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.