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Showing posts from November, 2014

Finally Fun in Geometry (Days 50 & 53)

Last Wednesday was fun thanks to an early morning lesson reboot. Usually in Geometry I give the following directions on a review day:

 "Do these review problems with a partner and ask for help as needed."  
Instead, I copied the same problems on separate papers to quickly make a game of Solve Crumple Toss (it went well in Algebra; again thank you to Kate for the idea). The goal, reviewing key topics from chapter 4 (diagram-less proofs, detour proofs, perpendicular bisectors, coordinate geometry, oh my!), was the same. The execution made for a much more engaging, dare I say fun, class.

Today's reboot was not last minute (go me!), because earlier this month I saw Julie's blog post about Jessica's Dance-Dance-Transversal idea. Then Justin tweeted that Kate posted the power point and I was set! I love the Mtbos!

Anywho, the kiddos had fun dancing and everyone knows their angle relationships.

I am no longer feeling bad about my geometry class being boring... well at l…

Day 48: Writing Linear Equations Review via Solve-Crumple-Toss

I can't thank Kate enough for sharing Solve-Crumple-Toss. It was a hit last year with square root equations and again this year with writing linear equations. What I love especially is how determined they are to get the answers accurate so they can take a shot.This is a great way to review for a test and have class be fun. #joy

I also heard, "Hey Mrs. Galvan, why do you have so many '90s songs about basketball?"

Link to handout - Copy each page on a different color and cut apart.

Day 47: Transversal Tape in Geometry

Geometry continues to be the class that isn't fun.

Don't get me wrong, I have a great rapport with my students and we laugh a lot in class. I tell stories. We have lots of inside jokes. I also try to mind their social-emotional wellness. We discuss mantras that promote growth mindsets and I lead them in mindful meditations and stretching from time to time.

Oh, and they get to create and reflect via their math blogs.

Still, not a lot of games or prizes. No Zombie Grudge.

Today was enhanced a bit: they got out of their seats to do Andrew's Transversals, Tape and Stickies.

I am looking forward to trying Jessica's Dance, Dance, Transversal the week before Thanksgiving.

Not to be repetitive, but 135 forty minute class sessions each year to teach a rigorous, proof based course AND have fun is a challenge... but I can fit it in. Engaging lessons are not optional just because my students are highly motivated and have decent attention spans. When I am losing steam and in doubt,…

Geometry Video Blogs

I think my favorite outcome of the 1:1 program at our school is the ability for our students to make videos. I assign each of them a different proof, they recreate the diagram and explain it using jing. This assignment gets them to master a proof enough to teach it. I would assign this even if my students didn't create individual blogs, however, I love how these posts punctuate their portfolios as interactive, comprehensive examples of their learning.

 If you are thinking about assigning something like this to your students, take a look at my Video Blog Tips.Here is one of my favorite's from this most recent round for proving triangles congruent. The prompt is below the video.

You can also see it on Denise's blog here.

The Prompt:

Video Blog Post Requirements 1. Must be typed, including diagram, symbols and tick mark notation (I suggest using Google Drive's Drawing App) Use "reveal rectangle"Put each new step in a new slide in a presentation 2. Must use a scre…

Spaghetti Lab

My algebra students are finishing a unit on writing linear equations. Their culminating project is an experiment. They balance special cups outfitted with pipe cleaner hooks over a strand of spaghetti. Then, they carefully add pennies to the cup until the spaghetti strand breaks. They record the number of pennies and repeat the experiment with 2, 3, 4 and 5 strands. They use the data to explore the concepts of a scatter plot, best fit line, writing equations, slope and intercept. They will use their equation to make predictions and consider how thicker spaghetti or heavier pennies would affect the experiment.

The energy in the room today was great. They love trying to see who can get the most pennies. Today definitely fulfilled my ongoing goal of having fun in math class. #joyful

Here is a video of students conducting their first round:

Here are two examples of their blog summaries (these are from last year):



Digital Portfolio Action in Algebra

Day 44: Scatter plotting in Desmos

I remembered last year's reflection on this lesson at 5am. I heaved a sigh, skipped a shower (tmi?), skipped making coffee and quickly made a few small improvements.

Normally, I ask aloud for students' shoe size and height in inches (I am still in search of reliable questions to ask students to illustrate direct and indirect variation; please share!). This year I made it a google form.

This didn't take long and was an easy way to add a bit of variety and 1:1-ness to my lesson. Around 5:30 am, I made a discovery that was a real lucky break:

You can paste a table into desmos and it will plot the points!


I am sure everyone else already knew that as I am famously late to knowing things, but this really made my day.

The rest of my lesson was the same as before.

I have been trying out socrative in class. I need more practice. Last time, I couldn't figure out how to show a nice bar graph distribution of the responses in the moment. This time, I made it open…

Day 43

So I am reading Elizabeth Green's Building a Better Teacher which in part discusses a style of teaching math in which students get to talk through concepts rather than taking notes while teachers stand and deliver. The teachers doing this call it "This kind of teaching" or "TKOT." I like David Wees' summary of TKOT here. Also, my pedagogic goals have focused in recent years on engagement. As such, I am striving to play more games and do more problem based learning (PrBL) tasks in class. Thank you MtBos!

This means that my brain is aflutter every night at bed time. I can't fall asleep until I make a mental plan to improve my plan for the next day. Overall, I haven't been getting a ton of sleep, but my lessons are improving.

However, I am still struggling in two areas. One, I am overwhelmed by possibility. I get stymied by the sheer amount of materials available online. Though a lot of the lesson I find are good to illustrate a concept and not that gr…

Boring Lesson Made Fun: Color Wars

Last night I went to bed dreading my lesson plan for today's Algebra class. My agenda was going to say:
1. Go over homework
2. Notes: Standard Form Equations
3. Guided Practice: Standard Form Equations
4. HW: Worksheet on Standard Form Equations

Even with my cute stories and getting kids to do most of the talking and problem demos, my plan would have made for a boring day in math.

On the way to work this morning, I came up with a game. Since they already know how to manipulate an equation, instead of announcing a new form of a linear equation and lecturing on how to achieve this form, I gave them clues and made it a game.

Students worked in teams of 4. Each team used a different color of 3 by 5 cards (hence color wars and it also made sorting the results easier). Each group member had a job (which I made up while my first period class students were turning their desks).

I told them to rewrite the given equations according to the clues.

After the 2nd one, I added that x had to come…

Forgot to have fun in Geometry (Day 39)

So last year I began making a concerted effort to have fun in class... and while I made clear progress on that front in Algebra, I have been less successful in geometry. Yes, my geometry students create digital portfolios and complete engaging projects and tasks. Yes they use geogebra....
...but we don't play enough.

It is quite evident that they desire to do so. I have a handful of students this year in geometry that had me last year for algebra. These kids are wondering when we are going to play zombie grudge and I am giving them lessons that look like this:

That agenda just screams fun!
Remember my excuse to be boring though. With our school's schedule I only have 135 class sessions that are 40 minutes each. That has to cover a rigorous proof based course (We use Geometry: for Enjoyment and Challenge) and allow time for assessments. My colleagues are regularly confounded that I have any time to blog, use geogebra, or generally do anything other than teach, review homework a…