Saturday, September 9, 2017

Week 3


I have my Geometry classes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  Because of the Labor Day Holiday, we didn't have school on Monday.
On Wednesday, we talked about Points, Lines, & Planes.  I intended to start with this PowerPoint that I got from Dan Meyer's website, but completely forgot to do it.  It worked out, though, because between setting up their INB's and the rest of the lesson, I had just enough time in the class period to get through it all. I used these foldables that I found on Sarah's blog, Everybody Is a Genius.
Then I had the students complete this Google Slides activity I found on Mrs. Newell's website.  I assigned it in Google Classroom and it was sooooo easy to grade.  And the kids loved getting to use their new chromebooks!
On Friday, we talked about Angles.  I used these two foldables from Mrs. Newell's website.  The first one goes over basic angle vocabulary,  The second one is a really cool wheel that defines some of the important angle relationships that students need to be familiar with.

Their assignment was this free Always-Sometimes-Never worksheet I found on Teachers Pay Teachers.  I loved how it really challenged them to think about and make sense of all of the vocabulary we talked about during the week.

Algebra 2

I have my Algebra classes on Tuesday and Thursday.
On Tuesday, we learned about the real number system.  I bought this foldable on Teachers Pay Teachers.  Then we talked about how to classify numbers using the Just Follow the Yellow Brick Road paper.  (I can't remember where this came from!).   Their assignment was to complete the Classifying Rational Numbers Mystery Pattern activity I bought on Teachers Pay Teachers.

On Thursday, we reviewed solving multi-step equations.  I've had this flip book for awhile and can't for the life of me figure out where it came from.  But it's a great support for kids who struggle to know what to do next when solving mult-step equations.  Most of my Algebra 2 students are pretty comfortable solving equations already, but for those who aren't, this is a good resource.  They worked together in their groups to complete this puzzle that I got for free on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Algebra 1

On Tuesday we reviewed the Coordinate Plane using this foldable I got for free on Teachers Pay Teachers.  Then I turned them loose to complete three different Desmos activities - The (Awesome) Coordinate Plane Activity, Battle Boats, and Mini Golf Marbleslides.  The kids loved it!

On Thursday we talked about Discrete and Continuous functions.  I started off with this foldable that I bought from Teachers Pay Teachers.  Then I let the kids play around with a virtual Etch-a-Sketch and a virtual Lite Brite so they could get a feel for the difference between continuous and discrete.  Their assignment was a worksheet I created on the website is a great tool for teachers in a 1:1 environment!

It was a great week.  Our students are concurrently enrolled in high school and college and we had College Acceptance Night for our freshmen on Thursday night.  The president of the college came and presented them each with a certificate to celebrate their achievement.  I'm so proud of all of my students and I'm so blessed to get to teach BCHS Panthers!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Week 2

This week I continued with my Week of Inspirational Math (WIM) inspired by

On Monday, we started with Sarah Carter's Guess My Rule Game.  The kids really enjoyed it and it reinforced the idea that math is about finding and describing patterns.

Then we did the Building Shapes activity from Week 3 of the WIM on  This activity was really a challenge for the kids, especially a couple of the 3D shapes.  I only had one group succesfully make the octahedron, and many struggled with the cube as well.  But the struggle was a good struggle - the students all felt confident that they could make all of the shapes, even if they weren't completely successful doing it in the time they had to do it.

On Tuesday we did the same two activities, but because my Tuesday/Thursday classes are longer than my Monday/Wednesday/Friday classes, we also had time to do the Pascal's Triangle Activity from the WIM on  I was blown away by the way the kids picked up on all the patterns by themselves.  It really highlighted for me that I should expect more from them!  I struggle with feeling like if I'm not telling them what they're supposed to see that I'm not teaching.  It's really going to be a focus for me this year to work on supporting productive struggle in my students, and if I've learned anything from these past two weeks it's that my students are definitely up for the challenge!  I heard multiple times "Illuminati confirmed!" as they worked on this activity.  😂

On Wednesday we did Pascal's Triangle and followed it up with the Painted Cube Problem from the second week of the WIM on  I just loved all the activities we did these past two weeks and this one was no exception.  Some groups struggled to figure out the 3x3x3 cube and others had no trouble with it and moved right on to the 4x4x4 and even the 5x5x5.  They were able to generalize the patterns they noticed and make predictions about other sizes of cubes as well.  I provided each group with about 50 snap together cubes - enough to build the 3x3x3 but not enough to completely build anything larger.  I encouraged them to really focus on how they got the answer to the 3x3x3 and then try and extend what they noticed to the larger cubes and so many of them did a great job.  This activity definitely gave me the opportunity to allow them struggle productively!

On Thursday we did the Painted Cube activity and then I gave them the rest of class to start on the project that I assigned to culminate our first two weeks.  I came up with a choice board of nine different projects for them to choose from.  I tried to address as many different "intelligences" as I could with the projects.  I'm pretty proud of what I came up with and can't wait to see what my students submit!

On Friday, I assigned the project to my classes and gave them the entire class period to start working on it.  While they were working, I took pictures of each student and asked them for their #oneword that they were going to really try and focus on this year.  This was a challenge issued by one of our associate superintendents on Twitter and I extended the challenge to our students.  Here are just a few of their responses.  

I'm going to print out all of their pictures and create a display at school.  I think it's going to be #awesome!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Week 1

The first week of the 2017-2018 school year is done!  We started the week with a solar eclipse and ended it with a hurricane here in Texas!  Lucky for me my week at school wasn't as crazy as an eclipse and a hurricane!
I decided to put off going over things like the syllabus and rules and procedures until at least the second week of school this year.  I dove right into working on establishing group norms and what good group work looks like as well as introducing mathematical mindsets and growth mindset to my students.
I'm on a block schedule and I have three preps.  I did the same activities with all three preps, but because of the difference in the lengths of my Monday/Wednesday/Friday Geometry classes and my Tuesday/Thursday Algebra 1 and Algebra 2 classes, it was a little tricky to keep track of what I was doing with each class each day.  This week definitely reinforced how important planning is!  I use for all of my lesson planning and I love it.  You can create whatever template you want with whatever components you want, and my favorite part is they have state standards already included.  You just choose which standards align with your lesson.  They even have a screen where you can see how many times you've taught a specific standard and on what days you taught it.  It's great!
In addition to the activities listed here, I've been showing the videos from the the first Week of Inspirational Math on Jo Boaler's  We watched the first three this week and I'll show the last two next week.  None of them are longer than about 3 minutes, they're very well done, and the messages are GREAT for introducing growth mindset and mathematical mindsets to students.

On Monday, I did Sara Van Der Werf's 100 #'s task.  It was a fantastic first activity that led us right into a discussion of what good group work looks like.  I made an anchor chart that summarizes the group norms we came up with based on this activity.

Next we did the Four 4's Activity.  You can find the directions for this lots of places, but I'm including the link to the one from Youcubed.  This was by far my favorite math activity we did this week, and it was a great first day activity because EVERYONE can contribute, no matter where they're at mathematically or how they feel about their math ability.  At the end of the week I put posters up in the hallway challenging the kids to use four 4's to find all the numbers from 1 to 100, so hopefully this can be an ongoing activity that the kids can work on.

On Tuesday, we did these two activities plus I had time to do Sarah Carter's Broken Circles activity.  Some of the groups had a little trouble with this since one person in the group starts with a complete circle.  I had to repeat multiple times "REMEMBER, NO ONE is done until EVERYONE is done" in order for some of those kids who had complete circles to let go of their pieces to help the rest of the group.  I added the words "NO ONE IS DONE UNTIL EVERYONE IS DONE" to the bottom of my group norms anchor chart after this activity.  We had a great discussion about talking responsibility for your classmates learning and how to help each other.

On Wednesday we did Broken Circles and then Fawn Nguyen's Noah's Ark task.  This was probably my second favorite math task from this week.  I love that it's basically a pretty complicated system but one that can be solved through some pretty basic logic and reasoning.  I did have to give a few hints here and there to get all the kids to solve it, but there were also lots of kids who got there on their own.  Whenever a group told me they had an answer, I always responded with "CONVINCE ME!"  I told them I didn't just want an answer, I wanted them to prove to me why their answer was right.  I was so impressed with their explanations and the fact that I saw several different ways to get the answer!  I encouraged kids to take the task home and challenge their families to solve it too.

On Thursday we did the Noah's Ark Task.  We also played Sarah Carter's Rainbow Logic and Traffic Lights.  The kids (and I) liked Traffic Lights the best.  

Then we did the How Do You See the Pattern Growing activities from the Week of Inspirational Math on  It was so enlightening for the kids to see all the different ways that their classmates saw the pattern growing.  We talked about how important it is to be able to explain how you see patterns, to understand how others see them, and to be able to see them in lots of different ways in order to make sense of the algebra that we use to describe them later.

We finished up on Friday with Rainbow Logic, Traffic Lights, and the How Do You See the Pattern Growing activity.  It was a great first week and I think the time lost to covering my actual course material will be paid back in spades by the thinking routines I'm establishing for my students now.