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Classwork Confusions
Substitute teachers end up in classes that they don't always know the subject very well.  This section helps to answer questions that substitute teachers may have heard in the classroom, and didn't know the answer to.

May 2008 Classwork Confusions PDF Print E-mail

Today the students in my class were learning about the Oregon Trail.  The worksheet did not cover that much, luckily the students did not ask questions beyond the worksheet.  Wasn't there a computer game that kids used to play to help learn about this subject?

Yes, there is a computer game called Oregon Trail.  You can purchase it from the manufacturer here: Oregon Trail.  There is an informative website here, that is great for teachers and students.

April 2008 Classroom Confusions PDF Print E-mail

When kids are learning fractions, it is very difficult for them to visualize it.  How do I help them out?

Many things can be used to help students learn about fractions.  My personal favorite tool is a Hershey bar! It is just one bar, but there are little sections, so you can show the student that you can also call the Hershey bar 12/12 instead of 1.  If you give the student 3 pieces, how much of the Hershey bar do they have?  They would have 3/12 of the Hershey bar.  In the beginning, do not reduce the fraction, keep the denominator at 12.  You can find a lot of items around the classroom to demonstrate that with.  Even broken crayons work.  If you put the two pieces together, you have 1 crayon.  You can give 1 piece to the student, and then they have 1/2 of the crayon.

March 2008 Classwork Confusions PDF Print E-mail

I don’t recall the exact wording on the worksheet, but there were a bunch of sentences on the page, and the students needed to underline and circle different parts of the sentence and parts of language. I know a noun is a person, place, or thing, and a proper noun I told them was a name or place normally starting with an uppercase. What are the definitions of the others? Even the aid in the room couldn’t remember what all the different things the students were suppose to find were! We also looked in the students’ books and couldn’t find the answers. If you can give all the definitions I’d love to rip it out of the magazine and add it to my sub bag!

There are nine parts of speech: adverbs, adjectives, article, conjunctions, interjections, nouns, prepositions, pronouns, and verbs.

Verbs are action: jump, run, pull

Nouns are people, places, or things: a boy, a park, a truck

Pronouns take the place of a noun: I, she, who

Adverbs are how something is done: quickly, badly, well

Adjectives describe the noun: blue, tall, tired

Prepositions link nouns, pronouns and phrases to other words in a sentence: through, above, during

Conjunctions are words that link words, phrases, or clauses: and, but, or

Interjections show emotion: Hey! Oh. Ouch!

Articles specify a noun: the, an, a

February 2008 Classroom Confusions PDF Print E-mail

A student asked me for help with her math worksheet that was all about quadratic functions. I don’t remember about those, can you give me a refresher course?

Sure! A quadratic function is simply f(x) = ax^2 + bx + c, where a cannot equal 0. All quadratic functions on a graph will be a parabola. Those are the lines in the shape of a “u”, pointing in any direction, depending on the numbers in the equation.

Where do I find the direct object in a sentence?

The direct object is the noun that receives the action of the verb. For example, in “The children drew pictures.” What did the children draw? Pictures would be the direct object. “The boy hugged his mom.” Who did the boy hug? Mom would be the direct object.

A student in math asked me what “congruent” meant. Fortunately it was time for gym so I didn’t have to answer, but I’d still like to know!

“Congruent” in math, means that two shapes are similar. If two triangles are exactly the same, then they are congruent. A triangle could have congruent angles, but not congruent sides, if one triangle is bigger than the other, but still the same shape.