Tag Archives: teaching

Guiding the Way

I used to teach at a high school that had block scheduling. I loved having all of that time during one class period. I didn’t like having the students every other day. I now teach at a high school that has 48 minute class periods. That is 3 minutes more than half of what I was used to.  AHHHHH!!! Talk about the need to change how I teach.

The first thing I noticed was that students take WAY too long to take notes.


Guided notes. Makes more work for me the first year doing it, but saves an amazing amount of time in class. Plus, we don’t have to wait for those really slow writers to catch up.

Here is a couple of examples of my guided notes.

Advanced Geometry 7.4 Notes

I use Cornell notes for my Advanced Geometry classes.

Geometry 6.1 notes

My Geometry classes’ notes are made to cut in half and be taped inside their composition notebook. (I’ll explain this later.)

Pre-Calc 7.1 Notes

For Trig/Pre-Calc I just go through the beginning of the section and use the main things they need to know and examples that will help them do the type of problems they will need to solve.

There are a lot of advantages to using guided notes, but one of the big disadvantages I see and regret that it causes, is that students don’t know how to take proper notes without guidance. How will this help them in college? I’m torn about it.

I teach Sophomores in Geometry and Juniors and Seniors in Trig/Pre-Calc. I make guided notes for ALL of them.

What is your opinion of this?

Where do they go?

Every year I face the choices of what battles I will pick to fight with my students. No, I don’t go to blows with them. I like my job. But there are some rules that some teachers enforce that I find, in my classroom, can cause other problems.

I know this, because I’ve tried them. Maybe I’m just not the best enforcer when it comes to certain things.

This year I chose to throw out my rule of no drinking and eating in my class until it becomes a problem. I’m just tired of getting on the students about it. And I want and snack and a drink every now and again, so what is the harm, really?

I am also really tired of getting on students about not having a pencil for class. So last year I decided to use tin cans covered with colored duct tape. My desks were pushed into pairs of 2, so for every pair I put a can = 12 cans. Each can had 2 pencils, 2 red pens, 1 eraser. All of which were duct taped to a plastic eating utensil. I thought, “This will be great! No one will have any excuses for not being ready for class.”

It turned out to be a great failure. By the end of the first semester I had 2 pencils left, 4 pens, 6 erasers and even a can went missing. This all happened with me talking to them everyday about how that stuff is mine, I have it there for them to use, but please return it for the next class.

Needless to say, the next semester they had to bring their own pencil or ask another student for one. I still had some students who refused to ask others. Geesh! I don’t get it.

At the end of the year I asked the shop teacher to make me a holder for around 10 pencils. He made me one and it holds 11. PERFECT!

12-19-13 pencilsNow I’m not battling students who don’t have a pencil, but mysteriously about 8-9 of those pencils go missing by the end of the day. First semester I went through every pencil I ordered through the school. And I thought that would last me a couple of years.

What’s the deal kids? Your high schoolers. Sophomores. Juniors. And Seniors. Be responsible.

Any advise from other teachers out there helping me with my pencil problem? I’m up for trying anything. HELP! SAVE THE PENCILS! and my sanity.