Wednesday, July 31, 2019

#MTBoSBlaugust is here!

Today is July 31, which means that Blaugust starts TOMORROW!  

What is Blaugust?
Blaugust is a blogging challenge for the month of August.  We'd love to have you join in the fun - just click here to sign-up!

How often do I have to post?
That's up to you! :)  Each person sets their own Blaugust goal - maybe you want to try blogging every day, or twice a week, or ten times throughout the month, or maybe blogging isn't your thing so you want to try Instagram - go for it - this is YOUR goal and you need to do what works for you!

Can I participate without posting?
Sure!  One of the hardest parts of blogging is the feeling of "shouting into the wind".  If you don't have time to blog, but still want to join in, maybe you could commit to tweeting out a link to a post that resonates with you or posting a comment.  Encouragement and positive feedback can go a long way to helping the participants meet their personal blogging goals!

I don't know what to write about!?!?!
Don't worry - here's a list of over 50 prompts to help you out! :)

Now... on to this year's participants:

2019 #MTBoSBlaugust Participants:

Ali Grace Eiland (@AGEiland) - Graphs and Glasses
Benjamin leis @benjamin_leis - Math off the grid
@mrarakaki - IG - @mrarakaki
@Caitlyn_Gironda - Give Me a Sine
Kim Charlton @logicalpoetry - Logical Poetry
@MickieGibbs2 - Mrs. Gibbs Flips Algebra 1
@MickieGibbs2 - IG - mrsgibbsmathmatters
Amanda (AB Teacher) - IG - goingbatty07
@MathEasyAsPi - Math.Easy.As.Pi
Morgan Stipe @mrsstipemath - Mrs. Stipe Math
@chatelet0211 - Hazeleyedmathnut
@mcoaty - Educational Aspirations
Steve Dull, @thedullguy - Tweaking For No Reason
@CoopDi - math_wiz
Pam Harris @pwharris - MathIsFigureOutAble
@MrKitMath - Those who teach, do more.
@roy_tomlinson - Mindfulness in Life
@ilanacyna - Teaching to the nth Degree
cleverclue - IG - Yellow Springs Science Castle
@elhistuck - Elena Histand Stuckey
Sara Buck @missbuckteaches - Miss Buck Teaches
@gwaddellnvhs - Success
@anneagost - 53 Degree Shift
@pamjwilson - the Radical Rational
Jenn Vadnais. @rilesblue - Communicating Mathematically
@BridgetDunbar - Reflections in the Plane
Marissa @viemath - La Vie Mathématique
mcginnismath - mcginnismath
@samjshah - Continuous Everywhere But Differentiable Nowhere
@geonz - Resource Room Blog
Beth - Algebra's Friend
@zimmerdiamonds - Ms Z Teaches in Mathland
James @JamesDCPDX - On the Mathpath

Monday, July 29, 2019

#Made4Math - Preparing for a New Year

Monday is here, again???  How does that keep happening???

Seriously though, the past few weeks have *flown* by and this week will be no exception.  Between hosting the Northeast Oklahoma Math Teacher Gathering, attending another workshop at school, organizing #MTBoSBlaugust, and celebrating several birthdays / anniversaries this week, it's gearing up to be a very busy end of July / start of August!  While I technically have a couple of weeks until I officially report to school, summer is pretty much over and I have so much left to be done!

But at least I had a few bursts of productivity to share with you :)

Made4Math #1 - Big Protractor
When I first started teaching, instructional technology pretty much consisted of using transparencies and an overhead projector.  Now that we've moved past all of that, some of us (ahem) still have piles of transparencies that we stockpiled way back when. :)

For years, I have made small protractors for students to put into their notebook, but that hasn't dwindled my stock much at all.  Last year, I noticed that I kept grabbing a small protractor to illustrate on the Promethean when talking about measuring angles but for whatever reason, I never thought to make a large protractor!  So, this summer, that was one of my projects.  I just took the student image, enlarged it to fit an entire page, and printed it.  I can use it on the Promethean or on the whiteboard!  yay! :)  Here'a copy of the big protractor for you to use if you want it! :)

Made4Math #2 - Domino Puzzle
Based on recommendations from the #MTBoS, I started a Puzzle Table a few years ago and the response from my students has been amazing.  I put out a new puzzle each Monday and the kids work on it all week.  However, I will have some kids this year that I had last year, so I needed some new puzzles for the upcoming year.  Of course, the amazing Sarah (@mathequalslove) to the rescue!  (Note - if you've not read Sarah's blog - go there now - I'll wait!)  Anyway, a few weeks ago, she posted a link to the ATM Puzzle Page and while browsing, I found this great domino puzzle that I knew would be perfect for the Puzzle Table!  In the picture at the left, you can see the domino pieces plus a puzzle that Sarah shared on her blog this summer.  I organize the puzzles in a Puzzle Binder with the instructions and puzzle pieces in a sheet protector, then a divider at the back to keep separated the puzzles I've used vs those I haven't used yet that year.

Made4Math #3 - Stand and Talk
One of the best blog posts I read this summer was a post by Amy Zimmerman sharing the love for Stand and Talks.  I had previously read the original post by Sarah VanDerWerf, but Amy's post let me down the rabbit hole of research and finally to an amazing episode of Global Math Department led by Sara VanDerWerf on Stand and Talks.  Since then, I've been thinking through how I could use them in my classroom.

With AP Stat, there were some curriculum revisions this summer with the new CED, including a graph that I had never heard of - a mosiac plot.  Doing some more research led me to this link, where I found the above graphs regarding the survival status of those on the Titanic.  You can download the Stand and Talk here.

Made4Math #4 - AP Formula Sheet
In May, when the new AP Stat Course and Exam Description (CED) was released, one of the changes was the Formula Sheet.  The previous formula sheet had been around since the course started in 1996-1997 and was due for an update.  As soon as the CED was available electronically, the formula sheet was the first section I checked out and needless to say, I was a bit bummed.  The tables (Z, T, and Chi Square) were not user friendly and spanned multiple pages, which made printing them for the classroom a bit tricky.  This past week, I finally had made time to reformat them, mainly because I need to start sending stuff to the Copy Shop! :)  I formated the tables so that they will easily fit a composition notebook and still be readable.  If you would like the revised tables, feel free to grab them here!

I have a few more projects in the works, but I didn't get them done in time to share them this week, but that's okay - it gives me something to write about next time! :)  But until then, have a great week and Happy Back to School! :)

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Introducing #MTBoSBlaugust 2019

August is looming, which means it's time again for the #MTBoSBlaugust blogging challenge!

What is Blaugust?
Well... years ago, hubby decided he was going to blog EVERY DAY and has now been blogging every day for like 6 years or something.  He decided to challenge his online community to try it for one month and I decided to give it a shot.  (I should mention here that I've never successfully completed the challenge...)

While this started out as a personal quest, others wanted to join in, so here we are!  Obviously, as teachers, time is short in August as we prepare for a new school year and blogging often falls by the wayside.  This year, I want to challenge you to figure out the platform that works best for you and try it out!  Maybe it's a traditional blog like this one, maybe it's a micro-blogging platform like Instagram, maybe it's some other platform that I don't even know about.  But ultimately, the Blaugust challenge is about personal reflection and sharing ideas with others in the community, regardless of platform choice! :)

The Rules:
The rules are pretty simple... all you need to do is blog or micro-blog!  :)

Maybe your goal is to post every day, or other day, or weekly, or to write at least 10 posts this month... whatever it is, you can do it!  My personal goal will be to blog daily, but I'll be honest - that's been my goal MANY times and I have YET to achieve that goal!  But it's okay - blogging once is better than not blogging at all, right? :)

If you'd like to join in, please take a minute to sign-up so I can link to your site as a #MTBoSBlaugust participant and cheer you on!

What if you don't blog?  That's okay!!!  Maybe you'd rather use a micro-blogging platform like Instagram instead - go for it!

Here's the sign-up link again!  Come on - you can do it! :)

The Prompts:
Note:  These prompts are NOT required, it's just a brainstorming list to help you on those days when you don't know what else to write about! :)

  • How I teach / do ______ (INB, VNPS, VRG, topic of choice)
  • My Favorite “rich problem / task”
  • Sharing an idea I learned at a PD event this past year
  • Something new I plan to try this year…
  • How I use ____(tech app of choice) in my classroom
  • Share a lesson that uses tech (Desmos AB, Geogebra, applets, etc)
  • Write a post for the Virtual Conference on Humanizing Mathematics hosted by Sam Shah and Hema Khodai (click to learn more!)
  • I am a great teacher because… I am a teacher leader because… I want to grow as a #teacherleader this year by… (Credit for prompt - Julie R's #TMC18 keynote)
  • Share your #MTBoS Photo Challenge photos (#MathPhoto19)
  • Go on a “math walk” - take a photo to share with us… What do you notice? What do you wonder?  How could you use this photo in your classroom
  • How do you handle homework / daily practice?
  • Self-Care…  how to make it a priority?
  • Math Makeover - Take a traditional question/problem to solve and make it better.
  • My favorite go-to ____(Online resource, book, blog).  Share an idea of how you have utilized this source.
  • Something I struggle with as a teacher/in the classroom. 
  • How I used something unexpected in my classroom to… 
  • #made4math - Create something you can use this semester, such as a tarsia puzzle, question stack, game, card sort, etc.  (Or share one you have previously created)
  • #myoneword - What is one word that you can use to focus your energies this year?
  • What is your favorite quote?  How can you share/use it in your classroom?
  • How do you handle Parent Communication?  What has been successful for you?
  • Tell us about a favorite activity/lesson that makes you jump for joy when you get to use it.
  • Shoutouts!  Give a shout-out to a former teacher, a colleague, or someone in your school or community who is a difference maker.
  • Time Capsule - revisit an old post and reflect. If you are new to blogging - find a post on this day from the past on someone else's blog-read, share, reflect.
  • What’s a practice you keep doing year after year? Either something that works great or something that maybe needs examining. Why do you keep doing it?
  • What’s the one thing in your school year you’re most looking forward to? A lesson, a unit, a field trip, a school tradition
  • Fav [math][ed] book read and take aways for this year (and beyond?)
  • How do you support struggling students?  What intervention strategies have you used?
  • Observe yourself!  Record your lesson using your phone in your pocket and use it to reflect
  • A peek into my classroom - show us your classroom or describe a typical day / hour
  • A Day in the LIfe  (#DITL)
  • Letter to my first-year teacher self…
  • Tell us about your first day plans!
  • How do you develop a positive classroom culture?
  • What would you like to Start doing this school year?  What would you like to Stop doing? What would you like to Continue doing?
  • What are your best organizational tips?
  • My classroom “must-haves” are...
  • Be the Change… what will you do this year to impact the culture of your school and/or classroom?
  • What is your focus / theme / mantra for the year and why?  (Quote / Saying / Song?)
  • What are your favorite formative assessment strategies?
  • What is your Professional Goal for the year?  Your Personal Goal?
  • What are your biggest classroom pet-peeves and how do you do handle them?
  • #Read3 - Share 3 blogs (or blog posts or tweets) that impacted you
  • Tell us about you!  (20 facts or ABCs?)
  • What are your New School Year Goals or Resolutions?
  • What’s your “One Good Thing” for today?
  • #MyFavFriday - Tell us about your favorite moments of the week!
  • What do you do on parent night / open house?
  • What’s the toughest challenge you face as a teacher today?
  • #teach180 - Share a photo from your classroom and tell us about it
  • What I did this summer….
  • What are your favorite practice structures?  (Ex: Question Stacks, Sum Em Up, etc)
  • How do you review for a unit or semester test?  Any good review games or strategies?
  • What are your top "teacher hacks" that make your life easier?
  • Monday Must-Reads (ala @mathequalslove) - Share the great tweets you've found this week!

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Making Progress

At church this morning, my pastor was preaching about the "Dark Spots" that we all have.  You know, those spots that are easy to identify in other people, but harder to admit in our own lives.  He went on to say that if we wait for the perfect time to serve the Lord or do whatever the task is, we will probably never get to that time.

During this part of the service, I was reminded of a quote that we referenced a lot in my first AVID class and its application to my life currently:

I am about to start my 23rd year in the classroom and to be honest, I thought I would have it down by now.  In fact, hubby and I had this discussion a few days ago about imposter syndrome and how much we didn't know at the start of our careers.  I look back on my early years and remember feeling more "with it" than I do now.  I thought I was progressive, a go-getter, when really, I just didn't know what I didn't know. :)  Then I found blogs and Twitter and all things MTBoS and now I know what I don't know and it sometimes leaves me feeling inadequate.  But when those feelings come, I try to remember the quote above because I'll never "be there" but I'm definitely closer than I was 23 years ago or even 23 hours ago and that progress toward the goal is the important thing.

As my pastor said this morning, we can't focus on the dark spots only and ignore the good, instead we have to focus on the good and work on improving the dark spots.  

Thanks to each one of you that help me daily to improve and to be closer than I was yesterday.

Monday, July 15, 2019

#Made4Math - Organization for the Win

How is it Monday already???  Actually - how is it mid-July already???

The summer is zooming by.  We've had a few days of pleasant weather, so I have spent way too much time relaxing on the patio and not enough time thinking about my to-do list!  School starts in one month and I have yet to send anything to the Copy Shop!  EEK!

But that's okay... at least I got a few things done this week to help me get organized for the new year!

Made4Math Project #1 - AP Binders
Last year, my district adopted new textbooks, so I needed to do some re-organization of my AP Resources.  I suspect some of this will be in the new AP classroom as well, but I am a paper person for planning, so I needed to do it myself :)

The photo on the left is one I shared on Twitter.  I took all of the old AP MC exams, labeled them by year and chapter, wrote the answer on the back, and cut them apart to file into sheet protectors by chapter.  Now, when I'm looking for a quick formative question for a lesson or writing an assessment, I have the older MCs all filed by topic! :)

Made4Math Project #2 - Geometry Rich Problems
So last year, I was determined to do more Rich Problems in my Geometry class and to be honest, I *did* do more than I had the previous year.  I even wrote a blog post last year about how I planned to organize and use the rich problems I had found.  But then, life happened and I didn't quite follow through the way I should have.  I knew I had to try something different this year or it would be another "out of sight, out of mind" situation.

So it was time to bust out my laminator and get to work!  FYI - PPT Hack - if you set your PPT Slide to be 8"x12", then print two to a page, you get lovely 4x6 notecards :)

Now my Geometry problems are printed, laminated, and sorted by chapter so they are easier to use when planning lessons!  YAY!

So what did you make this week???

Monday, July 8, 2019

#Made4Math - Homework and Exit Tickets

Yesterday, on Twitter, several references to the #Made4Math blogging challenge came up.  Years ago, we had a summer challenge to help keep us motivated during the summer on tackling that never ending to-do list!  I am the world's worst at wasting my summer away and then regreting it when August comes, so Made4Math was a great way to try to get little things out of the way before school started again.  :)

Fast forward a few years and I still struggle with motivation, so I'm going to *try* to do some Made4Math posts this summer!

M4M #1 - Homework and Exit Tickets Form

Last summer, one of my #EduRead books was Grading Smarter, Not Harder by Dueck and I blogged about a daily homework check (see post here).

Overall, I *really* liked the idea of a daily homework check because it gave some accountability to my students and it let me keep track of how many problems they got right / wrong.

However, the format from last year was somewhat limiting, so I had to have different forms for my Geometry students (where HW is usually 10 problems or fewer) and my Stat students (where HW is usually 1 problem with multiple parts).  Also, there wasn't a place to keep track of which problems they had attempted versus those they got correct. 

I knew I needed to make a change this year because we are going back to a traditional 6 period day, 5 days a week versus the modified block schedule we've had for the past several years.  I needed to figure out a way to get 5 days onto the paper, yet still have plenty of room to write without killing tons of trees.

I ended up with a half sheet with the front being the homework check (seen above) and the back being boxes for an exit ticket.  I haven't quite decided how I want to structure the 6th box at the back, but it seemed like a more "square" rectangle gave my students more flexibility with an exit ticket than the longer rectangles seen on the front.  Click here to download document

My biggest issue now is trying to figure out how to best fit in the time to go over HW, but I do want the students to know I value it and my Stat kids this past year really liked having the space to ask questions and write themselves notes each day.

M4M #2 - AP Free Response 

There are a ton of resources out there now for AP Stat, which means it can get a bit difficult to keep track of everything!  I try to include Free Response problems whereever I can, but sometimes I forget which ones I have already used and there are some great problems that I honestly forget to use!

I decided to type up a quick reference of the released exam questions, with a super short descriptor and a space for me to jot down some notes.  There are several documents like this already out there on the AP Teacher Community that align the questions to textbook chapters, but in general, I just needed to be able to find the "Tiger Shrimp" problem or the "Blocking Trees" problem quickly, so the descriptors might not make a ton of sense to you. :)  But, here's the document in case you want it!

M4M #3 - Weekly Planning Page

No summer is complete without a revision of my binder!  Last year, I did a big revision (see post here), and while the printed version was absolutely gorgeous, I didn't use it as often as I should.  Part of the reason for not using it well was that the two page spread just took up way too much space on my desk!

So this year, I have changed it - again! :)  I'm going to try a one-page spread to see if I like it any better.  Since we don't have to turn in lesson plans, this planner is just a place for me to jot down what we did each day.  I also needed a place to keep track of my before / after school meetings and our Advisory schedule.  The section for "other" is for me to put things like Drills or when my partner teacher is absent, etc.

I also revised the top to put a weekly habit tracker instead of the habit tracker that I had traditionally put with the monthly calendars.  I am hopeful that this layout will work better for me this year.  While I don't have my entire binder ready to print, feel free to download the above page to make your own.  The font is Shadows Into Light, which you can get here.

I hope you found something useful here today and maybe I'll have more to share next week! :)