the mathsmith collage

the mathsmith collage

Thursday, August 30, 2012

#myfavfriday Friday Night Football

So, I'm at a new school and tonight is our first home football game.  There's something about a high school football game that says, "Hello fall."  The first home football game is great!  The school year has just started.  Students, parents, and teachers are there.

The pep rally beforehand...

...the marching band...

...the weird outfits students come up with to "Super Fan"...

...and football!

I know this isn't totally math related (unless you're all about the stats...), but it's student related.  I love going to football games with my husband and pointing out which football players are my students.  I enjoy talking to students outside of class and getting to know them a little better.  I like hanging out with my fellow teachers outside of the teachers' lounge or the hallway...or the staff meetings.  There's just something about being with the people I see every day in school...outside of school.

Monday, August 27, 2012

#made4math Monday Week 9 - Classes' Facebook Page

My classes' facebook page is up and running.  I have 5 likes so far...2 of which are parents of my students.  I think that's great because then they can remind their kids of what's going on based on the facebook page, also.

Here are screenshots from it (not much going on as you can see):

I used wordle to create my cover photo (using this blog).

Well, gots to to grade diagnostic tests. :-\

Saturday, August 25, 2012

My first day of school

I usually use a brief review game using the coordinate plane and desks in rows to create randomized seating charts.  However, I decided to put my desks in groups this year, so I couldn't use that review game.

So, I looked at the  first day page on the math teacher wiki and used the numbers on post it notes idea.  Once a kid guessed his/her number, he/she could choose a seat.  It worked out ok...except for the fact that the post it notes wouldn't stick to the kids' backs.  So, my intervention specialist (WHO ROCKS, BTW) helped me use scotch tape to make sure the post it notes stayed.  That helped things go more smoothly in later class periods.  Also, we were able to review math vocabulary, such as prime and composite.  So, other than the tape debacle, the activity worked out well.

Another thing that didn't go perfectly...the syllabus.  When I finally received my copy code, I was anxious to copy them so I could fold them...on Thursday.  Since I was so excited to be able to make copies, I didn't pay attention until half way through the print job: the inside of the syllabus printed upside down.  At that point (3:30pm the day before the first day of school), I didn't care...instead, I made a joke out of it with the students about how I'm new there and learned the hard way how to copy a brochure using the copy machine.  They didn't seem to mind, either.  :-)

I gave the students a review packet to start toward the end of the block.  Most of the students got a lot accomplished, helped each other, and asked good questions.  I'm excited to get to know my new students and am anxious to see how this year is going to pan out.

#myfavfriday - My Favorite Musical

So, I know it's Saturday, but yesterday was my first day of school (besides freshman orientation) AND my husband got off work early yesterday.  Tomorrow (Sunday) is my birthday, and he bought (among other things) my favorite musical:

I grew up watching musicals with my grandma.  While others were watching tons of cartoons when they were little, at 3 years old, I was imitating the dance moves of the actors in Show Boat and singing along with Judy Garland in Meet Me in St. Louis.  That's right, when I think of Judy Garland, the first movie I think of is NOT the Wizard of Oz.  

One of my favorite musicals is "Singin' in the Rain".  Gene Kelly is so talented, Debbie Reynolds is delightful, Donald O'Connor is hilarous, and it's great to escape today's inappropriate media with the wholesome, intelligent and funny story.  "Moses supposes his toeses are roses..."

#hssunfun Organization - What works & What I need to work on

For me, the key to organization is folders, folders, folders...and I don't mean the type that were on sale last week...I mean computer folders.

I have accumulated lessons/examples for the past few years...I even used this today to pull questions for a review quiz:

What I need to work on is keeping organized throughout the day, particularly when I have several classes in a row...this is what my desk usually looks like at the end of the day:

In fact, it looked very similar to this yesterday at the end of the day.  I had to take a few minutes to reorganize and clean it off before I left for the weekend.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Review Games by Students for Students

As exam review each semester (and this year, each trimester), I gave students a group project worth 100 points to come up with review games for each chapter that will be on the exam.

Here is a link to my description.  Over the years, I decided to have due dates along the way for things such as writing the review questions.  That way, I could grade them ahead of time and have students correct their mistakes before presenting the game to the rest of the class.  Before I did that, the games turned into finding the REAL correct answers instead of playing the games.

Here is a link to my rubric.  I gave each group a copy of the rubric so they knew in advance how I would be grading them.  Then, I filled out a rubric for each group along the way as each due date came.

Here is a link to my reflection piece.  The students would each fill this out.  After they turned them in, I would give them a chance to discuss what they liked and what they wanted to do differently as a class.  Then, I encouraged them because most of the projects turned out really well.

Here are a few pictures of review games:

Sunday, August 19, 2012

#Made4Math Monday Week 8 - Spiced Up Syllabus & Foldables Supply Boxen

Project #1: Spiced Up Syllabus

Inspired by @KristinABC123 and those that inspired her (see her shout out links), I decided to change my syllabus for the long drawn out 2 pages of information to a brochure.



Project #2: Foldables Supply Boxen

In an effort to take baby steps toward INB (interactive notebooks), I have decided to start doing foldables with the students this year.  It helps that we are on trimesters and have longer class periods than I'm accustomed to.  I feel like I'll have time to do these with the students without feeling rushed...

Anyways, here are some pictures of the foldables supply boxen that I put together for the students. ( know, the plural of box...) I have 8 groups of desks. Some have 4, some have 3...that's just how the cookie crumbled:

Once have these laminated, I'm going to put one on each box.  I made 2 copies and am going to put one at each group to match the box with the group.  That will help with accountability.  For example, I know who has the Magnum Pi box, and if something comes up missing that day, that narrows it down to 4 people from the previous class as culprits. 0:-)

Tomorrow is my first day of teacher in-services - which is why I posted early.  Tomorrow's sessions are for new teachers, so I will be with a few others.  Tuesday, I will be with all the staff.  *EXCITEMENT!*

Friday, August 17, 2012

#MyFavFriday - Dish Wand Holder

So, this Friday is MyFavKitchenGadget: The dish wand holder:

We have a dishwasher, but I like to wash some of our larger items, such as the big cutting board, by hand.  So, we still have a dish wand.  However, for the past year, it has sat awkwardly around the sink leaving/wasting dish soap residue.  When we moved back, we had dinner with our friends Darron and Miranda...or "Darranda", as we like to call them.  I noticed this in their sink and asked about it.  It just so happened they had an extra one...HAPPY DAY!  Anyways, this thing is awesome and that's what I have to say about it.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Homework Quizzes - #hssunfun

How I balance between completion grades and grading homework all the time is homework quizzes.  Up to twice a week, I give an unannounced homework quiz.  On those days, the homework is worth 10 points.  I prompt the students by saying, "Clear your desks except for your homework and a blank piece of paper (and a pencil)."  I choose 7 questions from the homework assignment and write those on the board.  The students, then, choose 5 of those 7 questions and copy the question numbers and the answers from their already completed homework on the blank sheet of paper.  Next, they walk over to the inbox and staple the homework quiz to the homework paper and turn it in.  Each of the 5 questions is worth 2 points (10 points total).  If a student gets a question incorrect, I check to see if he/she showed work on his/her homework.  If so, only 1 point is taken away.  If only the answer is written on the original homework, 2 points are taken away.  This promotes showing work.  On days that I don't give homework quizzes, those homework assignments are worth 2 points.  This gives more weight to homework quizzes and less weight to completion grades.  Before I started doing this, I awarded 5 points for completing homework.  I would check to see if students showed their work, but I didn't really check much else.  This did not give much meaning to homework for students because it didn't matter if they tried to get the right answers.

Let me know if you are interested in adopting this method and have questions about this.  :-)

Why I am Nutter Buttersmith/The MathSmith

So, I joined a blogger initiative started by @samjshah.  One of the many prompts for the first week was to write about why you named your blog what you named it.

My story starts with my husband and his many nicknames (maybe I can get him to blog about that...we'll see...).  One of the more popular (and accepted by Bret) is "Buttersmith".  When I married him, I became "Nutter Buttersmith"...get it?  It's punny.  Bret blogged for a brief time (as you can see if you clicked on his  blog link), so around that time, I decided to create my own.  I didn't know what to do with it since my days of xanga and college rants were over.  Then, when we moved to Greenville, Ohio, I met Shannie.  Shannie likes to take pictures.  She uses her blog as a photoblog to display photos with a theme or to participate in a photo scavenger hunt.  Since I had a blog with barely any posts, I decided to join her on the monthly photo scavenger hunt.

This summer, I spent most of my days looking for a job (got RIF'd due to a drop in enrollment in the middle school), watching stuff on netflix, and going on pinterest to get some new ideas for teaching.  There, I found pins from math teacher blogs, which opened up a whole new world!

Around the time I discovered math teacher blogs and tweeps, @druinok started #made4math.  So, I decided to join the math bloggers.  But what name should I use?  Then, it came to me...The MathSmith!  I was already using Nutter Buttersmith as a photoblog, so I wanted to create a new blog to keep the 2 topics separated.  I wanted to incorporate math in my new blog name...and themathsmith was available on blogger!

So, that, in a nutshell is how I became both Nutter Buttersmith and The MathSmith!

Help, I'm in a nutshell!:

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

High School Math Common Core Standards Wordles

Thank you, Sarah, for the idea to create common core standard wordles!  I got a little copy/paste happy and did one for all the traditional high school math classes:

Algebra 1


Algebra 2

4th Year Course

Monday, August 13, 2012

#Made4Math Monday Week 7 - Country Time Pencil-Ade & Update on Classroom

I have a pencil holder, but I want another one for my student center.  So, I went looking at Target for short Pringles cans, but they didn't have any.  Then, I remembered that we have a few Country Time Lemonade Containers.  So, I transformed one of them (leaving the contents in a sandwich bag along with the measure cap) into a Country Time Pencil-Ade:

Update on the Classroom:  I finally put up the dry erase boards.  I had to wait because we did something not so smart...left them propped up against a wall overnight...they bowed, so we couldn't get them to stay flat against the chalkboard:

So, I decided to line the rest with the magnet strips and weigh them down with 30 Algebra 1 books over the weekend...SUCCESS!!!:

Also, I finished the Currently In Algebra 1 bulletin board...since we are reviewing, I posted some of the review concepts:

It's Always Sunny In Algebra...covering the brick wall:

Miscellaneous New Additions to the Classroom:

Things on my agenda for the rest of the week:
1. Organize substitute folder/binder & create emergency plans
2. Create classroom rules & procedures posters
3. Evaluate how I grade binders/notebooks based on new information (such as INB)
4. Finish the student supply table
5. Create syllabi
6. Start lesson planning