Sunday, August 29, 2010

Get to Know Your Teacher Quiz

I got this idea from KFous over at My Web 2.0 journey

Tell the students you are going to give them a pop quiz. After the initial groans tell them that it is a multiple choice test about you!

Make up 5-10 questions about yourself with some multiple choice answers. Here are a few to give you some ideas.

1. Why is the number 3 important to Mrs. H

A It is the numbers of years she’s been teaching
B It is the number of children she has
C It is the number of times she’s been to Disneyland
D It is the number of piercings she has

2. Why is the number 25 important to Mrs. H

A It is how old she is
B It is the number of years she has lived in New Braunfels
C It is the number of her students who got commended on last year’s TAKS test
D It is the number of years she’s been married

3. Why is the number 13 important to Mrs. H

A. It is her lucky number
B. It is the number of years she’s been teaching
C. It is the number of times she floated the river this summer
D. It is the number of times she has been to Fiesta Texas

4. Why is the number 0 important to Mrs. H

A It is the number of sisters she has
B It is the number of times she has been to Schlitterbahn
C It is the number of dogs she has
D It is the number times she has flown on an airplane

5. Why is the number 1 important to Mrs. H

A It is the number of children she has
B It is the number of years she has taught at Canyon High School
C It is the number of times she has been to Schlitterbahn
D It is the number of tattoos she has

There will be lots of laughter during the quiz and you can use it as a chance to let your students know a little more about you.

At the end ask the students to choose five numbers and tell why they are important to them. They can either be funny or serious. I plan on filing their answers in their folder that we made the first day of school

I am doing this activity tomorrow and want to use the website Poll Everywhere to have the students text me their answers. I just need to go in and play around with the website and figure out how it works!

Ice Breaker activity-Name Reflections

This activity called Name Reflection. The materials you will need are markers, colored paper, and scissors. I allowed 15 minutes for this activity on the third day of school.

Step One: Have students fold a piece of colored paper hamburger style

Step Two: Have students write their name IN CURSIVE along the bottom folded edge.(Warning: many students today do not know how to write in cursive. You will either have to do it for them or get them to help each other with this step)

Step Three: Cut along the curves of the cursive writing. Be careful not to cut the bottom folded edge.

Step 4: Unfold and decorate!

Step 5: Be Prepared to be amazed at the creativity of your students!

Ice Breaker Activity-Bio Pyramid

This first activity works great for the first couple of days of school when you have lots of administrative tasks to attend to. It will take the students approximately 10-15 minutes to complete the entire activity.

Give students a copy of the Bio Pyramid. and have them fill in the information. I then had them cut them out and glue stick them to a pre-prepared place on my wall.

Note: Do not copy the bio-pyramid instructions two sided. Just give them the bio-pyramid. I put the instructions up on my smartboard.

Materials I used were scissors, markers, and glue sticks.

Here are the finished products. Added Bonus: Your room is well on its way to being ready for Meet the Parent Night!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Meeting Your Blogger Friends in Person

Jonathan at jd2718 was one of the first bloggers to welcome me into the edublogging community when I first began writing my blog. I believe he was the first blogger to link to my blog and even went so far as to recommend Math Tales From the Spring to others. It was very humbling because up to that point, I had no idea that anyone actually read my blog. I was using it as a journaling tool to help me work out things in my head both professionally and in my personal life.

This weekend, I got the privilege of meeting Jonathan while he was in this area doing some volunteer union work. I was so excited to get to meet my blogging friend and show him our neck of the woods. It was great to have him make the short drive over to Paradise, Texas from San Antonio. I tried my best to show Jonathan what life is like in a small Hill Country town. I enjoyed taking him to the places my friends and I like to hang out. I wish I could have shown him more but the heat was brutal and there is only so much you can do with a heat index of 107!

I had a blast and I hope he did too. Hopefully this is just the beginning of meeting my other blogger pals. If you are ever in the San Antonio area, let me know. I love to show people around, or at the very least give you a few pointers on things to do.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

For Math Nerds Only

Math Teacher Mambo ordered herself a new clock for her classroom that I am envious of.

I have a great clock in my classroom that I posted about when I first began blogging called the Nine's clock. It is soooo cute. Each hour contains only nines and if you work the problem, you will come up with the hour.

Since I love my 9's clock so much, I started thinking about buying a new clock for my classroom. Here is an entire selection of math nerd clocks. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

1st Day Parent Homework

A friend shared this idea with me a couple of years ago and I love it. She sends home a paper titled "1st Homework Assignment" and she asks parents to email her the answers to several questions about their child. This way, she already has their email in her address book and she doesn't have to enter it in manually.

I've been doing this for several years now and it works like a charm. One thing I have noticed is that parents don't really read the assignment and instead of emailing you the answers, they will send the completed form back with their child. I don't really mind, because at least they put their email address on the form and I have it for my records.

Anyway, I print all these emails out (or the completed form) and they go into my CYA folder that I talked about here.

Anyway, here is what my 1st HS assignment looks like.

First Homework Assignment
Algebra I

Parents and Guardians,
I am excited to have your child in my Algebra I class this year. Your child’s first assignment is really an assignment for you. Please send an email to me at *********** with the answers to the following questions. If you don’t have access to email, please just fill out this form and return it with your child.

1. My child’s name is ________________

2. My child is in _________ period.

3. My name is___________________________________

4. Relationship to student_____________________________________

5. Address________________________________________________

6. How would you like to be contacted between the hours of 7:30 and 5:00? ________________________________________________________

7. Email address_____________________________________________

8. Will you be using Parent Connect to check your child’s grades and attendance?

9. Does your student have any special needs in the classroom you would like me to be aware of? (seating preferences, health issues, difficulties in learning math, etc)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Effectively Managing Your CYA (Cover Your A**) Folder

If my dear readers can handle one more post on classroom management and beginning of the year procedures, I have one more tip I'd like to offer.

I try to get my students to do as much of my administrative work as possible. One of the things I do on the first day of school is to have my students make their own hanging file folder.

On the first day, I pass out a student information sheet, class syllabus, calculator contract and a Parent Homework Assignment (I will explain the Parent Homework Assignment in a separate post.

I then give my students a hanging file folder and a post-it label for them to put their name on. I then have them attach the label to the folder, place the info sheet inside the folder and collect them. They are already in alpha-order because I seat my students alphabetically on the first day.

The next day, they bring back their Parent Homework and Calculator contract and those are placed into the file. Now my filing system is set up for the rest of the year. All major tests go into the file along with any other CYA items I might accumulate. Things like discipline referrals, special ed modifications, emails from parents. Anything at all that you feel might be helpful.

This system takes very little effort on your part. I stole this idea from a dear friend of mine a couple of years ago and I don't know how I made it before I started doing this!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Effectively Managing Seating Charts

I'm still getting a lot of hits on my blog from people who are looking for classroom management ideas so I though I'd throw out another tip for managing your math classroom.

Here is the best method I have found for managing seating charts. Get a piece of card stock,some small sticky notes, and a plastic sheet protector like the ones shown above. Cut the little sticky notes in half and place them however your desks are arranged. I usually have 20-24 students per class, but I put 30 little stickers on the seating chart for the new students who will move into the class throughout the year.

Write your students names on the little sticky notes in the order you want them to sit. As you change your seating chart up throughout the year, you can move the sticky notes all over the place. I am able to use the same sticky notes for the entire year. If the student changes classes, no big deal, just move them to the appropriate sheet. As long as you keep your seating chart in a plastic sheet protector, it should last the entire school year.

When making your seating charts for the school year, consider numbering your desks instead of putting names on the desks. It is much less time consuming and easier for the students to find their seats especially when you have several students with the same name.

I number the students on my roster in alpha order. As they walk in, I give them their number and have them find their desk. This number also becomes their graphing calculator number. If I move them to a new seat later, they will also change calculator numbers to match their new seat.

I keep my students alpha order for about 3-6 weeks for three reasons. Number one, I pass out so many things that need to be signed and returned that my life is a whole lot easier if they are already in alpha order when I pick them up. Secondly, having the students in alpha order helps me learn their names faster. And lastly, returning graded work to students is so much easier when they are in alpha order.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Effectively Managing Make Up Tests or How Not To Lose Your Frickin' Mind

I am in the zone! The list making, organizing, idea generating zone, get ready for school zone.

As I think about how I want to manage my math classes this year, I can't help but think of one problem I have every single year. See if this sounds familiar.

You give a test. On test day, say you have 10 people absent. Do they come in and make up the test right away? Uhhh, not in my classes! Some serious reminding, brow beating, and sometimes even phone calls to parents have to happen before I can get my darlings to come make up a test.

Here is how the conversation will go when they finally make it in to take their test.

Student: "Mrs. H, I'm here to take the test I owe you."

Mrs H: "Which test are you wanting to take?" (we've taken 3 tests since the one they missed)

Student: "I don't know what it's about. It's the one you gave me a zero for in the gradebook."

Mrs. H: After discerning which test it is that this student owes me, I begin to look everywhere for the test. It's here somewhere I know! Can it be under one of the piles on my desk? Did I file it? Oh Sweet Baby Jesus, where did I put that
&$%# test??????

After searching frantically for the test for a good 5 minutes or so, I give up and say, "Why don't I just print you out another one. Go sit down and I'll be right with you."

Student finally takes the test and then it is time to find the #&%$ answer key. Same frustrating scenario unfolds as Mrs. H scrambles to find the answer key.

Not this year my friends! I have an idea! Now, I'm sure all of you already have a great system for situations such as this and if you do, then why haven't you shared it with me yet?? I've been dealing with this issue every single year! So here's my idea.

I bought a 1.5" binder like this

Then I put all my answer keys to my quizzes and tests into sheet protectors like this.

Then I bought some dividers which have pockets like this. I put one after each test.

So now, when a student is absent on test day, I am going to put a blank copy of the test they missed with their name on it in the divider. It will be right there along with the answer key!!!! Brilliant!!!! I'm so excited about my idea. Now if I can just manage to not lose the %$#@ notebook!

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