Monday, August 12, 2013

Equation Turnover Activity

This activity is a variation of the Star Chain Activity I use.  It is a self checking activity but doesn't involve any cutting.

Step 1:  Start with this document

Step 2: Copy double sided on colored paper and laminate if you wish

Step 3:  Either independently or with a partner, students should place the cards on their desk with the answer side facing up.  They should begin with the start card, work the problem on a piece of paper.  When they determine the answer, they find that card and flip it over and work the new problem. If worked correctly, the last card will say Finish when they flip it over!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Why Didn't I Think of This

As part of our district's Teacher Leader Collaborative, I helped facilitate a workshop today on interactive notebooks.  I enjoyed working with teachers from all over our district from kindergarten to Precal as we explored how to engage students in writing and reflecting about the math they were learning in an interactive and engaging manner.

One of the teachers in the group I was working with was very experienced with interactive notebooks and she shared a great idea on how to place your grade level formula chart so that students have easy access to it no matter what page they are working on.  Here is the finished product. 
 Step 1:  Copy your state's formula chart one-sided.  I drew dashed lines where I want the students to trim.
Step 2:  Glue in right side like this.  Make sure you can read all the formulas
Step 3:  Glue in top like this

Step 4:  Fold top down and right side in

Step 5:  When students need formula chart, they can just open it up and it will be clearly visible no matter what page they are working on.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

CAMT 2013

Welcome CAMT 2013 attendees!

Below you will find the links to today's session.  The links will contain detailed instructions with photos and templates to help you with the activities that were presented today.  Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about any of the activities or if you have trouble with any of the links.

1.  Row Games:  I first learned about Row Games in 2009 from Kate Nowak of f(t).  You can read her post  and see how she uses them.  She also links to a couple of row games that she made.

Linear Function Row Game

Exponent Row Game  Thanks to Lisa Henry at Old Dog Learning New Math Tricks for this amazing row game that fit my needs perfectly last semester as a great review of all the exponent rules!

Polynomial Operations Row Game

2.  Star Chains:  This is an activity I picked up at CAMT around 10 years ago and I have been using it ever since.  All you need is 8-18 problems that all have a different answer.  You can type them or write them into my template.  I have made many star chains over the years and the students always seem to enjoy them especially if I let them hang them up as decorations around the class when they are done.

Word of warning:  I never cease to be amazed at how slowly students cut things apart.  Because of this, the first star chain you do every year should have no more than 8-12 problems so that you will not only have time to explain the activity, but have time for students to cut out cards and work problems. Once they learn how a star chain works, they need very little instructions for the rest of the year and the process will go much faster.

Solving Linear Equations Star Chain

Rewrite in Slope Intercept Form Star Chain

Linear Function Review Star Chain

3.  Add Em Up:  This is a great self checking activity that forces students to work together to arrive at the correct answers.  All the instructions can be found HERE

This pic comes from Kate Nowak's classroom.  I love how they color coordinated their calculators while playing "Add Em Up"

4.  Appointment Test Review:  This is a great way to review for a test that requires almost no teacher preparation!  My students love when we do this and it is one of the few activities that doesn't seem to get old.  I am able to do this 2 or 3 times a semester without the new wearing off.

Here are the detailed instructions

5.  Speed Dating:  Another great Kate Nowak idea that requires very little teacher preparation and is a great way to review for a test.  I usually do this once each semester during final exam review time.  The students absolutely love it!!  Here are Kate's detailed instructions

6.  Math Poker:  This idea came to me from Elissa Miller at misscalcul8.  It requires very little teacher preparation and the students have a ball with this. 

Math Poker Instructions

Math Poker Student Answer Sheet

If you are new to blogs here are some great blogs that frequently share resources.

1.  f(t)- This blog is one of the first blogs I found and began to follow sometime around 2007.  Her ideas are always easy to implement and she has a great writing style.  You will find resources here for algebra I, algebra II, Geometry, Precal, and Calculus.

2.  Continuous Everywhere but Differentiable Nowhere-  Sam Shah is another blogger I started following around 2008.  He teaches in Brooklyn New York and his blog is filled with amazing resources.  Sam is active in promoting and helping new math bloggers get started and a super star in the mathblogosphere!

3.  Misscalcul8-Elissa Miller is a spunky young teacher who generously shares her amazing activities and resources with the rest of the world on her blog.  I think I started following Elissa sometime in 2009 and since then I have used many of her ideas and resources in my classroom.  If you peruse her writings long enough you will find inspiration for Algebra I, Algebra II, and Geometry. 

4.  Math = Love-I'm not sure how Sarah Hagan became such a super star teacher in such a short time, but I am sure glad she did!  I started following her blog in 2012 and I frequently see her ideas all over Pinterest.  She is especially talented when it comes to Interactive Notebooks and I frequently refer to her site when I am planning my own notebook pages.

5.  Moving On-KFouss is a high school math teacher from Cincinnati.  I can't remember how or when I started following this blog, but I love her down-to-earth writing style and the resources she shares are always helpful and easy to implement.  She has resources on her blog for algebra I, algebra II, and precal

6.  In 2012, I started following two amazing Middle School Blogs.  These two teachers both teach Algebra I and their creativity and ideas never cease to amaze me.  The first is Sarah at Everybody is a Genius and the other is Julie Reulbach at I Speak Math.  If you are on pinterest then you have seen their ideas already.  Check them out!

7.  Math Teacher Mambo is a fellow Texas blogger and one of the first bloggers I ever followed.  I think I have been reading her blog since 2007 or 2008.  If you are looking for great resources for algebra I, Geometry, Precal, Calculus, or Computer Science check out her blog and downloadable activities

8.  The Radical Rational-  Pam Wilson is a NBCT in Kentucky who willingly shares her years of experience with her readers.  I love Pam's open and honest style and how she carefully reflects on her teaching and asks for advice from readers.  Check out her filing cabinet link on the right side of her blog is it chock full of great resources!

9.  Teaching Statistics- This amazing blog hosts Made for Math Mondays and My Favorite Fridays.
You never know what you will find in these posts, but it will always amaze you!

10.  Square Root of Negative One- I've been following Amy Gruen for quite a while now.  Her blog is filled with great resources and she has some great review activities that you should really check out!

11.  Walking in Mathland- Natalie Turbiville is another amazing young teacher who freely shares her resources with others.  I have enjoyed using several of Natalie's ideas in my Algebra I and Math Models at classes.  She has handy tabs at the top of her page to help you find want you are looking for.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Come See Me At CAMT!

Hey fellow Texas Math Teachers,

I will be presenting at CAMT (Conference for Advancement of Mathematics Teaching) in San Antonio this Thursday, July 11, 2013.  Please come by and see me.  Let me know you are a blog reader and I will have a special gift for you!!!

My topic this year is Ready, Set, Engage.  I will be sharing my favorite review and practice activities that I have learned from the math blogosphere and I can't wait to introduce many new readers to all of you who have so generously shared your ideas with me!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Monomial Frayer Model

Today we started our unit on exponent rules and we completed this Frayer Model togther for our journals as an introduction to monomials.

This is one unit that students generally seem to do pretty well on as long as the problems are all of the same type but once you mix it up, they get confused with all the rules.  As I introduce each new property, I hope to mix the problems up each day so that they get a little of previous lessons while still getting plenty of practice on the new rule.

As I was planning the week I realized I really need a foldable that summarizes all of the exponent rules.  Just wondering if someone out there has one that they have already made so that I don't have to come up with one on my own.  If so, and you don't mind sharing, I'd be forever grateful!!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Systems Flip Book

Here are some pictures of the systems flip book we are working on right now. Hard to believe we have less than three weeks left in this semester!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Introducing Systems

Last Thanksgiving I i was walking around Hobby Lobby and saw some little white gift boxes i was wondering if i could do anything with them in my classroom when I had an idea to use them to introduce systems of equations. I start the class by showing them two boxes like the ones below. One box contains coins and the other contains tickets. I show the boxes to the students and tell them we are going to have a contest to guess the contents of each box.

Then I direct them to these two problems on the board and ask them to solve in any way they can. I usually sweeten the pot and offer candy to the first four who can give me correct answers.

Generally is there a lot of frustration at the beginning since I won't give them any directions. After a lot of hemming and hawing, most get down to work using some type of guess and check. They get pretty frustrated because many can get the coins to add up to the correct money value only to realize they don't have the right number of coins.

Every year I am surprised who gets the answer first. Many times it is a student who struggles with algebra but for some reason perks up with a challenge like this.

After this activity, I take a set of systems word problems that have multiple choice answers and I teach them to make guess and check charts for each problem in order to solve the system.

We will move onto algebraic methods week, but I want them to have an understanding that we are solving for two different variables and they must pay close attention to the wording in the problem.

Follow Me!