My school doesn’t cover interval notation in its curriculum.  We focus primarily on inequality notation, although I tend to use the more specific set-builder notation.  Each representation has its merits, so I wanted to include interval notation more this year, as an occasional aside.  I’ve made a poster (8.5×14) that I’m going to hang up in my room to help students see the connections between the inequality symbols, the choice of open/closed points on a number-line, and the choice of soft/hard brackets in the interval notation. I’ve also made a color-coded version where students can ask themselves, “Can I include this point?” Green=”yes, include”, and red=”no, exclude.” Half of my classes this year are geared toward students who had received <40% in their last math class, so I’m hoping that the stop-light colors can make this yes/no, include/exclude concept easier to grasp. [NOTE: Thanks to lovely conversations on Twitter, it’s been noted that the green/red combination could potentially be dangerous if you have any colorblind students! I’m working on another, more color-friendly version that you can use, as well. I will update this post when it’s been made!]

Before I hang the laminated poster up (I add posters throughout the year as topics arise), I’m going to print another one and cut up the grid into the 36 individual rectangles and hand one piece to each student in my class (if there are fewer students, ask your class “who wants another piece?”–I always seem to have a bunch of volunteers because this means they’ll get to talk to more people!).  Students will then find the two other classmates who have representations equivalent to their own card. Once a triple has been found, students will check their cards with the teacher.  If they are correct, they will move around the class helping the remaining students.  If they are incorrect, they will review which card(s) in their triple didn’t belong as a group of three, and then go back to finding the equivalent representations.

Would you like a copy of the reference poster? Get the color and the black and white versions here! (It’s free!)

Open House Kit for Math Teachers – Editable Freebie

Back to school season is stressful, can we all agree? I remember when I was a new teacher and the thought of Open House was terrifying to me (I mean, it’s still fairly stress inducing, but I’ve found ways to minimize that). Dozens of parents in one room staring at you (with what feels like a far more critical eye than their students) is enough to make anyone feel the pressure. It was always important to me to make a good impression during Open House so it could set the tone for the year. It is the first point of contact for many parents, after all.

Something that really helped calm my nerves was to make sure that I had an informational and professional looking handout that I could give to parents that gave them all of the necessecary information they’d like to know in one place. It also helped ME by giving my 15 minutes with them during Open House structure and I was really comforted by having something tangible to reference that they could all see with me.

I wanted something parents could physically take home with them because going to open house is overwhelming, especially if they have multiple children. I chose to make a short flyer that covers the biggest takeaways for the class and I wanted it to be something they could look back to over the school year as a reference for the course (where to contact, ways to get help, ect.). This flyer doesn’t contain all of the information for each class, though. Once school actually starts, I’ll send home a syllabus with all of the nitty-gritty details.

Although still a bit stressful, I love open house because I get a chance to meet parents face to face prior to confrences over Thanksgiving (that’s a long, long way into the year), and I like having the chance to speak about required materials before the year begins. I’ve been shopping for school supplies for long enough that I know most of the deals and can let parents know the best places to shop for what. I know money is tight for a lot of people, so this is also a chance to talk about priorotizing  and what the school has a limited supply of for students who need it. For example, our school has a small amount of calculators that can be checked out for the year from the library, but a lot of students don’t know about it! This is the perfect thing to discuss prior to the school year starting.

I’m also a fan of Open House because I have the chance to tell parents about the many ways students can get help throughout the year and give them an idea of what the classload will be. On the back side of the flyer (not pictured), I photocopy some school-specific information about how to access the online textbook and I print a HUGE picture of a few calculators I’d reccomend buying/checking out, if they don’t already have one.

Here’s the flyer I’ve used year after year. I’ve tweaked it to work perfectly for each of my classes!

If you’d like to use my open house flyer in your classroom, I’ve got good news for you! It’s an exclusive freebie for the Math by the Mountain Club! It’s 100% editable so you can customize it to your exact needs. Join here!

On top of that flyer, I’ve also made a whole Open House Kit that you will receive, for free! You’ll get a PowerPoint presentation (totally editable, of course) and a sign-in sheet for parents to use and for you to collect up-to-date contact info!

I hope that this can make back to school season less stressful for you! I sure know it’s helped me.

-Audrey

Get this open house flyer as well as the perfect open house kit right here!