Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Projects Galore!

On the way home from school today, I really debated with myself about posting tonight or waiting until next week's Made4Math post. However, I'm just so pumped at how my room is shaping up that I couldn't wait a week to share!

Yesterday, I had a meeting at 3pm and since I live 30 minutes from my school, I decided to go up and work in my room prior to the meeting. I knew I was going to have some student helpers today so I was trying to get things ready for them.

I knew I would have the students (2 girls) for 2 hours, so I was really hoping we could get it all done! Over the weekend, I had spent time getting things printed off and organized so that today would be mostly assembly, and you can see all of the various components on the table above.

Poster Project
This morning I got to school about 30 minutes before the girls arrived, which gave me time to warm up the laminators, etc. When the girls showed up in my room, I quickly put them to work on a traffic light poster (inspired by @pamjwilson) and told them they had creative control. Thankfully one of the girls is as OCD as I am about how things look, so here's the final product:

Group/Table Project
While they had been working on the poster, I was laminating a ton of things, including a new calendar set because when I moved rooms, my "31" of my calendar set went missing! So after the poster was done, it was time to cut, cut, cut, and cut some more! Here's a shot of some of the work the girls did today:

You can see the table signs that I posted on Made4Math, plus my new trash pails for each table, and my new group buckets. I really LOVE the way this all turned out and how classy it looks!

Bulletin Boards Project
While they worked on that, I worked on cutting out the calendar set and getting it all assembled. (Can I just say that I love this set? Thank you Dollar Tree!)

Shoutout here to @pamjwilson -- the black hanging file is where I put absentee work... note the color coding! :)

You can also see the new poster on the big doors. Those doors open to a science classroom on the other side. Second semester, the science teacher and I will be team teaching a Forensic Science class, so that's why we both had to move rooms this summer! I'm not sure what to put on the other door yet, so I'm open to suggestions!

And finally, the last picture is a plea for HELP!!!

I need ideas for that bulletin board over on the left... please please please help me!!! :)

My room isn't totally done, but I'm making progress :)

Monday, July 29, 2013

#Made4Math - Sprucing up the room!

Welcome again to another week of #Made4Math! :) This week, I don't have a ton to share with you because I've been gearing up for having some helpers this week to assist with #Made4Math projects! :)

So as I was browsing pinterest this week, I ran across this eCard and I have to say, it sums up my attitude perfectly!

I am so far behind in curriculum, but I have been working on making my classroom beautiful! :) I can't wait until it's done and I can unveil the finished project. :)

Framing my ideas...
If you know me at all, you know that two of my favorite places are the Target Dollar Spot and Dollar Tree. :) A few weeks ago, hubs and I were in Dollar Tree and found some clear acrylic 5X7 frames. I already have a set of 8x10 frames that I use often for stations, but I snapped up 15 a few of these frames to use in my classroom this year!

The first 8 frames are now my table signs so that students can quickly find their groups on the first day of school!

The adorable chevron frame was borrowed from HERE. However, I zoomed in on the pdf to about size 200%, then used the snipping tool to copy/paste it into Word in order to add a textbook. The font is my current favorite Digs My Hart.

Another frame went to a quote for my desk. Shoutout to Rae, a coworker of hubby, who made this one for my classroom :)

Since my theme this year is black and white, it fit in perfectly! And definitely a quote I need to remember on those "grrrr" days :)

Stay Tuned!
I have lots of great projects in the works for this next week... so excited to share them with you! :)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Teacher Binder 2013-14 Edition

Welcome again to another week of #Made4Math! :) I really thought that I would have several goodies to share with you, but this week's project took longer than I expected. :) However, I'm SO excited about how it turned out and hope you enjoy it too!

** Disclaimer - I have shared the files with you at the end of this post, but when I uploaded it to Google Drive, the font obviously did not come through. I thought of doing it as a pdf, but then it was close to 5meg and you would lose the editability. :( **

Font Credit: The font used below is called Digs My Hart and is my current FAV font! Download it HERE

Background Graphics Credit: The background graphics are from the ColourLovers website. Thanks to @mathtastrophe's post HERE for guiding me through the process!

And of course, thanks to all of my twitter friends that listened to me hem and haw about what I wanted in a binder! :)

Finally.... on to the binder itself!

The Cover...

Honestly, the cover is what started this whole thing! Following @mathtastrophe's instructions, I set out to make just a binder cover (or 20 of them, but who's counting??) :) The back cover looks the same, just doesn't have the text oval in the middle :)

That lead to...

The Dividers...

For my binder, I made three of these... one for the calendar pages, one for my gradebook, and one for meeting notes.

The pages...
I knew I wanted a monthly calendar in there. However, from last year's binder, I knew that if the monthly calendar was in a separate section, I never used it! (P.S. - In the file, you'll see a blank page before the left hand August page. That's where you can copy/paste your district calendar or leave it as a notes page or whatever.)

The thing I really used my notebook for last year was my lesson planning. So I recreated the lesson plan format that I liked, but put it side by side with a weekly agenda. Now I have plenty of room for notes, to-do lists, and more!

In my last divider, I have space for meeting notes. I redid my meetings page from last year to fit a bit better based on a year's worth of work :)

To bind or not to bind?
I have to give kudos to my twitter buddies and my hubby for listening to me as I was so indecisive about how to bind this thing! I really like the look of the coil binding (see my #Made4Math post a few weeks ago), but since I wanted my gradebook in here too, I knew that coil binding would be impractical. Last year I used a Mead FlexBinder, but wasn't really crazy about it, especially as it got thicker towards the end of the year. Traditional binders can be annoying since they don't fold back like a spiral. In the end, I decided just to try binder rings and so far I think I'll like it! I printed the front and back covers on white cardstock before laminating them. The dividers are also laminated, but not on cardstock. The binder rings will allow me to have the notebook similar to a spiral if I wish, but still should be thick enough to provide some stability during those faculty meetings in the auditorium!

The file
If you want a copy of my binder, get it HERE :)
**Note: The file is on google docs, so you will want to go to File:Download to get the PPT file!

Now head on over to the #Made4Math blog to see what others created this week!

Monday, July 15, 2013

One Month... Time to get Serious!

School is just ONE.MONTH.AWAY!!! It seems like I just got out of school yesterday! Of course, technically with all my travel/workshops, I have been "in school" for most of the summer. Last week, I was in Albany, NY attending a Forensic Science workshop and wowzers, that's going to be an AWESOME course!!! However, we won't teach it until spring semester, so I stiffled my excitement to start working on some other items.

Target Time!!!
Oh man, oh man, the BEST part of summer is scouring the Dollar Spot at Target! As soon as I got home, Target was on my must-go-to-right-away list! And I'm so glad I did... check out the awesomeness that is The Dollar Spot!

Now this is a very small selection of the goodies I picked up because the next day, I decided to visit a few more local stores looking for pocket charts. (For those of you wondering why I want pocket charts in high school, make sure to check out this post from "i is a number".)

Now back to the goodies above. See the mini composition book in the middle? Well, it's really a sticky note pad that looks like this:

Let's pretend for a moment that you are an algebra teacher... (oh wait, I *am* an algebra teacher!) Can you imagine how awesome it would be to help a kid work a problem AND graph it without swapping papers multiple times?? Oh, and best part, they also had a dry erase version of the same thing for use under a document camera! WIN!! :)

Shopping Time is over... on to the Creating

Honestly, when I work up this morning, I had *no* idea what to do for my #Made4Math project. So after giving my kitty her medicine and feeding her, I came up to my office to start working on my to-do list. Throughout the course of the day, I got a few projects done, so I thought I'd share them! (Fair warning... these are only going to be useful to AP Stat teachers... sorry for anyone that is looking for general items of mathy-ness!

Formative Assessment
If you've followed me at all this summer, you know that one of my goals is to increase student engagement and the use of formative assessment tools in my classroom. After reading Embedded Formative Assessment, I knew that one thing I really wanted to do was add in more multiple choice questions to my lessons. In particular, I wanted to use more released AP questions and AP-inspired questions to gauge student understanding. So one of the first things I did this morning was to print off all of the released Multiple Choice questions and read through them to classify them by chapter in my text book. Then I created this handy "cheat sheet" to help me stay organized...

If you teach out of BVD 3/e and want a copy, send me an email or leave a comment and I'll forward it to you. (Disclaimer: I do not promise that this document is typo-free!)

Also, isn't the font just ADORABLE? After a Twitter discussion yesterday on fonts, I totally started crushing on this font and couldn't wait to use it in a project! (thanks @kathrynfreed for the link!). I also made a binder cover using it... totally my new favorite!

AP Stat Live Binder
Also today, I was looking through my notebook from last year and decided I needed a better way to organize the articles that I like to use in AP Stat. Sometimes these are articles I print off for students to read, sometimes it's a news clip that I use in class, etc. I had been wanting to try Live Binders for a while, so here was my chance!

This was really easy to make and I can see great uses for LiveBinders! Over on the left, I organized by the units in my curriculum, then did subtabs for each article under the unit. YAY for organization!! :)

So what did YOU make this week?
Head on over to the #Made4Math blog and check out the other submissions!

Monday, July 8, 2013

#Made4Math - Custom Notebooks :)

If you know me at all in real life, you know how excited I am about this #Made4Math post! I *heart* (with big puffy pink/purple hearts) school supplies!!! If you need convincing, feel free to check out this post... or this one... :)

At the AP reading, one of the ladies in my reading room shared that Staples or Office Depot would do a spiral bound notebook for a fairly reasonable cost. My wheels started spinning with the ideas of things to be bound! Lesson Plan book! Meetings book! Oh my, oh my, oh my!!! The possibilities!!!

However, with all of the possibilities, I hadn't actually gone to have anything bound... until Saturday came and I realized that I really needed something to take with me to the Forensic Science workshop. Preferably something that would let me take notes, do graphs, etc. So after some searching, I found a custom notepaper generator that did Cornell graph paper and lined paper. SCORE! :)

I tinkered until I had what I wanted, then printed 100 pages and off to Staples I went. Here is my custom notebook:

You will notice that I forgot to print a fancy cover... whoops! :) The binding has a plastic cover on the front and you can choose the color of the back cover. When you open it, on the left is lined notepaper and on the right is the Cornell graph paper.

Best part? It cost me under $5 to have *exactly* what I wanted! YAY!!! :)

Friday, July 5, 2013

New Preps.... and the search for collaborators!

For this next year, I will be teaching two new preps and now that it is July, I guess I should start thinking about them!

Prep 1 - Intermediate Algebra

Over the past few years, my district has noticed more students struggling with Algebra 2 for various reasons. Our first intervention plan involved enrolling the students in an Algebra Lab class, which meant that weaker students were enrolled in 2 hours of math a day. This was good for some students, but with only 6 hours in a day, increased graduation requirements, and some really awesome elective options, many students that needed Algebra Lab were not enrolled in it.

To combat this issue, particularly as we transition to CCSS and increased rigor in the standards, our Math Curriculum Specialist pushed for an Intermediate Algebra class to replace the Algebra Lab program. The course is designed for sophomores and juniors who have completed Algebra 1 and Geometry, but are not ready for the rigors of Algebra 2 quite yet. The students are expected to enroll in Algebra 2 the following year.

We will be using the "Bridge to Algebra 2" textbook below:

Honestly, I'm really excited about teaching this course. The text we have chosen is very hands on and seems to be project/problem based. I have the freedom to build the course and there is no end-of-course standardized exam. (YAY!) I would like for the class to really help the students make connections, have fun with math, and really apply what they learn.

However, I'm also a tad nervous! I've never taught in a problem based setting. How will I adapt SBG to this course? How will I structure the class? I've searched for other schools doing something similar and have come up mostly empty. I'll be working with students that don't really like math, which is okay, those are the kids I love. But that can be another difficult hill to climb alone. :(

If you know of anyone teaching a similar course or using this text, PLEASE let me know, either in the comments or send me a tweet (@druinok). If you are just interested in helping me figure out it, that would be awesome too! :)

Prep 2 - Forensic Science and Data Analysis

You know that moment when you realize that you are piloting not one, but TWO brand new courses that no one has ever taught and then you think to yourself.. "Self - YOU ARE INSANE!!!" Yeah, that's where I am right now :)

My building was built to foster math/science collaboration, which means we alternate Math/Science in an effort to open lines of communication, etc. When they assigned us rooms, they tried to pair up people based on curriculum in order to help this collaboration. Of course, as a Statistics teacher, I had the luxury of being able to collaborate with just about anyone, but I already had established partnerships with the AP Environmental Science teacher and the AP Biology teacher, so I was placed near them in order to continue the collaboration.

So earlier this year, the APES teacher, who also pioneered our Biotechnology program, and I were talking about how cool it would be to team teach a class someday. She mentioned that often in their science classes, they gather some really cool data, but often times just tell the kids to "look! how cool!" and move on to the next unit. From that discussion, we brainstormed a Forensic Science and Data Analysis course. We presented it to our curriculum specialists, then to our principals, who helped it get approved by our district. It will be a one semester course, with a pre-req of Biotechnology and Algebra 2. The two of us will team teach it during the same hour with about 50 kids total. Thankfully, we have classrooms that open up to each other via a huge doorway in our shared wall, so that the management of 50 kids won't be too difficult (I hope!).

I should probably admit here that science is NOT my strong point and I'm terrified of teaching science, but I think the class will be awesome! Thankfully my district is sending me to a forensic science workshop next week, so hopefully some of my fears will be alleviated! :)

Pretty please...
If you know of ANYONE that teaches courses like these, please send them my way! I need some major help getting things together before school starts! :)

Monday, July 1, 2013

#Made4Math - Student Engagement Flipchart

Can you believe that a year has gone by since we first started the #Made4Math project? In that time, hundreds of ideas have been shared by the Math Twitter-Blog-O-Sphere that have truly transformed classrooms across the world! I am so blessed to have been a small part of that and I am grateful everyday for such a caring community that truly has a "gift culture". Daily, I am pushed by my fellow bloggers and tweeters to be a better teacher and a better person and for that I am forever grateful!

Now, on to this week's project...

I have to say, I am SO excited for this week's project! As you may know from previous posts, I read Embedded Formative Assessment earlier this summer (and am currently re-reading it!), as well as Teach Like a Pirate. Both of these books were excellent and really pushed me to re-examine some of my teaching practices, particularly in the area of student engagement.

A few weeks ago, I got into a discussion with @pamjwilson and @rachelrosales about using formative assessment strategies and how to have them 'at my fingertips' for quick reference. Rachel shared that she used index cards on a key ring which first got me started on this week's project. I really liked the key ring idea and not too long after that, I saw a spiral bound notecard pack at Dollar Tree that I also liked. Then one of them tossed out the idea of using baseball card sleeves to organize strategies... hmm, that would be a nice way to be able to see the strategies listed out! *Insert the sound of wheels turning in my head here...*

But no matter what the idea, it just didn't feel *right* to me, so back to the drawing board I went...

This past week, I was at the Dallas AVID Summer Institute, and on the way back, was reading through a book that a colleague had with her called Summarization in Any Subject, which cemented some of these ideas of wanting to incorporate formative assessment and engagement strategies.

On Saturday, hubby wanted to do some errands and one of the places we ended up was at a used book store. It was there that I finally got my A-ha! moment. There was a small flipchart book of Literacy Strategies for the Content Areas and that's when I knew what this week's project would be. I mean, the bells were going off so loud in my head that I know the other patrons of the store had to hear them!

Please let me introduce my #Made4Math project... a formative assessment/summarization/engagement flipchart!

I took a plastic file folder and used index cards upside down for my strategies. I did many Google searches on summarization strategies, formative assessment strategies, etc, and used those documents to narrow down the list to ones that I truly felt I would use and that I felt would work with my classes. On each index card is the name of the strategy and a short description. Sometimes I included variations of the strategy as well. This will stay on my desk so that I can refer to it often. I'm really excited to use this as I'm planning lessons this next year!

If you have other ideas for strategies to add to my folder, please let me know!

What did YOU make for #Made4Math?
Head on over to the Made4Math blog to see other awesome ideas!