Monday, December 5, 2016

Dance Dance Transversal

This may be my most fave of all time ever! My daughter and I worked on it for days to get the beat just right and it was totally worth it! Remember the Dance Dance Revolution at the movie theater? Or Just Dance on the Wii? That is where the idea came from.

Parallel lines cut by transversals is one of my favorite things to teach. There are so many fun activities to do that are engaging and hands/feet-on. I have put big transversals on the floor with tape for the last few years to practice the special angle pairs. I wanted something bigger and better. I have found that the stronger their vocabulary is with special angles, the easier it is for them to apply them to finding missing measurements. I talked about a couple of other activities we do here.

So without further ado! The real reason for the post! Dance Dance Transversal. I first saw the idea here and loved it. My google-ing led to these videos. I wanted to update it with current hit songs for my kiddos. My vision for this was bigger than my classroom so we took over the cafeteria stage! The big screen made it feel deluxe!

It took each class a couple of rounds of the beginner song to get warmed up.

But when the "elimination round' came up, it was on. I may or may not encourage lots of competition!

We had a lot of fun and they have asked every day since for more! Here are the videos we made if you want to try it out in your classroom! 


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

My Teacher Tribe

I work with some pretty amazing teachers! We have a strong 8th grade team...divided into teams. Being in teams has been a fun time as a faculty. We chose 80s TV shows for our teams: Foley Vice, The A-Team, and Animaniacs. Our clever one made us all team pictures and they rock!

It made working in our rooms for two weeks way more fun! Here is a peek at a couple. I love the vinyl albums as group numbers and the storage beside the groups!

We set the tone on the first day of school with a Welcome Back assembly. It was complete with beach muscle men and cartwheeling music teachers! These are my people!

Our Language Arts department started these Mr. Stick drawings as one of the student choices for their vocabulary words.  They also have other fun options like vocabulary characters and hidden pictures. I also have a fellow blogger in that department. Go read his witty ramblings at More Than Testing!

I love how my tribe plays along with me even when I ask them to do a BreakoutEDU box. They had to break out to go to lunch from our PLC meeting. Record time! Thank goodness for our science, robotics, math and FACS teachers! They are clearly the brains of our operation! And my biggest cheerleaders!

The Social Studies department is led by a hometown fave. Words can't be put together to say how valuable she is to our school. When the flooding happened in Louisiana, she had her peer helpers put together a Lids 4 Louisiana campaign to raise money to send. It spread all over the county with many schools participating. What an inspiration she is as she leads our young people!

One of my fave days is Olympic Day. It is the culmination of Greek Week, one of the cross-curricular activities we do. As social studies and language arts talk Greek and science builds catapults, we talk about the Golden Ratio and having a Greek face (more on that to come). On Friday, we stay outside all day doing Olympic "events" like javelin throw, shotput, obstacle courses, armor run, temple building, and TUG of WAR! Those are my babies for the win!

Then there is our fearless leader who says yes to any crazy thing we ask!

My tribe wouldn't be complete without the perfect neighbor...who also twins with me on Twin Day!

Amazing. Tribe. I am lucky to work with people that inspire me to be better every day!


Saturday, August 20, 2016

Classroom Tour of My New Seating

I love my classroom when it's empty and freshly waxed!  It makes me want to run around and twirl it's so shiny and clean! There are SO many possibilities that have been pinned on Pinterest! I was especially excited this summer when I came in because I had big plans for new seating...flexible seating. I had been seeing "brain friendly", "flexible seating",  "classroom cribs", and more on blogs and Pinterest for a couple of years and had to part of it! My teacher friend, who is also converting her room, paved the way for me by doing the asking of the principal! I had an exciting summer on craigslist wheeling and dealing. 

So welcome to my classroom tour! This post is part of a blogging challenge for August, Blaugust. Go take a look at the other bloggers taking on the Blaugust challenge!

This is me brainstorming!
The first idea I had came when I made 4,700 laps around my room during testing in the spring! I had seen a bar height table with a bench in front. I played around with my cubbies and then had my professional husband turn it into a great corner of bar seating.

After that, I tried to think of all the ways my kids would want to sit. How they DID sit even with desks as their only option. They would stand by the counter, sit on the hard floor by the window, and huddle up with another group. As I was scouring craigslist, I kept this in mind as I looked for seating that would accommodate all these different preferences.

The red booth from Papa John's is my fave place to sit. I can't wait to see where the kids choose to sit. It is going to be an exciting year watching them collaborate and problem solve in a comfy, mathy classroom!

Happy 2016-2017 School Year! I wish you the best one ever!


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Presenting to Big People

This month, I am participating in Blaugust, a blog challenge from one of my faves! My goal is to blog once a week, which is a huge jump from once a month {some months!}. Go take a look at the other bloggers taking on the Blaugust challenge!

I was asked to fill in for a teacher who had to drop out of presenting Math Tech Tools for Secondary. {I have never presented before.} The teacher who asked me this huge thing was my daughter's teacher this year and we LOVED her so I couldn't say no! I have never been at ease speaking to big people. I still get nervous at Open House! And then tech?! I am interactive notebooks with markers and glue and colored paper...not techy! But DESMOS is! So I showed off the MTBoS and a few of my faves. Function Carnival and Marbleslides are my go to and students love playing them. It's funny because the big people I was presenting to got just as in to it as my kids do! Success! 

The other awesome thing that came from this {and the reason for this post} is a new first days activity. New for me, at least, and I hope you can use it too! I helped my daughter's teacher with her session, Student Centered Classroom, because we shared lots during the school year. This first days activity is the reason I reached out to her. My daughter came home talking about how awesome it was and that her math teacher is just like me. So I had to know all about this super awesome activity and the teacher that went with it!


Each group of 3 is given a folder and a privacy screen (poster board folded in thirds). Inside the folder is a drawing and white paper. 

Example of a drawing.

The 3 roles are speaker, mime, and artist. The privacy screen is put in front of the mime so that the other 2 cannot see the folder with the drawing. The mime is also hidden from the artist. 

Clipart Sources

The first student mimes to the second. That student tells the artist what to draw. The speaker is the only one allowed to talk! Once they think they have it, they can all look at the drawing and check. If there is time, they can get another drawing and trade roles to do it again. 

I was glad I was able to facilitate this with the the big people we presented to before I tried it in my classroom. They really got into it so I think my students are going to love it! 

Here are 5 drawings to get you started!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Genius Hour

So I was just perusing Twitter, doing the usual email myself 47 links of awesome ideas when I came across "Genius Hour." It changed my Fridays! Genius Hour allows students to explore their passions. THEIR passions! Google started this awesomeness calling it 20% time. They would allow their employees to work on their own side projects for 20% of the time. We may or may not GMAIL with one of those 20% time projects! I was so excited that I went down the rabbit hole of {related pins} on Pinterest till the wee hours! I was so excited. I knew I HAD to do this in my classroom. Go here to learn more about it. Go here to a live binder of so many resources!

The first thing I did was have the kids brainstorm their passions. This was really difficult for some of them. Many asked me to just give them something to do. Bringing out their creative, personal side is the biggest reason I love Genius Hour! 

Here are some of the questions I asked:

After we brainstormed I gave them this Project Proposal from Creative Classroom Tools.

Genius Hour happened on Fridays after our quiz. During this time, students researched and completed an inquiry project based on their passions. It could be anything they wanted but had to include the following:

1. The project had to be inquiry based. They had to have questions. If it was google-able, they had to think deeper.

2. Projects had to be research based. Not just internet but at home and in the community. I even paired up a couple of our teachers as a go-to to ask questions.

3. They had to create something and share it with the world!

Now to the good stuff! Their projects! Keep in mind that I did not take any grades for this. They were so excited on Fridays! It was amazing to watch their curiosity and passion take shape as they worked. They were engaged like I had never seen before. Some worked alone and others grouped up in twos or threes. We had a lot of conversations each Friday about their progress and plans. I think these little conferences really helped in keeping them on track. 

This group was passionate about "wacky trivia" and made a Kahoot! that the whole class played! It was super fun!

Kids built models and learned about cooking. One student wrote a NOVEL! Another put together a flyer and letter to our Principal asking to have a basketball camp. In one cooking video, you can hear the grandparents in the background trying to help and it is precious. One student started a blog and another made a YouTube channel. A super shy student who had barely said two words to me all year got up in front of the class and danced. DANCED! So unexpected! I talked him into being in the talent show. Talk about sharing with the world. How brave!

These guys made a cookbook of cupcakes and brought us cake when they presented! We had several who learned how to bake.

We had a lot of art. Kids learned how to use different tools and mediums. It was inspiring. 

And then this happened and I knew Genius Hour had changed my classroom!

One student couldn't decide what he wanted to do. We talked about just being interested in something and being passionate about something. He and his family went to their hunting camp a lot. That is what he was passionate about. He told me how he wanted to make a floating fishing house for their lake. He was asking how he would present it! Ha! He was telling me all his ideas about how to make it float and what he would put on it. He missed the part about let's make a model of it to present...and I got an email from mom asking if there were more instructions because her child wanted to spend his savings on supplies. Whoa! So I assured her she did not have to spend any money and explained more about what we were doing. Her next email made my heart full...
"I just wanted to tell you thank you for the project.  He really got into it! He finished it last week, that's a first! I left to go to an appointment last Wednesday and came back to an awesome creation! He sat there with Garrett listening to music for almost 4 hours. I feel bad for accusing him of having someone else do it! I told him he must of had my Dad or mom come over while I was gone. Here are the before and after pics of when I left and when I got back. Since this is done he has now challenged his Dad to a deer stand creation."  
How awesome is Genius Hour?! By letting them explore their own passions, I saw them become innovators, problem solvers, and be more creative. They were so confident and excited to share what they had created. Those skills spilled over into our math learning practices perfectly. It looked chaotic and unorganized but hey, that is how we make young people that will change the world!

I will leave you with a group that was passionate about DIY videos so they made a couple of their own complete with bloopers!

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