Happy Friday! The sun is actually shining, which is such a mood lifter. There is still snow on the ground, but I can see patches of grass trying to peek through! I just ordered pizza and am going to watch *The Hunger Games* and *Catching Fire* with my daughters. Good day:)

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Rectangle of pentominoes Many 6th graders seem to have a pretty negative attitude about math, so I try to do something interesting to "grab" them during our first class. Last year, during the first math class, we spent part of the period working with pentominoes. Before working with the pentominoes, however, we played a name game so we could learn each others' names (I find it impossible to start anything else if I don't know some names, and fortunately, I learn them fairly quickly). rectangle outline For the activity, I divided the students into groups of 3 or 4. The directions for the activity were not complicated - the task was to make a rectangle, using all of the pentominoes. I gave students an outline of the rectangle, as pictured to the left, so they would know the correct size of the rectangle. The squares in the grid are each one inch. The rectangle is 5 squares (inches) wide and 13 inches long (13 inches includes the row that has the "Pent

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I am very curious about math homework in middle school, from a teacher perspective: How much math homework do you give? What kind of homework do you give? How do you go over it in class? Let me explain why I ask these questions. I have taught 6th grade math for eight years, and every year, my goal is to "perfect" the homework issue. My basic issue is that I feel that I spend too much time going over it (not necessarily every day, but often). In the past, we have reviewed homework in the following ways: 1. going over answers as a class 2. self-checking answers that are on the board and sharing any questions 3. partner-checking and then verifying 4. choosing only a few problems to check When I taught elementary school (for 12 years), I never seemed to have this problem....we had 60 minutes for class and I never struggled to fit everything in. But at middle school, we have 44 minutes (minus time to switch for classes), and I just haven't fo

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