Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Making change.

I got this in an email from a close friend. It is definitely a great problem.

"After our fb discussion on young people not able to make change, my daily warm up questions for my math 1 class next week are all of the following sort:
Susan's total for a pack of gum is $1.27. She hands the cashier $2.02. Why didn't Susan just give the cashier $2? What is Susan's change?"

Thanks Leah!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Penny Problem

Today was a unique day.  As part of our Valentine's Day celebration, the student council organized a fund raiser and donated proceeds to the American Heart Association.  Here's how it worked.  Students would put change on their teachers' desks and the teachers had to count all of the change before they could start teaching class.  As you can well imagine, almost all of the change was pennies.

So here is the question I posed to 2nd block.
I counted $13.17 worth of pennies.  If I was going to tile the floor with them, how much space would it take up?

Also, here is the question I posed to 3rd block.
I counted $12.04 worth of pennies.  If I could stack them all, how tall would the tower of pennies be?

Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Computer Aided Differentiation

As we all know, there is a constant push for computer aided, differentiated instruction in the math curriculum.  I have previously been part of a case study and have used such programs in my classroom, often with little success.  The main hurdle that I faced was student engagement.  I attempted ending each classes with computer time.  I have also tried dedicating two days to the computer program and leaving the other three days for instruction.  Neither of these strategies have seemed to help.

Here are my questions for you:

1. My newest idea is that students log in to the computer program at the beginning of each class period instead of the end.  This way as they get bored with the computer exercises, I can take over with a lesson and a change of scenery.  What are your thoughts on this?

2. What programs/websites have you used for skill building and differentiating?

3. What costs were involved?

Thanks for your help!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Polygon PBL

I just wanted to post a culminating Activity that my students are doing instead of a test for the unit on polygons. It is adapted from lesson plans on the WVDE website. Comments? Suggestions?

Assignment https://www.dropbox.com/s/9yyuzszstje7bds/Golf%20Course%20Score%20Card.docx

Rubric https://www.dropbox.com/s/ojzq2g4wle691xo/Rubrik.doc

Friday, December 28, 2012

Paperless Classroom

I am going to embark on a new journey.  I plan to turn my Algebra III course into a paperless classroom.  This journey is inspired by two huge factors --

1) I see no resolution in sight to the fixing of our copier.
2) All students taking this particular course are assigned a school laptop.

We have constant pressure to utilize these machines, and so I plan to take this challenge head on!
Here is the plan.

Develop a class wiki where students can go to access assignments and post work.  The site will also have a student edited section where they will work on a semester long project.

What do you think?

Anyone out there try something like this?

If so, of what should I be aware?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Goals Revised

Goal 1: Use a real gradebook.

Okay let me explain.  I got a new ipad and our school started using a new service called @engrade.  Engrade actually has an app for the ipad so it makes my life SOOOOOO much easier and less stressful.  For me, less stress = better teaching.

Goal 2: Have all Geometry students at 65% or better.

They did it!  (Not me.)  When I wrote this goal, it was more for me than the kids.  Well, I didn't have much to do with it.  I have a great group of children that worked really really hard!  Only a week to go, and I am sure that this will stay the case.

Goal 3: Revisit goals once a month.

Okay so I've never really met this goal except once.  I think I need to change this goal.  My new goal is to post on my blog once a week.  (Let's see how this goes...)

Summarize your fall semester in one sentence.

Fall semester is almost over and it was the scariest and most rewarding yet!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Long time, no see!

My goodness!  It sure has been a long time since I've posted anything.

I just wanted to reflect on something I tried in my Algebra III class yesterday and today.  I was reading one of my many emails from Dan Meyer when I stumbled onto a comment by a Daniel Schaben.  Daniel talked about the problem of cutting squares out of paper to make a box.  I was intrigued, so I gave it a shot.

I had some very different boxes, but overall the students seemed to get the idea.  After they made all of the boxes, I just posed the question, "Now that we have all of these boxes, what math can we do with them?"  To my shock and awe, they said things like find the area and volume.  This launched into a conversation on what makes a box a "good" box.  Eventually, with a little tooth pulling, we were able to get the function for volume and discussed maximum volume and domain and range of our function.

Now the question I pose, which I really hope someone reads and and replies is this.

I've learned so much about good teaching strategies over the past four years.  What I really need now are good assessment strategies!  HELP!!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

How @engrade saved my life and other goals

We are now a week into school. Things are going great so I think it's time for a goal update!

Goal 1:  Use a real grade book.

I thought I was going to actually do it... I really did. I made it through the first half of the first week and then I gave.  I do have a good reason though.  Our department purchased iPads for us.  Now last may this would not have made a difference, but since then one thing has changed.  Our school district moved to a new data collection tool called Engrade.  It turns out that Engrade is fully compatible with it, and the old program that we used was not.  Now I can check homework at the beginning of class and it is already in the system.  It takes about two minutes to finish checking the whole class and have grades posted.  Also, with Engrade I can take attendance and make notes on behavior on the fly.  My next goals post will have an update on whether or not this was a good move.

Goal 2: Have all of my Geometry students at 65% or above at midterm.

My last update mentioned that I was working on some very engaging lessons.  I am proud to say that they are working out just as planned.  My regular geometry class is actually keeping pace with my honors class!

Goal 3: Make a contract for technology use in my classroom.

So the students have to fill out something called an AUP.  This document let's the students know what is expected of them with technology at school.  In the next week or so, my juniors and seniors should be getting their school issued laptops, and they are as excited as I am!  I think this goal is accomplished for me.

Goal 4: Reflect and revisit my goals once a month.

It is about time! I have finally met this goal.  Good luck next month!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Goal Time

So it's almost time to start school.  There is a little more than two weeks before it all starts.  I'm working on lessons for my new class, Algebra III; as well as working on the Geometry portion of Math I.  I am pretty excited about the transition!  Anyways, it's time to reflect on my goals for this school year:

Goal 1:  Use a real grade book.

I still feel strongly about achieving this goal.  I don't have much of an update on this one. UPDATE: I have the paper grade book, and it is ready to go!

Goal 2: Have all of my Geometry students at 65% or above at midterm.

I am preparing some very engaging lessons and I hope that this will help with my goal.  I plan on using some lessons geared towards the new integrated math model we are moving too the following school year.  This may or may not help... we shall see and I will keep you updated!

Goal 3: Make a contract for technology use in my classroom.

Well I haven't really started on it.  Now that I have my classroom together, I think I will be able get this goal accomplished! (Writing down on my notepad...)

Goal 4: Reflect and revisit my goals once a month.

This is the second time I was late, but it seems like two months is doable.  I will try really really really hard to make it on time next month.  Promise! :)