Monday, November 17, 2014

Oh, Integers!

Integers! Why, oh why! I have taught them every way I can find! I have poured over Pinterest and all my fave bloggers trying to find the key! It helped my teacher ego to see that I am not the only one struggling with this. And my 8th graders are definitely not the only ones! 

I love these integer rule posters from i is a number. As I went to print them, I had one of my head swirls. You know, where lots of images and blogs that you have read swirl together for the perfect thing you need! I know you have had these! I can't be the only one! Anyhoo, I put all the posters on one sheet and taped it in the back of our ISN. Ahhhh! The rules are right there to be flipped out whenever they are needed! 

On this entry for slope from points from Everybody is a Genius it worked like a charm! They can flip it out and have them right there. Much easier than going back and forth in their ISN! Gotta love a good head swirl!


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Pieces of Quarter 1

The school year has been super busy! I have lots to say, I just haven't been able to stop long enough to blog! So I thought I would just show some highlights in photos! 

Take 10 problems, make them big and tape them around your room....instant fun!

This is my go to review activity. The kids love moving around and it gives me a chance to give lots of one on one time. 

I have told you about my auction that I do at the end of each quarter. {I can't believe we are already in the 2nd quarter!} This sweet guy used his money to bid on being teacher for the day. He did an amazing job! The kids were totally in to it and I loved watching him be me! He even wanted to grade the papers! 

I have been so busy doing SBG for the first time that I almost missed the Kahoot! train! But I am all about it now! It is quick, easy to set up and use. You should check it out if you were under the same rock as me! 

In the computer lab, blipping {counting for scientific notation}. Lots of Kahoot! fun!

Hope your year is great so far!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Daily Do Now

I have tried "Do Nows" or "Bell Ringers" several different ways. Problem of the day, math journals, little booklets of review. Not a fan of any of these. Only a few kids did them and the rest just copied me or their neighbor.

Then came a post by Sarah at Math = Love! I stored it in the back of my mind for next year knowing immediately it was perfect. Things tend to get forgotten there! Especially with end of the year and summer to look forward to! So I was so excited when she reminded me with this one! Ahhhhh! THEMED Do Nows! Who doesn't love a good theme?! I immediately got my real back to school to do list out and wrote it down! I tweaked a little and it has been amazing so far. They do everything except Monday with their group. I think more math has happened doing this in 3 weeks than it ever did in the 4 years before combined! The first week I wouldn't tell them what the next day was but I made a big deal about each day being a theme. By Thursday, every class was trying to guess what the day's theme was! They love it! I love that they love it! After today, I will forever do One Good Thing Monday!

Last year, we changed from 75 minute blocks to 50. I went from teaching 120 kids to having 180 come through. I felt like I was so rushed to get through everything I didn't get to know the kids like I usually do. And there were so many of them! 

Monday's One Good Thing has been amazing these last couple of weeks. I am getting to know them and their world outside of school. They are sharing things that I would never have known without One Good Thing. But today ya'll....C126 became a family! When you take 5 minutes to listen, this is what they share.

"My grandma went to rest in peace this weekend."

"I wrote a letter to my dad in prison."

"I went to the movies for the first time."

"I visited my grandmother and brother's 

"I cleaned the whole house because my mom worked all weekend."

"I won my football game Saturday."

Then there was one who said he couldn't think of anything. I told him he could use something from last week. So he put "winning the marshmallow challenge!" He has my heart!

Go get Sarah's version, take mine, but you for real need to do this! You will get to know your kids so much better! And your classroom will be a happier place because of it!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

First Days of School

The first week is in the books! We did a lot getting our ISNs set up and taking surveys to learn about ourselves. I have done the personality color, multiple intelligences, and learning style surveys for the last couple of years (via Everybody Is a Genius, of course!) We use those to talk about how to help ourselves not only learn and study but to get along with others in our groups. The kids really get into it once they know their color!

I do lots of team building activities the first week. It is a great way to ease them back from summer and get them working together before we do math. It also gives me a chance to start building relationships with them. Teaching at an inner city school is mostly about classroom management and I know for me, these relationships are the key to the trust that has to be felt in my room. 

For the first week, I have a different way for them to sit written on the board each day: ABC order first name, hair length, height, birthday, shoe size. This gives me lots of insight! Who the leaders are, who is just going to sit back and let someone tell them where to sit, who is going to not say anything and mess up the order when they are still standing at the end! It also helps see the dynamics before I make the seating chart. 

I have done the usuals that are all over Pinterest: the marshmallow challenge, building an index card tower that holds a bear, but this year I needed something different. I found this activity on a science teacher's blog and loved it because my oldest real kid is Sam and I knew I would be able to play that up. 

To set the stage...Sam is riding along in his bay boat when a big wave comes and turns the boat over. His life preserver is under the boat and he needs it around his waist to save him! 

The groups of 4 could only use the paper clips to touch anything. They had to first get the life preserver from under the boat without Sam falling in the water. 

Next, they had to figure out a way to get the life preserver around Sam's waist. I had to make a big deal about them not being able to just stick the paper clip in him! 

They actually used a lot of different strategies and only one group all day couldn't do it. 
They were excited when they figured it out and it was a great way to start the year working together! 

So that is my first week! No math, just a lot of getting to know each other and how to play together nicely!

I hope your first week and every day after is amazing! 


Friday, August 8, 2014

My Classroom...while it is still shiny!

Summer came and went so fast it doesn't feel right that today was our first day of school! It happened though! I had 150 kids come through my classroom today to prove it! I thought I would share some of the places in my room {even though it makes me nervous for you to see} that make me happy!

Welcome to C126!

Just like Notre Dame we do math like a champion! I love that kids hit this on their way in! 

The "blue table" is where it begins and ends! It's by the door. Anything we need for the day, tape-scissors-markers, gets laid out here and returned at the end of class.  The blue table is the catch all. I wish I had middle schoolers that could handle cute supply baskets at each table...but I do not! 

Calculators are stored in these shoe cubbies along with a mechanical pencil. I have a noisy classroom and I love it! I do not love listening to the pencil sharpener! The mechanical pencils save my sanity! The cubbies and calculators are numbered and they just grab their number on the way in. 

I would love to share the numbers with you!

Binders are housed by class in the cubbies my awesome hubs made for me. We can't paint the walls so it was a way to add some color. In past years, the binders held math journals, loose papers, and their ISN. This year I am going to give SBG a try and plan to use them as their portfolio. 

I have talked about these fabulous mathematical practices posters from Everybody is a Genius before here

The MP posters along with these awesome problem solving strategies posters from Math = Love give us lots to talk about when we are speaking math!

One last thing! If you look up you will see the signs hanging above each group table. Each one has a different big company in our area. Many kids know someone that works at these places. I use them to bring in the real world and to make my kids aware of the opportunities that are outside of our little middle school world! When I call on a group, I use their company name. I love that during friendly competitions they will want to fire someone from the losing company or try to hire a "smart" kid away from another! 

So this is where I will be for the next 184 school days! I didn't mean for this to be a  three hour tour! I have so enjoyed looking at all of your rooms, I wanted to join the fun! 

Happy back to school!


Monday, July 28, 2014

Monopoly Scatter Plot

Scatter Plots are something that kids actually "get" and have fun doing. During this unit we get data and graph and interpret anything we can get our hands on! I start the unit with this hand and arm span activity. It always gets them interested. Still amazes me how much fun they have measuring!
In my search for more activities, I found this amazing resource. The name says it all! Yummy! We did "Do teams that spend a lot win a lot?" and they wanted more yummy math! Late in May and getting antsy, we needed art! Monopoly Scatter Plots was the perfect end to this unit!
This activity asks if there is a correlation between the property's distance from GO and its rent when you land on it. I had them graph without giving the list of properties. I also changed up the questions a little to fit our standards. We opened with a great talk about independent and dependent variables, their predictions and setting up the graph. They plotted each property, drew a line of best fit, and used it to answer questions about correlation, outliers, make an equation and to make conjecture about additional spaces on the board.

After all of the work was done, I gave them a blank board and they designed it however they wanted. We had lots of sports boards, candy boards, and their names all over boards! Only 1 math theme board out of all my classes!


Friday, July 11, 2014

Hello, July!


How did July happen so fast?! I have been spending my summer on the beach and at the ballpark! It has been To Do List...not so much! I have been reading lots of blogs though and came across this super fun "Currently" linky. Thanks to Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade for doing this every month....I am a little late to the party this month!

Happy summer!


Friday, June 13, 2014

Summer Summer Summertime

Ah, summer! I am finally settling in to a summer routine. Where you don't know what day of the week it is. Where you lose track of time because the days are so long. I love summer!

The last couple of weeks are always such mixed emotions! I get so excited that summer is finally here and then sad once it is all packed away. 

On the last day a group of my boys were waiting for me at the entrance to our school with this big surprise...

They had flowers, cards, Mountain Dew, balloons, this big sign, and their precious smiles! Made my year! 

So, another school year is in the books! I have big organization goals this summer. I want to transfer all of my "stuff" from files in a filing cabinet to binders. How do you organize all of your lessons and activities? Files, binders? I would love to hear! Happy summer!


Thursday, June 5, 2014

Dragon Boat Race

My school entered a team into the Dragon Boat Festival to race. I volunteered to be on the team and got to spend half of our teacher work day on the water practicing for the race! Best teacher work day ever! 

While we were practicing, I was asking questions about the distance of the race. There was lots to learn about Dragon Boat Racing! We did patterns of 5 strokes and immediately my math brain took over! Math in the real world or in this case, the delta with the alligators! 

The race distance is 250 meters which converts to about 2.5 football fields. As we practiced, I started trying to figure out how many 5 stroke patterns it would take to get to the finish! We practiced our start and race pace which got us up to 50 strokes. As we are paddling away my math nerd brain is counting and calculating! So when my principal asks how many strokes it usually takes to finish, I pipe up with my guess! The instructor said and there is the math teacher! Yep! I love numbers! I am looking forward to the festival and race on Saturday. It is going to be super fun!

I love sharing math in the real world thanks to the bloggers below! Go ahead and click on over to their blogs to see more math in the real world! 



Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Scatter Plots & Correlation

I like to begin scatter plots with the height and arm span activity. You see different versions all over but it is a simple way to introduce this standard. And I can't figure out why but kids LOVE to measure each other and to be measured! I always have a few who have to measure their ears or nose or head! You've got to love 8th graders! 

I found a great interactive notebook entry from the super amazing Everybody is a Genius blog. We wrote definitions and then matched the situations to the type of correlation it was. Great way to show real life and to get them thinking about the correlations. As they were measuring and recording, we made a spreadsheet of the class data. This helps them see the data form a correlation as everyone enters their measurements. Fun!


Monday, May 19, 2014

State Testing

State testing has been going on for two weeks now. Two weeks of no set schedule and having one class for 30 minutes and another for 2 hours. Sounds dreamy, right?! After the first week I gave up trying to keep everyone on the same lesson and did art! As I have said before, my school doesn't have electives so I love giving them art when I can work it in. This crazy schedule seemed like the perfect time!

The first thing we did was optical illusion art. I followed these great instructions and they turned out well. So well that we moved on to agamograph kinetic art. 

Definition: – An agamograph is a piece of art work composed of two separate images. Since the images are folded in an accordion style, as the viewer passes by the piece, the images morph from the first image to the second image.

I showed them a video of an example to get them interested. They were super impressed and immediately started thinking about what they could draw. We had lots of night/day, Spongebob/Patrick, and sun/moon. But some got creative! One student, who is very reluctant when the markers are out, did a tornado and the second drawing was of the damage with trees knocked down and it was amazing! He was so proud of it he carried it around for the whole week! 

After you have your two drawings you measure off each inch on the back and label A11 down to A1 on the first one and B11 to B1 on the second.

Cut the drawings into strips. Then alternate A1, B1, A2, B2, A3, B3, etc. leaving a small space between until all the strips are glued down. 

Once they are glued, fold it like an accordion or fan. Then open and move from side to side to see the transformation! It is super fun to see their faces light up with pride when they see their finished art!

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