Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Sunday Funday: Classroom Management

This is week three of the Sunday Funday blogging initiative.  It's never too late to join in!  You can read more about the challenge here if you like.  This week's challenge is to write about classroom management.

I'm about to start my 14th year in the classroom and classroom management is something that I still strive to improve.  When I first started teaching I felt the need to have lots of rules and procedures along with consequences, all in writing.  My go to resources were Harry Wong's The First Days of School and Lee Canter's Assertive Discipline.  

Both books have some great ideas for new teachers, but you need to wade through other ideas that won't work for you to find the ones that will.  I even took Sarah Carter's idea of using a few of Harry's quotes to put up in my room.  Unfortunately, my kids just laughed at his name :( 

Within a few years, I found that the many rules and consequences were not really one size fits all.  I also found that the better my lessons and relationships were, the less I needed the rules and consequences.  I soon found Love and Logic which is a much better fit for me.  Again, I had to search through the ideas to find the ones that work for me.  The pitfall of Love and Logic is that it can come off as sarcastic if you are not careful to use the ideas that are a good fit for your style.  I wrote extensively about Love and Logic last year in this post.   Now, my only classroom rule is "Feel free to do anything you like that does not negatively impact anyone else in any way."  It's a great catch all because pretty any much any old rule that I could think of would fall into this category.  My consequences are now personalized.  When possible, I try to take a Restorative Justice approach.  There is actually a graduate school near me that offers a master's degree in restorative justice in education.  It it on my long list of things that I'd like to do at one point.  Basically restorative justice focuses on the idea of making things right when you have done something to cause harm.

Related image

So there are my general thoughts on classroom management:  Focus on relationship building and respect, design engaging lessons, have one overarching rule, and personalize consequences.  Now, here are some of the specific prompts for this week and how I might address the issues.

1.  Sometimes, we do pick the right task, and are doing the right things, when something goes wrong.  How do you handle that?  

If the problem is with the lesson, I fess-up to students.  I think they are surprised the first time that I stop a bombing lesson.  I take responsibility for misguided intentions and regroup.  Sometimes I'll fall back on direct instruction at this point, especially if I've burned half a period on a lesson that was not working.  If there is no way to salvage the lesson, I might have students work on a long term assignment.  I always try to have some sort of project or even just spiraling practice that students can work on at any time.  That way, the entire class period is not a loss.

2.  What are your policies that help your class run smoothly?  

First and foremost, you must explicitly teach routines.  For several years, I have taught in a station rotation model.  I taught each station separately including resources for when students get stuck both academically and with technology issues.  Then we also practiced transitions like moving from one station to the next.  I loved music cues for this.  This year, I am switching up the station model a bit to allow for more small group instruction.  There will be less teaching needed for this model, but I'll still take the time to practice transitions with students.

3.  What are your go-tos?  

This year I'm excited to use visual random grouping for group work and the equivalent for selecting students to share solutions and participate in class discussion.  I'll use Alice Keeler's group maker add-on to create groups.  And I'll use a random number generator to call on students.  I think this will help with classroom management by teaching students that they are always expected to participate and make an effort.  They are also expected to work well with anyone in the class.

I'm also trying CPM's team roles this year.  I have never had much luck with group roles in the past because I have not enforced them.  I'm going to make more of an effort to make sure that my group work is effective this year.  I may try Mindset Kit's participation quiz as a way to help with this.  I found this rubric that I may use for this.

4.  How do we engage the student that doesn’t like our class, or is disrespectful?  

I struggle with this one.  Especially because I am so non-traditional.  I have quite a few students that beg me to lecture, especially at the start of the year.  They opt out of independent and group work, hoping that I will jump in and save them with lecture.  I find that persistence is the key.  I wish I had a better solution, and I'm open to suggestions.  I know that I'm doing the right thing by requiring students to take responsibility for their learning, but I have trouble communicating this.  I try to explain it like learning to ride a bike.  A lecture will not help, you need to get on the bike and feel the balance for yourself.  

5.  When do we contact parents and what do we say to them?  

I contact home often during the first few weeks via mass email.  I send out information on class routines, grading policies (modified standards based grading), required materials, and reminders about upcoming quizzes.  I back off after that and just send reminders at mid-marking period and at the end of the marking period.  This opens the doors for communication.  Later when I need to contact home for academic or behavior issues, things are a bit easier.  I also invite parents to observe since they are unfamiliar with station based learning.

6.  What resources have helped you that others could turn to? 

Here are a few more books that I have pulled some ideas from in terms of my daily routines.

David R Johnson's books: Motivation CountsEvery Minute Counts, and Making Minutes Count 

Doug Lemov's Teach Like a Champion

That's all for now, don't forget to read other Sunday Funday posts :)

Monday, August 7, 2017

Sunday Funday: First Day Plans

This is week two of the Sunday Funday blogging initiative.  It's never too late to join in!  You can read more about the challenge here if you like.

Last week, we wrote about our goals for the year.  I touched on my first day plans at that time, but here is a bit more info.

I mentioned in the last Sunday Funday post that I wanted to begin incorporating HyperDocs as a way for students to be engaged in independent work while pull daily small groups.  Here is the HyperDoc that I'll use on the first day of school for my students to get to know me and each other.

I got the idea for the Meet me by Slides activity from one of Alice Keeler's books.  I read all three this summer, back-to-back.  So I'm having trouble recall which book it was.

They were all good by the way. Even though I don't intend on using Google Classroom and will only have student access to iPads for the most part, I was still able to get a ton of ideas from these three books.

Here is what the first two slides of my Meet me by Slides assignment look like.

I'd also like to try having students record themselves saying their name and embedding the audio file into their slide.  I'm a little nervous about having 30 hot mics giving tons of feedback, but it would be nice to have pictures and correct pronunciations for me to practice from :)

In addition to the interactive slides assignment, I also plan on having kids do a bit of review on Delta Math and create accounts for it as well as Schoology.  We have approximately 30 minute periods on the first day of school, so this lesson is pretty short.  That said, should there be any extra time, my students and I will enjoy a quick game of Greedy Pig.

I hope that you all join in with Sunday Funday soon!  Enjoy!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Practice Structures:WAR Revisited

I previously wrote about using the card game WAR as a wad to practice math skills.  Rather than using a standard deck of cards, simply make your own cards containing questions that have numerical solutions, then play as usual.  You can read the original post for more details.  In that post, I shared two versions of the game. One for exponent rules and one for evaluating logarithms.

Here are a few more versions that you can use.  Be sure to share if you create any of your own :)

Kindergarten - Numbers to 20 WAR
Grade 4 - Milligrams, Grams, Kilograms WAR
Grade 6 - One Step Equations WAR
Algebra 1 - LCM & GCF WAR
Algebra 2 - Powers of e WAR

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Practice Structures: Old Maid Revisited

Last summer I wrote about using the card game "Old Maid" as a way to practice math skills.  Rather than looking for two of the same card, you are looking for a matching question and answer.  You can read the original post here for more information if you'd like.  At that time I included a download for a version of the game for writing a system of equations from a word problem.

Here are some new versions that you can use as well.  Feel free to create your own and share as well :)

Grade 1: Adding Two Digits Numbers
Grade 8: Solving Equations Using Square and Cube Roots
Geometry: Congruence Properties

Friday, August 4, 2017

Sunday Funday: #Goals

Goals, I have too many right now.  This Sunday Funday prompt comes at the perfect time for me to solidify them and hone in on just a few so that I can reach those goals.

My big aspirations for the year include tweaking my past standard based grading policies and well as blended/hybrid learning structure. I also want to begin to incorporate HyperDocs, visual random grouping, vertical non-permanent surfaces.  Finally, I'd like to include more projects and technology in my classroom.  And this is the narrowed down list!

First, I'll start with HyperDocs.  I came across this book The HyperDoc Handbook: Digital Lesson Design Using Google Apps in my efforts to reorganize my blended/hybrid format and to include more meaningful technology.  The idea of HyperDoc is to create an interactive student-paced lesson.  One of the issues I've had in the past few years has been getting my students to engage at the independent station with fidelity.  You can read a bit about what I've tried in the past here if you like.  Scroll to the bottom of the post for 5 blogs that I wrote when I first started using the model.  I've tried several methods of trying to get students to engage with this station, but did not have much luck.  This year, I'm hoping that by using HyperDocs, I will find more success.

Here is the HyperDoc that I'll use on the first day of school for my students to get to know me and each other.

Once we get into the school year a bit, I'll use HyperDoc time as a way for me to accomplish small group instruction.  I'll try to design the HyperDocs so that they can be done independently while I pull groups.

My next goal is to tweak the variation of standards based grading that I use.  It's been a long time since I wrote about SBG, and I really need to do another separate post with updates.  I love SBG, but I feel like it creates a very segmented course.  Sometimes students end up seeing math a unrelated topics.  I like to include projects to combat this notion, but a project is difficult to measure in an SBG environment.  I also like to give a tiny grade for effort and participation, which is impossible with full SBG.

Here is the HyperDoc that I plan to use on the second day of school for introducing students to my version of SBG.  70% of my students grades will be standards based, 20% will be traditionally graded projects, blog, and other accuracy based assignments, and 5% will be based on participation and work completion.

As for Visual Random Groups (VRG) and Vertical Non-Permanent Surfaces (VNPS), these are concepts that came up at TMC16.  I've never been a TMC, mainly due to the cost of travel, but I always follow along on Twitter and the wiki.  Because I was trying to wrap my mind around these ideas so close to the start of the school year, I was not ready to dive last fall, but now I am.  Laura Wheeler did a bang up job of summarizing these ideas in this post:  Visibly random groups & Vertical non-permanent surfaces.  If you want more formal reading, you can view these papers by Peter Liljedahl:



I made a pretty large financial investment in my classroom this year buying 6 whiteboards and tons of markers to get me started with VNPS.  I'm ready to build student success with these classroom routines.

Here are some screenshots that I borrowed from Laura's blog post.  But seriously, go read it!

Lastly, I'd also like to incorporate more meaningful projects (one per unit) and technology into my classroom.  I'm hoping to score some CPM sample texts at the PCTM conference.  I hear rave reviews and that there are many applications and projects with in their curriculum.  Hopefully that will help me fill in the gaps.  For the technology piece, I hope to have students collaborate via Google Docs at least once a week and I also want to start having students write blogs on occasion summarizing their work on projects and activities.  I'm planning to use EduBlogs as my platform.

So there you have.  My slimmed  down list of goals for the year.  It's probably still to ambitious, so I may need to adjust some of these as the year progresses.  Wish me luck!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Practice Structures: Color By Number Revisited

Color by number has long been one of my favorite ways for students to practice math concepts.  Even my high school kids enjoy the break from less fun forms of practice.  I wrote about using color by numbers for math practice here in this original post.

In that post I shared two practice sheets.  The first was for factoring quadratic form trinomials and the second was for finding areas of regular polygons.

Since then, I've found a page with a ton of color by number activities for grades k-5.  Coloring Squared has tons of pictures, all pixelated, so they are extra fun :)  Here are two examples from their site.

Grade 3: Multiplication and Division Problems With an Unknown
Grade 5: Multiplying Fractions

Finally, here are a few more sheets that I created.  Feel free to use them and share any that you make :)

Two Tangents From a Point
3 x 3 Systems
Multiplying Rational Expressions

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Practice Structures: Error Analysis Revisited

Last summer I wrote about using error analysis as one of my favorite ways to practice math skills.  Since then I've found a few more resources and created a few more that I'd like to share.  In general, error analysis activities involve purposefully making common mistakes, then having students try to find them.  Here is a link to the original post if you'd like to see it.  In that post I shared an example for the segment addition postulate and midpoint as well as a second example for multiplying polynomials.

Here are some other examples that I found.  I did not create these.
Grade 2: Adding and Subtracting up to 3 digits.
Grade 8: Solve Linear Equations.
Algebra 1: Graphing Linear Inequalities in two Variables

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Practice Structures: May Ship Sails Revisited

I previously wrote about a game called My Ship Sails that can be used for practicing math content.  It is a card sort style game where players pass cards in attempt to collect all of a certain type card.  You can read more about the game here in the original post.  In that first post, I shared two sample games.  The first game was about end behavior of polynomials and the second game was about conditional statements.

Here are two new games.  If you try the game or make a new version, I'd love to hear about it.

Grade 1: Coins
Grade 7: Angle Pairs

Monday, July 31, 2017

Practice Structures: Tarsia Revisited

In the past, I wrote about using using Tarsia to practice math concepts.  You have probably seen Tarsia style puzzles on Pinterest and TpT, but this free software lets you make you own.  This puzzles make a shape like a triangle or hexagon.  Then you match up the corresponding questions and answers to put the puzzle together.  The software allows you to make other puzzles as well, like dominoes and I have/Who has.

Here is a link to the original post with more details of how it works.

Here is the link to the free software download.  However, the last time I checked, the site was down, so here is a link to a direct download.

Here are 3 sample puzzles to get you started.

Grade 4: Decimals, Fractions, and Fraction Strips PDF, Tarsia
Grade 6: Fractions, Decimals, Percents PDF, Tarsia
Algebra 2: Fractional Exponents PDF, Tarsia

These are great fun, but can be time consuming to make, so share out what you do make :)

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Practice Structures: Board Games Revisited

I previously wrote about using board games for math practice.  Any easy to play game will work.  You can pick them up from the dollar store, yard sales, or big box stores.  You could even find your own free printables on Pinterest.  Then just have your students complete one math question before each round of moves/turns.  You can read the original post here for more information.

In the first post, I shared two versions of the games.  The first was on biconditionals and definitions and while the second was about multiplying and dividing rational expressions.  I've added two more examples now.

Kindergarten - 2D vs 3D Shapes
Grade 8 - Triangle Similarity

I hope you try using board games in your practice sessions.  Let me know how it goes or if you make a variation of the idea :)

Friday, July 28, 2017

Practice Structures: Chains Revisited

Previously, I wrote about a form of practice called Chains.  In a chain activity, students pick any card and solve the problem on it.  Then, they find the solution to that question on another card and solve that one.  This continues until all cards have been used.  Sometimes you can also run this as a scavenger hunt and put the questions up around the room.  The activity is great because it is self checking and offers a switch-up from the usual worksheet for practice.

You can read the original post here for more information.  In that post, I included two example activities.  The first was for properties of parallelograms.  And the second was for finding vertices of parabolas.

Here are two new examples:
Grade 3 - Telling Time to the Minute
Grade 7 - Adding and Subtracting Rational Numbers

Enjoy.  I'd love to hear about it if you try any of these or make your own :)

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Practice Structures: Go Fish Revisited

I previously wrote about using Go Fish as a matching game to build fluency in math content.  In the previous post, I shared two downloads.  The first was a game for finding volumes of pyramids and cones. The second was a game for finding the next term in a sequence.

Here is the link to the original post which also contains more info on how to play the game.

I have since created two more versions of the game.  Feel free to use any of them.  And share any that you make :)

Grade 2: Measuring With a Centimeter Ruler Go Fish
Grade 5: Subtracting Fractions Go Fish

Monday, July 24, 2017

Practice Structures: Slap it! Revisited

I wrote about Slap It! as a game for building fluency once before.  The game is played like Slap Jack, except that you do not play with a standard deck of cards (use math problems instead) and the card that you slap, changes with each round.

Here is a link to the original post with more detailed directions on how to play the game.  In that post, you will find two sample games.  The first game is on the equations of circles and the second is on triangle trigonometry.

Here are two new games:
Grade 1: Attributes of Shapes Slap It!
Grade 6: Quadrants in the Coordinate Plane Slap It!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Practice Structure: Pass or Play Revisited

I previously wrote about the game pass of play as a way for students to build fluency in basic math concepts.  The point of the game is for players to lay one card at a time, in sequential order.  So, if the first player lays a 7, the next player would lay an 8.  Then the next player would play 9, and so on.  The first player can play any card in the sequence and the list will loop.  For example a game might have the following play: {7,8,9,0,1,2,3,4,5,6}.

Here is the original post with more details on how to play.  The original post contains two downloads of sample games.  The first is on the angle and segment addition postulates and the second is on interior and exterior angles of triangles.

Here are two new games.

Kindergarten - Subsidizing Pass or Play
Grade 4 - Multiplying by 10, 100, and 100 Pass or Play

Friday, July 21, 2017

Practice Structures: TIC TAC TOE Revisited

I wrote about using TIC TAC TOE as a fun way for students to practice math concepts.  The original post is here. The original post contains free townloads of two games.  The first is an algebra 1 game for graphing linear inequalities on the coordinate plane.  The second was a geometry game for calculating surface area and volume of spheres.

Now I have made two more games.  Here they are; enjoy!  Please share if you create your own :)

Grade 7 Adding Rational Numbers TIC TAC TOE
Grade 8 Pythagorean Theorem TIC TAC TOE

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Practice Structures: Memory Revisited

I wrote about turning the card game memory into a math content game in the past.  Here is the original post.  In that first post, I shared two versions of the game.  One algebra 1 level game where students matched questions and answers for difference of squares, and a second one for algebra 2 where students matched equations, graphs, vertices, and axis of symmetries for parabolas.

Of course for kindergarten students you could play a traditional version of the game such as this one.  Here is one more version for you to use: Grade 4 - numerical, name, and expanded form of numbers

Monday, July 17, 2017

Practice Structures: Uno Revisited

I already wrote about using UNO in math class.  The first post includes some information about adapting the card game uno into a game for practicing math content.  In my first post I included downloads for a version on conic sections and a version for angle pairs.  Whereas the traditional UNO game focuses on playing a card with the same number or color, these games focus on two other characteristics.  For example, the conic sections game focuses on matching either the type of conic (circle, ellipse, parabola, or hyperbola) or the center of the conic.  The angle pairs game focuses on matching the type of angle pair (corresponding, alternate interior, alternate exterior, same side interior, same side exterior, linear pair, or vertical angles) or their relationship (congruent or supplementary).

Here is the link to the original post.  Of course, you could also play the original version of the game with kindergarten students who are learning about identifying numeral and colors, but here is one more version.

Grade 3 - Equivalent Fractions

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Clothesline Math

Clothesline Math has been around for quite some time in various forms.  I've seen people use ribbons, calculator paper rolls, and of course clotheslines.  This manipulative can be great for building number sense and for offering an opportunity for practicing concepts.

The idea is to start with an empty length of rope.  Have a few reference point cards (maybe -2, -1, 0, 1, 2) and then the remaining cards would contain the problems to be solved.  It could be something as simple as unreduced fractions for elementary school, algebraic expressions for middle school, or even logarithmic expressions for high school.

You could approach the activity in two ways.  First, if you have a small class, you could give every student one card and they could place it on the number line in the appropriate place.  This gets a little chaotic if you have a large class.  Alternatively, you could split your class into groups and have each group complete a task with maybe 2-4 cards to be placed on the number line.

Chris Shore has written extensively about Clothesline Math and has even created a separate site dedicated to the idea.    And both Cindy Whitehead and Andrew Stadel have created Desmos clothesline activities.

Here are a few for you to try.

Grade 1: Three addends with groups of 10
Grade 6: Divide fractions by an integer
Algebra 1: Evaluate expressions - These come from Chris's site.

I hope you get chance to try this activity in your classroom.  I'd love to hear about how it goes.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Practice Structures: Randomly Generated Questions

One was to make practice more novel is to include some randomness.  Every student ends up solving different problems even though they are all working from the same document.  You can simply create generic problems with the numerical parts missing.  Then have students randomly generate the numbers to fill in.  They could roll dice, deal cards, spin a spinner, or use an online number generator.

Jennifer Fairbanks wrote about an activity on using dice to create an activity about adding and subtracting radicals here: A radical activity - adding and subtracting

Here are some activities that you can try.  If you make your own, I'd love so see them :)

Grade 2 Place Value Practice With Dice 
Grade 5 Numerical Expressions and Word Form
Algebra 1 Adding and Subtracting Polynomials Card Activity - I did not create this one, but I can not recall where I found it.  I'll update this post once I track down the source.
Algebra 2 Adding and Subtracting Radicals Dice Activity - from Jennifer Fairbanks' article above.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Practice Structures: Row Games

Row games are great to use in class, but challenging to create.  Basically, students solve the problems from one column of a handout while their partner solves the problems in the other column.  Periodically, partners check with each other.  The answers to the questions in both columns should be the same.  This is where the magic happens.  The activity is self checking (either the answers match or they don't) and students know where to focus their efforts (on questions where answers do not match).  The conversations that you overhear during the correction part of the activity are very telling about the misconceptions that students hold.

Here are 3 row games for you to try.

Row Game Grade 1: Add and Subtract to 10
Row Game Grade 8: Exponent Rules - I did not create this one, but you can find the original source here, along with many more row games)
Row Game Algebra 2: Evaluating Logarithms without a Calculator

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Practice Structures: Draw What I Say

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.

Grade 7 Geometry Vocab (I did not create this one; I found it here)

Monday, June 19, 2017

Practice Structures: Taboo

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.

Grade 4 Vocabulary Taboo
Grade 6 Vocabulary Taboo
Algebra 1 Polynomial Taboo

Sunday, June 11, 2017

#Teach180: Days 171-181

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 172:  Today in geometry we used Khan Academy to review using inscribed angles.

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.

Day 174:  Today in geometry we reviewed the relationships between congruent chords and arcs within circles using this ExploreLearning Gizmo.

Day 175:  Today in algebra 2 we practiced determining whether or not 2 statements are logically equivalent using this worksheet.

Day 176:  Today was our last weekly quiz :)

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.

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.

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.

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 :) 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Practice Structures: Racko

Practice Structures: Racko

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.

Racko - Grade 2 - Practice making the next ten and adding to a multiple of ten.
Racko - Grade 5 - Multiply Decimals by 10, 100, and 1,000
Racko - Geometry - Angles formed by parallels and a transversal

Sunday, May 28, 2017

#Teach180: Days 161-170

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 162:  Today in geometry, we practiced constructing parallel and perpendicular lines  using ExploreLearning's Gizmo.

Day 163:  Today in algebra 2 we used the mini whiteboards to practice finding the sum of infinite geometric series.

Day 164:  Today in geometry we continued mixing final exam review by using Khan Academy.  We used this activity:  Decompose Figures to Find Volume.

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 166:  Today we had another one of our weekly quizzes.
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 169:  Today in geometry we reviewed dilations with this ExploreLearning Gizmo.  We also continued with state testing.  It is our second to last day.

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!

That's it for this round of #teach180.  It's never too late to join in the fun!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

#Teach180: Days 151-160

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 153:  Today in algebra 2 we practiced finding missing terms in a sequence by playing this game of Go Fish!

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 155:  Today in algebra 2 we practiced determining if a sequence is arithmetic, geometric, or neither with this Desmos activity by Jonathan Schoolcraft

Day 156: Today we took our last set of benchmark tests.  Finally feeling like the last marking period.

Day 157:  Today in geometry, we reviewed rotations with Andrew Stadel's Desmos activity.

Day 158:  Today in algebra 2 we practiced converting between sigma notation and expanded form using this color by number assignment.

Day 159:  Today in geometry we reviewed the pythagorean theorem using this ExploreLearning Gizmo.

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.
That's it for this round of #teach180.  It's never too late to join in the fun!