teachers

Math In Real Actual LIFE!

All too often TMG tutors hear students complain about the lack math’s relevance to their everyday lives. We've all heard the classic “when am I going to ACTUALLY use this in real life?!” and “WHY am I doing this?!” We get it. You think that math is useless. BUT guess what? The answer to these questions is that there IS a purpose to what you are doing - you're EXPANDING YOUR MIND GUYS! You're building a muscle! You're adding a beautiful mathy-coloured lens to the kaleidoscope of your BRAIN! But okay, I get it. You want to see application. You want to see math in action. So we've got it! Sure, maybe not ALL of what you’re learning is totally and completely relevant BUT that doesn’t mean math is IRRELEVANT. In fact, math is totally plays a part in your everyday life, and we're here to prove it to you. So for all you haters out there, here are 5 ways in which you can actually use math IRL.

1. Baking

Did you know that baking is basically where fractions were born? Okay not actually, but maybe! When you read a recipe, all the ingredients needed to make that delicious batch of chocolate chip cookies are measured in fractions. For example, ¼ a cup of sugar, ½ a cup of flour, etc. If you wanted to make 24 or 6 chocolate chip cookies instead of 12, one would have to ACTUALLY do math by MULTIPLYING or DIVIDING the fractions. CRAZY, right?!

2. Road Tripping

Believe it or not, math comes in handy when traveling. Heading on a roadie? if you’re going on a road trip and want to estimate how much gas you need, you would calculate the predicted miles per hour and the distance traveled. By calculating how much fuel you might need for your super fun journey, you're eliminating the possibility of being stranded without gas– AWESOME!!

3. Time Management

One of the best ways to effectively manage your time is to make detailed to-do lists that involve some simple math. One way to figure out the urgency and importance of each task is by rating them on a scale of 1-5 (1 being of marginal importance and urgency and 5 being of critical importance and urgency), and multiplying these numbers (importance x urgency), to find out how to dedicate yourself to the task. Who even KNEW math could be involved in making to-do lists?! So COOL!!

4. Money Management

What should I do with my money? Should I spend, save or invest? How much do I spend per month on rent, groceries and other costs? These are all important questions guys! By NOT asking these questions and NOT doing the math involved in answering them, you could end up broke – YIKES!!

5. Grocery Shopping

Like we said, math is EVERYWHERE. YES, it's even in the grocery store. Ever go into the grocery store and want to figure out the cost of an item on sale or figure out the cost of a bag of oranges per pound? To find out the answers to both of these questions, calculations are needed! Multiplication, estimation, decimals, percentages - all vital to figuring out whether that supersize box of Oreos is actually a deal or ACTUALLY a total scam!

The Spooookiest Time Of The Year: Report Card Time!!!

It’s that magical time of the year again – no, not Christmas time – report card time. Report card time truly IS magical because it’s the perfect moment to gauge your progress both inside and outside the classroom. Report cards allow you to receive feedback from both your teachers and parents, helping to motivate you to keep up your current work ethic. In addition to receiving feedback from others, report cards provide time for self-reflection, the opportunity to see if you have achieved or are close to achieving the goals you have set for yourself. Divided into three EASY steps, this week’s blog post is a guide on how to act before, during and after you have received your report card. The purpose of this blog post is to help you realize that getting an 89% instead of a 90% is not something to cry about. I mean, really – both marks are AWESOME and you should be PROUD of receiving either one. Instead of crying over perceived failures, TMG wants you to learn ­how to SMILE about the successes that you have had so far and be MOTIVATED to continue putting forth hard-work in order to continue succeeding! After all, the school year is a long journey that has its many twists and turns; as my Dad would say: “school is not a sprint, it’s a marathon”.report-card1. Before: Self-Reflect

Although report cards are amazing pieces of information that straight-up tell you how you’re doing, I’m sure you already have an idea of your marks and what your teachers think about you BEFORE receiving your report card. So, instead of relying on what the teacher actually writes about you on paper, take a moment to think about how you’ve been doing in class. Ask yourself whether you’ve been completing your homework, handing in assignments on time, and putting forth your best effort? Do you truly, and I mean truly, come to class every day ready to learn? If not, then what can you do to improve? Take a moment to think about all of these questions BEFORE your teacher just hands you the answers. You might be pleasantly surprised and wonderfully relieved to see that you and your teacher are on the same page.

homer2. During: Keep Calm

I never liked reading my report card the second it was given to me, it really freaked me out to be reading it in front of my peers, I didn’t want anyone asking me my marks and comparing grades – it wasn’t their business, it was mine. So, whether you like to read your report card in front of others or want to go to a more secluded environment to look through your marks AND comments, the ONE piece of advice that I want you to have in mind is to KEEP CALM. Read through everything SLOWLY and THOROUGHLY. Teachers take their time to write comments, give marks on not only your school work but on other EQUALLY IMPORTANT categories like class participation and homework completion. Do not RUSH through your report card because it can tell you SO much about how you’re doing and can give you very important clues on how to help you progress throughout the rest of the school year.keep-calm-and-carry-on-crown-wallpaper-13. After: Discuss

After reading through your report card, don’t bottle up your thoughts and feelings about the feedback you have received. Discuss your findings with someone who you can trust, someone who will listen to you without judgment. Once you have discussed your report card with someone else, you can (with or without them), start to reflect on what you have read. Do you agree with what your teachers have said, are their comments fair? What did you do well on, what did you do not so well on, what are the areas that you can improve upon? After reflecting with the help of someone else, you can now create a game-plan on how to attack the rest of the school year and be, like we at TMG have said you can be, a TOTAL BOSS.icon_3373

Keep Calm and Carry On: How to Keep Your Math Anxiety Under Control

It’s that time of the year again. Classes have started to pick up, the first tests have already happened, and you may or may not be freaking out over your work and/or test results. Instead of worrying yourself silly over your future work and test results, let’s focus on building the skills that you need to keep calm and carry on in math class. stressedstudentgirl

  1. Stay on top of your work

As difficult as it may be to write down the information given in class, understand it, and do your homework, staying on top of all the assigned work can and will help you “ace” your math class. This way, once that test comes around, you won’t be freaking out over what information you didn’t cover—instead, you will be in the know. To help you take down as much course information as possible in an efficient and effective manner, check out our blog post on “The Note Taking #KeysToSuccess”.

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  1. Learn breathing techniques

When you get into a test and just don’t know what’s going on, take a few, repeated, big “belly breaths” to help ease your anxiety. There are many different types of effective breathing techniques developed but it’s important to find the one that works best for you. A popular breathing technique is called “box breathing” and involves visualizing a box as you breathe in and out, using your diaphragm, for four counts of four. To learn more about this technique and many others, check out one of our fave how-to articles thanks to Livestrong!

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  1. Ask questions

A key to succeeding in math class (and any class for that matter), is to ask questions when you require clarification on certain concepts. This can be an intimidating experience but chances are other classmates of yours have similar if not the same questions. Think of yourself as doing everyone a favour–especially since asking questions can oftentimes lead the teacher to give out hints regarding what kind of material is going to be on the next evaluation.

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  1. Be aware of negative self-talk

More often than not we can speak extremely negatively towards ourselves without even noticing. We all have the tendency to give ourselves small put-downs every now and again. If constantly repeated, these put downs can become automatic thoughts and part of our subjective reality. The best defence against this type of negative, self-sabotaging thinking, is to catch yourself saying these negative thoughts to yourself. Once you take note of your thoughts you will realize that you are not “completely doomed to fail” your next math test and are, in fact, “fairly well prepared”.

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  1. Slow and steady wins the race

A sure way to ease your anxiety around test taking is to slow down and take your time when reading through a test. The more you rush through a test, the higher the chances that you will miss an important piece of information and make a careless mistake. When taking one’s time to read instructions, it is often helpful to highlight or underline key terms in the questions in order to signal important information. For example, highlighting the words “show all your work” will ensure that you do, in fact, show all your work - ALL the time!

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In short, if you follow these small and simple techniques to combat your work and subsequent anxiety around test-taking, you should not only be more prepared for your upcoming evaluation but more at ease throughout this process. Test taking time can be THE time to show off everything you know! Don't let anxiety get in the way of boasting those brains!

Math & Memes & Talk Shows, OH MY!

It’s the second week of June and we know that can only mean one of two things - you are either in the thick of exams or soooo close to the finish line you can almost taste it. There are of course a couple of you lucky ducks that are already out for the summer and (whom we are totally jealous of). Whatever your current situation, we thought we’d brighten your Thursday with some math related (but totally awesome) content.    If you’re one of those people who thinks that math and science are reserved strictly for textbooks and classrooms, think again! We’ve scoured the internet to find you some of the most hilarious articles and videos that combine our favourite things: academics and pop culture.

 

  1. This article from U.K. Complex that worked out how Reddit used calculated how much money Joey owes Chandler (plus many more pop culture math problems). 

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2. These videos from Jimmy Fallon where he explains “popular mathematics”. Definitely not the most accurate source for educational resources, but we give Jimmy credit shining a spotlight on the concept of math, and giving the subject a prime time TV spot! (We’ve linked two of them below, but Jimmy’s made several of them!)

[embed]http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5s_BU2qkHyc[/embed]

[embed]http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZXyJXrG8C8[/embed]

 

3. This math meme ft. Lady Gaga that will totally help you remember how to deal with polynomials. BEST.

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4. The PBS Math Club just about knocks our socks off. This collection of Youtube videos riffs off of well-known movies to explain mathematical concepts. Videos range from a Wes Anderson style satire that explains how to multiply positive and negative numbers to a Mean Girls/Darth Vader collab that lays out adding negative numbers. We’re OBSESSED.                        

[embed]http://%20https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYdVKlyn1pE[/embed]

[embed]http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmarTb7wXro[/embed]

MMMVAs (Much Music Math Video Awards)

Sometimes the internet just blows us away. Between the thousands of memes, Buzzfeed lists, and those quick speed cooking videos all over our Facebook feeds, it’s never a dull moment. YouTube in particular is home to some pretty sweet content, including these HILARIOUS math parody music videos. Today, in our own version of the Much Music Video Awards, we’ve rounded up our favourites. If you’re in need of a little pre-homework pump up, get into the zone with one of these videos. We promise they’ll have you calculating to the beat. “It’s Just Math” - Frozen Let It Go Parody

Yes, Anna and Elsa love math. This song has an emphasis on geometry, which makes perfect sense, since Elsa’s frozen castle was basically constructed out of ICEsoceles triangles. (Pun, very much intended).

[embed]http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9bbM9_36zw[/embed]

“Teach Me How to Factor” - Teach Me How to Dougie Parody 

What’s better than catchy rap? How about a catchy MATH rap. This parody of “Teach Me How to Dougie” will actually teach you how to factor. So if you’re tired of staring at your notes from class, drop this beat in the background while you’re doing your homework and you’ll be a factoring pro in no time.

[embed]http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFSrINhfNsQ[/embed]

“All I Do is Solve” - All I Do is Win Parody

Ok huge shoutout to the WSHS math department for killing it with these videos. The same school who put together “Teach Me How to Factor” also has this gem of a song. “All I Do is Solve” focuses on solving equations, and it even goes through the three different methods, graphing, elimination and substitution!

[embed]http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qHTmxlaZWQ[/embed]

“Slope” - Hello Parody

Ok so maybe this one is significantly cheesier than our other picks, but if you’re trying to learn slope, this parody of Adele’s “Hello” is pretty bang on. Also props to this teacher who clearly just really wanted to sing about mx + b.

[embed]http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TeY8uoS8ULw[/embed]

Uptown Factors - Uptown Funk Parody

We’ll finish up on an upbeat note! This is another video about factoring, but this time featuring a slightly more recent chart topper with this parody of Uptown Funk. We’re obsessed with everything about this video - from the dance moves, to the outfits to the informative equations that pop up throughout! You won’t be able to help but sing along!

[embed]http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DhSjD5nLkjY[/embed]

Because The National Post Didn't Want To Print This

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Every once in awhile you read an article in another publication that makes you scream "THIS! THIS IS WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE UNIVERSE!" Well, that happened to me last week. So, like any normal human being, I wrote a scathing Op Ed piece for The National Post. And of course they didn't publish it. Lucky you, I'm going to share it with you anyways. Enjoy! In response to this gem of an article from The National Post, which essentially promotes the idea that some of us should simply 'give up on math' at the age of eight: Embrace your ineptitude when giving up is the right thing to do

“Embrace your ineptitude when giving up is the right thing to do.” First of all, wow, what a statement to make to your educated readers, many (if not most) who have no doubt worked hard to get where they are today – an aptitude level that enables them to read and (gasp!) understand the verbose and multi-syllabic lexicon of this very publication. What would have happened to this group of people is they had decided in say, Grade 2, that they simply didn’t and never would have the capacity to read so perhaps they should instead focus their efforts on ‘what they’re good at’? Numeracy and the presently increasing lack thereof among the younger generation is a growing concern, and as someone who failed math before realizing that her perceived ineptitude was simply something imposed upon her, I take issue with the notion that mathematical and direction-following ability is something that large portions of our population (marginalized groups and women, no less) are inherently bad at.

When I was in high school, I failed math. Twice. Of course, that made sense. I wasn’t good at math, I was good at art and English, usually it’s one or the other isn’t it? Can people really be good at multiple things? Shocker. My parents weren’t having it (which I am grateful for to this day, thanks mom and dad), and enrolled me in a smaller school where teachers didn’t indulge in the idea of ‘math people’ and ‘non math people’. Within a week I was enjoying the wonders of the forbidden fruits that mathematical knowledge held under the guidance of a teacher who believed in me right from the moment I walked into her classroom. I ended the year with a 99% in Grade 12 math, and went on to achieve a grade of 100% in first year university Calculus. I pursued a business degree, a teaching degree, and a Masters of Arts in Mathematics Education and now own a math & science tutoring studio in Toronto where the focus is on specifically eradicating and extinguishing the notion that ‘some people just can’t do it.’

Do we “live in a society that wants to change us into mathematicians and direction-followers,” or do we (and should we) live in a society where everyone has the opportunity to decide if they want to be a mathematician or direction-follower?  I see hundreds of students a week, most of whom do poorly at math because of a lack of confidence and a deeply embedded sense of inability. I work with students who, once they begin to succeed, are incredibly empowered by the realization that they can do something they believed so deeply that they couldn’t.

Math is more than calculations and Google Maps. Math is the intuitive ability to solve problems, to get creative, to think outside the box, something that no calculator or GPS can do for you. Sure different people may have different natural strengths, but do we really think that giving up if something proves difficult is any way to approach the many curveballs that life throws at us?  You say you’re here to tell us that “most of us cannot be changed." I’m here to tell you that most of us can be changed if given the opportunity, the inspiration, and the impetus to want to change. I’m living proof and I hope my story speaks to those discouraged and disempowered by your message that their brains perhaps simply ‘don’t work in a particular way.’ Your brains all work just fine – now go embrace that mathematical aptitude burning within and find a problem that needs solving!

New Year, New (Smarter) You: this one's for the parents!

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Okay okay, so in 2015 you yelled, you cried, you threatened – and it didn’t REALLY work – did it? You vow that 2016 will be the year that your child takes ownership over school, but you need to make sure that happens without losing your sanity! I get it, and I've got ideas! I was on Global Television's morning show last week with my top three tips on how to help your child while helping yourself. I wanted to share those tips in written form, and add a few more to the list - so here I go!

1. Give your child the independence they crave. This isn’t as scary as it sounds – I promise! Your teenager wants to feel as though you trust them, and as though they’re independent – they crave it. Cut them a deal: if they can show you a study schedule (make them SHOW you) and stick to it, you’ll stop bugging them to study. Simple – you get to stop stressing, they get to do all the work – just like you always wanted! Make sure you come up with a concrete plan with timelines. They get to try their plan for two weeks, or until their next test or assignment is due. Once you see how they've done on that evaluation, you can decide whether the schedule is working or not! Oh, and make sure you check in with their teacher to see if their homework is being done - if their schedule is as tight as they profess, they should be getting everything done on time, and it should show in class!

2. Get connected.  As a parent, it’s important to use your resources (aka precious, precious TIME!) wisely. Stressing over your kid’s homework is a futile way to spend time – but using that time to connect with your child’s teachers = useful! Get to know each and every one of them and ask the following:

  1. How is my child currently doing?
  2. How can they improve (specifically)?
  3. How can I help you help them?

We're all busy, so if you can't find time to actually hit the classroom, send them an email. Teachers want to help, and they want your child to do well. Taking a few minutes to make the connection and to find out what their expectations are will let them know that you - and your child - really care!

3. Go Feng Shui.  Okay you don't have to like, totally go Feng Shui, but you should definitely consider creating a chill study zone in your home. Often kids find it hard to get in the groove because they don't have a designated space that triggers that study-vibe lurking within. Create a designated space to be used for schoolwork ONLY - and keep it that way!

4. Emphasize effort instead of grades.  Sometimes it feels like the only purpose of doing homework, doing well on tests, and spending countless hours studying, is to achieve some sort of benchmark. A student once asked me what the point was of putting in the amount of effort she did, if she didn't ultimately get the grade she wanted. I was totally shocked - and sort of really sad! Working hard in school not only builds character and work ethic - it turns your mind into a kaleidoscope of information that never existed before! Learning is amazing and learning HOW to learn is amazing. Just because your child's marks aren't skyrocketing, that doesn't mean that they aren't working hard and gaining something from the experience. Make sure you place importance on the process so that they feel confident and productive always!

5. Help your child set and achieve THEIR goals.  We spend so much time emphasizing our goals that we forget that our kids are little humans with dreams and aspirations of their own. It's not really that inspiring trying to reach goals set by someone ELSE. And that's why this is the best idea ever.

Think about it: it’s hard for kids to get motivated when it seems as though their life is an endless pile of work. School has a purpose, and that purpose is to ultimately place your child in a position to achieve their dreams. This is the perfect time to sit down with your child and have a heart to heart – get them to write down a list of goals, short and long term. Without pressure, talk to them about how they might achieve those goals. Getting focused in a casual way can be not only anxiety-reducing, but really inspiring! Plus, you can finally stop asking them WHAT THE HECK THEY PLAN TO DO WITH THEIR LIVES!

Got a tip on how to make 2016 the year your child does academically better without driving you nuts? Let us know - comment below!