What is a challenge for me in my school is that I don’t have a dedicated classroom. I am in a different room every day (sometimes more than one room a day) and while our school has 6 math classrooms (which come with a grid whiteboard), I even give lessons in a Greek/Latin room and a French room, where the teachers don’t ever use group work, so I always need to arrange and rearrange the desks and teach among posters of Paris, for example.

One thing that is nice to do though is to create posters with your students as well that are unit-specific. My first unit of the year was on Sets and Venn Diagrams, and in the back of the room I was in, I hung posters (one for each) with the symbols for the sets of Natural Numbers, Integers, Rationals, Irrationals, and Reals, including a very short definition of each and a big circle. Each student was given a number (some quite difficult) and a marker and asked to put their number in every circle that applied. My only instruction was that if you put your number in only one circle, then you’ve made a mistake. I was amazed at how they were able to do it nearly perfectly with no instructions!

Then they were asked to line up in the correct order — WHEW, that was tougher (which is smaller -pi or – 3.14? etc) but fun. Now we have lovely posters about the Number Sets that hang in the back of a classroom (that I only get to teach in once a week [but it’s interesting for the other classes to see at least, considering the Dutch curriculum doesn’t touch on this particular branch of math]). This is done with the equivalent of US 9th graders (International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme 4).

I look forward to reading more of your blog!

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