Thursday, September 29, 2016

Perpendicular Lines Alg 1 #VNPS

Just did another 20 minute board problem in Accelerated Algebra 1 after lunch.  They are getting so good and going straight into their board groups after lunch and instantly starting.  Today, I used an Open Middle problem I saw on Twitter.  They attacked it different ways, some drew the problem with boxes, some started listing numbers 0-9 and then the fractions, some drew the graph.  I love watching as they look around the room to see what other groups are doing.  I had one group get it pretty quickly and they just naturally went to help some other groups, not by telling them the answer, but by giving them clues or asking them leading questions - natural teacher moves.  Yeah VNPS again!

Perpendicular Lines Alg 1 #VNPS

Just did another 20 minute board problem in Accelerated Algebra 1 after lunch.  They are getting so good and going straight into their board groups after lunch and instantly starting.  Today, I used an Open Middle problem I saw on Twitter.  They attacked it different ways, some drew the problem with boxes, some started listing numbers 0-9 and then the fractions, some drew the graph.  I love watching as they look around the room to see what other groups are doing.  I had one group get it pretty quickly and they just naturally went to help some other groups, not by telling them the answer, but by giving them clues or asking them leading questions - natural teacher moves.  Yeah VNPS again!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Linear Programming Alg 2 #VNPS

Have I said I am in love with #VNPS - Vertical, non-permanent surfaces.  I am having fun coming up with challenging problems for the students to work on together.  But, even more excited about the conversations that are happening.  Just like the research shows, they are engaged right away and off to work.  They are working the entire time.  They are organizing their work because they know they all have to be able to interpret it.  They are labeling units!  They are drawing beautiful graphs.  They are standing back and looking at their work.  They are correcting each other politely.  They are learning other strategies from others.  I could go on and on.  I love it!

In my Accelerated Algebra 2 class, we had a lesson on Linear Programming today.  I also teach Accelerated Algebra 1 so I know they have had the material before but it was challenging.  I asked what they remembered from Algebra 1 and heard crickets chirp.  So, I decided to have them dive into a Dirt Bike Competition from Illuminations NCTM.  I did the entire packet last year.  Printed off about 10 pages of papers for each student.  I had them work in groups and it was sort of clunky as they tried to fumble through it.  This year, I consolidated it to a front and back of a piece of paper with directions to go step by step and keep everything on the board.

Here are my #VRG (visibly random groups - love for this) working hard.  And, their final problem, all organized.


They did so well with it.  It was a good review of standard form and graphing with intercepts.  They also had to remember how to graph a system on their calculator and find the point of intersection.  Oh, yeah, when we graph inequalities, we need to include shading.  It was coming back to them.  They wrote their objective function and found the vertices.  It was when they were plugging in these values that it sort of all came back to them "oh, yeah, now I remember this."

Next, they did a linear programming problem about baking cookies.  They did great with it.

Here is the condensed version.  I could go on and on about how awesome the VNPS but the students and I love it. 

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Day in the Life of a Teacher: Post 1 in DITLife Series: Sept 8

5:15 am Wake up with my blog post swirling in my head.  I have committed to posting to #DITLife on the 8th of each month (you know 8 is my favorite number because you found my blog).

Side note info:
Twitter handle: @hhsmath
This is my 12th year teaching math at Hopkinton High.  Today is 5th day of classes and my four time seeing the classes because we are on a rotating schedule of 5 classes a day with 7 periods and 7 day rotation Days A-G.  It is E day.
This is my 10th season coaching boys cross country (56 kids on the roster).
I live in Hopkinton, MA (start on the Boston Marathon) where my husband and I both grew up and graduated from and now I teach here and my kids go here.  Cam, 24, just moved out but still helps me coach XC. Mackenzie is a senior at UMASS Dartmouth for electrical engineering.  Kyle is a senior at HHS and Luke is a sophomore.  We usually drive together to school, but this week I am finally free because Kyle got a used car and a parking spot at school!

5:30 am Husband gets up and in the shower and I spend 15 minutes on my phone, checking 2, 2, and 2 - 2 emails (school and personal), 2 news stations, and 2 social media - facebook and twitter.  I always start with reading a daily inspirational religious email.

5:45 am My turn to shower.  Thank goodness for short hair.  I pick my clothes out the night before and chose a skirt because it is supposed to be 80 and humid today, 90 tomorrow, yuck!

6:00 am I join my husband in the kitchen to do our morning dance while he feeds the 2 kittens and 2 dogs and gets himself breakfast.  I made tuna fish and boiled eggs last night, so I peel some eggs that I will eat for breakfast at 10:50 am at that bell break.  I make myself a salad with side of tuna and pack lunch.  I also make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for my son, Kyle, the senior.  Luke makes his own lunch.  I defrost some steak for dinner tonight.

6:15 am I do need to wake Luke up to shower this morning because Kyle has senior privileges and a study this morning so he doesn't need to be in until 8:30.  Luke will have to go with me.  Each morning we have to figure out where the golf clubs go as well.  They are both on the golf team but depending on who is playing JV and Varsity, they go in different directions.  Kyle has a match today.  Luke is off, so Kyle will keep his clubs in his car. Luke will have to walk the mile home because I have to stay for extra help and XC.

6:20 am Squeeze in this much blogging while I wait for Luke.  I am ready to go but we will leave at 6:45 am.

My schedule looks like a good one.  It is Advisory day today, so we have that for 20 minutes and each other class is shortened by about 5 minutes.

7:25-8:25 am Period 7 Prep
8:30-9:25 am Period 1 Accelerated Alg 1
9:30-9:50 am Advisory
9:55-10:45 am Period 2 Prep (in my room, score!)
10:50-12:45 pm Period 3 Accelerated Alg 1 and Lunch
12:50-1:50 pm Period 4 Accelerated Alg 2

6:35 am Hit Save, do a couple pieces of my jigsaw puzzle while I still wait for Luke.

7:00 am Arrive at school.  It's a mile commute but can take 5-10 minutes with traffic.  Get room ready - open windows, write new daily date and list of periods.  @kd5campbell, Kathy Campbell, called to tell me one of her velcro VNPS white boards fell off the wall.  It is so darn humid.  Each day I walk in and hope mine are still attached.  We decided to write a grant to get real whiteboards installed.  We have changed the way we teach and are loving it!  I share my classroom, so time to move all my stuff upstairs to the work room so I can prep.

7:25 pm Prep starts with me copying a Mad Lib style letter for my advisory kids to fill out.  We stay with our same 12 advisory students for all four years and mine are now seniors.  I have them complete a fill in the blank letter to themselves each fall and spring and then I will make them a little scrapbook/binder at graduation with all of them (shhh, don't tell them, it's a secret).
Prep and copy Alg 1 Day 5

8 am Call Kyle 10 times to make sure he is awake.  He finally texts me to say yes, he set his alarm.
8:10 am Add a second clothesline to mine to make a double clothesline for some number line work tomorrow in Foundations of Algebra 1.
Prep and copy Alg 2 Day 5
Look at student work for Foundation of Alg 1 - 9 kids.  I checked over their homework on adding integers.  They seem to have it except for 1 student.  Read over their pretest.  They do not seem to have it.  This was a mix of multiplying, adding fractions, combining like terms, simple solving, and putting numbers on a number line.  We will work on these in class tomorrow.

8:25 am Period 1 starts (really 2nd block of the day) Alg 1.  We are doing problem solving.  They completed Day 2 of their name tags - noticing and wondering something about the room or the class while I checked the homework and we then went over it.  Next up was our second 3-Act by Dan Meyer - Taco Cart - one of my favorites.  Teacher decision:  Up to the vertical boards or just 2x2 boards at desk like in the past? I went with the 2x2 boards at the desk because I didn't want them looking at other groups' guesses or work.  I asked them to individually write down their guess on who gets to the taco cart first - Dan or Ben.  Then, they got the necessary information and went right to work.  The Pythagorean Theorem and d=rt are both needed and they used them without my help.  Great conversations.  Next teacher decision: how to reveal the answer - do I show Act 3 and the answer, do I ask about their first guesses or their team answers - what order do I ask?  I ask them to raise their hand if they guessed Dan, Ben, and both arrive at the same time.  Then, I asked each team their final answers.  All 6 had Dan.  I still had my poker face.  Then, we watched the videos and cheered erupted!  Yes!  I asked one team to come up to the front with their board and explain their work.  Nice job.  We moved onto a tree problem.  Mr. Lu is planting trees around a rectangular garden.  How many does he plant?  They needed to ask me questions.  I told them the dimensions of the rectangle were 48 by 72 feet and they needed to be planted 12 feet apart plus there had to be 1 tree at each corner.  This time they worked in their notebooks individually.  Most drew a picture which was good.  I saw answers of 16, 20, and 24.  I asked them to raise their hands as to who had what answer.  It was an even mix.  Then I asked them to raise their hand if they were confident in their answer and what their answer was.  About 8 kids were confident but still all 3 answers were in the mix.  I asked a student who had the answer of 16 to explain.  He said 48/12 is 4 times 2 for those 2 sides.  72/12 is 6 times 2 for those two sides and was at 20 and said you had to subtract 4 for the overlapping trees in the corner.  One student was chomping at the bit to correct him, trying to explain you didn't need to account for the overlapping trees.  He wasn't convincing the original student so a girl came up to draw her picture.  She started with a rectangle and putting 4 dots in the corners to represent the trees.  Then she said 48/12 is 4 so I need to add two more dots there and 72/12 is 6 so I need to add 4 more dots there.  Another student was jumping out of his seat to say but that's only 36 feet.  We finally concluded the 16 answer students were finding "spaces" not trees. Ahhhh!  So, how did some get 24?  The kids said they added 4 more for the trees.  Great discussion!
Next up, I gave them three board problems to work on my new hanging whiteboards.  #VNPS with #VRG - I am committed to trying Vertical Non Permanent Surfaces with Visual Random Grouping (using = awesome for making groups).  This was the class's third time at the boards.  First time I allowed 3 markers and 3 kids.  Second time I did 3 kids and 1 marker (with marker doesn't talk) and this time I did 3 markers, 3 kids, and 3 problems.  This time I let them decide which one they wanted to work on.  It was interesting to see their choices.  I didn't know the answer to number 2.  They were interested.  We have some theories.  We think it might be connected to Goldilocks and the 3 Bears.  (Going to research problem now to see if we were right).  3 Board problems here.
Hmm, did some research, still stumped.

9:30 am Advisory: Asked each student where they went this summer.  Handed out school papers.  Had them to Mad Lib Letter.

10 am: Prep in my room! Priceless!  I blogged the above two pieces.  Opened to get my next random groups for Period 3 when I get to do all of the above again.  Decide to eat my hard boiled eggs early because I am super hungry and NO one is in my room :)
Prep Day 5 Foundations of Alg 1 - Integer rule practice - took me 30 minutes.  I haven't taught this specific course but I taught one similar.  It is where I get to try out a lot of great #mtbos ideas with them, but it takes a while to organize and get ready.  Like planning a 5 year old's birthday party each day.

10:30am Blog: With three different preps, I used to plan all of Alg 1 for a week, then go on and do all of Alg 2 for a week and the third class for a week.  And, I like to stay a week ahead of time so I can find tune details as I need to.  However, I am not there yet.  I have taught Alg 1 and 2 before, so just continuing to make them better while trying to make this Foundations Alg 1 class.  So, I am choosing to prep Alg 1 Day 5, Alg 2 Day 5, FAlg 1 Day 5, then onto Alg 1 Day 6, etc.  It is a lot of switching but until I can get ahead with more time then this is how I have to prioritize.

10:35 am: Back to Alg 1 Day 6 - The Disney Project.  One of my favorite times of the year because the kids get to have fun planning a trip to Disney.  Who doesn't like that?  Group dynamics, money.  It is funny to watch how cheap they get.  I give them a budget of $8000 but they feel they have to eat at McDonald's every day.  Spend, spend, spend!  Oops, forgot club fair is tomorrow.  I made my Fishing Club sign up poster.  Must print math team sign up poster.  Found old ones and updated the year.  Phew!

10:45 am: first bathroom break before my next class comes in and quick email check.  Answer a student that I will be staying after school for extra help today.

10:50 am: Period 3 Acc Alg 1 - do all of the above over again.  I expect to see similar results with the tree problem - 16, 20, and 24.

12:00 pm Blog before I head to lunch.  Just when I was expecting the same responses in Alg 1, I had a ton more passion.  Sarah was convinced it was Ben who would get to the Taco Cart first.  She will be tweeting at Dan Meyer soon.  So much great discussion on the tree problem over the same 3 solutions.  And, then onto the board problems.  They did NOT like that I don't have the answer to the second one.  However, Sarah did thank me for giving her lots to think about!  Boom, mic drop, think I am done for the day!

12:35 pm Blog: back from lunch.  Normally we would start class back up at 12:25 on Advisory, but I have freshmen and they all have a class meeting today so I stayed for 10 extra minutes to chat with colleagues, wahoo!  Now time to hang piecewise function graphs and systems around the room for Alg 2.  I think we are having a fire drill at 1 pm.  Oh, and I am going to try my first Math Debate today from TMC this summer when I went to #talklesssmilemore session.
The Best Movie Ever is....My Claim Is.... My Warrant Is.....

(5:00PM- Time to blog below)

12:50 Alg2 class starts and I am going to try my first math debate.  I am a little nervous.  What if they don't want to do it?  Take a risk and see what happens.  I also knew the fire drill was coming at 1 pm and the debate was just my opener, I still needed to get to piecewise functions.  So, I checked the homework and went over it, then I introduced the idea of debate and discussion in math class and being able to explain and justify your reasoning.  I asked if they have taken part in Socrative seminar and many had, great!  I put the three things on the board, had them brainstorm in their notes:
The best movie is...
The most important topic in math is...
The best way to graph a line is....
I told them the plan was to have everyone share their movie, then I would have a few share the last two.  They started brainstorming and the fire alarm went off.  Up and out we went and I told them to keep thinking.  It was about 10 minutes lost to class, but we got right back into it and ready to go with the debate.  I had the powerpoint slide and my classroom poster with My Claim is...My Warrant is...  I asked them to stand when they spoke, state their names and their best movie.  I had to remind a few kids of the exact structure of the words, but it was so fun!  It was great to hear their movies and their reasoning - The Godfather, Inside Out, The Blind Side, Elf, Mrs. Doubtfire, Good Will Hunting, just to name a few..  For math topics they thought prealgebra and basic add, subtract, multiply, and divide were important and for the line, a lot of people liked intercepts.  I loved it.  I will use it again.
Next, I showed a slide y= x^2, y=2^x-1, and y=abs value of x-5.  Previously we did one day of all the parent function graphs.  Yesterday we did transformations of the graphs and today is piecewise, so we are putting it all together.  They graphed those three on 3 different coordinate planes and then I showed them a slide with the same 3 functions but now limits on the domain and had them graph it all one on graph.  We stumbled bumbled through it but it was a good productive struggle.  Then, they were up for a Walkaround on Piecewise functions.  I had 10 pieces of paper hanging around the room.  There was a piecewise graph on the top half and piecewise function equations on the bottom half (they do not match).  They are to graph on a recording sheet the equations, then walk around and find the matching graph and then do those equations.  It was great.  We ran out of time.  10 more minutes (lost to the firedrill) would have been perfect.

1:50 Last bell of the day rings and they are off.  3 stay for extra help on an Assignment Sheet that is a long term assignment coming due on Tuesday that will be handed in and graded.  I went to change into clothes for cross country practice and came back and helped them for a bit.

2:25 drive to the middle school field next door for XC practice.  I have 56 boys on the team and it was about 1000% humidity.  It was gross.  Thursdays are Yoga Thursday for us as I lead about 50 boys through yoga to stretch them after our races on Wednesdays.  They do pretty good with it.  I love when we all get into a good tree pose at the same time.  But, star stretch is everyone's favorite when you just lie spread out on the ground for about 5 minutes at the end.  I congratulated them on a big first win yesterday and warned them about our upcoming race on Tuesday.  I saw that team's results from yesterday and they look good.  It will be a battle for sure.  It will be on our home course, so that is an advantage.  Even in coaching XC, I differentiate.  I have runners who come to me having run all summer, some who have run these past 2 weeks with team and some that are just still joining today.  I always have different runs and the beginners know they can walk/run what they can.  I like to give 2 or 3 options of running out on the roads but having us all start in the same direction.  That way we can feel like a team and maybe at the point where we split, someone might feel strong enough to go the longer distance.  I run with the team too.  I figure I may as well get a workout in.  I am doing a road race this Saturday.  While on the run today, I saw a woman drinking a shake in her car. I do not drink coffee or tea, only water, but it was so, so hot today, I decided I wanted a treat.  Practice ended at 4:15, I drove the mile home, got some money and drove the mile to Cumberland Farms and got a Mango smoothie!  So good.

4:45 pm take another quick shower because I have a meeting tonight and I was super sweaty.  Did I tell you how hot out it is?  And, it is going to be 10 degrees hotter tomorrow!  Picked out a sundress to wear tomorrow at school.  Take a quick look at emails and facebook on my phone.  No time for Twitter yet, sorry.

5:00 pm sat down to blog again

Now 5:20 pm going to make steak, peppers, onion, and gravy over white rice for dinner, with green beans.  Dinner was ready at 6 pm.  It was only my husband and Luke since Kyle was still at golf.  We chatted for a bit about upcoming weekend plans.

6:45 pm Head to Church meeting at 7 pm.  I, along with 3 other volunteer moms, help run our Catholic High School Youth Group.  We are just have the adult meeting tonight to talk about our calendar of events of the year.  On this Sunday, we will host a coffee hour after mass and have a reunion from our Mission Trip to West Virginia from the summer.  I made each student (45 kids) a dvd slideshow of the event.  We will share our stories with the church community.  I can't wait.  So, at the meeting we will discuss events we have done in the past and maybe come up with some new ones.  We will have our YLT - youth leadership team meeting with the youth on Sept 18th so we need to get ready for that.  We will ask the youth what kind of events they want too.  We often do a Fall Fest, Christmas in the City (A Christmas party for homeless families in Boston), Ice skating in Boston, a Mystery Night Out, a big fundraiser dinner, and then just fun Sunday night hangouts and games.  It is like prepping for another class.

9:10 pm Home from church meeting and blogging.  Meeting went well.  These are great women and it was so good to catch up with them.  We all have seniors so it was fun to see where we are in the college process.  Our meeting went until 8:30 pm and then we decided to get a treat (twice in one day, wow!).  We went for Frozen Yogurt because they were having a fundraiser for Saturday's Road Race.  We chatted some more and now it is time for bed.  I will pull together my running clothes for tomorrow.  Did I mention 90 degrees tomorrow?

It's been a long day.  Here's a Frozen Yogurt for making it through my day with me.