Draw what I say is an activity where students can practice using vocabulary. It can also be used to practice reading and writing mathematical notation. Here are the rules for this activity:

Place the cards in a pile, face
down, at the center of the table.

One person draws a card, without
showing to the other people at the table.

The person who drew the card
should read the verbal description aloud to all the other people at the table.

The other people at the table
should attempt to draw a diagram that matches the description that the first
person just read aloud. Each person
should do this individually on a recording sheet.

The person who drew the card and
read the card aloud should check the other people’s drawings.

If the drawing matches what is on
the card, write a checkmark next to the diagram.

If the drawing does not match, write an x next
to the diagram.

Continue the steps above, taking
turns being the reader.

Each person should turn in their
drawings.

I have used this activity several times and students always have a good time. Here are three version for you to try.

One of the practice structures that I like to use to improve vocabulary is Taboo. Here are the Directions from Hasbro for the official game. Basically one player tries to get their teammates to guess as many vocabulary words in a given time as possible. The player chooses a card with the vocabulary word on it as well as several other words that are 'taboo.' The player gives verbal hints to the vocabulary word but can not use the taboo words.

For example, the player would give clues to have their teammates guess the word monomial, but they can not use the clues: polynomial, one, term, or variable. Maybe they would say "single addend" or "you find the degree by adding the exponents on non-numerical bases."

I think this game works best as a review after a very vocabulary heavy lesson or unit. It forces everyone to think of synonyms or descriptions beyond what may have been given in the notes or in the textbook.

My favorite way to use this activity is to have students create the taboo cards. I give the kids about 5 minutes to review the unit for vocabulary words to create their own game card including the taboo words. I have each student put their vocab word and taboo words on a quarter sheet of paper and fold it in half. Then as a class we play using the student generated word by pulling the cards from a shoe box.

Here are three versions of the game that I have created. If you try any of them, please share your feedback.

This year I've taken on the #teach180 challenge. The challenge is to post one tweet per day showing a glimpse inside your classroom. I'm also putting the tweets together in a biweekly blog so that I can share the resources that I'm tweeting about.

Day 171: Today we had our second to last weekly cumulative quiz!

Day 173: Today in algebra 2 we practiced using conditional and biconditional statements with this board game assignment. It was also the last day of class for seniors (I have 2-4, depending on which ones end up graduating) so it was a hectic day. One more week of classes for underclassmen.

Last weekly cumulative quiz of the year :) #teach180 also last day if senior finals. ♡ that they come back 3yrs later to say goodbye ðŸ˜“ pic.twitter.com/lV3b3GaeVS

Day 177: Today was our last day of classes. I collected books and returned old quizzes. Students cleaned out their lockers and continued reviewing for final exams. I also had some fun puzzles available for those kids that were feeling burned out. One hopeful senior spent a full seven hours in my room today (and two hours yesterday). She had a rough year and made some bad choices but she earned a passing grade today and will walk with her classmates next week. I'm not sure whether she learned not to procrastinate or that people will extend deadlines and go above and beyond to help you if you make poor decisions. I hope for the former.

Last day of classes #teach180. Administrative stuff, puzzles, and a senior in my room for 7 hours straight earning the privilege to walk pic.twitter.com/IAYeoTF51x

Day 178: Today my algebra 2 students took their final exams. They also took English exams. While I was not grading or proctoring test, I was packing up my room for summer cleaning. I also started meeting with teams to discuss and plan for next year.

Day 179: Today my geometry students took their final exams. They also took their history exams. In between tests, when I needed a break from grading, I moved my teacher desk and filing cabinet. After the last exam tomorrow, I'll start setting up my student desks (trial and error) to see how I might set things up for next year.

Today my geometry students took their final in another room. My room isn't being used again until tomorrow so I moved my desk #teach180pic.twitter.com/k8jkpAQFt4

Day 180: Today I proctored exams for science and continued to grade my students algebra and geometry finals. I also played with various furniture arrangements to assist in my plan to incorporate hyperdocs as we go 1-1 next year.

Proctoring a science final today. Then lesson planning with teams for next year and finishing up some grading #teach180pic.twitter.com/T7VALiG9re

Day 181: Today is our official last day of school. I worked on packing and un-decorating my room as well as finalizing grades for the year. I also had some time to start brain storming for the summer PD sessions I'll be facilitating on digital assessment.

What a ride this year has been. At the start if the year I thought I'd never remember to tweet a picture from my class each day. But I managed just fine. I think the biggest benefit was that I've been pushed to create better lessons this year. If for no other reason that I knew I needed to do something tweet worthy each day. I'll definitely be doing #teach180 again next year. I hope you'll join me :)

I'm always on the look-out for ways to make practice and fluency building more engaging for students. After hearing about other activities where students order values from increasing to decreasing order, I remembered playing the game Racko. In Racko, players try to organize 10 cards in increasing order. The cards are numbered 1-60 and are originally arranged in random order. Players have the chance to switch-out one card at a time until they are all in order. You can read more about how to play to actual game here.

My idea is to replace the original cards in the game with math problems. The rules remain the same. I have not tried this in my classes yet, but look forward to doing so. I created three versions of the game that you can try in your classroom. I created one for elementary school, one for intermediate, and one for secondary. I'd love to see versions that you create as well.

This year I've taken on the #teach180 challenge. The challenge is to post one tweet per day showing a glimpse inside your classroom. I'm also putting the tweets together in a biweekly blog so that I can share the resources that I'm tweeting about.

Day 161: Today we had our weekly cumulative quiz. Only 3 more weeks worth of these :)

Day 165: Today in algebra 2 we used EDpuzzle to learn about making truth tables for compound statements. It was also the first of 6 days of state testing. We have two days each for literature, biology, and algebra 1.

Day 167: Today in geometry we reviewed reflections using an ExploreLearning Gizmo. As an extra treat, we had an ice cream social to celebrate the halfway point of state testing. I hope it rejuvenates kids enough to finish strong.

Day 168: Today in algebra 2 we practiced making truth tables for compound statements using this worksheet. In addition to being day 4 of 6 for state testing, we also had our field day today. It is a spirited day of 'competition' between graduating classes. I use competition loosely because we have activities for everyone including athletics, carnival type games, coloring, rubiks cube, etc.

Day 170: Today in algebra 2 we used EDpuzzle to learn about making truth tables for conditional statements. It was also our last day of state testing :) Finally!

This year I've taken on the #teach180 challenge. The challenge is to post one tweet per day showing a glimpse inside your classroom. I'm also putting the tweets together in a biweekly blog so that I can share the resources that I'm tweeting about.

Day 151: Today we had another one of our weekly cumulative quizzes.

Day 152: Today in geometry we practiced finding the measure of inscribed angles (and angles formed by a tangent and a chord) as well as their intercepted arcs. We did this with a game of BOOM! Here are the cards if you'd like to use them. I got the idea from this TpT page. The BOOM cards come from Rachel Lynette.

Day 154: Today in geometry we started to mix in some review for our final exam. We reviewed translations with this Desmos Activity by Karina Powell. I love how every time we play Polygraph, kids ask to do more of it in the future.

Day 160: Today in algebra 2 we practiced finding the sum of arithmetic and geometric series by playing board games. This was a huge hit today, especially with my third period class where kids were screaming with excitement. A little snakes and ladders brings out the giddy child in these high schoolers :) Here is a link to the question cards if you'd like to use them.

This year I've taken on the #teach180 challenge. The challenge is to post one tweet per day showing a glimpse inside your classroom. I'm also putting the tweets together in a biweekly blog so that I can share the resources that I'm tweeting about.

Day 141: Today we had our first weekly quiz of the fourth marking period.

Day 143: Today in algebra 2 we practiced evaluating logarithms with this domino activity. Students have to rewrite the log in exponential form and sometimes they have to condense an expression first.

Day 145: Today in algebra 2, students practiced solving logarithmic equations using this earthquake activity. I wrote in more detail about the activity here. It was very cool creating to this assignment and working with someone from the USGS to create a reality based task.

Day 147: Today in geometry, we practiced finding central angles and their corresponding arcs as well as finding arc length by playing board games. I wrote about this is in more detail here. And here is a link to the game cards that we used today.

I can't say for sure where I first stumbled across Dance Dance Transversal. It was most certainly on twitter while catching up on #MTBoS posts. I found many people who had implemented the lesson, but the one that was done the best was this one by JJ Martinez and Jenn Vadnais.

Last year, I used their Billie Jean and Uptown Funk videos. My supervisor just happened to be doing a walk through as I was transitioning from one activity to the next. When he walked in the room, the kids were cleaning up their markers and other supplies from a project that they were working on (they were creating alphabet scrap books for "The ABCs of Geometry") while I was bringing up the needed videos. He inquired about what we were about to do for the second half of the period. I let him know that what I was about to do would either go horribly wrong or be fantastic. Of course with this bit of information, he had to stay. I wrote about the implementation on that day here.

This year, wanted to step up my game. Although I really liked the videos that JJ and Jen created, I wanted to make my own. I made a Single Ladies version and a Hips Don't Lie version. I love the Shakira video because I bring this activity to a higher level. By removing the visual cue for each dance move, I require students to think more about identifying the any types. Feel free to use either of these videos in your own class.

Next year, I think I'll add some sort of hand motions. Maybe one move for angles that are supplementary and another for those that are congruent.

I'm also looking for extensions of this. I know Jen also created a Tap Tap Trigonometry game where students 'drummed' to practice sine, cosine, and tangent ratios. I need to brainstorm where else this type of movement based activity might help students with vocabulary/identification skills. I'd love to hear your ideas.

This past weekend was my second year attending EdCamp Lancaster and my fourth EdCamp overall. If you have never heard about EdCamps, you should start looking for one in your area. Here is a quick video on EdCamps if you are unfamiliar.

I always try to sell the idea to my department when one rolls around. I tell them that breakfast and sometimes even lunch is included, there are great door prizes, you can earn ACT48 credits (Pennsylvania's continuing education requirement for teachers), and of course that it always ends up being some of my best PD every year.

This year I attended the following sessions and picked up a few morsels to bring back to my classroom:

Math Tech Tools - I shared Desmos's awesome activity builder and new geometry tool. Most people knew about the graphing calculator, but not the other two. I really advocated for the digital card sorts since that is my favorite feature.

The math tech tool that I learned about is Mathspace. I asked our department's lead teacher to see if she could get a free trial for us to use once we go one-one with iPads next year. I'd contact them myself, but it might be frowned upon if I over step my boundaries. I think this resource looks promising as it is supposed to be adaptive to hone in on students' exactly level of learning.

Logistics of Going One-One - I was hoping more for ideas to help with new classroom routines, but the session ended up being more about managing the hardware/software, etc. It was still interesting and I learned a little about how some schools manage the process. For example, one person recommended engraving the chargers with IDs to match the devices. At $40ish per charger, it can be expensive to replace ones that are not returned. Also, some schools replaced students devices with new ones when something went wrong. They just made sure that everything is stored in the cloud and that machines were wiped when returned. This seems like it would make for easy repairs since students would not need to return a loaner later to get their device. However, my biggest issue with my technology right now is that students do not respect it without ownership. They do things like pop off keys. They don't realize that replacing a keyboard can cost $400, or they don't care since it is not their device.

Hybrid/Blended Learning - This session was one of the requests that I put on a sticky note for the schedule board. I ended up being the expert in the room which, for selfish reasons, I was bummed about. I ended up going over the basics and some trouble shooting with other people who were in the beginning stages of the process. My post-it question was about obtaining buy-in from parents and students. I know the research supports this model. I have shared the research with my students and my parents and they typically don't care. The only thing they care about is that the model is uncomfortable, so they feel it should not be used. They feel that the only legitimate form of math instruction is lecture and that anything else it "not teaching." You can read more about my implementation of the model here and about the supporting research here if you like.

Anyway, I was a bit disappointed that there was no one in my session with more/better experience than me. Oh well, I'll keep looking for solutions.

Last year I attended sessions on motivating unmotivated students, hybrid learning and standards based grading. During the motivating students session we discussed trying to make the required curriculum relevant and/or interesting. I recall sharing Dan Meyer's anecdote about "what is the headache for which _______ is the medicine." That is probably my favorite guiding question while lesson planning.

During the hybrid learning session we shared k-12 resources for multiple subjects for the independent station and collaborative station. I remember recommending 3-Act tasks for collaborative. Finally, during the standards based grading session I again ended up being the expert. I guess I should feel happy to help other people when that happens, and I am, but I'm also a little disappointed too. Standards based grading and hybrid learning are a little too new, I suppose, for there to be masses of teachers locally with a wealth of knowledge. This is why I love twitter :) Because when your department is made up of teachers from around the world, you can almost always find what you are looking for.

Last summer I got the crazy idea in my head that I should incorporate robotics into my high school math classroom. I did a ton of research and narrowed down my first choice of robot to +OZOBOT. Then, by just being very very lucky, I learned that +Tryazon was doing a party/giveaway opportunity. I won one Ozobot bit for myself and one to given away to a party guest. I wrote about that initial experience here.

After this experience, I decided to apply for a grant through our local education foundation. Again, I was lucky enough to be chosen. MTEF bought a class set of Ozobots for my classroom. Here is what I've done with the Ozobots so far.

I knew that I wanted the end product to be a path that the Ozobots would follow. This year I'm teaching geometry and algebra 2, so I decided to do this assignment with transformations in geometry and as a cumulative review of graphing lots of types of functions for algebra 2.

In both classes, I started with this activity. It served as a great introduction to line following robots in real life as well as a how to guide on how our Ozobots work. I teach in a station based hybrid classroom, so this activity served as one station out of 4. During the other stations students received direct instruction and small group instruction on the mathematical concepts of transformations and graphing. This pattern continued throughout the duration of the project.

The next activity that I did with both classes involved students learning about the color codes and completing puzzles/mazes with the Ozobots. I scanned these images from the Ozobot bit starter pack that I mentioned earlier from Tryazon.

Here are the files for this portion of the assignment:

Finally, I gave the students 3 stations worth of time (about 60 minutes total) to complete the end product, a path for the Ozobot's to follow. This happened about every other day over the course of a week. Here are the documents that I gave to students.

And finally here are some of the final products from my students.

Many of my students would be reluctant to admit it, but they did enjoy this assignment. The excitement came when they put their Ozobots through the final run and the tiny robots were able to make it through their courses.

In the future, I'm looking to use the robots again to practice solving systems of equations by graphing. I'm hoping to have students use OzoBlockly to program the bots to plot the lines. I'd love to hear about your ideas for how you'd use the bots in your classroom. Please share your ideas.

I've been trying to be creative about turning card games and board games into alternatives to worksheets for building fluency. I saw some elementary level numeracy games using uno. So I decided to create a secondary uno game, well two actually. I made one game on identifying the type of conic section from an equation and a second game for identifying the types of angles formed by two parallel lines and a transversal. Uno could also be used to practice other skills related to identifying situations in math. Maybe another option would be for identifying whether a set of lines where parallel, perpendicular, or neither.

Here is how I modified the game to for conic sections:

This activity is pretty time consuming. I did not have kids play by the official rules of reaching 500 points, rather I just gave them a time limit and the person with the lowest score at the end of the time frame was declared to be the winner. The activity would work well for an extended period during a special schedule (exam season maybe).

If you have other ideas for topics to use for uno, of if you have other feedback, it's be glad to hear about them!

This year I've taken on the #teach180 challenge. The challenge is to post one tweet per day showing a glimpse inside your classroom. I'm also putting the tweets together in a biweekly blog so that I can share the resources that I'm tweeting about.

Day 131: Today we had our weekly cumulative standards based quiz.

Day 132: Today in algebra 2 we practiced finding inverses graphically with Mishaal Surti's Desmos assignment. For whatever reason, my kids understood this much better this year. I give credit to to awesomeness of visualizing with Desmos.

Day 134: Today in geometry we practiced finding surface area and lateral area of prisms and cylinders using this @ExploreLearning Gizmo. I think it really helps students to see both the 3D representations and the nets to make the connection between area and surface area.

Day 137: Today in geometry we practiced finding the surface area and lateral area of pyramids and cones using this Gizmo from ExploreLearning. I love how you can instantly create an infinite number of examples with a drag of a slider.

Day 138: Today in algebra 2 we practiced finding the inverse of logarithmic functions with this color by number assignment. Weird how a little coloring motivates students :) I think it is the relaxing aspect of coloring.

Day 139: Today in geometry, we practiced finding the volume of cylinders and prisms by using this ExploreLearning Gizmo. I love how you can see the relationship between right and oblique prisms so easily with this tool.

Day 140: Today in algebra 2 we used EDpuzzle to learn about solving exponential equations. EDpuzzle is awesome because you can import any video. You can trim it, add in audio and written information. You can also insert questions to check for understanding.

A few months ago, one of my colleagues nominated me for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). Although I sometimes get praise from my coworkers, supervisors, and the parents of my students, I've never been nominated for an award for my teaching before, so I'm pretty excited about this. Most teachers will tell you, that they get more complaints than recognition for what they have done well. So its really rejuvenating to be noticed for good work. I was warned by another colleague, that the application process for this reward was pretty intense. When I looked over the requirements, I thought (fill in some forms, get some letters of recommendation, submit a resume, record a lesson, and write a narrative) that the most difficult part would be the recorded lesson. However, I think the narrative ended up being the most challenging piece for me. I have dyslexia and processing language comes slowly to me. So I suppose I should have expected that to be the most difficult part of the application for me.

I just wanted to share some of the process here in the event that you find yourself nominated in the future. I think the application process was worth doing once. I don't expect to win, but I'm glad I finished the entire process. If I were nominated in the future, I would probably not reapply. I probably spent about 20 hours in the whole application process, and I ended up reflecting on my teaching deeply, but I'd be hard pressed to take so much time away from my work and my family again.

The first thing that you do when nominated, is fill in some basic information about your teaching assignment. Your building principal is contacted to verify your eligibility as well as to write a letter of recommendation. You also have to choose 2 other people to submit letters of recommendation. You could choose supervisors, coworkers, students, parents, or anyone else who could describe your effectiveness as a teacher. I chose my supervisor and a coworker who happened to be my mentor when I started teaching 13 years ago. My mentor wrote a beautiful letter that I ended up keeping a copy of to read on days when I need a reaffirmation that my hard work is noticed.

Next, you will have someone record a lesson for you. It has to be one continuous shot, which was a challenge. I understand the reasoning, but I wish I could have edited the video to include video confidential style reflections after the fact. My nominator gracefully agreed to give up her planning period to film my lesson. I tried to pick a simply lesson that was very routine for me and my students. The very next day, we were actually doing a really fun lesson, Candy Catapult, but I wanted the reviewers to see a typical lesson, not an above average lesson. Part of me feels like I should have filmed the project, but I only do 1 project per marking period and I did not want to represent myself as someone who has managed to implement tons of projects.

Finally, you write your narrative. This involves responding to several prompts. Some of the questions related to the recorded lesson and other lessons, other related to your teaching in general. This is the part that took the longest and eventually, I grew fatigued of the writing and I decided it would be best to just submit my application. I could have spent many more hours on perfecting the language, but again, I wanted to be myself, flaws and all.

Overall, I am thankful that my coworker felt highly enough of me to nominate me. And I'l also grateful for the wonderful recommendation that my mentor wrote for me. I also enjoyed the challenge of reflecting more deeply on my teaching than I usually have time to do on a daily basis. It would sure be a hoot if I were selected :) If you have the chance in the future, nominate a colleague who does a great job. It feels so nice to be recognized for our daily dedication to our teaching and we could all use more positive energy to get us through the many challenges of teaching.

This year I've taken on the #teach180 challenge. The challenge is to post one tweet per day showing a glimpse inside your classroom. I'm also putting the tweets together in a biweekly blog so that I can share the resources that I'm tweeting about.

Day 121: Today we had our weekly cumulative quiz. The end of the marking period is just about 2 and a half weeks away. Crunch time in showing mastery of this marking period's objectives.

Day 125: Today in algebra 2 we practiced evaluating rational exponents using these task cards. It's been too long since I used a good set of task cards. They really make the practice set more accessible to students and less intimidating as a bid worksheet. I got the template for the task cards from Teaching with Love in Texas on TpT if you'd like to make your own cards.

Day 128: Today in algebra 2 we practiced solving equations with rational exponents using this error analysis assignment. I did not create it, and at the moment, I don't remember where I downloaded it from. I'll be sure to update this once I know who to give credit to. I love error analysis assignments. Especially ones where some questions are solved correctly and some are not :)

Day 129: Today in geometry we learned about finding the surface area of pyramids and cones. I don't really like the way that I taught finding area of regular polygons this year (A=1/2ap) or the way that the use of this formula turned out. I think that if I end up teaching this class again next year, I won't give specific formulas, but use decomposition instead. I showed the students decomposition as well this year, but showing the specific formulas ruined their understanding of what surface area really means. That's the life of a teacher I suppose; always changing and improving.

Day 130: Today in algebra 2, we practiced verifying that functions are inverses using function composition. Weirdly, once students got the hang of composition, they thought this procedure was very satisfying. They liked how everything simplified to just 'x.'

Another game that my students have really enjoyed is memory. Memory works best for problems where students can solve mentally and quickly. I like to use memory with 1 step equations and inequalities in pre-algebra as well as with transforming parent functions in algebra 2. I have also used memory for practicing factoring difference of squares.

Here are the directions that I give to students explaining how to play memory. It's a little sad, but many of them have never played this game as kids.

Here is the full game that I create for my algebra 2 students to review factoring difference of squares. Originally, I had about twice as many cards, but my students struggled with solving the problems. They were too bogged down with the number of cards that they did not get to enjoy the game.

Another option is to do an internet search for matching activities on your topic of study. I'm not sure who to give credit for this assignment, but I could easily use the first two pages of this document to make a parabola transformations memory game.

Have you played memory in math class? Do you have other ideas for how to use this activity in your class? Please share!

This year I've taken on the #teach180 challenge. The challenge is to post one tweet per day showing a glimpse inside your classroom. I'm also putting the tweets together in a biweekly blog so that I can share the resources that I'm tweeting about.

Day 111: Today was another one of our weekly quizzes.

Day 112: Today my geometry students finished up their transformations project using +OZOBOTs. The kids cheered as the bots successfully completed their courses :)

Day 114: Today in geometry, we started Barbie Zipline to practice using angles of elevation. I added in terminal velocity this year to make it a little more STEMy. Here is the link to last years write-up if you want the student documents.

Day 115: Today in algebra 2 we wrapped up our Ozobot graphing project. Most kids get really excited to see their Ozobot successfully navigate their course.

Day 116: Today we had our weekly cumulative quizzes. Decided to come home at 4pm even though I only had half of the quizzes graded. I'm happy to be home now, but I'll regret not staying later when tomorrow rolls around :)

Day 118: Today we continued with barbie bungee in the geometry classes. We completed our trial runs and prepared to predict the perfect angle of elevation for our final runs. Tomorrow we go either to the atrium or the stadium to do our final runs. The students already made their calculations for both cases. The choice depends on the weather. Usually the high tempt is about 50 degrees here this time of year, but we've had some very warm weather lately. Time will tell.