SOCIAL MEDIA – Professional Development and Classroom Tools

vintage networking

I am giving a presentation on Monday,November 10, 2014 at the Association of Math Teachers of New York State. The annual statewide conference is being held in Syracuse, New York, this year.

Attached are links to my presentation and handout.



Posted in 21st Century Skills, Blogs, Creative Ideas, Education, General Education, PLC, social media, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day One – Attitude of Gratitude!


What are the best aspects of being a teacher?


It is fitting to be challenged this month to find an attitude of gratitude for teaching.  As we are all aware, the teaching profession is being attacked from all sides, it seems. But there are many things to be grateful for in our profession. Some of the best aspects are that I have the privilege each and every day to work with so many dedicated and hard working individuals. And now with social media, I can collaborate with so many more. Teachers are a wonderful group to work with. We truly do care about the success of our students above all else!  I am honored to be able to step into my work place each school day and know that I am entering an environment not of competition, but of collaboration and truly working together for the common good of society. This is a shout out to all of you who work everyday to make your part of the world just a little bit better – my fellow educators!!

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And the Grammy Winner is…..

Ruben and the 7put it togetherB swag team!  Probability!!  It all started actually a couple of years ago, 3 to be exact, when some of my students made an instructional video complete with original song parody

“It’s raining numbers”.  This school year, 2013-2014, my techie students came up with the idea to have math parody songs, lyrics to be on topics learned this year in math class. What happened after that was just amazing. Ruben and the 7B swag team was born. It started in math class during student choice time (see my post on student choice boards) when the lyrics to “Probability” were created. From there, the songs “Taxes”, “Volume”, “Factoring”, “Ratio”. The main song writer and singer is Ruben; but many students contributed to the making of the songs and the music video for “Probability”. Three of the students even stayed after school on the last full day of school (on a Friday) to record the last of the video.

Fast forward to school year 2014-2015, and these songs have become the intros and conclusions to my flipped class videos. This year’s students are really enjoying them – I left the songs off of one of my flips, and the students complained!  One day in the hallway, I was walking with a couple of my students, and we passed Bella, the lead singer of “Ratio” (“Let it Go” from Frozen). They ran up to her and gave her a big hug – an instant ‘Star” with her 3 minutes of fame!

Here is a link to our Music!  Enjoy!!!    JEREMKO MATH MUSIC

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Are Barbie’s Legs too long? Understanding Scale Factor


We have been deep into a unit on ratio, rate and proportions. The students have been studying proportions in tables, graphs and equations. One specific application of unit rates is scale factor. I spent a day in class introducing the concept of scale as a rate, that compares a real thing to a model of the real thing. The students were having quite a bit of problems with understanding the concept and relating it to our work on rates and unit rates.
In response to their struggle, I gathered up a collection of toys and models:
A key chain of the Eiffel Tower,
a teeny tiny Statue of Liberty,
a small stuffed tiger,
a Lionel train,
a matchbox car,
a replica of the Sears Tower,
a toy soup can and a real soup can,
a Barbie doll
I had iPads out on the tables, as well as rulers and calculators. I held up the tiny stuffed tiger, and asked the students to find pictures of a real tiger on the internet. I had them take a few minutes to discuss with the person next to them whether they thought the stuffed tiger was made proportionally.

Most of the students could agree that the stuffed tiger was NOT made proportionally, but we spend a fair amount of time trying to determine how we knew it was not proportional to a real tiger. Many students made comments like “the tail is too long” or “the legs are too short”. And, of course, my response went something like “what do you mean by ‘too long’ or ‘too short’. We struggled a bit with these ideas, until finally one of the students made their intention clear, finally, by comparing the tail to the length of the body. Thus we finally hit upon the notion that just as ratios are comparisons, scale was a comparison between a real thing and a model (or a toy). One measurement, (the length of the tail) set up one ratio. In order to determine whether it was proportional, the students needed two separate measurements.

I distributed the rest of the toys/models and the students went to work. They enjoyed the activity. As I walked around to assist, I saw students engaged – one was measuring the toy, and the other was searching on the internet for real measurements of these models.

I then asked the students if they thought that the Barbie doll was made to proportion. They were in agreement that she was not, if you compared her waist to her hips, for example. I then asked them if they thought that Barbie’s legs were too long. They all decided that they were. I put up the measures of an “average”woman’s height and “inseam” (taken from clothing Vogue Patterns, based on a woman’s size 12). I then asked the students to measure the Barbie doll height, and then leg length, but only to the heel, not to the toe (Barbie stands on tiptoe!!). Surprisingly, Barbie’s legs are proportional to her height as compared to an average woman!



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Day 6 of the Blogging Challenge – What does a good Mentor do?

Day 6 of the Blogging Challenge – What does a Good Mentor Do?mentor

Well, technically, today is day 9, so I am a few days behind!  I chose to blog about mentoring, day 6 challenge, and then hopefully get back on schedule tomorrow and do day 10. As the picture suggests, the best teachers are those who show you where to look but don’t tell you what to see. I believe this is true for mentoring as well.

Blogger Challenge Badge 2014I am mentoring a new teacher in my department, and there are various things that I feel a mentor should do:

1) Get to know the mentee as a person

2)  Build up their confidence

3) Share my knowledge, skills and experience

4) Listen to what the mentee asks for; do not presume to know what they need

5) Share resources, procedures and organizational methods

6) Provide the mentee with other people to use as support as well

7) Check in with them often to see how things are going

8) Learn from them, as they will learn from you

9) Recall how it felt to be a new teacher, and be sensitive to situations in which they may need extra assistance

10) Be generous in sharing resources, insights and skill sets

11) Help them to navigate the politics of the building and the larger community

12) Share inspirational quotes with them to inspire

13) Encourage them to reflect on their lessons and unit plans

14) Keep in close touch and check in briefly often

15)  Share stories of your own struggles so that they see that there is always room for growth and that they can see that you are also a work in progress

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Day 4 of the Blogging Challenge! Top ten things I love most about Teaching!

“Love without courage and wisdom is sentimentality, as with the ordinary church member. Courage without love and wisdom is foolhardiness, as with Blogger Challenge Badge 2014the ordinary soldier. Wisdom without love and courage is cowardice, as with the ordinary intellectual. But the one who has love, courage, and wisdom moves the world.” –Ammon Hennacy (Catholic activist, 1893-1970)

This quote resonates with me and to me defines what I love about my calling as a teacher. It is the perfect mixture of love, courage and wisdom reflected in the pursuit of using my time, efforts and talents to make a difference, one student at a time. So today’s post is the top ten things I love most about Teaching:

10.  The connections that are made with students. Knowing that in some way I have been a positive influence in the lives of my students.

9. The opportunity to be a life long learner. I have lots of opportunities to expand my knowledge in science and mathematics, in order to impart this to others.

8. The chance to work with an awesome group of dedicated professionals, who truly care about the betterment of society; who are not in a career for personal gain or high salaries. What a great feeling to work with a group of capable adults in a truly collaborative environment, not a competitive one.

7. Teaching is fun! In what other career can do I have a captive audience to laugh at my never give upsilliness!

6. Learning from those who are struggling with content, and observing their perseverance.

5. Being challenged by students who stretch my knowledge and enthusiasm for the subject matter.

4. Yearly opportunities to start afresh; and to reflect on a year that is ending.

3. The opportunities to be creative! The challenge of keeping my students engaged

2.  The satisfaction in seeing a student’s face light up when they have finally mastered a new concept or skill.

1. The smile I see on the face of a former student when they see me out in public!


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Day 3 of Blogging Challenge!

Day 3     book title


Discuss one “observation” area that you would like to improve on for your teacher evaluation.

For the @TeachThought 30 day blogging challenge, (, I am asked to respond to the question above. For me, the area that I would like to improve and perfect is my questioning techniques. I want to be cognizant and improve in the quality of my questions. I want to be aware of times that I may be tempted to answer the question for the students instead of letting them struggle with the questions.

I am very good at including all students in responses, and in creating a safe environment in which students are comfortable in answering. This is half of the battle. At the end of last school year, I was given the book “Good Questions for Math Teaching: Why Ask Them, and What to Ask” by Lainie Schuster and Nancy Canavan Anderson.

I will be using this book as my basis for improvement. There are many good examples of methods to use.


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