Day 3 – I have students!

Yippee! Today was like Christmas! I finally get to meet my 6th grade math class of 16 students.  The day started with a whole school Advisory lesson on CHAMPS, which are the school wide expectations.  There were 8th grade student leaders presenting to the 7th grade students.  It was great to see and there was good conversation about  a few of the items.

7th grade co-taught – We started their ISN’s today.  The teacher I co-teach with took my ISN professional development class last year and implemented them last year and loved them.  She has mentioned a few times how excited she is that I can help with foldables and ISN stuff, that will definitely be fun!  So they started with their author page (it was assigned for homework) and then we glued in the TOC.  We had a good discussion about what an ISN is and how we plan for them to use it.  They were either really sleepy or are great kids because they worked quietly to accomplish the task.  This will be a fun group to work with!

I worked with a couple of teachers today to assist them with the new Pearson digits product the district adopted last year.  We had to work through some bugs, but I think we figured it all out.  It’s a great program and resource for teachers to use and it’s all digital, which is fantastic. Our students do not receive any math textbooks and have not for a few years.

8th grade co-taught – They came down to my room (The MALL) to log into Digits and take the first Unit’s Readiness assessment.  The readiness assessment is a pre-assessment on skills necessary to be successful in the coming unit.  When the students are finished, the program automatically assigns them intervention lessons on the topics & skills they need the most work.  I plan to use those readiness assessments with all teachers in all grades to help identify students who will need more assistance with math this year.  The students didn’t really have issues logging in, but the assessment was a little harder than they thought.  Many said they were happy it wasn’t going to be for a grade.  This is a rowdier group of students, beside myself and the classroom teacher, there are two other aides in the room for 28 students.

My 6th grade math class is coming! I had planned a day of fun math problem solving, no rules for me…they heard them from every other teacher.  I basically told them the same rules apply to my classroom and that we would discuss them as needed.  I greeted them at the door, told them to choose any seat and follow the directions on the daily agenda.  I LOVE Rachel Rosales’s Name Plate activity (& have used it before), so they were working on putting their name on the front along with 4-5 pictures to help me get to know them.  I will say having 16 students is going to be nice and easy to get to know!  They had the length of two songs to complete that part before we moved on.  Then I introduced myself again, told them a little bit about me and asked them to open the flap on their name plate for Thursday and complete the “I Notice” (from Drexel University & Max Ray) before we did anything else.

Then I explained the Pentominoes Activity they were going to work on in their groups, handed out the materials and let them play.  I wanted an activity that had a low entry point, where their previous experience and understanding of math didn’t stop them from participating.  I also wanted a good cooperative group beginning activity and when I saw it on that blog, I knew it was the perfect activity.  They worked really hard and there was great conversation, frustration and perseverance.  After about 15 minutes I did provide them with a few hints, but none of the groups were successful in solving the puzzle this time around.

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A great question from one of the students was, “What does this have to do with Math?”. We took a break to discuss and the students came up with answers such as “Area, perimeter, shapes, Geometry, problem solving, working together, etc.” I mentioned that this was a math activity, but the main focus was to work together to accomplish a task. I really liked being able to walk around and observe the students while they work to start learning about who they are as mathematicians.

At the end of the class, with no solutions found, I clarified that in this class sometimes we will be frustrated and unable to solve a problem within our class time and that is OKAY! The most important part is how we problem solve and go about trying to figure out the solution. We closed with having them complete their “I Wonder” for Thursday and turned in their name plates and grabbed a Who Am I flag pennant to complete for homework. I used her free template, but changed what I wanted them to write in each box.  I will use those to decorate the classroom or maybe one of the bulletin boards!

I found an online version of Pentominoes for students to play and sent them the link via Remind. The HARD level in this game is what we were working on in class. http://www.scholastic.com/blueballiett/games/pentominoes_game.htm.

It was nice to finally meet my students today. Keep in mind I haven’t taught 6th grade since my first year of teaching…I’ve been 8th grade since then.  They are definitely smaller and less edgy than the 8th graders are. I am not a convert yet…I love my 8th graders, but I think it’s going to be a great  year!

US History tied to Math

Being in the middle school, I have taught US History for 12 years and while I initially was not thrilled to teach it, it has become a subject that I love.  I love the discussions that my students can have because they feel that sharing an opinion is “safe”. They challenge each other, add to what someone else said and bring up good questions that make all of us think. They all want to participate and discussion tend to go longer than planned.  Why can’t this be a math classroom?  Why are students so afraid to do all of this in math? I see it even more now because I have the same group of students for History that I do for Geometry.  In History while evaluating primary sources, they toss out questions, ideas and opinions, but in Geometry when we look at different ways to solve a problem, they take it as it is and rarely challenge.  I have found they do much better in small groups, at their tables, sharing with each other.  I love using cooperative grouping in my classroom, but can’t they reach a point where sharing to a large group is okay?  I want them to treat math the same way…without fear of what they say, without judgment by their peers for the answer they share, because that is the math classroom I desire and they deserve.  Now how can I improve on this for the future?

 

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Explore the MToBS Mission #1

I am late to the game…not because I forgot but because I just got SO FAR behind in grading (need to stop assigning!!), preparing and getting my presentation ready for ICTM. And I couldn’t decide what to write about, sometimes I can be so indecisive!

According to the Explore MToBS blog post for this mission, we are to choose between two blog topic options:

You are going to write a blogpost on one of the following two prompts.

  • What is one of your favorite open-ended/rich problems?  How do you use it in your classroom? (If you have a problem you have been wanting to try, but haven’t had the courage or opportunity to try it out yet, write about how you would or will use the problem in your classroom.)

  • What is one thing that happens in your classroom that makes it distinctly yours? It can be something you do that is unique in your school… It can be something more amorphous… However you want to interpret the question! Whatever!

I want to write about one thing that makes my classroom distinctly mine, yet I don’t really know what that is. I feel like I borrow and take so much from my online PLC and my real life PLC that I am not sure what is really mine anymore.  That isn’t a bad thing, just that I wasn’t sure what made my class different from other classrooms.  So I took @JustinAion’s idea and asked my students. I sent a Remind101 text with a link to the Google Form survey and waited (not very) patiently for the results to come in.

Here are the results in a Wordle from 56 of my 120 students.
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I really enjoyed reading their responses. There are a few misconceptions that I need to clarify “we skip around the book, like 3.1 and then 6.5”, but that’s the curriculum not me & we don’t even use the book. Some feel that I rush through lessons so we do more activities and other feel like we spend too much time on lessons and don’t do enough activities. 🙂 Some of them don’t quite grasp the idea of the ISN or see its usefulness, that is definitely something I need to work on if that is the case! One comment really stuck with me “She uses worksheets and the “ISN” to teach new lessons. I dislike the way she teaches for math using worksheets.” because I don’t use worksheets. In fact today was the second day they received a homework assignment that was a worksheet.  I am not quite sure what this comment means, except that I need to clarify and change something about the perception of worksheets. I was also able to see that my prediction was correct for a few comments about wanting to use the textbook (we DON’T have one to use!)…they have only ever learned from a textbook, so not having one and creating our own is a huge change for them.

They identified the ISN as the thing that makes my class unique, along with Standards Based Grading (Skill Assessments) and the MathXL online homework.  This was a great reflection for me as we are coming to the end of a quarter and I usually give them an End of Quarter survey about class. I plan to change a few of the questions before giving it to them. We spend the day after the survey, talking about changes we want to make to the class and clarifying things. I love giving the students a voice in the classroom environment! If you want to read all of the comments you can click here:  Makesdifferent

 

 

#Made4Math: VistaPrint Stamps

Waaaayyyy back in the summer I purchased the Vistaprint Groupon when it was $17 for $70 worth of items. I love Vistaprint and have used it for years in many aspects of my teaching and non-teaching life.  I procrastinated (huge overarching theme for me) and waited until the last minute to finalize my purchase.  I had all of these grand ideas of positive note cards and cute things with my name.  That didn’t happen, but I did order the following stamps and items. I am excited to get them in the mail (I did the free shipping that says it takes forever but it never does.) Checked is in red ink, Like and Whoooo’s paper is in blue and the fridge one is the larger stamp because I wanted it in green. I should have ordered the Whoooo’s one larger too and gotten it in purple, but it will be fine in blue.  I also ordered some note cards. I used the Teacher Appreciation Subway Art file from eighteen25. Check out the rest of her cute subway art files for FREE!

checkedin like WhooosPaperfridge

I am already thinking about what other stamps I could order. 🙂 I use them to check in their daily work, so using different graphics, words and colors would be fun!

#Made4math: CCSS Flipbooks – My most used resource

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Okay…so I was thrown into the Common Core Standards this year with little direction from our district.  They had a committee that put together curriculum and they did a great job, but it was a little difficult to follow and just so much at one time…I think we were all seeing stars.  At the start of the year, we were looking for any resources we could find.

During one of our Institute Days, while searching for some resources I came across the Kansas Association of Teachers of Mathematics Common Core resources page.  And while it may not look like a lot at the start, if you scroll down to the middle of the page, you see a link for these AMAZING flipbooks.  They are for the Math Standards and broken down by grade level.  The teachers I work with and I were thrilled!!!   We gathered card stock paper to print them on and went to town.  My keen eye for organization allowed me to color code my book so each standard is a different color.  (For those that follow this blog or my Twitter feed, this is not surprising.) Check them out!

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In an earlier post, I reference making the Geometry one.  I opened up the High School Flipbook, but only printed the pages that I needed specifically for Geometry, since I will be teaching it next year.

How to make your own awesome flipbook:

1. Download and save the PDF for the flipbook you need
2. Open the file and go through the book counting how many pages for each standard strand. This will allow you to color code it as you print it.
3. It says you can print back to back, but I haven’t been successful ANY TIME I have tried to do that.
4. When you print you want to select 2 pages per sheet, so you get a handy small flipbook and not a large giant one.
5. Use the paper cutter to cut the pages in half. No other trimming of the sides is needed.
6. Now is the “fun” part, you will need to sit down with a good pair of scissors and cut off on the dotted lines (provided in the PDF file) to create all of the awesome HELFPUL tabs.
7. Use your three hold punch to punch two holes in the pages.
8. Get two binder rings from someone in your building…they can be found.  Or ask someone who scrapbooks.
9. Bind them together with the rings.
10. Put your name on them and show them off at every meeting you attending.  Make all other math teachers jealous!

There you go.  I use this awesome resource DAILY as I look for the standards I am teaching or will be teaching.

Thank you to Melissa Hancock for creating them and posting them on the KATM site!

Procrastination is the key to Inspiration

…At least that’s what I tell myself! 🙂 

I had a very LONG list of things I was supposed to get accomplished this weekend, the largest one being cleaning.  I was definitely inspired…to do anything BUT clean!

What did I actually get done?
*Joining the #CCSSdraft and preparing to write the coolest lesson ever
*Blog post about confidence in math
*Cleaned the pantry
*Played with the dogs & taught one of them a new trick
*Started working on designing/putting together my plan book for next year
*Created my Geometry CCSS Flipbook for next year (I only printed the Geometry standards, two to a page & back to back)
*Took a nap (or two)
*Watched the movie Flight
*Caught up on my G-reader in Newsify & downloaded Feedly (but didn’t move stuff yet)
*Discussed quite a few things on Twitter
*Started pulling together graphics, fonts & design elements for my new blog design (I am tired of the wordpress themes…any helpful suggestions?)
*Worked on a Quadratic Stations review for Algebra tomorrow (it’s not done yet, when it is…I will post it!)
*Created a sign for my students to excite them about the end of the year (not sure they need any additional excitement though)

hmmm…I guess I did get quite a few things done.  Too bad none of them involved my house becoming shiny and clean!

Have a great rest of your Sunday!

Geometry – Looking at it from the right angle

Ha ha ha.  I crack myself up.  I love the title of this post.  🙂

Last week we found out our teams for next year (I teach in a middle school) and there were a lot of changes.  This is my 13th year of teaching with the last 11 of them being 8th grade Algebra and Pre-Algebra. I found out that I am moving to teach 8th grade Geometry.   I LOVE Algebra and I am very sad I will not be teaching it next year. (yes, yes I know there is Algebra in Geometry) The Geometry students are the best of the best; they are two years ahead in math and while I am excited for the change now, my initial reaction was not the most positive.  I did not like Geometry in high school, though I did enjoy it more in college…it was always something that I wasn’t too keen on and I struggled with it.  I do think that will help as I am learning to teach Geometry; I want to strive to make it meaningful to my students so they do not have the same opinion of it that I did.  My district is rewriting the curriculum this summer to become Common Core and I won’t get it until the institute day in August.  THAT freaks me out because I do not know anything about pacing or why certain topics have to come before others.  My Type-A personality wants more information.  So I turned to my Twitter peeps to ask for helpful resources.  I received a fantastic amount of responses and can’t wait to check them out!

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I wanted to put together a blog post to document what was shared in case it would assist other teachers.  But in reality I am just blogging about it so I can have all of the links in one spot. 🙂

*Remember these are all just suggestions from the MathTwitterBlogosphere as well as my own findings and additions. And they will be updated as I find more! (Let me know if you have items to add!)

Twitter People (& their blogs) to Follow
Kate Nowak (@k8nowak) – function-of-time.blogspot.com
Tina C. (@crstn85) – drawingonmath.blogspot.com/
Nat Banting (@NatBanting) – musingmathematically.blogspot.com
Soph Germain (@sophgermain) – abrandnewline.wordpress.com
David Peterson (@calcdave) – Longtailsofinterest.blogspot.com
Marsha Foshee (@MarshaFoshee) – math-termind.blogspot.com
Mike Mathews (@mwmathews) – mwmathews.wordpress.com
Elissa Miller (@misscalcul8) – misscalculate.blogspot.com
Elizabeth (@cheesemonkeyst) – cheesemonkeysf.blogspot.com
Fawn Nguyen (@fawnpnguyen) – fawnnguyen.com

Book Resources
John A. Van De Walle (a la @pamjwilson)
Discovering Geometry by Michael Serra  (a la @pamjwilson & @zidaya & @Martianson)
Measurement by Paul Lockhart   (a la @j_lanier)
Symmetry, Shape and Space (@mathhombre & ‏@zidaya)
Geometry – Seeing, Doing, Understanding by Harold Jacobs  (@zidaya & @JJJsally)
CME Project Textbook  (a la @ ‏mathhombre)

Web/Curriculum Resources
Art of Problem Solving  (a la @j_lanier)
investigations1213.blogspot.com  (a la @j_lanier)
geometry.mrmeyer.com
Geometry Inquiry Based Curriculum Map
Geometry CCSS PrBL Curriculum Map
Dropbox filled with project ideas
A take on CCSS Geometry pacing
Dan Meyer’s Three-Act Math Tasks
Andrew Stadel 3-Act Math Tasks
Nathan Kraft’s 3-Act Math Tasks
Virtual Filing Cabinet (scroll down to get to Geometry) (@sandramiller_tx)
Virtual Filing Cabinet (scroll down to get to Geometry) (@samjshah)
Virtual Filing Cabinet (@nathankraft1)
Re-thinking Geometry Wiki (a la (@crstn85)

Technology Resources
GeoGebra
Geometer’s Sketchpad

Hands-on Resources
Patty Paper & Patty Paper Geometry by Michael Serra (a la @zidaya & @Martianson)
Geometry INB Ideas & foldables

Looking at all of the resources that are online, I am getting more and more excited to work with these special group of students next year.  And I hope to be able to contribute to all of the fantastic resources listed above!

My HUGE goal is to use ISN’s next year with both my Geometry classes and my US History classes.  This was my first year using them in Algebra and 8th CCSS and I loved them.  I can’t see myself going back, but it will be a struggle trying to stay ahead of the game enough to know what I want to go in the ISN! 🙂  But I am never one to walk away from a challenge, so bring on 2013-2014!