. I just came up with this line today: “If you can’t touch the person you’re talking to, someone needs to move.” (It helped a little.)

Leave a comment

Posted by on November 30, 2011 in Teaching Tips


Tags: ,

Subtraction Poem

Alright…I know this one’s a little bit out there, but I’m willing to take that risk-especially in the name of education. I came up with a little poem to help my students with their subtraction problems. Now, this poem only makes sense when borrowing/regrouping is required. For example, let’s take a look at a problem like 52-18. (I don’t have the technological skills to write the problem the other way, with the larger number on top and the smaller number below, so work with me.) Here’s the first part of the poem: “Eight from two, you cannot do.” At this point you go over to the tens column, cross out the five, make it a four and say, “One of me…” For dramatic effect, wait just a second or two before putting a little tiny one next to the two in the ones column and say, “adds ten to you.”

Just for good measure, let’s try another one. If the problem is 71-34, it would sound like this: “Four from one, you cannot do. One of me…” (cross out the seven, make it a six), “adds ten to you.” (Then put a little tiny one next to the one).

If this poem finds you thinking the Mr. B is a little strange or odd…you might be right.

(By the way, the answers are 34 and 37 respectively.)

Leave a comment

Posted by on November 29, 2011 in Teaching Tips


I’m done. Now what can I do?

I love getting this question from kids. Since they don’t all work at the same pace, finish times can vary by several minutes. Here’s what it sounds like in my classroom when a child tells me he’s done.

Child: “I’m done. Now what can I do?”

Me: “What do you want to do?”

Child: “I don’t know.”

Me: “Let me know when you decide, and I’ll let you know if it’s okay.”

At this point, they look at me like I’m kind of crazy. Sometimes they ask rather hesitantly, “Can I read?” To which I reply, “Sure, why not?”

(There’s nothing in my contract that states I have to do all the thinking in my classroom.)

Leave a comment

Posted by on November 14, 2011 in Teaching Tips


Student-Teacher Ratio

Earlier this year I was thinking how nice it is for high school coaches to have any number of assistants helping with planning and preparation. Let’s face it, in some communities sports are the primary focus. Using my advanced research skills and the internet, I did a little digging. I wondered what the average ratio of athletes to coaches was for a variety of sports. Here’s what I discovered: Basketball 10:1, Football 10:1, Volleyball 10:1, Soccer 12:1, Wrestling 15:1, and Dance 15:1. According to the internet, the average student-teacher ratio in my state (Michigan) is 18:1. Over the past several years I’ve had anywhere from 19-30+ students during a given year. In no way am I complaining…I just find it interesting.

Leave a comment

Posted by on November 2, 2011 in Uncategorized