Friday, August 31, 2012

My Favorite Friday #6

Welcome to another fun edition of #MyFavFriday, featuring posts from around the blog-o-sphere! If you would like to join in the fun, then just submit your post at the #MyFavFriday tab at the top of the page!

Now on to this week's posts...

My Favorite Friday - Week 6

@reminoodle - Friday Night Football

@mathequalslove - My Favorite Foldable

@druinok - My Favorite Alg2 Moment of the Week

@_CindyWallace_ - Silent Math Movie

Math Tales From the Spring - For Ladies Only

Simplifying Radicals @noraoswald - My Favorite "Work" Book

The (MATH) Idea Drop - My Favorite Friday 8/31 (Pythagorean Thm & TED)

Everybody is a Genius - My Favorite iPad Teaching Apps

@MsMac622 - My Department

@4mulafun Jennifer Smith-Sloane - First Week Back

radical rational - Intro to Proof & Logic Lesson

@pitoinfinity8 - ACT Math Question of the Day

@KBHarlow - #myFavFriday - The ICTM State Math Contest and Bragging

@misscalcul8 - Flipping' the Classroom

Julie Reulbach, @jreulbach - Food and Sleep

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!!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Made 4 Math Monday #9

Welcome again to another exciting Monday filled with amazing posts from teachers around the globe! You'll notice a few changes this week...
1) There is now a #Made4Math tab at the top of the blog page. This is to help you be able to submit your #Made4Math projects without having to search for the submission form!
2) The weekly archive is now a separate post from my personal #Made4Math project. I don't know why I didn't think of this before, but many thanks to @jreulbach for helping me figure it out! :)

Now on to today's posts...

#Made4Math posts - Week 9

@simonjob - Rules for Differentiation - Foldable

@csteketee21 - Page Protector Whiteboards

@4mulafun Jennifer Smith-Sloane - Last Minute Creations (Posters)

@druinok - My Class Website

@gwaddellnvhs - Sharing my classroom

@aanthonya - Interactive Notebook Content Repository Wiki

@_CindyWallace_ - Stop Motion Math Tutorials

@misscalcul8 - The Nitty Gritty

radical rational - practice pockets & filetastics

Simplifying Radicals @noraoswald - Discriminant Foldable

@KBHarlow - My First #Made4Math Monday Post (Even Though It’s Sunday) – WHITEBOARDS

@reminoodle - Classes' Facebook Page

Math Tales From the Spring - Made 4 Math Inspired Projects

@MsMac622 - Whiteboards

Beth - Student Information Form

Scott Keltner - Picture Day Constant

Scott Keltner - Beat The Teach Game

Cindy W - Made4Math: Sticks and Seats

Breedeen--@btwnthenumbers - My Classrooms

@bobloch - Better Taste Tests

Made 4 Math - Class Website

It's time again for #Made4Math Monday!

This week I'm sharing my class website. In the past, I have actually had my own website with files, etc, but this year, I'm going to use Edmodo.

I've had an Edmodo account for a few years, but at the time I created an account, I just didn't care too much for it. Last year, several of the teachers at school were using it, but for some reason, it just didn't call my attention.

Until this past Saturday night... I had grown dissatisfied with my own class website, so I was honestly thinking of creating a class blog using Blogger, but I would have had to have it attached to a different gmail account because I don't use my real name on this blog. That would make the blogging platform less user friendly and I would be less likely to keep up with it.

I knew I wanted something similar to a blog that I could easily post on a daily basis. I have a homebound student for the first quarter, so I definitely wanted something where I could take photos of my notebook and upload them. What I was using in previous years was not a daily blogging type platform and I was irritated with the Blogger profile issue, so I turned to Edmodo and decided just to play. I created a class, make posts, assignments, quizzes, uploaded files, uploaded photos, anything that I could think of to try. I had hubby create a student account so I could see what the students saw and he was impressed with the ease of use. Honestly, that's what sold me on it. Hubs is a computer/website application programmer and if he's impressed by something, that indicates to me that I should definitely give it a shot!

So, on Sunday morning, I sit down to delete out my playtime fun from the night before and start to create my Edmodo website. I pretty much had the entire site up and running in about 1.5 hours, complete with daily photos of my notebook that I snapped with my phone and uploaded! Tomorrow I will share the Edmodo directions with the students and off we will go...

So there ya have it... my #Made4Math project of the week :)

Saturday, August 25, 2012

New Bloggers Initation - Week 1

Sam Shah, an amazing math teacher and blogger, spoke at Twitter Math Camp about how to encourage people to join the Math BlogTwitterSphere. As a result, he started the New Bloggers Initative and had close to 140 submissions for the first week! I have a feeling my Google Reader is definitely going to be growing as a result :)

I have the great pleasure of introducing some of these amazing new bloggers to you. Please take a moment, read through the submissions, and leave a comment to welcome them to our community. As we all know, a comment from a reader can really brighten our day. :)

Kevin Krenz - Rational Limits

Kevin Krenz (@kevin_krenz) has a blog named "Rational Limits". The first post for the Blogging Initiation is titled "[NBI] Focus on culture" and the author sums it up as follows: "Last year I learned (the hard way) that I cannot develop a classroom culture from the top down. It must be a collaborative and conscious effort. This year I plan on having students help decide on our values, class mission, and design of the physical space."

A memorable quotation from the post is: "I can help guide the development of our culture and be intentional about which values are emphasized, but I cannot create it on my own."

My thoughts... Kevin hits the nail on the head here. Our classrooms should be welcoming, warm places, but sometimes we forget that we, as the teacher, are not the only person that we are designing for. Helping students to recognize that they also have a huge role in developing the classroom culture is key.

LeeAnn Zlomek - The Algebra Toolbox

LeeAnn Zlomek (@lazlomek) has a blog named "The Algebra Toolbox". The first post for the Blogging Initiation is titled "My favorite unit - Linear Functions" and the author sums it up as follows: "I teach mostly freshmen in my Algebra I class at the high school and adults in the developmental algebra class at the community college. I use these activities (hot seat, desk hop, matching cards, foldable, songs) with both groups and they are very engaged!"

A memorable quotation from the post is: "I’ve had a couple of students make me t-shirts with the equation on it so that I don’t have to get the tattoo."

My thoughts... One word - WOW!! LeeAnn has shared a goldmine of ready to print activities for linear equations. I think my laminator will be quite busy this weekend!! :)

Maggie Acree - pitoinfinity

Maggie Acree (@pitoinfinity8) has a blog named "pitoinfinity". The first post for the Blogging Initiation is titled "It’s Official – I’m Whiteboarding! (Blog Challenge, Week 1, #3)" and the author sums it up as follows: "My post is about my quest to begin Whiteboarding. Along with this, I included other strategies I plan to implement along with Whiteboarding to have more student led experiences in my classroom."

A memorable quotation from the post is: "I am excited to be Whiteboarding this year and excited to continue to read blog posts on how well it goes."

My thoughts... I love all posts about whiteboarding. For some reason, kids so much more willing to try something on a whiteboard than on their paper. Errors can be whisked away easily, so kids are willing to take more risks with the unknown. I can't wait to get my large whiteboards made so I can try this too!

Ana Fox Chaney - Make Math

Ana Fox Chaney (@AnaFoxC) has a blog named "Make Math". The first post for the Blogging Initiation is titled "What do we do when we do math?" and the author sums it up as follows: "Why do we do math but make music? Doing is for things that have already been figured out and making is the verb for new things. Shouldn't students make math of their own - create and own the math they use rather than re-do the math they've seen done?"

A memorable quotation from the post is: "Many adults seem to feel this way – that is, weirdly cowed by the whole discipline of mathematics – like it’s looking down on them, waiting for them to show weakness."

My thoughts... I have to admit, I had to read Ana's posts a few times and let it slowly sink in. Every time I read it, I found another detail that I had missed the time before. Ana's point about the verb of "doing" vs "making" really hit home. What would happen if we did more "making" instead of just "doing" in our classrooms? I think this post will be the starting point for many deep conversations this week with my colleagues!

Cindy W - findingEMU

Cindy W (@finding_EMU) has a blog named "findingEMU". The first post for the Blogging Initiation is titled "Reflections: Why "findingEmu?"" and the author sums it up as follows: "Why did I choose such a goofy name? What does it mean about me as a teacher?"

A memorable quotation from the post is: "I don't want the "I can do it!" math, I want the deep comprehension down in their core that builds and branches off from what they DO really know and understand."

My thoughts... I have to admit, I was wondering at first why Cindy was blogging about Emus, but then I contined to read and realized she was talking about "Enduring Mathematical Understanding". Every teacher struggles with this idea - how can we help students OWN the material rather than RENT the material? I look forward to watching Cindy's journey as she helps her students develop EMUs :)

Nathan Kraft - Out Rockin' Constantly

Nathan Kraft (@nathankraft1) has a blog named "Out Rockin' Constantly". The first post for the Blogging Initiation is titled "I Still Suck at Teaching (and how I'm going to fix that)" and the author sums it up as follows: "I am implementing two new assessment and teaching strategies this year: standards-based grading and three act lessons."

A memorable quotation from the post is: "I'd like to thank Dan Meyer, Steve Leinwand, Fawn Nguyen, and Andrew Stadel who, through their expertise and great ideas, have proven to me that I still suck at teaching."

My thoughts... Nothing like a sucker punch to start your day. Nathan's raw honesty really hits home with me this morning. As he points out in his post, as soon as I think I have something figured out, I look at the amazing teachers I've met through the online community and realize how much I really suck at this. I think we all have those moments and while it may not be something that often gets mentioned, it is something that goes through each of our heads on a regular basis. Thank you to Nathan for reminding me that my daily goal should be to "suck a little bit less than I did yesterday."

Christy Wood - Hands on Math in High School

Christy Wood (@wyldbirman) has a blog named "Hands on Math in High School". The first post for the Blogging Initiation is titled "Why I Blog" and the author sums it up as follows: "My post is about why I started blogging and what I am focusing on this year. I have been applying things I have learned from other bloggers into my own practice."

A memorable quotation from the post is: "At what point did we begin thinking that students can't benefit from manipulatives?"

My thoughts... Let me just say, I <3 Christy! I found her blog way back in the summer because she had pinned one of my blog posts on pinterest. Her passion for making math fun and interesting and hands-on is one of the things that drew me toward her. We have visited several times via twitter and I really look forward to learning from her this year.

Aaron C. - Random Teaching Tangents

Aaron C. (@CarpGoesMoo) has a blog named "Random Teaching Tangents". The first post for the Blogging Initiation is titled "New Blogger Initiation 1" and the author sums it up as follows: "Who needs control groups and only tinkering with a single variable at a time? I plan to change a lot of my practices this year in order to become more efficient and less frustrated/stressed teacher. I'd rather ride the current tidal wave of paradigm shifts in education than get sucked under ..."

A memorable quotation from the post is: "To stay in this game another two decades, I’ve got to stop getting by and start meaningfully impacting some lives. Ambitious, right?"

My thoughts... Aaron sums it up well in the quotation about ambition. I love his willingness to tinker with the things that didn't work for him last year and try something new. Aaron is a blogger to watch - he definitely is not satisfied with the status quo. :)

Friday, August 24, 2012

My Favorite Friday #5

TGIF!!! I don't know about you guys, but I *really* need this weekend! I am worn out and need to spend some time trying to get ahead rather than constantly feeling like I'm running to catch up :)

Click HERE to submit your #MyFavFriday post!

Click HERE to submit your #MyFavFriday post!

My favorite thing this week actually happened last week :) Last year, one of the feedback comments that a student left me was about the first day of school. They said something to the effect of... "This class is the only class that I can remember the first day of school because you didn't go over the syllabus!" Okie dokie then... I thought the young lady had a good point, so when it came time to plan the first day of school, I kept her advice in mind.

Throughout the years, I've tried various activities for the first day. I love activities that make them think, that have an entry point for all levels of kids, and has a "bigger picture" aspect. Now, in Alg2 at my school, we start with a study of functions - the parent graphs, transformations, piecewise, etc. With that in mind, it made perfect sense to use Dan Meyer's Graphing Stories on the first day. I used the graph he provided, but shrank it down so it would fit four on a page and off we went!

I started with the Pain vs. Time video because I thought it had the lowest entry point. I asked them to watch the video and told them we would be graphing Mr. Meyer's pain level over time. We set up our graphs, then watched the video. I paused the video and asked them to make their graph. Most of them had not seen the time stamp at the bottom and I even had one kiddo ask if Mr. Meyer was smoking because she had never seen someone hold nails in their mouth. :) After their first attempt, we talked about what the graph was supposed to show. What did a 0 mean? a 10? At the beginning of the video, how much pain was Mr. Meyer feeling? What about at the end? How did they know? We then watched the video at half-speed and then made revisions to our graph. Most of them caught on to the time stamp and I could see them ploting more "points" this time. Finally, we watched the answer segment and talked about why the graph wasn't a diagonal line with a positive slope. Some of the kids really got into the idea of what was a "10" for one person may not be a "10" for someone else.

We continued this for 3 other videos and each one really generated some great questions like what would a horizontal segment mean here? vertical? positive slope? negative slope? Can a graph like _____ ever happen? What would it look like if.... ?

The kids really seemed to enjoy the videos, I liked the quality of discussion, and best of all, it had several "big picture" ideas! I tied the graphs into the idea that Algebra 2 is about modeling real world ideas and a lot of those real world ideas have a graph that shows the story, like in projectile motion. I also got a chance to talk about the process of watching, trying, watching, and revising. We talked about how we're hardly ever perfect the first time we try anything, so constant revision is okay and even expected! We talked about mistakes are welcomed - they are proof that you are willing to try something! All in all, it ended up turning into a motivational speech, but one that I really enjoyed :)

So there ya have it... My Favorite First Day of School :)

Happy Friday to all! :)

What is YOUR #MyFavFriday?
Click HERE to submit your post

@misscalcul8 - Air Fresheners

@ray_emily - "My Favorite No," Remixed for #MyFavFriday

Simplifying Radicals @noraoswald - Sustained Energy Recipe

@tbanks06 - Math Basketball Review

Math Tales From the Spring - My Favorite Way to Stay Cool In the Summer

James Cleveland - Duolingo

Julie Reulbach, @jreulbach - Table Motivation Labels

@MsMac622 - TI-Connect and TI-SmartView

@luvbcd - Classroom Labels

Radical Rational - Chicken Tortilla Soup

@wyldbirman - My Favorite Math Book

@reminoodle - My Favorite Musical

Monday, August 20, 2012

Made 4 Math Monday #8

Week one is done and honestly, it kicked and punched me around quite a bit! On our first day with kids, I was so worn out that I came home and took a 3 hour nap! This weekend was a flurry of getting things ready for my night class and finalizing my lessons for my high school classes. Needless to say, you will definitely see a change in this week's #Made4Math based on what I needed to make for my classes :)

Click here to submit YOUR #Made4Math Project

Click here to submit YOUR #Made4Math Project

My #Made4Math this week is devoted to my Notebooks.

Project #1 - The Table of Contents
I've seen many ToCs out there, especially now that INBs have become so popular! However, I wanted one that could fit easily into the notebook without too much cutting. One of my science buddies had learned about INBs last year at our AVID training and she was kind enough to share her ToC with me, but it was in Excel and honestly, I'm majorly stupid at Excel. So I made this one in Word:

What I love about it is that it makes a mini-booklet so there is no cutting involved!
Want the file? Get it HERE
**Note: This file has been shared via Google docs and is view only. If you want to modify it, please go to File:Download on G-docs!

Project #2 - The Rubric
That same science teacher friend was very generous to share her grading rubric with me. I hate to grade and it flat out scared me to think about grading tons of notebooks often. She has her students peer-grade the notebook, with the rule that someone different must grade your notebook each week. Then they bring the notebook up to her for her to record the score. I took her files, tweaked them a bit and made them into a half sheet:

Want the file? Get it HERE

Project #3 - The SBG Tracker
One of the things that I loved in many of the notebooks I've seen is that students keep track of their scores. I had made something for this back earlier this summer, but I wasn't crazy about it. Enter in my awesome Algebra 2 co-conspirator and an awesome score tracker she made. I again tweaked it, putting it on the inside of a mini-booklet, then the SBG grading scale and reassessment rules on the outside.

What I love about this is that student scores are kept private when doing the peer grading!
Want the file? Get it HERE

So there you have it... not the most creative #Made4Math that I've done, but definitely a very necessary collection of "need to make" for me.

Your Turn!!! What did YOU make this week??
Ready to check out some other awesome creations? We want to see YOUR name here.... :)

Click here to submit YOUR #Made4Math Project

Bowman Dickson, @bowmanimal - Teaching Beliefs in Poster Form

@aanthonya - Fibonacci Bees

@coachpate - Pirate math scavenger hunt

@_CindyWallace_ - Scratch Off Cards

@csteketee21 - Calendar

@reminoodle - Spiced Up Syllabus & Foldables Supply Boxen

Simplifying Radicals @noraoswald - Slope Spinner

Sarah - Trash to treasure desk chair

Julia Cole - Planning Calendar

@Alwildadaughter - Beans and more syllabi

Julie Reulbach, @jreulbach - Math Motivation Classroom Posters

Justin Lanier (@j_lanier) - Math Heroes - a painting I made for my classroom

Breedeen (@btwnthenumbers) - Habits of Mind posters

Making Paper Airplanes - Hanging Folder Holder

@4mulafun Jennifer Smith-Sloane - Math About Me Project

Megan Hayes-Golding (@mgolding) - Online Exit Tickets

Radical Rational - Blind Draw - Geometry

Math Tales From the Spring - Please Use the Restroom and Water Fountain Before Math Class Poster

Beth Ferguson - Made 4 Math Monday – posters

@rachelrosales - Thinking Log stems

Sherrie @luvbcd - Classroom Door

@MsMac622 - Teacher Survival Kits

Sqrt_1 - Two pizza boxes and a hot glue gun

@crstn85 - Made for Math: Calendar and Classroom

@misscalcul8 - Posters and Clothes Pins and Markers, Oh My

@mathymissc - MATHO!

Finding EMU - Monster Whiteboards

Friday, August 17, 2012

My Favorite Friday #4

So the first week of school is done. :) We had meetings and prep time on Monday-Wednesday, then kiddos arrived yesterday. I have to say that one of things that I do love about my district is that they minimize the meetings. We had meetings on Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning, but the rest of the time was for us to work in our rooms. Then Thursday came... OH MY GOSH! My kiddos were great and we had a lot of fun, but wowzers, I was exhausted by the end of the day! Every year, I forget how much my feet hurt after being on my feet (and wearing shoes!) for an entire day. So I came home and promptly fell into bed for a 3 hour nap. :) But, now it's Friday, the first week is under our belts and we have 35 more to go :)

Now that school is in session, you will see a change to the #MyFavFriday posts. During the summer, I have time to troll Twitter looking for the hashtag, but during the year, I don't. So, if you would please take the time to fill out this Google form with your post information, it will allow me to update the archive MUCH quicker that adding each of your links by hand.

Click HERE to submit your #MyFavFriday post!

Click HERE to submit your #MyFavFriday post!

My favorite thing that I'm sharing this week is an activity that I am doing today in my Algebra 2 classes. Yesterday, on day 1, we did some getting to know you activities. Normally, I'm not a huge fan of icebreakers, but our school is so large that you literally could be in a class and not know a single person in that class. The students learned right away that they will have to talk to the people around them. We did a 4-way Venn Diagram and the kids then learned what they had in common and what was unique to them. (Idea totally stolen from some of my awesome colleagues!)

Then we started doing some "Graphing Stories" from Dan Meyer's blog. The kids really got into this and I will definitely use it again next year! Tomorrow we will do some more of his videos, and follow up with this Card Match.

Card Match is one of my favorite go-to activities. You can use this with about any subject that you need to match a question with an answer. In this Card Match, students will match a scenerio with a graph. The reason I love doing Card Match activities is that almost every student is willing to try. Since the answers are there in front of them, some of the anxiety of the "right answer" is reduced. Once the group feels like they are on target, they call me over to check. I tell them how many of the matches they have right, but I don't usually tell them which pairs are correct. Activities like this are also great for encouraging verbal communication within their groups. I love eavesdropping on their discussions :)

Happy Friday to all! :)

What is YOUR #MyFavFriday?
Click HERE to submit your post

@crstn85 - My Favorite Friday: Review Games

@mathymissc - My Favorite Lesson Plan Book

Jennifer Smith-Sloane - Friday Fab 5 for 8/17

@MsMac622 - Homework Calendars

@mathbratt - My Instructional Coach

Simplifying Radicals @noraoswald - the PEMDAS Game

@aanthonya - CutePdf Writer (FREE PC App)

@reminoodle - Dish Wand Holder

Math Tales From the Spring - My Favorite Ice Breakers

@gwaddellnvhs - Online Graphing Calculators

Kristin - My Favorite Quadratic Formula Song/Video

@tbanks06 - The Best 40 dollars you can spend this year!

@sqrt_1 - My Favorite Go-To Reviews

@_CindyWallace_ - About Me w/Wiffiti

From a Math Class - My Favorite New Lesson

Julie Reulbach, @jreulbach - Monthly Meal Planning GDoc – My Favorite Friday

@csteketee21 - AIMS Education

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

My Classroom (2012-13 Edition)

I am mostly proud of myself. While I really don't have any lesson plans done (that's why I'm not fully proud of myself), my room is pretty much ready for students to arrive. In fact, thanks to #Made4Math, this is the EARLIEST my room has *ever* been completed! Usually I'm still at school at 7pm on Wednesday night waiting on students to arrive on Thursday morning. Go me!

Anyway, it's time for a tour... :) There's still a few things to be done, but it's close enough! I feel like I should be playing "I spy" with the #Made4Math and Pinterest inspired projects!

This is the view from just inside the door, showing the length of the back wall. Notice that the Stat board is still blank, but I got an idea for it at 4pm today, so my trusty laminator and I will be good friends tonight!

Here's the view from the doorway to the opposite wall. I love the storage and the countertop. The windows are on the west side of our building, so in the afternoon/evening, that sunlight can get quite harsh, but I love the natural light! You'll notice a few of the student desks still have things on them. Sorry about that! That stuff should be going away tomorrow :)

This is my student area. Anything a kiddo needs is in this area. Class sets of textbooks, INB supply boxes, Kleenex, hand lotion, turn in boxes, pencil sharpener, mini whiteboards, etc all reside here.

Here is my desk area. My desk is still a bit messy :) Ignore that part!

The other side of my desk - again, ignore the mess! You can see the random stuff that still needs to find a place to call home. :) Notice the cool purple thingy hanging up on the whiteboard - I got that from Big Lots for $8! This is where I'm going to store my seating charts, the Advisory sign out sheets, and my INBs. You can also see our HUGE podiums! Holy moly those suckers are so huge, they come with 2 coffee cup holders!

The view of the front/east side of my room. I was standing in front of the countertop when I took this pic. You can see my Promethean, all the whiteboards, and the storage cabinets. Two things I adore about my room - white board space and plenty of storage!!! You can also see textbooks ready to check out and the laptop cart.

Last one! I'm standing in the same spot as the pic above, but this is the back wall and the doorway. Again, ignore the table of stuff :)

So there ya have it... Thanks for joining us on this tour! I hope you enjoyed your stay :)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Made 4 Math Monday #7

Welcome to another Monday! Today is my official first day back, so ACK! Summer is officially over!!! My time lately has been consumed in getting my classroom back in order and I have to admit, it makes me smile whenever I spy a #made4math project in my room!

One change you will see this week is a Google form that I am asking you to fill out so that it's easier for me to post the archive of your blog posts. As you can imagine, for the previous weeks, I have trolled twitter looking for the #made4math hashtag and favorited them so that I would hopefully not forget anyone. However, now that I'm back in the classroom, my twitter time is greatly reduced, so the Google form will help me keep track!

Click here to submit YOUR #Made4Math Project

Click here to submit YOUR #Made4Math Project

So on to this week's projects...

Project #1 - Warmups and Whiteboards
So this year in my math classes, I am doing Interactive Notebooks. However, I really don't want to waste too much of my valuable INB paper space on warmups. I like using warmups, but hate to grade them. In the past, too many students have just copied the warmup and it really wasn't an effective solution. So this year, I plan to do more low-stress warmups like the game 24 (what a great way to practice Order of Operations!), logic puzzles, etc. So, while chatting with another teacher from my school, she mentioned she was going to use the mini-whiteboards for warmups. Brilliant!! However, I needed new erasers. I used washclothes last year and they were ICKY! I tweeted out a question about other eraser options and got a few responses. This was the winner...

I went to Hobby Lobby and purchase 4 sheets of craft felt for a whopping 25 cents each. Since the felt was 9"x12", I cut my "erasers" into 3"x4" rectangles. For a dollar, I have a class set of erasers that are in our school colors! Yay!

Project #2 - Another INB necessity
During all of the INB research, I realized I would need a storage caddy for my students. I have picked up and put down every storage caddy that I found in Target's Dollar Spot several times. I loved their various pails and buckets, but they all had one major downfall - I couldn't easily store them! I wanted something stackable. I had found a pin on pinterest that used 3 drawer caddies and gave each group a drawer, but I wasn't set on that either. After some thought and discussion with the hubs, he suggested looking for the cheap pencil boxes.

We found them at Big Lots for 88 cents, so I bought 16, one for each pair of kiddos in my class. One weird thing I've noticed this summer is that I am no longer satisfied with "plain" stuff. In the past, I would have gotten out my label maker and been just fine. But not anymore! Now I spend hours time on making pretty labels! Since I have 8 groups (or 16 pairs) in my class, I labeled each one with an "A" or "B". The front two students will be the "A" pair, the back two students will be the "B" pair.

These aren't completely finished... I still need to fill them with the INB goodies (scissors, tape, colored pencils, etc) and put a card with the box contents.

Project #3 - Random project
This past week, I've spent time working on my room and my desk area. This was on the shelf behind my desk:

Now all last year, this was sitting in the same spot and it never bothered me. It holds random things.. notepads, markers, stickers, etc that I wanted close, but didn't have room in my desk. However, I never noticed how UGLY it is! (Remember me saying above about the whole "plain" thing?) Instead of finishing my desk area, I was just obsessing on how ugly this container was! So after a few minutes of hemming and hawing and getting out my scissors, this is what it looks like now...

I had some left over bulletin board border that I had used on my whiteboard, so now it is working as a "coverup" to that ugliness! A few pieces of tape and I was good to go :)

Your Turn!!! What did YOU make this week??
Ready to check out some other awesome creations? We want to see YOUR name here.... :)

Click here to submit YOUR #Made4Math Project

Lisa Henry (@lmhenry9) - Cornell Note Bookmarks

@gwaddellnvvhs - My classroom so far & Study Maybe signs

simplifying radicals - y-intercept line slider for INB

Megan Hayes-Golding (@mgolding) - My #Made4Math 5: Global Math Department

Jennifer Smith-Sloane (@4mulafun) - Cute Classroom (with video!)

@msklaster - What is your WHY?

@sandramiller_tx - Senioritis Poster

@csteketee21 - Classroom

@ray_emily - Student Art

@MsMac - Absent Students

@mathbratt - Using Address Labels

@luvbcd - Math Focus Wall

Julie Reulbach, @jreulbach - The No Homework, “Responsibility Binder”

@cheesemonkeysf - Life on the Number Line - board game for working with real numbers

@KristinABC123 - Class Brochure

@mathtastrophe - School Spirit/Mascot Banner

@Fouss - QR code stickers

@reminoodle - Country Time Pencil-Ade, etc.

@j_lanier - Triangle patterns and a star stack

misscalcul8 - Back to School Edition

@mathymissc - DIY-Paper Tray Storage

@CarpGoesMoo - Jumping on the Band Wagon

From a Math Class - Real Number Signs

@mathsmithed - Keep Calm and Math On

Rebecka Peterson - Classroom Stuff

Sam Shah - 2012-2013 School Planner

Saturday, August 11, 2012

A "Duh" Moment

I don't know about you, but every so often, I have a thought (well, technically I have thoughts more often than that...) that just hits me upside the head with its simplicity. This is one of those times...

Back in June, I posted about using Interactive Notebooks in my classes this year. Well, June (and July) came and went and I really didn't do anything more about it. I attend @mgolding's wonderful INB talk at Twitter Math Camp and then again last week at the Global Math Department meeting, but I've not really sat down and put pencil to paper and how I planned to use these things.

In Algebra 2 at my school, we don't start with review material. We start with Parent Functions, transformations of parent functions, and review linear equations as it comes up. In fact, you may recall this picture from my June INB blog post:

At last Tuesday's Global Math Department Meeting, @mgolding announces that this week's meeting will be about foldables and @jreulbach will be giving an encore performance of her Twitter Math Camp presentation this coming Tuesday. (YAY!)

So all of these thoughts are swirling around in my head and during Wednesday afternoon's naptime, I have the thought... HEY! That table can be a foldable!!

I took the table AS-IS, cut around it, folded it in half, cut the flaps, and labeled it. Now kids can "quiz" themselves one function at a time..

Seriously - it was that easy! Makes me wonder what else I've used that had easy foldable potential that I've ignored!

UGH! *Smack!*

So Simple, yet I'd never thought of it before... *sigh*

Friday, August 10, 2012

My Favorite Friday #3

Oh my goodness! Today is the LAST Friday of my summer! ACK! Where's the rewind button? :) Seriously though, for the most part, I think I am ready. I don't have any lessons planned, but my room is 98% done and is sporting a lot of pinterest projects that you have seen on #made4math :)

But, today is Friday, which means it's time for....

My favorite thing that I'm sharing this week is more of an obsession.... I like LOVE pens!!! (FYI - these pictures were taken at school when I was up working on my room... this does NOT include my pens at home or in my teacher bag)

Now I don't know about you, but I can't stand wimpy pens. I like a sturdy pen with bold color. The one above is a Parker ball point pen. I'm not usually one for the fancy refillable pens, but my Office Depot closed out their pink and purple Parker Gel Refills (like 25 cents for a 2 pack), so I had to invest in a Parker pen! This is one of my go-to pens and since I have about 20 refill packs, I think I'm good for a while :)

I also have pens with a story... Hubs knows that I <3 pens that he's even sent me "pen bouquets" in lieu of flowers for Valentine's. I try to use the pens below very sparingly because they are very close to my heart...

The pens above were given to me by hubby on June 4, 2010. No, I don't usually keep track of when my pens were acquired, but these pens are special. Hubs bought these for me on the day my sister died from cancer. I had sent him to the store in order to buy paper products in anticipation of the crowds that would be gathering at sis's house and when he got back from the store, he pulled me back into one of the bedrooms and pulled the pens out. I can still hear him saying, "I know this is silly, but I saw these and thought they might make you feel a little bit better on a sad day." AWWWW - is there any doubt why I love this man??? :)

I am definitely not a pen snob... I will buy pens anywhere just to try them out. Some of my favorite ballpoint pens came from Big Lots but I forgot to take a picture of them. No matter which store I go in, I *must* check out the stationary aisle. Every once in a while, I come across a real winner. The pens below are from Dollar General for $2 and I *love* these for grading! They are bright bold colors and never skip (I hate when pens do that!). They are so smooth to write with - and it's a bonus that they have an orange... I <3 orange pens!

While orange pens are pretty darn awesome, my favorite color is....

PURPLE!!! Sadly, this is just a small subset of the pens in my desk and its not all of the purple pens I have... LOL :) The Energel at the top is a great pen... they also come in black, blue, red, and green.

What are your favorite pens??? I'm always on the lookout for new ones! :)

Now it's YOUR turn! What is your #MyFavFriday?
Post your link in the comments or tweet it out with #MyFavFriday

@reminoodle - Spaghetti Pizza

@ray_emily - Order of Operations Activity

@MsKLaster - Easiest Chicken Recipe Ever!

@MsMac622 - Whiteboard Tips

@sandramiller_tx - SugarSync

@Fouss - Tweet Me!

@gwaddellnvhs - Scheduling posts, $1 Notebook, and a Poem

@NoraOswald - Colleagues

@jreulbach - Google Spreadsheet and Wiki for Homework

@Carol_Leonard - Oreo Truffles

@luvbcd - Favorite Formative Assessment Techniques

@misscalcul8 - Gradebook with Progress Reports

@kssclark - Video for Inverse Tangent Functions

@Wyldbirman - Graph Paper

@MathBratt - Conversation Cards

@danbowdoin - Using Whiteboards in Math

@LaurenDeReche - SBG Gradebook and Interactive Notebooks

@CSteketee21 - A Big Thank You

@Johnsonmath - Favorite Advice for New Teachers

@4mulafun - Back to School favorites

@n2mathematix - Interactive Bulletin Boards

Monday, August 6, 2012

Made 4 Math Monday #6

First off, let me start by thanking all of you that have helped to make #Made4Math Mondays such a success! I can't beleive that we had so many entries last week and I spent so much time reading your amazing posts and thinking of how to use them. I have a feeling that a common response in my classroom this year will be, "Yeah, isn't that cool? One of my friends online posted that idea!"

A question that I have answered several times lately is about whether #Made4Math will continue during the school year. As long as you guys are willing to post about something you've done/created/made for your classroom, I am certainly willing to keep archiving them and posting myself. I've really appreciated having the accountability to have to blog weekly and I think it's helped me be more creative in general. I am worried that I will miss somebody's post while I'm at school and not able to check twitter, but we still have time to figure that out :)

Anyway, let's move on to this week's projects...

As always, don't forget to steal the logo above, attach it to your post, and tweet out your link with the #Made4Math hashtag or put your link in the comments so it can be archived!!

Project #1
This week's projects are all projects around my classroom. The first one is my Algebra 2 bulletin board. I posted about it yesterday, but because I'm so proud of how it turned out, I decided to give it another shout-out.

This board serves a couple of purposes. First, the poster in the middle is the upcoming Quiz Announcement area, that lets students know when quizzes are scheduled. Second, the library card pockets around the edge are holding Remediation Cards for each Learning Target. There are three cards per pocket - one each for Level 1, 2, and 3 questions. These are self-checking cards with the answers on the back and kids can practice their weak targets so they can come in and do reassessment. In the past, I was the "keeper of the cards", so this allows students to have more ownership in their remediation and reassessment plans.

The next two projects are Pinterest inspirations...

Project #2
I've always been a fairly organized person, but this past year, I had a few times that I was not as organized paper wise as I would have liked, so when I found this pin, I knew I wanted to adapt it for my classroom.

With the help of the cool labels that I posted about in last week's #Made4Math, my awesome new laminator, here's my version:

Now I have a spot right behind my desk to put copies for the upcoming week and hopefully it will help me stay more organized.

Project #3
One of the things I do love about my room is all of the whiteboard space. Along the back wall are 3 smaller whiteboards alternated with 3 bulletin boards. Along the front wall are two large whiteboards and the Promethean board. While I love the whiteboards, I would like bulletin board space near my desk. So when I saw this pin, I knew I wanted to try it!

So using some Target Dollar Spot bulletin board border, a roll of magnets from Michaels, and here's the result:

At first, I wasn't sure if I liked it or not, but the longer I've left it up there, the more I like it. I did use clear tape to tape the strips together so that they don't move around as much, but we'll see how it goes once students are in the room! :)

Thanks to #Made4Math, my room is slowly coming together... :)

Your Turn!!! What did YOU make this week??
Ready to check out some other awesome creations? Remember to leave a link in the comments or send out a #made4math tweet! :) We want to see YOUR name here.... :)

@cheesemonkeysf - Algebraic Expressions Interactive Foldable AND Interactive Notebook Foldable AND Words Into Math Game

@simonjob - Functions and Quadratics Foldables

@rachelrosales - Classroom Organization

@jreulbach - Crocheted Pencils and Check Out Sheet

@gwaddellnvhs - Common Core Scope/Sequence and Formative Assessment

@roitzc - Math Number Puzzle

@sqrt_1 - Tshirt Wall Display

@MsMac622 - 4 Pocket Folders

@MsKLaster - Partner Quizzes + Extras

@mathtastrophe - Binder Covers

@wahedahbug - Math Metacognition

@Fouss - Student Information Google Form

@_CindyWallace_ - First Day Handout

@4mulafun - Starting the New Year Right

@misscalcul8 - Colorful Games and Organization

@msrubinmath - Classroom Cabinet

@Wyldbirman - Magnetic Dry Erase Sentence Strips

@crstn85 - Classroom Posters

SimplifyingRadicals - Distributing Supplies

@aanthonya - Cone of Silence

Katie - How I Spent my Saturday - Fraction/Decimal/Percent practice

@reminoodle - Facebook Bulletin Board AND Facebook Update AND a pattern for last week's pencil toppers

@sandramiller_tx - Organized Reassessments

@fourkatie - Magazine Holders and Binder Clip Labels

@pamjwilson - Round Robin - Parabola Patterns

@ScottKeltner - Graphing Calculators School Supply and Bulletin Board

@AlwildaDaughter - Bulletin Board and Who's Out Board

@csteketee21 - Whiteboard headers and Colorful Numbers

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Bulletin Boards - Part 2

If you recall, back in June, I posted about my bulletin boards, but at that time I only had one done.

Here was the view from my desk at that time..

Of course, I *thought* it would be a snap to finish up the other two boards, but due to a snafu with my schedule, I postponed putting the other boards together because I wasn't sure what the final schedule would be and I did not want to undo all my hard work!

Thankfully, though, they got my schedule finished this week, so I worked on my room on Thursday and Friday. I still have a TON to do, haven't even started looking at lesson plans, and in general, am NOT feeling up to the start of school in ONE (yes, ONE) week!

But, I did get one of my bulletin boards finished and another started... woohooo! :)

First thing was to take my beautiful letters (see them up on the pic above?) and place them on my bulletin board. Now, I don't know about you, but this is tough for me... for years, I would staple them up, step back, undo staple, readjust, restaple, step back, repeat, repeat, repeat.... Now, I do this:

Notice the maroon yarn. I tie a loop in either end of it and use a thumbtack to connect the left and right sides in a fairly straight line. For those of you with home improvement skills, this is the equivalent of a "chalk line" This lets me make sure things are lined up straight without all of the stapling, etc. You'll also notice the scotch tape at the top of the letters. I always laminate my letters so the scotch tape comes off easier, but with the tape, I can reposition my letters as often as I want/need to without the stapling and unstapling from the years past.

So I got the AP Stat header up, but that's as far as that board made it. I did get my Algebra 2 board done though....

In the middle you can see the 11x17 poster that I made for quiz announcements and the library card pockets that I found at Dollar Tree. Since all of it is laminated, I can write on it with a dry erase marker. The card pockets are similar to the Wall of Remediation that Mathy McMatherson posted about. You will notice that the card pockets on the left are labeled with a quiz number and a Learning Target. Inside each card pocket are the yellow, green, and blue cards for each learning target from this post. The idea is to keep the current quiz cards up there plus any low scoring past objectives, so that kids can easily have access to the cards they need for extra practice for any learning target.

Now just to figure out what to do on the AP Stat board... :)

Friday, August 3, 2012

My Favorite Friday #2

I don't know about you guys, but I swear the summer does not move at an equal pace! June seems to stretch on for a while, then July zooms by pretty quickly, then when August arrives, it's like those first two weeks are gone in a blink of an eye! How in the WORLD is it Friday again so soon???? I mean, I SWEAR I just wrote my Monday post last night and now it's already time for Friday?!?!?

UGH! :)

With all that said... Welcome to My Favorite Friday #2 :)

I actually have two favorites to share this week...

My Favorite New Toy
First off is my brand new toy...

Isn't it puuuurrrdddy??? :) It's the Your Story laminator and binder from ProvoCraft. I got it from a guy on Craigslist for $20! It is a pouch laminator and the best part is that it laminates up to 12" wide! That means I can make 11x17 posters like this one:

FYI - the letters on the above poster came from Dollar General - they are poster post-its, so you can reposition them over and over until you get it right!

The letter sized pouches can be purchased for very cheap at Sams from what I've been told (200 pouches for $21) or on ebay. The 11x17 pouches were a bit more expensive at Office Depot, but I figure if I end up making a lot, I will buy them on ebay too :)

We have a roll laminator at school, but it's not convenient at times, so this will be an awesome alternative.

My Favorite Recipe
Last week, someone suggested that during the month of August we also share favorite recipes via #MyFavFriday, so here goes...

I don't have many favorite recipes... mainly because I don't cook. :) Hubby's mom was a Home Ec teacher so he learned how to cook and sew and all that stuff that I am clueless about! However, I am pretty good with a crockpot :) My brother-in-law often teases me that as long as I have access to a crockpot and a microwave, I'm a-okay.

Now before I go any further, you have to know a few rules that must be met before I "cook"..
  • No more than five ingredients
  • Only one dirty dish to clean
  • If the recipe is too long, forget it
  • No words like "saute" or "mince" - I have no idea what those mean and I don't care to learn
  • The end product must taste good

    So here's my favorite recipe... I have no idea where I first heard of this recipe, I'm sure it's from the internet some where, but it's my favorite because it's the only one I can quote from memory, it's delicious, and it always has leftovers that are delcious.

    Boneless Country Style Pork Ribs
    20 oz bottle of Diet Coke
    Bottle of your favorite BBQ Sauce

    In your crockpot, put in the ribs, pour on the diet coke. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. I usually start it in the morning and leave it on all day. When I get home, I get out a glass mixing bowl and my slotted spoon an dip the very very tender ribs out. Pour out the liquid. Honestly, I usually use a Crockpot Liner and just tie it off and throw it away :) Using two forks, shred the pork and dump it back into the crockpot. Dump in your favorite BBQ Sauce (Head Country.. YUM!) and stir. I usually let it sit in the crockpot on low for another 20 minutes or so to let the BBQ sauce mix in well. I typically serve on buns or Hawaiian rolls, but I also just like this plain on a plate :)

    So there ya have it... My two favorites of this week :)

    Now it's YOUR turn! What is your #MyFavFriday?
    Post your link in the comments or tweet it out with #MyFavFriday!

    @Wyldbirman - Coordinate Grid Stamp

    @MsMac622 - In a Million Words or Less

    @AlwidaDaughter - Coffe Cup, Staples, and Wilted Lettuce Salad Recipe

    @_CindyWallac_ - School Spirit Magnets

    @MsKLaster - Favorite iPad Apps

    Simplifying Radicals - My Favorite No

    @JohnsonMath - My Math Lab and Cheesey Mexican Chicken and Rice Recipe

    @jreulbach - Dry Erase Bins

    @ray_emily - My Favorite Game

    @crstn85 - 3 Bean Salad Recipe

    @misscalcul8 - Favorite Websites and Homemade Hamburger Helper

    @gwaddellnvhs - Personalizing my Classroom

    @MarshaFoshee - Italian Beef Recipe

    @4mulafun - Friday Fab 5

    @luvbcd - Favorite Resource Books

    @pamjwilson - Beef Stew Recipe

    @superkookaburra - Sea World and Zucchini Burgers