Saturday, November 23, 2013

Cheaper Teacher Mobile Organizers

It's the holiday season! Well almost.... anyways my last name sometimes gets the best of me so I started early plus my school is officially on Thanksgiving break so I have used my time, so far in one day, to clean a bit, decorate a bit, and build potential classroom organizers....


While down in Dayton for some PD, I made a roadtrip down to Ikea where I purchased a lovely bed for my guest room, post to follow later, along with this charming Kitchen Utility Cart that I can't decide if it'll be a classroom cart or a laundry room cart. I just love the color!


But then, I was at Big Lots and I saw one of those teacher organizers that usually run for $80 for $29 at Big Lots. Sure, it was off brand but it still looks just as good, plus, I love the colors!


Now, my debate begins. Which one will make it to the classroom? I can see the value in both. Although the Ikea one was more expensive, it is FAR MORE sturdy. But the Big Lots one has so many drawers! Thoughts?


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Real World Conic / Trig Collages

Previously, I posted about this Real World Conics Project. The project was similar to the one I had done the previous year but added in the components of creating a collage of real world pictures along with answering several real world questions from various sources.

Not only did I decide to do this project with my Algebra 2 kiddos, but I also did a trig version with finding real world pictures of Trig Functions followed by answering some Real World Application Trigonometry Problems.

I actually just had a parent email me saying how much she liked this project because it gave the kids a different perspective on the topics that we were learning. She even wanted to know if she got some of the answers right :)

Here are some of the collages created by both classes.






Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Ferris Wheel as a formative assessment lesson



I've posted previously about formative assessment lessons as well as creating a "desk poster" during these activities and I did another one with my Trig kids this week. During the past week, we've been working on graphing our trig functions. On Wednesday, we did the Ferris Wheel lesson and I absolutely loved it! For so long, I've dreaded the question of where are these equations/graphs ever used with my inability to always have an answer. Well, now the kids had their ah hah moments and it was because they could connect the ideas of a cosine curve to the motion of a ferris wheel!



Overall, I felt like it was a great lesson and it truly helped relate the idea that the cosine curve is truly just the unraveling of the unit circle, now represented as a unit circle. My kids made tons of progress and by the end of the week, they have now made so many connections! The strategies that my kids used during this activity were all so different and it really allowed for us to have a great conversation!




A Fantastic 100th Post for a Fantastic Four Warm Up!



 Hello! I'm proud and delighted to announce that this is my official 100th published post (a few more have been created but aren't to my standards yet). I am so excited :) It was my goal this year to do more lessons this year that could be considered "blog worthy" and I feel like so far, I'm able to post a lot more this year! It also probably helps that I am no longer a first year teacher!

Currently, I'm away from school running some PD sessions and I heard this really cool idea in a classroom that I was observing. Mrs. Reid has her kids do a Fantastic Four or Fantastic Three Warm Up each week. Well, this year, it has been on my to do list to create a daily warm up. Finally, I've found/heard my inspiration! Ta da! I've created a Fantastic Four Warm Up worksheet complete with a character themed day along with work space allowing for the kids to write down the problem and show all their work. Monday is called MISTER FANTASTIC MONDAY and you have THING THURSDAY, you know, goofy me. Anyways, I'm aware, there are more than 4 days in our school week leaving us with Fantastic Four Friday. I've reserved the space in Friday for a reflective piece where the child writes a few sentences about how they felt their warm ups when this week / what they learned from the experience / etc. They also keep track of their score out of 4. It'll be my intent, next semester, to utilize this each week with a question for each day.

Disclaimer: I do not own Fantastic Four, it is a product of Marvel. Nor could I ever have the ability to create these images, again, all the wonderful artists out there. So per usual, I will not profit from this worksheet and have it out there purely for you to enjoy!



Sunday, November 3, 2013

Piecewise Art!

I love art. It's really no surprise to my kids when they get assigned an art project. Especially for my Trig kids who all had me in Algebra 2. Basically, they did this project for me last year with Conic Sections but I made it Trig friendly to incorporate the idea of a piecewise function. I also gave the group option like I do in my Angry Bird Project.

This project also got assigned while I had a sub so it was a good project to have them work on for the two days that I was gone. Plus, it's on them when the project isn't done because they didn't use their time wisely. But I mean, my kids always use their time wisely :)


Yeah, that big poster? That was their project, god I'm in love. I want it framed.
Here's a better look at it!




Overall, loved the project especially for a sub day but I wish I would have done a bit more review on how transformations affect equations. This would have helped with the freshly learned rational functions.

Introducing the Conic Sections!

Have you ever read the Walking In Mathland Blog? Well, I love that blog and have used many and I mean MANY of their lovely lessons. Including the intro. to Conics

Essentially what happens is that first, the kids do a warmup. Since we had just finished our unit on parabolas and the kids did not do so well, I have a warm up (below) focusing on their ability to complete the square to put into vertex form and then graph parabolas. I used nearly the same paint instructions except that I felt the need for the kids to recognize that hyperbolas have two branches so I tweaked that portion of the worksheet. I also created a LEGAL SIZE paper form for the kids to stamp the cones onto. I felt like this worked a lot better plus I then was able to proudly display what looked like kindergarten art work. Lastly, then I had the Instagram bonus challenge. Always fun and it actually really lended itself well to the project which I also introduced that same day. Essentially, the kids had already started their project!

I found awesome polka dot cones! Only $1 at Walmart!




My wall was covered by the end of the day.

 Hyperbola Winner!

Parabola Winner!

Circle Winner!

Ellipse Winner! And I'm certain that you could have this found at your school as well!


Just an FYI, the pdf files that you download look normal, unlike the previews below. I made them in PDF format so that you can enjoy the fun fonts too!

Angry Birds Shoebox Edition.... the amazing results!

They're here! They're finally here! A couple weeks ago, I posted about this year's Angry Birds Project and how I was inspired to have the kids do shoebox dioramas. Well, this past week, on Halloween, the kids turned in their projects and once again, they blow me away!

This year, the tweaks I made were to the rubric (my apologies, it says rate not range in the grade rubric, I'll fix it soon) and the fact that the kids had to create a 3-D model of the angry birds level through a diorama. I loved this option because not all of my kids like to draw as much as I do so this allowed for kids to be able to build a level out of other materials. Below are the results!

These were some of the first ones turned in that day. By second period, I had to start storing these under my table otherwise they wouldn't have been able to see me. I need to take a closeup shot of the diorama on the bottom right. Apparently, the girls' father had to saw the obstacles to help them be the perfect height. As you can see, it also has cuts in the back wall allowing for the angry bird to fly (this was a requirement this time around).


We have these display shelves in our halls so I decided to store some of my favorites there to proudly show off to the school. The kids were laughing at me about how excited I was to be having these projects turned in!


This poor girl was burned by the hot glue gun when hand making her characters. Should probably have a disclaimer for the creation of these projects.

 These girls had the silver rings of keychains (you can slightly see them on the top) act as a flying system on the top of their box to allow the birds to fly.

The two sports represented the two levels in this group of three.

Again, one of my girls hand created her characters. These little guys were sewn, yes that's right. This is a close up and it doesn't do them justice.





I loved the legos :) This clearly had a halloween theme.

According to this child, he needed to hire a new architect (mom).

I issued a challenge for someone to create a level that incorporated water. Challenge accepted. I was amused.


As you can see in the rubric, the kids were graded with a decent combo between mathematical accuracy and creativity. It was a requirement to have a bird flying through the air and this was always a cool challenge to see how they got this to happen in their projects.

Go ahead, be that math teachers that issues probably too many projects. They can be a pain in the butt to grade sometimes but I love the challenge associated with the projects. I think this project does a great job of focusing on domain/range restrictions. It's always such a struggle for my kids

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Student created Math Posters

This past Monday, we had what was called a Virtual Day. On the virtual day, I gave the kids the job of learning all about law of cosines/sines/Heron's Formula/Law of Sines for Area.... Yeah a lot but of course I created my YouTube videos for each of them and they did an ASSISTment follow up. All good.

From experience, I'm aware that these topics require practice, especially the ever so difficult law of sines with finding that ridiculous ambiguous case..... So to help start us out with the topic, I broke the kids into groups of four and informed them that they now were hired to create math posters that a math teacher might purchase and it was their job to create a poster that contained the following:
-Definition of Formula / Theorem
-How/Why is it Used?
-Example
-Color/Neatness

With that, I let them have at it. Now of course, there were some mistakes and we had to clarify a few things but it really helped me see where my kids had some misconceptions based upon what they learned virtually. After I gave the kids about 20 minutes to create their posters, we had Your Turn! time where the kids solve all the problems and check their answers. These are done either in their notebooks / on their desks / or on a dry erase board. Their call.




Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Real World Conics Project


Last year, my Algebra 2 kiddos simply created art through conic sections. This was a part of what we call a Design Challenge and I didn't want it to be too intense. For Algebra 2 this year, I've decided to assign the project at the beginning of the unit as well as add onto it!

I found the idea of having the kids take real life pictures of conics through nature/architecture/every day items and tracing the sections. Easy enough, right? Well, that's part 1 because it can be done rather quickly plus the kids can technically use the pictures they take around the school as our intro. activity (tomorrow). I found this idea from, I believe, a graduate student! Part 2 is the art project that I did last year but they have to choose one of these real life objects from part 1 to make an art piece representing. Part 3 is where the application skills come into play. I found several real world problems from several sources and compiled them into Part 3.

In total, the project becomes 75 points and it's a project that can be worked on throughout the unit! I know the kids will groan as it's more work than last year's project but hey, I have to change something each time I teach it, right?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Around the Room

Sometimes, the kids just need to get out of their seats, like really. They get antsy and with us having classes that are an hour and a half long, I really got to get them moving. I remembered reading about this cool idea to use QR codes around the room to get the kids to solve problems by scanning the problem onto their iPad, thus moving them around the room. Well, not all my kids have a smart phone so not everyone can use the QR code so back to the idea of okay, how can I get them moving.

Around the room is basically an activity where the kids solve the problem on their paper and find the answer elsewhere on a different question. Once they have found the solution to their problem, they have to solve the problem on their new paper. The first person to correctly tell me the order and show me all their work (SO KEY), wins the prize, typically a homework pass (from Vistaprint).

I've uploaded two of the Around the Rooms I've used this year, one with Quadratics and one with Law of Cosine/Sine. In the title, I've included the correct loop.


Winter wreath!

This past summer, I used my time wisely. Haha, ok good joke but really. I made a burlap wreakh with the intent that each season, I would some how make it seasonally friendly. 

Voila! My fall/winter wreath! The heart piece was a whopping $3 at a craft fair and the berry and pine come twigs were $2 a piece at target! Not bad in my book and I'm sure I could have done it even cheaper. 


It's nice to find time to still do things I enjoy while juggling 120something teenagers. 
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