Thursday, September 2, 2010

I *heart* Activities!

This year has already had some ups and downs, but I'm enjoying it so far. We have new textbooks, which is always a challenge, but since this is my 2nd year in Algebra 2, I'm feeling more confident in my ability to try new things.

Last week, we taught two lessons. One was on domain and range and whether something was a function. Sunday night before I was to teach it, I got a brainstorm of an activity and immediately messaged Neighbor Teacher about the idea. I love working with Neighbor Teacher because she is always willing to try my harebrained ideas :) We often tease that if we could just meld our minds into one, we'd be unstoppable! Anyway, we got together after school on Monday to brainstorm and I had a stash of Graph Paper index cards. We ended up making 6 sets of domain/range cards for us to use in our classes the next day. For each card, the kids had to figure out the domain, the range, and whether it was a function. It went very well! Here's a picture of the cards:

The next lesson was about standard form and x/y intercepts. Years ago, we used to teach an activity based algebra lab class, so we started digging through those card games, etc and low and behold, we had a matching game for standard form, graphs, and intercepts. So again, we put the kids in groups and had them match them up. It's great to hear the kids talking math!!!

This week was our first test in Algebra 2. All of the concepts we had quizzed on were on the test. The kids had their quizzes back, had opportunties to reassess, etc. I was determined NOT to do a test review worksheet because I want the kids to learn how to study based on their personal weaknesses, not just regurgitate a test review. I encouraged them to make a practice test from the level 2 questions on their quizzes. I told them to work the homework problems from their weak areas, etc. Again, Neighbor Teacher and I brainstormed how to review and she came up with the idea of practice cards per learning target. So last weekend, I made 3 cards per Learning Target, each with 3 questions on it. I made 2 complete sets of these cards and the kids really seemed to like the targeted review. See a sample of the cards here:

Of course, the title of this blog is "Teaching Statistics", so I suppose I should share an activity from there too :) This next week, we will be covering Contingency Tables and Marginal/Conditional Distributions. I got yet another brainstorm last week while driving home and when I got home, I just had to type it up :) I am really trying to reduce my "talking time" more and more each year and make things as self-guided as I can. A friend of mine field tested it today, but I haven't heard yet how it went, so use with caution :) It can't be that bad - it's an M&M Lab for goodness sake! heheh So click here for the activity :)

We have staff development tomorrow then off for a mini-vacay with the fam - I'm hoping to have more brainstorms and more to share with you when I get back! Until then, have a happy and safe holiday weekend!