Sunday, November 27, 2016

Practice Structure - Slap It!

The next practice structure that I'd like to share is Slap It!  This is a variation of Slap Jack.  This activity works best for practicing skills where there are a limited number of responses.  I've created a version for identifying the center and radius of a circle from an equation and a version for identifying the sine, cosine, and tangent of angles.  I think this would also be a good way to practice evaluating simple logarithms or specific values on the unit circle.  I'd love to hear what you would do with this idea.  Please share any variations that you try.

Here are the rules for Slap Jack provided by Bicycle Cards :
Object of the Game:  The goal is to win all the cards, by being first to slap each jack as it is played to the center.
The Deal:  Deal cards one at a time face down, to each player until all the cards have been dealt. The hands do not have to come out even. Without looking at any of the cards, each player squares up his hand into a neat pile in front of them.
The Play:  Beginning on the dealer’s left, each player lifts one card at a time from their pile and places it face up in the center of the table.
When the card played to the center is a jack, the fun begins! The first player to slap their hand down on the jack takes it, as well as all the cards beneath it. The player winning these cards turns them face down, places them under their pile of cards, and shuffles them to form a new, larger pile.
When more than one player slaps at a jack, the one whose hand is directly on top of the jack wins the pile. If a player slaps at any card in the center that is not a jack, they must give one card, face down, to the player of that card. When a player has no more cards left, they remain in the game until the next jack is turned. The player may slap at the jack in an effort to get a new pile. If the player fails to win that next pile, they are out of the game.

The only changes that I have made is that I’m using a TARGET card instead of a jack.  Also, I’m changing the TARGET card for each hand.  I’ll do this by using a hand-made spinner to determine the TARGET characteristic for each round.

Here is my version for identifying the center and radius of a circle from its equation.
Here is my version for identifying the sine, cosine, and tangent of an angle.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Practice Structures - Go Fish!

This past summer, I started writing a series of posts about practice structure that I use in my classroom.  These structures are meant to take the place of worksheets.  Worksheets can be a great opportunity to practice skills and build fluency, but they are deathly boring.

Here are some of my past posts on this topic:
Tarsia Puzzles
Board Games
My Ship Sails
Error Analysis
Color By Number
Old Maid

Today I'm writing about another practice structure that I like to use, Go Fish!

Go fish works well for problems that are relatively quickly solved.  I have kids deal the cards and solve the problems in their hands before starting.  Then they ask something like "Do you have the pyramid with a volume of 24 cubic centimeters?"  or "Do you have the solution 24 cubic centimeters."

Like many of the other children's games that I use in my class, students really like this activity.  There is a nostalgic feeling for them and they genuinely end up having fun.

Here is a go fish game for volumes of pyramids and cones. And here is a go fish game for finding the next term in a sequence.  I print one full size copy of the directions (first slide) for each group.  Then I print the remaining slides one sided, 4 to a page in landscape orientation. Then I just use a paper cutter to quickly cut each page in half twice to create the cards for each group.

If you try one of these games or make you own, I'd love to hear about it!  Enjoy.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

#Teach180: Days 41-50

This year I've taken the #teach180 twitter challenge.  The goal is to tweet one picture from your classroom each day.  I'm also blogging bi-weekly about those tweets/activities.

Day 41:  Today was a quiz day.  I give cumulative quizzes on every 5th day of class as part of standards based grading/teaching/learning.  This response made me particularly happy.  I learned about CPM's Giant 1 a few weeks ago.  I used it this year to teach simplifying radical expressions and students picked up the idea faster than ever!

Day 42:  Today in geometry we practiced triangle proofs again.  This will probably be never ending with  frequent revisits all semester.  Proofs are something that my students find 1) boring and 2) difficult.  Any one with solutions to those problems, I'm open to suggestions.  Here is the file for the activity.  I downloaded this from someone else, but I'd can't remember right now.  I'll try to update this info if I remember late.

Day 43:  Today in algebra 2 we practiced dividing nth roots with a matching activity.  Students struggle with when to use absolute values in their answers, so this was good reinforcement.  I just cut/pasted problems form a Kuta worksheet to create the matching cards.  Here is the activity if you'd like to use it.

Day 44:  Today in geometry we practiced triangle proofs again.  I found this scaffolded worksheet on Christy Keating's wiki.  It offers just the right amount of help to struggling students.

Day 45:  Today algebra 2 students use Paul Jorgan's +Desmos activity on translating radical functions.  It was so easy to use and students could see the transformations happening in dynamic form with the sliders.  The activity really helped solidify my students' understanding.

Day 46:  Today was another quiz day and the last day of the marking period!  It's going by so fast.

Day 47:  Today geometry students discovered the isosceles triangle theorem using Explore Learning's Gizmo.  I am lucky to have a subscription to this service this year.  I wanted it for geometry, but I've also used it at times for algebra 2 as well.

Day 48:  Today algebra 2 students played a game of Go Fish to practice adding and subtracting radicals.   The problems were ok for the game, but definitely pushed the difficulty level for what is meant to be a quick paced game.  Here is a link to the activity.

Day 49:   Today in geometry we used +Desmos to review segments in triangles. I desmofied (thats a word now right) this activity.  Here is a link to the new activity if you'd like to use or modify it.

Day 50:  Today in algebra 2 we practiced multiplying and dividing radicals with a dice activity.  This is an easy spin on a worksheet that students tend to enjoy.  I wrote more about using dice here.  It's also interesting to see how the laws of probability are broken by some groups that flip multiplication every time :)

 That's it for this time.  It's not too late to join the #teach180 challenge.  I'd love to see what is going on in your classroom too!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

#Teach180: Days 31-40

This year I've taken the #teach180 challenge.  The challenge is to tweet at least one picture from your classroom each day of class.  I'm also putting those tweets together into blog posts every other week and adding links to resources so that others can use and modify the activities if they like.  This has been a great experience so far.  It has given me the chance to reflect on my work more frequently.

Day 31:  Today my algebra 2 students practiced factoring by grouping by solving a tarsia puzzle.  I wrote about tarsia puzzles here and here is a link to the activity.  You will need to download the tarsia software before opening the document.

Day 32:  Algebra 2 students practiced factoring trinomials in quadratic from today though a color by number activity.  I wrote about the activity here.  There is a link to the file there as well.

Day 33:   Today geometry students reviewed writing equations of lines with +Desmos Marbleslides.  They had a blast.

Day 34:  Today was an unusual day.  The school held no classes, but each class had an activity to do.  Freshmen visited local college campuses, sophomores took the ASVAB, juniors took the PSAT, and seniors participated in job shadowing.  I chaperoned a group of freshmen visiting HACC, our local community college.  Several of our upperclassmen attend HACC either full time or part time during their junior and senior years as part of the duel enrollment program.  This allows students to complete both their senior year of high school and their freshmen year of college simultaneously.

Day 35:   Today was another quiz day.  As part of standards based teaching and learning, I give cumulative quizzes every fifth day of class.

Day 36:   Today in geometry, we practiced parallel line proofs.  My students seem to struggle with proofs every year.  I am making more of an effort to spiral and constantly review proofs this year in hopes of improving my students retention of this tough topic.

Day 37:   Today in algebra 2 we used +Desmos  and Jon Orr's Solving Polynomial Inequalities activity.  I love the connections that students make between the algebraic and graphic solutions in this activity.

Day 38:   Today in geometry, students practiced key concepts about congruent figures.  I downloaded the worksheet from Elissa Miller.  Given my students yearly struggle with proofs, this is an excellent way to start by just focussing on terminology like included and opposite.

Day 39:  Today in algebra 2, we played a fall themed board game to practice simplifying radicals.  I used some imitation lego men as game pieces for added fun.  I wrote about using board games here.  For this particular game, I generated problems using Kuta Software and copied/pasted the problems into a powerpoint document to create the question cards.

Day 40:  Another quiz day today.

If you use any of these activities,  please let me know how it goes for you.  Also, it's never too late to join the #teach180 challenge!