Friday, August 31, 2012

My Favorite Moment of the Week

I can't believe that it's already three weeks into the school year! And bonus - it's a long weekend! We actually don't have students today, it's our district "Welcome back to school" breakfast and assembly. The breakfast is always fun because our district administration serves breakfast to the faculty and staff. :) Then dinner with some friends to round out the weekend and I'm so ready to spend some time relaxing!

For the first time since #MyFavFriday started, I honestly had several items to choose from! Craziness! :) But I'm trying to use this time to reflect on the previous week and decide what "My Favorite Moment" was and this week it was totally in my Algebra 2 classes!

In Algebra 2, we start by doing Parent Functions, domain/range, etc. Throughout this year, I've really tried to have kids discover patterns as much as I can and get away from just telling them what things are. For example, one of the lessons this week included information on function notation. In the past, I would have told them what the notation meant, but this year I tried it this way:

I put up this slide and asked kids to think about the "puzzle" on the board. I gave them some time to think and discuss their thoughts with their groups, while I walked around and eavesdropped on their conversations. Once I had an idea that most students had a pretty decent grasp on the pattern that they were seeing, I brought it back to a whole-class discussion to talk about their observations. I *loved* that almost everyone (~90 students) figured out the pattern and I didn't have to tell them anything! Even better was that they really understood WHY teachers in the past had told them "f(x) is just a fancy term for y" because they really saw that function notation was f(x) = y! YAY!

After that lesson, we ran out of time to do a left-side reflection/activity, which bothered me. I didn't want to have a blank page in their notebook, so that evening, I kept thinking about what I could do for their left-side page. On the way to work the next day, I was still pondering on what to do. At some point during my drive, I had the thought to put a left-side reflection as the warmup activity. (Sidenote: sometimes I really hate that my school is 30 minutes away, but most of the time I really love that it gives me time to reflect on the day and/or have a brainstorm about that day's lesson)

Here's the questions they had to answer on their left-side page...

This was one of the *best* warmups I've ever had! The first two problems were very approachable for all students and the third question really let me get a glimpse about their knowledge of domain and range. Oftentimes, we give the students a graph and ask for the domain and range, but rarely does the question go the other direction. It was so awesome to listen in to their groups as they discussed how to make a graph with those restrictions that was not a function. I really liked using this reflection tool in general and overall, I am really loving my Algebra 2 classes!

I hope all of you are having a great year as well. :) Thanks for letting me share a glimpse into my classroom :) Happy Friday!!


Kim Hughey said...

Wow, I love blogging. Like Kate says, if you just wait a few days someone will do your work for you. I am teaching function notation next week to my freshmen and have been mulling over a good way to introduce the concept. I think this will fit the bill perfectly. Thanks!

Mr. R. said...

I love that you ask them to figure out the notation. It really can be simple...if you have to figure it out yourself. Explaining it is actually much more difficult. Love it!

Added your blog post here:

and here:


Anonymous said...

Love that your goals this year involve "not telling them anything!" I will be using this "puzzle" idea to help introduce function notation to my 8th gr Algebra students later this year. Maybe add: "If you have solved the puzzle, then fill in the blanks: f(3) = ___ and f(___) = 3."

Did you "tell them" what a function is the day before? I was thinking of an activity involving showing examples of "function" and "not a function" where I keep adding another graph, table or rule and have them start to try to predict which column it would go in...

File away in my "idea box" :)

Cindy W

druin said...

@Mrs. H - glad I could help! :)

@aanthonya - I agree. I am hoping the retention will be higher since they "discovered it"

@findingemu - On the next slide, I totally did that, I just didn't put it into this post :) I do like your idea of the function/not function though! I should have done it that way! Thanks for the idea!