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# Teacher’s Lounge Blog

Learn more about teacher preparation, test tips, online learning, professional development, and a variety of other valuable teacher topics.

# Sample MTEL65 Middle School Math Open Response

May 14th, 2021 | Comments Off on Sample MTEL65 Middle School Math Open Response | Certification Prep, Math Certification, Teacher's Lounge Blog, Teaching Licenses

MA DESE is updating many MTEL exams over the coming year.  As of the end of May, the MTEL 47 Middle School Math exam will be replaced by the MTEL 65 Middle School Math exam.  This is a welcome change for many as many of the more difficult concepts, including calculus and discrete math, were removed for this new exam.  There will still be two open response questions on this MTEL exam and one is quite different than the previous exam. Here is a quick sample problem with a response.  For more information on preparing for this exam, please check out our full-length, MTEL prep comprehensive course with unlimited expert instructor support. (www.prepforward.com/mtel-massachusetts)

The following is a sample problem for Objective 14 on the new MTEL 65 exam.

Standard: The Massachusetts Mathematics Curriculum Framework for grade 7 provides the following content standard:
Expressions and Equations (7.EE)
1. Apply properties of operations to add, subtract, factor, and expand linear expressions with rational coefficients.

Problems

1. Solve for x:  3x – 7 = 2/3
2. Factor  x2 + 4x + 4
3. Simplify  6(-x + 0.5)

Assignment
Analyze standard 7.EE.1.  Identify related prerequisite concepts and skills.  Critique whether the problems listed above are aligned with the content standard. Provide your own problem with different representations to teach the standard. Explain your reasoning.

Here is a sample response for the above problem.

The 7th grade standard under Expressions and Equations involves an application of the properties of operations to add, subtract, factor, and expand linear expressions with rational coefficients. Therefore, a student must understand associative, commutative, and distributive properties as a prerequisite. Furthermore, as the coefficients are rational, a student must be comfortable with all the operations with rational numbers, including negatives, fractions, and decimals. Finally, students must understand how to identify if two expressions are equivalent.

Given Problems:

1. Solve for x:  3x – 7 = 2/3
2. Factor  x2 + 4x + 4
3. Simplify  6(-x + 0.5)

There were three sample problems given for teaching this standard. Unfortunately, the first sample problem does not fit under this standard as the problem asks the student to solve an equation, which is a concept that is taught later as this standard only deals with expressions. The second sample problem also does not fit under this standard as it is not a linear expression, but a quadratic expression. The third sample problem is an appropriate question to ask students under this standard.

In addition to problems similar to the third sample problem, one part of this standard is teaching students to use the distributive property to find equivalent expressions.  An area model will help students visualize this.  A sample is included below.

In this problem, a student would be asked to simplify 3(2x + 5).  Using the area model, they would be asked to find the area of each rectangle and then add them together to find the total area of both rectangles.

# The #1 Way to Thrive – Not Just Survive – This School Year

October 29th, 2020 | Comments Off on The #1 Way to Thrive – Not Just Survive – This School Year | Certification Prep, Remote Learning, Teacher's Lounge Blog, Teaching Licenses

Whether you are a brand-new teacher or a veteran who has had some challenging school experiences over the years, there is one thing you can count on. This year will be different. Whatever you anticipate – it will likely exceed all your expectations – good and bad.

Covid-19 has changed the “face” of education, quite literally. You may be required to teach in-person classes, a combination of in-person and virtual (hybrid), or completely online. You may start the year one way and it may change after a week or a month.

Teachers need not only survive the 2020-2021 school year, but they also need to learn how to thrive despite demanding and ever-changing circumstances. How can you do that? BE FLEXIBLE.

Flexibility is one of the hallmarks of a good teacher. Situations arise all the time that necessitate rearranging your schedule, lesson plans, route to the cafeteria, teaching style, and so much more. This year, being flexible can save your sanity.

What can you do?

• Do not create lesson plans too far in advance. Ultra-organized teachers often develop lesson plans over the summer, at least for the first several weeks of school – not the best idea for this fall. Try not to make plans for more than a week at a time, as they will probably change. It is much easier to rearrange a week’s worth of lessons than an entire month.
• Prepare lessons that are easily adaptable for face-to-face teaching as well as online.
• Stock up (if you can) on cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer. If you do not use them in the classroom you can always keep them at home or donate them.
• Practice talking all day from behind your mask. It can get stuffy. One way around this in the classroom is to teach for 15 minutes or so and then let the students complete an activity on their own for about 15 minutes.
• Be open with communication with your principal, school board, parents, and students. Acknowledge that no one has all the answers. Everyone is doing the best they can right now.

Flexibility is key for teachers this year. Implement some of these ideas and add your own. You will not be able to eliminate all the stress, but you can certainly lessen it by preparing now.

# 7 Tips to Increase Success When Taking Online Classes

August 31st, 2020 | Comments Off on 7 Tips to Increase Success When Taking Online Classes | Certification Prep, Remote Learning, Teacher's Lounge Blog, Teaching Licenses

Whether you are taking online classes this semester as part of continuing professional development or are teaching online and virtual classes because of the pandemic, there are some strategies to help you and your students be successful.

It may take some extra effort, self-discipline, and motivation. No one disputes the fact that learning and teaching this way is an adjustment for everyone. Follow these guidelines to make the process proceed more smoothly.

1. Create a dedicated workspace to complete online work. This could be at home at the kitchen table, at a library computer station, or in a corner seat at your local favorite fast-food restaurant. Ideally, the area should be as quiet as you can get it or at least have a minimum of distractions so you can concentrate. Plan study times around family and work responsibilities.
2. If you have the option, start slow. Taking one online class rather than several, until you get used to the format, is the best scenario. If you do not have any choice, break studying into small, manageable chunks rather than sitting for hours in front of the computer to (hopefully) prevent burnout.
3. Manage your time wisely. Use an online or physical planner to denote study times, assignment due dates, and other commitments.
5. Organize your work, both in a planner and by creating folders on your computer. Keeping everything in a specific place keeps you from losing it or forgetting about it.
6. Become familiar with your computer and the learning platform your school uses. Have a reliable resource for computer-related issues – they always occur at the most inconvenient times!

The first time you teach online or take an online class can be a challenge, but it is not an insurmountable one. Follow our recommendations to make it easier.

# Newly Licensed Teachers Should become Familiar with Remote Learning Platforms

April 27th, 2020 | Comments Off on Newly Licensed Teachers Should become Familiar with Remote Learning Platforms | Certification Prep, Remote Learning, Teacher's Lounge Blog, Teaching Licenses

Most elementary and secondary institutions around the world are closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year due to COVID-19. Hopefully, between now and the fall, things will hopefully get back to “normal” in terms of everyday activities like eating out, shopping and educating young people. However, it is a little too soon to tell what will happen over the next few months.

If you are completing your requirements for a teaching degree, it pays to be prepared for any eventuality for your first teaching job in the 2020-2021 school year. This includes being familiar with remote learning platforms in case they are needed just a little longer than previously anticipated.

Researching, studying and practicing with a few different remote learning resources, particularly those currently being used in the district you want to work in, look great as an addition to your resume and can give you an edge over candidates unfamiliar with them. Developing a remote learning lesson plan to add to your portfolio can also be quite beneficial.

School districts and private institutions are using a variety of online learning models. Select a few of the most popular programs in your area and dig in. Here are some of the dozens of models from which you can choose:

• Zoom – Virtually meet with others through audio, video, or audio-video platforms
• Google Classroom – Integrates G Suite services with G Suite for Education
• Kahoot! – Game-based learning tool
• Buncee – Share multimedia presentations
• 3P Learning – Promotes reading, literacy and mathematics skills online
• Microsoft Teams – Collaborative chat tool for a group
• Skype in the Classroom – Communication tool for individuals or groups
• PlusPortal – Class pages, share data, engage with students and parents

There is no telling what next year will look like for educators or students. Without question, current teachers would have been grateful for a little prep time prior to being “thrown” into the remote learning scenario. Completing a little bit of extra preparation now can only help you and your future pupils.