Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Quilt Coloring to Bach

I love hearing about Math on a Stick that happens at the Minneapolis State Fair.  This year Annie Fetter @MFAnnie had kids coloring quilt squares.  I loved the idea and brought it to my classroom.  I went out and bought fresh packs of crayons because I wanted everyone to use crayons.  I decided to have my three Geometry classes color them in our 20 minutes after lunch block time.  Not many had time to finish, but some did and they are continuing to bring their finished quilt squares in.  I wanted to do it this week because Back to School night is tomorrow (Thursday, Sept 14th) and I thought we could make a quilt on my closet door to display for parents.

Quilt Pattern here

The word "crayons" brought up some debate in my Geometry class.  Is it "cray-ons" or "crayns"?

Even though they were new boxes, I still ended up with some broken ones because some kids color really hard.

There is a square within the square that I asked the kids to start with first, make the pattern there and then repeat in the other three quadrants.  The first square was no problem, but then it was hard to replicate - did they pick up the right crayon, did they color in their correct part.  It was harder than I thought it would be.

The hardest part was fitting the crayons back in the box.

I found some Bach music to listen to while we were coloring.  It was so nice and peaceful.  At first, some students thought it was weird or stupid but then they all got into it.  We could have used another hour to color at our leisure.

I think we all enjoyed our coloring time and we ended up with a beautiful quilt:

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Geometry #VNPS Desmos Day 4

Day 3 in Geometry was a summer assessment on a summer packet.

Day 4 we moved into learning about the Distance Formula and the Midpoint Formula.  Kids "know" the distance formula.  They have used it.  They may forget what is added or subtracted, but it comes back to them.  I wanted them to see where it came from, so I had them up at the boards #VNPS and walked them through these instructions to graph on a coordinate plane, work their way to the Pythagorean Theorem (which I let them try to spell out and most of the students thought it was the "PythagoreaM TheorM" - so we corrected that misunderstanding.)  I had them solve it for C and replace with x s and ys.  They finally saw the connection between the Distance Formula and the Pythagorean Theorem!

Here is a picture of group work:

Then, I made a Desmos activity that started with some thoughts on the Distance Formula and the Pythagorean Theorem.  It moves into asking them to figure out where the Midpoint Formula comes from.  Next, I brought a map of our town, Hopkinton, into a coordinate plane and asked them to find a distance.  Then, I did the normal "If somebody walks this way around the corner and somebody takes a shortcut, how much does the shortcut save?"  It took a lot longer than I thought.  I purposely did not put the fire station on a nice integer point, so they were struggling to figure out what decimals to use and then oh my, having to work through the distance formula with decimals was tough.  But, they did understand that they could have used the Pythagorean Theorem or the Distance Formula.  Most opted for the Distance Formula.  Then, I had them find a midpoint and that was a little easier. 

One question I asked that I liked was about the Distance Formula and "Name two mistakes a student might make when using this Distance Formula."  Here is a snapshot of some results:

Here is a picture of my Desmos Hopkinton Map slide:

Meeting Spot: Midpoint:

Thanks for reading.

Geometry #VNPS Day 2 Vocab

On my second day of Geometry, I had the students up at the boards for #VNPS to learn about points, lines, planes, angles, rays.  I read this as they drew and wrote notations.  I was going to have them shift and look at others to correct, but we just had the groups correct their own.  It was great discussion.  I asked them to draw a line, they drew a segment.  After we realized it needed arrowheads to be considered a line, I asked them to write the notation.  They wrote it with a segment on top.  They realized they had to have the arrowheads on this as well.  I am hoping the making of mistakes and fixing them along the way will make it stick better than me saying, "This is how you draw a line. This is it's notation."  It took longer than I anticipated.  I wanted them to return to their seats and then write it in their notes, but instead, I asked them to take out their phones and take a picture and for homework to write it into their notes.  They could take a picture of their own group's work or another.  It was fun to see the Geometry Paparazzi form around the neatest work and snap pictures. 

Here are two examples:

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Math and Me in Geometry

I am taking a class and typed this up in a google doc and figured I may as well share it in a blog.

This is made from a Desmos getting to know you activity inspired by Emily Sliman and Anna Scholl.  Thank you!

Math and Me with Desmos in Geometry

What an amazing experience for me to learn about my students.  I was showing our IT person and he asked why I wouldn’t just use Google forms to do this in.  I said I would not know how to do all this in Google forms.  Plus, I wanted to capture pieces, sort of sneak peeks of what we will be doing with Desmos this year in math.  I will walk through a student’s responses to share what I learned.  This is for one of my students:
  1. First screen asked to graph how they feel about math.  Desmos allows them to draw on the graph and to type in a response.

2.)  One new ongoing idea that came from Sean at Twitter Math Camp was a Marbleslides challenge.  He created 36 weekly challenges for my classes to try.  I give them a code and they try it on their own.  I will give out prizes to the top 3.  I wanted my Geometry students to try a Marbleslides.  They have to adjust the given equation so that when the ball is launched, it will go through all the stars.

3.)  Step 3 was another marbleslide but they were not given the equation.  Here is what she did:
4.)  WODB: This stands for Which One Doesn’t Belong.  It is a great website collection of different pictures to use in the classroom and the cool thing is there is a reason why each doesn’t belong.  They have to be different from each other but then share qualities with others at times.  I asked the students to explain their thinking.  Interestingly, most students picked the bottom left because it doesn’t have any straight lines.  I like that she chose and defended A.

5.)  I took a class a few summers ago on Growth Mindset with Jo Boaler.  There is a lot of talk on Twitter about are you born as a math person.  I wanted to see where the kids stood.  It seemed to be if I student said they liked math, they put agree.  If they didn’t like it, they put unsure or disagree.  She is in the middle.

6.)  This is another new aspect of Desmos - the card sort.  I love matching and have kids sort things by similarities and differences.  In the “old days”, I used to have to make copies and do a lot of cutting.  Now, I can just use Desmos and re-use it.  Here are some ideas built off of the mindset in slide 5.  There isn’t one correct way to join these but they were fun to see where the students were.  It seems this year more students are finally better with making mistakes.  It is okay to make mistakes.

7.)  I liked to find out what I need to know about them. Here is her response about homework.  
8.)  Next up, I asked what they needed from me.  Some asked me to do more group work or less group work or to not call on them or to have patience.

9.)  I thought this would be a good time to find out if they wanted to be called by a nickname or a different name.
10.)  And, the last one was just for fun.  I think I will compile these because the students did get creative and funny. The slide is made so it shows the students some of their classmates responses.  They were pulling them up on their phone and sharing today.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Getting to Know My Students

We started school on Wed, Aug 30th, had school on August 31st, and then off for the four day weekend.

I teach Accelerated Algebra 1 (freshmen), Accelerated Geometry (mix of freshmen and sophomores), and Accelerated Algebra 2 (mix of sophomores and juniors), so I could possibly have students two or three years in a row.  I try to use new stuff whenever I can, especially with my getting to know students at the start of the school year.  Here is what I did this year:

In all my classes, I start by meeting them at the door, greeting them with a welcome, and handing them an index card with a math problem on it asking them to solve for x.  The directions are on the board.  They are allowed to write right on the card.  If they have an asterisks, they can use a calculator.  They can ask friends for help.  The answers might be positive, negative, zero, fractions, or decimals.  I have the answers written on a piece of masking tape, one on the corner of each desk.  They do the problem, then find their desk - like musical chairs.  This becomes their seat for the month because I change seats each month.  I send around a seating chart and they fill it in.
      Next, I ask them to flip the card over and write their full name and birthday.  If their birthday is in the summer, I ask them to write their half birthday for my poster.  Gotta love multipurpose things!

In all my classes, I showed My Summer Story made with an app called 1SE for 1 Second Everyday.  It is a paid app and it looks like a calendar.  You upload a picture or short video every day and then it puts it into a short video for you.  Mine was 1 minute long for my entire, action-packed summer.  I show the kids, with some music playing the background and then I discussed some highlights and ask them where they went or what they did this summer.

Accelerated Algebra I:
     We did the 3-Act Bucky the Badger.  This introduces them to the 3-Act, gets them making predictions and hopefully more comfortable guessing.
     I give them an Autobiography to complete for homework.  I read through them and made notes.  I noticed I had 5 students whose names started with A.  I noticed most of the students were involved in sports.  And, I noticed 3 kids are twins.  I thought that was cool!  I pointed it out to my class of 28 - three of you are twins and their twins are not in class with them.  I said, "It is you, you, and you."  Then, someone else said, "I'm a twin."  Then, someone else said, "I'm a twin, too."  Then, someone else said, "I'm a twin."  And, yes, another student said, "I'm a twin, too."  To which I said, "Are you kidding me?"  She said no.  I asked if I already counted her because by now I was too confused, so I said, if you are a twin, raise your hand  - I kid you not 7 Twins in my class of 28!!!!  Wow!

Accelerated Geometry:
    This class was new to me and I did the Visual Pattern like I learned at TMC17.  I blogged about it here.  I loved it.  It went so well.  I have 3 classes of it.  At first, I didn't think it was going so well because they weren't delving as deep as I would have liked, but I turned it around.
   On Day 2, we did this drawing activity on #VNPS that went really well. I assigned a Math and Me on Desmos for homework.  I adapted Emily Sliman @emilysliman and Anna Scholl @mathteachscholl versions of this.  I am excited to learn about them tomorrow.  Will try to update and edit here.  Here is a new blog post about some of it.

Accelerated Algebra 2:
   We did the Cup Stacking group activity and I heard "This is frustrating." Another student added, "But, we can do it." 
       Then, they played 31-derful, so fun!
      I had them take a Mrs. Fairbanks Quiz and we went over it.  The most correct was 7 out of 13 questions about me.  I love how low their guesses on Twitter followers is.  I asked them to guess the name of my blog.  Some guesses included "Mathtastic", "Fun Math", and "Math is Fun", LOL.
    Then, I had them turn it over and make up 5 questions about themselves on a Kid Quiz.  The answers were to be numerical multiple choice answers.  I read through them tonight.  Some that stood out to me:
*In what year will I have my golden birthday?
*On a scale of 1-10, how confused am I this year?
*How many languages do I speak?
*What is my favorite card in a deck of cards?
*How many businesses do I own?
*How many pairs of shoes do I own?
*How many earrings are in my right ear?

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Visual Pattern #TMC17 Style

Today was our first day of school.  I have taught Alg 1 and Alg 2 before, so that was good to go.  I am new to teaching Accelerated Geometry and took a stab at repeating what my morning #TMC17 group did with the PCMI teacher group called Rich Tasks - and we dove into a Visual Pattern.  It was not the usual, how many blocks are in Step 43.  Instead, they were asked to fill in the blank - "As the step increases, ______ changes."

I asked them to work individually brainstorming ideas in their notebook.  They thought it was a one and done thing.  I have one word.  I am done.  I asked them to "see" more.  Then, I invited them to turn to their group members and share and grow their list.  Next, I had a big sticky on the board and we recorded all their ideas.  I used questioning techniques to dive deeper into what they were telling me by asking clarifying questions, mostly to have them identify what they meant with their pronoun "it".  Out of this natural geometry vocabulary appeared, area, width, perimeter, side vs edge, vertex vs corner.  It was a great conversation.  They were stuck on the word "block".  They saw the number of "blocks" increasing.  I had to pull some more out of them - I was looking for "squares".  How is the number of squares different from the number of blocks - is it a different thing?  How many rectangles are there?  This lead to the "is a rectangle a square" question and vice versa.

Here is our list:

So, I had them brainstorm individually, then in groups, then as a class.  Next, I had my groups of 3 prearranged using and invited them up to work at the board #VNPS.  As a group of 3, they were to pick a category and investigate it more fully.

I had two classes.  I was taking a risk.  Yes, I had done this with a group of math geeks (I mean teachers) at TMC, what would my students do, what would they see, how long would it take them.

So, the first class chose "height" and "levels" in their class brainstorming session and then a few groups chose to investigate those which didn't take them too far or too deep.  I adjusted by my second period and while we did include height on our list, I told them they could not investigate it.

They were done a bit sooner than I anticipated.  I had one member from each group grab a pen or pencil and gave them sticky notes and asked them to do a gallery walk and visit some of the other investigations and notice and wonder.  Write down "I notice...", "I wonder...".  They did a good job meandering about the room.  When I noticed each of my 9 groups had about 3 stickies each, I gave a time warning, two more minutes to finish up.  Then, I asked everyone to return to the their seats and give me the rest of the stickies.

At this point, I am adjusting and winging it.  But, it worked out very nicely.  I then invited each group up one at a time to read the stickies and respond accordingly.  They did such a great job.  It really got some great discussion on the first day of school.

Here is some of their work.


Gallery walk:

 We did some noticing between the groups and decided "levels" and "height" was the same.  "Area" and "number of blocks" were the same.  They were subtracting and finding 1st and second differences.  They were coming up with equations.  We discussed how on one board there might be a linear equation and on another there was a quadratic equation.

In the second class, one group chose number of rectangles (including squares).  They persevered.  They did not get as far as the others with any sort of table or equation.  A student asked me what the equation was.  I was happy to share that was what I investigated at TMC17 and that we spent 2 hours on it and saw a lot of great patterns, but we didn't come up with any equation or conclusions, just kept digging.  

Two favorite observations:
"I notice you have a lot of notices."
"I notice the height is the square root of the area."  Nice!

Finally, I asked them to come back to their desks and notebooks and investigate the number of squares, not rectangles, just squares.  We had about 7 minutes at this point, but they were doing it.  They were seeing patterns, and then making predictions without having the draw the whole picture!  

Update: Day 2, when I did this with my third class, I realized I heard EVERY Geometry student speak on the first day of school!  My doing the sticky notes, each had to read at least one and maybe answer or comment on it.  They were all heard from.  Wish I could make this happen every day.

Friday, August 25, 2017

My Totally #MTBoS Room - Thank you all!

As I was setting up my room this year I realized how much I use from my MTBoS friends (Math Twitter Blogosphere) and from TMC (Twitter Math Camp).  Thank you!  I am going to share pictures and hopefully include the correct acknowledgements.  If I missed you, please let me know. If I credited the wrong person, please let me know.  I want to give credit where credit is due.  I was almost afraid to #pushsend for fear of being wrong but Carl Oliver @carloliwitter made me do it!

Here's to 2017-2018 and my Lucky? 13th year of teaching: 

My pencil sharpening and sign out area with some reminders.  These are old signs.  I don't remember where they came from:

Next up:  Jigoku from David @DavidKButlerUofA at #TMC17 this summer.

Next up: Signs from Sarah @mathequalslove.

Next up: Marbleslides challenge made by Sean @SweenWSweens at #TMC17, posters by Jessica @Algebrainic1 and of course Desmos @desmos.  I updated my own code, changed "treats" to "prizes" because we aren't allowed to do food, and printed all 36 challenges and put them in page protectors in a binder.

Next up:  Birthday weekly recognition board from Heather @heather_kohn at #TMC16 My Favorites' presentation.
Correction: Hanna   @girl_got_range from #TMC16 presented this idea.  Heather had the idea to have the kids write birthday cards on index cards.  I just did this today.  

Next up:  Here these are all together.  A bit busy but oh well.

Next up: My Equations - not sure who did this one? Glenn W?

Next up:  Vertical and Horizontal around my doorway - again, I don't remember who to credit:

Next up: My Claim Is...My Warrant Is... From #TMC16 and Chris @Plspeak and Mattie @stoodle and there morning session called "Talk Less, Smile More" I hope to use it more this year in my geometry class:

Next up:  I had this Power of Yet sign made.

Next up:  This is my favorite poster.  I had it made into a banner.  I found the image online and loved it.  It is from Max @maxmathforum and Annie @MFAnnie.

Next up:  I had this poster made after taking a MOOC by Jo Boaler @@joboaler

Next up: Along my wall of windows, I hung a clothesline and clothespins up high to display my student projects using Desmos and conics to make their Conics' Projects.  Here are three. @desmos

Next up:  This is a Welcome Sign with white boards bought at Target last summer.  I think it was Sarah's idea??? @mathequalslove.  Each day I've gone in it has fallen down because of the duct tape on the cinder block.  Will need to find a new spot? or new holder?

Next up: I rescued this table from the side of the road.  My husband rounded the corners.  I printed of inspirational quotes and painted and modpodged it up.  Students like to work there during group work or free time.  Sometimes I will put a puzzle or game back there too.

Next up:  My calendar.  I keep this at the front of the room.  I just realized I need to add early release and stuff to the days.  The numbers are magnets.

Next up:  I think these are from Sarah @mathequalslove a few years ago.  The 8 Math Practices.  These are under my front board.

And, last, but definitely not least, my back boards ready for #VNPS year 2.  I have border hanging to divide the space and numbers hung up with magnets to represent the stations.  I have enough room for 9 stations with 3 kids each.  I did win a grant to get my homemade ones replaced by permanent ones.  Crossing my fingers installation happens on Monday or Tuesday.  Last year was my first year using #VNPS due to my #TMC16 1 Thing and I loved it.  The idea comes from Alex @AlexOverwijk and Peter @pgliljedahl.  Thank you!

Thanks for reading.  The "learners" (from Glenn @gwaddellnvhs at #TMC17 My Favorites) come next Wednesday.  My room is ready and I am almost ready.