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Showing posts from December, 2014

Day 70 - Exploring Exponents

I remember thinking about how to teach certain concepts last year at EdCamp LA. Meeting twitter acquaintances like John Stevens, Jed Butler, and Matt Vaudrey, I finally got the sense of the scale of the power of the Mtbos. They were able to fill in a few gaps with engaging lesson ideas.... and they are just 3 of MANY math teachers in my PLN (are we still using that acronym?).

Before EdCamp, I didn't know what I didn't know. Now I know, or almost know, and it is both awesome and overwhelming at the same time. Make sense?

Anywho, it is almost time for EdCamp again and the same question I had then is still milling around my brain. How do I make everything interesting, fun or filled with problem based learning goodness? Can all topics from our traditional (read not common core) curriculum be made into engaging lessons?

I hope so.

But then chapter 8 rolls around every year.

Yes it closes with exponential growth and decay, but it opens with this:
So again, the question stands. How d…

Geometry Students' Vlogs

My geometry students recently did their 2nd video blog. I assign them each a different proof and they create a diagram and explain how to prove. See two of my favorites from this year and the prompt below.



Tips for making video blogs and embedding (Links to an external site.) 1. Must be typed, including diagram, symbols and tick mark notation (I suggest using Google Drive's Drawing App) 2. Must use a screen capture tool like jing that will record your voice and your typed completion of the proof 3. Must be embedded in your blog 4. As always, creative title and 1-2 sentence introduction

Day 65: Space Race

I have had "make fun review game for algebra kiddos" on my to do list all week. I have a few review games in my back pocket thanks to the Mtbos (White-board stamp game, Solve-crumple-tosszombie grudge, speed-dating), but I wanted something new.

In usual fashion, I procrastinated. I came in this morning thinking that we would play zombie grudge or have a color war, but instead, inspired by Rockstar Math Teacher, I used Socrative.

In 15 minutes, I had a worksheet transformed into a Socrative quiz. In class, they used white boards and we did the space race option which randomly teams up the students. As usual, the winning team got to raid my prize barrel.

I was genuinely surprised by much fun the students had with this activity. Who knew that watching your rocket ship inch its way across the screen could be so motivating?

If you want a socrative that reviews solving systems, including special cases and word problems, import with this code: SOC-14218779

Day 61: Hawaii

There are many lessons in Algebra that in typical math teacher fashion, I just love. Wind-Current rate-time-distance problems are one of them for me.

Usually I present a few examples and tell a (true) story of how I have used this knowledge outside of my math teacher role... in my real life... out in the REAL WORLD! They ooh and ahh. They question that I have a real life. *sigh* They listen attentively to my telling of how on two separate occasions I have won the Half-way to Hawaii game.

I don't know which airlines play and which do not, but every time I have flown to Hawaii, they play the game of finding when the plane will be half-way there. The captain gives you the rate of the plane, the distance, the time the plane took off and the rate of any tail or head wind. Of course, there is an element of chance involved in the game. Speeds aren't constant the entire flight, but I use my algebra skills to make my educated guess. I have been lucky to win twice. My students are eager…

Day 56: Kids like Cookies

Any lesson that ends with eating cookies is a winner.

We scratched the surface of the Double Stuffed Oreo question today in my Algebra classes. We made the double stuff assumption, solved the system and tested it with the Triple Double data.

Multiple students said things like, "I'm questioning my entire childhood!" Oh drama. #middleschool

My handout.

We really just scratched the surface of this. I am in awe of how thoroughly this question has been investigate by...

Chris D.
Chris L.
Dan A.

Day 55 - Mindfulness Reminder

Coming back after Thanksgiving, I decided to use the spare ten minutes of class time usually dedicated to homework review to do what my kids call "yoga". Really, we do a bit of stretching in our seats and I lead them in a brief mindful meditation. I know it is ambitious to expect 13-year-olds to refrain from giggling while also telling them things like, "just focus on breathing" or "pay attention to the rise and fall of your chest as you breath slowly," but my students are awesome. I of course have to give consistent reminders to close your eyes, but overall they are quiet, calm and engaged in the exercise.

Today while finishing our meditation, I shared with them the story The Station by Robert J. Hastings:
“The Station"Tucked away in our subconscious is an idyllic vision.We are traveling by train, out the windows,we drink in the passing scenes of childrenwaving at a crossing,cattle grazing on a distant hillside,row upon row of corn and wheat,flatland…