Tuesday, July 21, 2015

You're My Favorite

I love SUMMER! I love soaking up the sunshine next to the ocean. I love catching up on my celebrity gossip. I love summer nail polish colors.

But my favorite thing about summer is all the bloggers I love blog like crazy! Which means there are SO many ideas and lessons to get myself refreshed and ready for a new school year.

This summer I finally made myself got to read some books that have been on my to do list for a long time! I teach math for a reason! My want to read list is long because of all the amazing tweeps I follow. I know when there are hashtags and bulletin boards involved it is worth reading! 

I started my summer off with Mindset by Carol Dweck. I know the book was so 2014 and I am the last one to make the cute bulletin board! But I am glad I did! Much of who you are on a day-to-day basis comes from your mindset. Your mindset is the view you have of your qualities and characteristics – where they come from and whether they can change. Dweck gives us two mindsets from her research: fixed and growth. This article and infographic say it better than I ever could. Mindset is going to be my thing this school year!

Next up was Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. This one has been on my list since I read The Tipping Point. I love the viewpoints Malcolm gives in both. Outliers explores reasons why some succeed and others don't. One of the most fascinating points made in this book was how birth dates play into opportunities. Chance and luck, such as when you were born, can influence your opportunities. The book shows how not everyone is given an equal opportunity. As a teacher I know that meaningful work drives mastery. When you feel like there is a purpose to your work, you're more likely to work hard, put in the hours, and become a master. Gladwell says this number is 10,000 hours. That's how long it takes to master something. WOW! One of my favorite quotes from the book: "Success is a function of persistence and doggedness and the willingness to work hard for 22 minutes to make sense of something that most people would give up on after 30 seconds." I think this is how I approach everything, especially crafts and teaching!

Last and most definitely not least.... my teacher crush, my idol, who I want to be when I grow up....RON CLARK! He is one amazing person! He finally put a new book out! Move Your Bus. In the book he used a bus concept to explain how it’s important to get the right people moving in the right way.  He has us picture our school as a giant school bus, with holes in the floor so people can power it with their feet, just like the in the Flintstones. Then, he described the four types of teachers: Runners, Joggers, Walkers, Riders. I won't spoil it for you! But I was totally picturing a real person with each description and he was spot on! What kind of teacher are you?!


Monday, June 22, 2015

You Spin Me Round Rotations!

Rotations art...because there has to be art at the end of everything in my classroom! If you missed the other transformations, you can find translations here, reflections here, and the end of the transformations unit activity here. My kids had a blast doing this activity but complained about hand cramps from tracing! It is an easy activity that only requires paper and pencil!

I made a circle template and went ahead and cut them out to save time. I cut the template in pie pieces and only gave the pie to the kids to start with. You can see it stapled on top in the photo above. It is big to make them draw something SIMPLE! Remind them they will be tracing their design many times! I found that if the design was too detailed the sweet little middle schoolers would cheat and just try to draw it! Shocking! You can easily check it with their original pie piece. I had to keep emphasizing that it is a rotation so it should be congruent, not free hand.
After you have drawn your design on the pie piece, you need to create the "ink" to trace the design around the circle. To do this, you just scribble scrabble all over the back of the pie piece. It is best to use a wooden pencil, not mechanical. This may have to be repeated as you rotate around the circle.

After your "ink" is on the back, flip the pie piece over and trace your design onto the circle.
Continue rotating around the circle tracing the design and re-inking as necessary. This is the part where the whining started about hand cramps!

Once you have traced around the entire circle, color! The kids loved their final products!

This activity could be extended to include the unit circle if you teach older kids. It was the perfect activity to finish rotations in my classroom!


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

End of the Year Reflection

I have spent the last few months writing for National Board about being an accomplished teacher. I have written and reflected and gathered evidence but nothing says more about how "accomplished" I am than for a kid to say, "I love coming to math. Every day I can't wait to come to your room!" And that is why every teacher goes straight from packing up our room to thinking about the next year. I feel like I was just putting things up on the wall and now I am taking them down. I know we all feel this way!

There is no bigger compliment than for a kid to say "keep doing creative math work." That is why we spend the summer reflecting on what we are going to change and keep. What new thing is going to inspire us? What will we find on Pinterest that *must* go in our rooms next year!? This year I had my kids help me reflect. I gave them this survey the last week of school. It came straight from Math=Love because she is awesome! I learned a lot from reading what my kids thought I should KEEP, CHANGE, START, STOP. It amazed me that they could remember things we did on the first day of school. Another reminder that the first few days really do set the tone for the rest of the year.

The first section was KEEP. There were a few things lots of kids said. I tried to 'Ctrl c and v' the duplicates so you could get the gist. The biggest thing was to "keep doing art." I love that they think math is art! I love that they saw my love for math and creative things. I hope that I have given them the confidence to do the same. Pop Tarts! Well, what 8th grader wouldn't want to keep Pop Tarts! There were lots who said keep the interactive notebooks. That makes me happy! 
Things to CHANGE were obviously the temperature and assigned seats. They all complain about how cold it is in my room and that they hate assigned seats. I am not willing to budge on either! Thirty 8th graders smooshed in my room after P.E. is stinky, it needs to be cold to counteract the smells! 

I clearly need to START slowing down. Kids tell me this every year and I try. Even when I think I am going slow, they say I am not. I have one student who will act like me and work problems on the board, really fast! You learn a lot about yourself through the eyes of middle schoolers! 

STOP....being short! I love them! 

In my dreamy classroom, I wouldn't have a gigormous amount of standards to cover each quarter...making it easy to slow down and take our time on each one! But in the real world, the pressure to get all of them covered is real! Even so, slowing down is clearly something I need to work on for my kiddos! 

Year 7 is in the books and I am so ready to start my summer! Hope you have your classrooms packed up and are ready for sunshine too! 

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Name Thing

Even though my 7th grade kiddos have had mean, median, mode, and range, we can add it to the list of things that get purged from a middle school brain! When we started working with data and misleading graphs it was so obvious that we needed to review this little standard before we could move on. According to Pinterest the thing to do is how much your name is worth. Here is the organizer, letters and a key with what each letter was worth. I just did A=1, B=2, etc. The kids loved it and seeing whose name was the biggest mean.

There are all kinds of extensions that could be done with this activity, finding the mean of everyone's name, the range...you see that rabbit hole! I just needed a quick review and this was great for that. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Flip Book of Transformations

If you have read any of my posts, you know I love a good math art ending to a unit! Transformations are one of my faves because of all the art we get to do! I have blogged about translations and reflections. I need to blog about rotations and dilations! Until then, you are going to love these flip books!

The criteria for the flip book is that it has to have all four transformations in it. I love how this project can pull it all together at the end. Getting all four is really hard for some of them to do. They get wrapped up in the animation of it and forget the transformations. The dilations are the hardest because they try to change the image when they are making it bigger or smaller. After all the work, they are so excited to show me the finished product. We have a big time flipping through each other's books!

Now that you are excited and want to make your own flip book, here is how we did it! We watched a bunch of YouTube videos for inspiration. This tutorial does a great job explaining how to make the book and the steps for drawing. We follow this guy's advice and make a story board. I have my kids do 20 pages. They want to immediately start with the book but to make sure they have all of their transformations the story board is helpful.

I hope your kids love creating these flip books as much as mine did!


Saturday, March 14, 2015

Math Nerds Unite!

Pi Day of the Century! Whoop! We celebrated it yesterday in my class. Much more fun than Friday the 13th!

This year I found an amazing video from a blog I have recently found. Who knew there was a World Champion Free Hand Circle Drawer! For real! He is the champion! And I knew I had to add it to our Pi Day fun! So we had a circle drawing competition. This student's birthday is today! She thought I was a weirdo because I got so giddy about it! It's probably the reason she could draw the best free hand circle! You have to look hard to see it. 

After the competition we made giant Pi symbols. They turned out great and look awesome hanging around the room. 

It was a fun way to end the quarter. Now we are three-fourths of the way to summer! Yippee!

Happy Pi Day!


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Quilt Dilations

It always starts with a napkin driving down the road!

Disclaimer: My secretary 13 year old daughter took notes, I drove! 

This is how math teachers get a win after a long week! Crafts that require math!

It all started at a baseball game in the arctic wind. That's 30 degrees here in south Alabama! My fave quilt for the ballpark is old and not school colors so I decided I needed a new one. We made a baby quilt for the cutest TS ever and I knew I wanted to create it in big people size. If you sew, this is the tutorial I used, super easy!

Enter proportions, fractions, measurement, dilations, and real world math! *Squeal*

My projects always start with scribble scrabble and I know the fabric cutters think I am crazy. I always save my scratch paper so I can show my kids at school how I "show my work!" I make a big deal when working problems to show everything hoping they will too!

I know my students think I have no life because I love bringing in examples of real world math that I did outside of school and showing it to them. I think it is important for them to see that math is all over, not just inside the classroom. So I walked through how I knew how much fabric to get and how big to cut the strips. That it is skills we had learned already this year. They suffered through with me, but I hope these little real world snippets of math help them see how important it is.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Pythagorean Theorem Foldy

Pythagorean Theorem is something that I think has to be practiced to get the hang of. My students always seem to have a hard time figuring out which side is missing. 

I came up with this idea to try to get them to see it better. Having a right triangle that they can turn and manipulate helps them in identifying the missing side. 

It is so fun folding, unfolding, turning, and folding some more, they forget they are working LOTS of problems! I even have students say this is fun. What could be better than that?!


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Deflategate in C126

Press conference notes. Research. Argue. Repeat! My kids and I love talking NFL football. They give input on my fantasy team and we talk about the games. So when the news was nothing but the Patriots' scandalous deflated football, I knew we had to do something with it. I divided the class into two groups: one that believes the story and one that doesn't. The kids used computers and their phones to gather math and science information about this headline. From the pressure to the size of the football to Bill Nye the Science Guy's opinion.

They scribbled down lots of talking points. I told them to think like a mathematician when looking at the information. They went all math nerd on the SmartBoard drawing pictures and measurements. It was amazing!

All of the research led up to our own press conference that they had to write on the behalf {this is math, not language arts!} of the NFL or the Patriots!

Student Press Conference Draft

It was a really fun activity and the kids were able to see math in something they love. I love it when math and the real world come together so easily!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Parallel Lines and Transversals

Parallel lines and transversals are one of my favorite things to teach! I love that they are like big puzzles to solve. The oh so fun "when will I use this" question is easily answered with so many real world angles that can be used. And coming off of slope, it is a huge confidence booster. You see why they are my fave?!

Trying to get them to memorize the vocabulary of the angle pairs that go with transversals is always a big. I tell my kids all the time we have to use our big boy and girl words so we can speak math! I spent more time this year than I usually do on just the vocabulary and being able to show the angle pairs. We made these flash cards that I used last year from Sarah. It is funny how the flash cards become their security blankets...as you can see above! We also colored so, so many dots labeling the angle pairs all over the place. This year, I don't have space in my room {read 38 kids every block} to do the transversals on the floor so I needed another way to get their hands on them. Cue, Pinterest! I found this picture and with all the dots we had been coloring, my mind went straight to needing to cut some circles! They turned out more egg-like but we all got the gist!

I called out all the angle pairs and they placed them in the correct location. A great way for me to assess quickly and walk around to help those that needed it. After I called them out a few times, I had them quiz each other. They love to quiz each other!

I love how they still helped each other even though they were not partners. This was a great activity to get them ready to add equations to the pairs.

Now to wean them off the flash cards!

Here are the flash cards!

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