Thursday, February 10, 2011


Yeah, so tomorrow is the 9th straight snow day we've had. The last time I saw my students was January 31st. Crazy, huh?

So during my second Winter Break, I wasn't nearly as productive as I should have been. Seems like each day was in limbo, waiting on the phone call that decided my fate for another day. However, since I've not seen my students in 2 weeks, that does create some issues when deciding what the heck to do with them after an unexpected and record-breaking blizzard and it's aftermath.

In AP Statistics, I had just introduced confidence intervals for proportions a few days prior to us being out. Based on an idea that I got a few years ago from an AP workshop, I created a lab where my students got the "big picture idea" of a confidence interval based on tossing around inexpensive inflatable globes with the task of predicting the true proportion of water on the Earth's surface. I love lab activities that require the kids to read, question, and discuss the big ideas without any direct instruction from me. At the end of the day, they had a pretty decent idea of the purpose of a confidence interval and the basic idea of how it is related to the Normal model. The next day (Friday) I did some direct instruction over the Margin of Error (MoE) and the more nitty-gritty details of the process required for a confidence interval. However during the weekend, the forecast started getting gloomy and I knew direct instruction would not work for Monday. Instead, I created another lab where the students were rolling Pass the Pigs pig dice to create confidence intervals for Razorback, Trotter, Sider, etc. This time, the lab was more detail oriented than the globe lab, walking them through a complete write-up of a Confidence Interval for Proportions. At the end of the hour, we quickly reviewed and that was the last time I saw them.

So now, here I am, thinking of the 2 weeks that I lost and trying to figure out how to get them back on track. Last weekend, I created a "half-sheet" activity to review what we had already covered about Confidence Intervals as well as introduce the idea of finding a sample size for a given MoE. I have done the "half-sheets" before and my students *LOVE* them. When they come to class, they sit with their collaborative groups and each group gets a copy of Card #1. As a group, they work through it, discuss it, make sure everyone is on board, then they bring it up to me to check. If it's correct, I OK it, then hand them Card #2. If it's not correct, I point out errors in thinking, etc and they go back to the group to find their errors. This continues until the end of class. Pretty much, any worksheet can be done as "half-sheets", but for some reason, they ASK to do half-sheets! Anyway, here's the confidence interval for proportions half-sheets in case you want them :)

For Algebra 2, Partner Teacher and I decided to review and quiz them on Monday/Tuesday over function operations, compositions, and inverses before moving on to the Radicals unit. I had found this neat "Ghosts in the Graveyard" activity a while back but hadn't had a chance to use it yet. Well, of course Monday is Valentine's Day AND we're going to review, so why not do Math Conversation Hearts? :) I created 8 heart-shaped cards with review problems that I will copy onto red and pink cardstock and laminate. Instead of Graveyards, I'm leaning toward possibly letting them choose some of the big Conversation Heart candies (or maybe just cutouts?) when they get their problem set correct, then at the end of the hour, determine which color is worth how many points. The prize will (of course) be yummy Valentine's candies!

Thankfully, it looks like we will be going back on Monday. Next week's highs are near 70, which will be sandal weather compared to this morning's -12!! To help make up the days that we missed, it definitely looks like I will be working on "flipping" my classes earlier than I originally expected! I'm ready to be back into my routine, although I'm pretty sure I have forgotten how to set my alarm.... :)

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