the mathsmith collage

the mathsmith collage

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

#Made4Math - Fractions & Baking Video Prompt

Ok, so I know it's not Monday, but.....

Here is a short video to start a discussion/review on fraction operations and equivalent fractions.  After the video is shown, the students will be given a few minutes to come up with their answers then share with the class.

I'm really curious to see this play out in a lesson.  I have one solution to the problem but am anxious to see if someone comes up with a different answer.

Another fun idea would be to have the students do video responses/solutions!!!

(The link to this video on youtube is here.)

Want to get involved in #Made4Math?  Check out the Made4Math blog here or go on twitter and search #made4math!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

#Made4Math Mon...well, Thursday - Laminated Graph Paper

This trimester, I am teaching Algebra 2 along with Algebra 1.  We started the trimester graphing cubic and quartic polynomials.  One of the things I'm trying to work on is having the students get up out of their seats more.  So I asked myself, "How can I have them graph at the board without them wasting their time making their own grids or having their graphs look like a disaster?"  Then it hit me!: Laminated huge graph paper grids!  The students can use dry-erase markers to graph and can easily wipe their graphs away!

I printed 28 pages of grid paper and laminated them so I would have 7 graph stations:

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Math Review Scavenger Hunt #made4math

So, I got this idea from a coworker:

Put the answer to a question at the top of a paper and a new question at the bottom.  Put the answer to that question at the top of another paper and a new question at the bottom.  Repeat (making sure you don't have the same answer to more than one problem) until you have enough questions to cover the concept you are reviewing and end with the question whose answer corresponds with the first paper.

Then, post the papers randomly around the room.

The students then will work independently or in a group (however you want to do this) and start anywhere.  They work the problem out from the bottom of the paper then find the answer around the room.  Then, they answer that question and so on.  I usually reveal how many questions there are so they know whether they did it right.  If they get back to where they started with fewer questions, they need to backtrack and figure out where they went wrong.  I will post pictures of how this looks in my class the next time I set up this activity.

Has anyone else ever done this?

Does anyone have any questions?  This is a fun and easy way to set up a review that gets the kids up and moving.  Once you have it set up, the students do all the work!


I realize it's been several months since I have posted on here.  It's amazing how we can get so wrapped up in school...

Saturday, November 10, 2012

#Made4Math Monday - No Cell Phones

It's been too long since I participated in #Made4Math Monday...I know it's Saturday, but now is the time that I have to do this.

Our trimester ends on Tuesday.  We have exams on Monday and Tuesday and a "teacher work day" on Wednesday.  I use quotation marks because the morning is filled with meetings.  I'm getting a crash course on data director since we use that to grade our exams, etc.

With the trimester ending and new classes starting up on Thursday, I've been evaluating how things have gone so far and creating goals for myself for next trimester.

My main issue with the students has been cell phone use.  Our policy changed this year for using cell phones that allows students to use them in the hallways during class changes, etc.  Also, we can let the students use cell phones in the classroom at our discretion (mainly for academic purposes).  However, we teachers reserve the right to not allow cell phones to be used during instruction, etc.  With the change in policy, when I catch students using their phones when they are not supposed to, they seem to have this attitude of entitlement.  "We are ALLOWED to have cell phones now." is one of many excuses I get from students.  I've had several instances where students REFUSE to give up their cell phones and end up being sent to the office for insubordination and receiving in-school suspension/restriction all because they couldn't live without their cell phones for a day or part of a day.  Also, I think they are somewhat concerned that I'm going to go through their phone to look at their texts and pictures, etc.  (like I have time or care about doing that...)

In an attempt to make my policy clear, I created a sign to add to my classroom.  You may access it here.  If you want the word document, let me know and I will email it to you.  The picture that I used is from Luke's diner in the TV show Gilmore Girls.  Also, to promote more trust with them, I plan on changing how I handle a first offense: the first time I confiscate a phone, I'll keep it and give it back at the end of the day without involving the office.  I'll even let them take the battery out of the phone.  After the first offense, the phone will be sent to the office on repeat offenses.  I hope this will decrease my number of office referrals.

Also, on a completely different note, I tweaked my syllabus signature page to have parents to give me more contact information instead of giving them the option to do so.  You may access that here.  Again, if you want the word document, let me know. :-)

One of my projects for this weekend is to go through my class binders and streamline them for use in the upcoming trimester(s).  I will be teaching Algebra 1 B again 2nd trimester and will be teaching Algebra 1 C 3rd trimester.

In the spirit of opening up discussion, is there anything you want to change in your classroom management or policies?  Often times we think about things throughout the year but forget to change for the next year.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

#myfavfriday - more like myfavfrunday - Watson Street Loft

So, this past Friday, we went to a wedding reception at Oak Openings Lodge.  We had a good time, particularly because the local band Watson Street Loft played.  They generally play the type of music that I listened to back in college (so mainly late 90s - early 2000s).  However, they had some fun surprises in store for this particular event.  See, the groom is the bass player, so they had a good friend substitute for him most of the night (the guy in blue on the right):

They Rick Roll'd the event, saying that song best described
the love the newlyweds shared.

For a few songs, the groom stepped in on bass.

Right before my husband and I left, their other surprise was revealed: Call Me Maybe...thought you TMC12 folks would appreciate that...some people even started a conga line for this song.

Here are some pictures I took of the band back in August when I first saw Watson Street Loft:

 I also featured them in my photoblog post...scroll down to #9.
I can't wait to hear them play again.  If you are ever in the Toledo area, check them out.  They are quite talented and worth a listen.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

#MyFavFriday - err MyFavFraturday - Ukulele

I love when we have unexpected plans.  My good friend from college, Merry, called me on Thursday asking if she, her dad, and her friend could crash in our living room on their way up to Traverse City, MI for a ukulele concert.  Naturally, we said YES!  They are on their way to see the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain...seriously jealous.  At one point this past summer, I played a bunch of their songs on youtube as my soundtrack to making birthday cookies for my husband:

Side note: that vanilla is from the Dominican Republic.

Anyways, I think I have finally found my hook for teaching math, making it beyond interesting, and have an excuse for making youtube videos about it: Math Ukulele...err Mathulele!  

I play guitar:

So, I think I could easily pick up the ukulele.

Any thoughts?  Any song ideas? 

What's your hook?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Spinning Plates

So, now that it's October, I must confess that it's getting difficult to balance grading papers, lesson plans, etc. along with trying to maintain the habits brought forth by the summer...including #made4math  Mondays and #myfavfriday.  Sometimes I feel like this...minus the dress:

This week is no exception.  Tomorrow after school, we have a faculty meeting AND parent teacher conferences.  I found out that parent teacher conferences are in the gym, so I can't even use my computer when I don't have parents to talk to.

Anyways, I hear the 2nd trimester is always easier...

(cliche pregnancy joke...NO I'M NOT PREGNANT...our school is on trimesters.)

Anyone else feeling the same way?