Test Review

So I took another idea from Sarah over at Math = Love and used her review game.  The kids each got a worksheet with 8 problems from our test tomorrow.  All of the answers were given, except that some of them were incorrect.  In groups, students had to solve each problem, and decide if I had the correct or incorrect answer.  When they finished the problems, they had to decide how much money they would be willing to bet that they had the correct answer and could tell me if my answer was correct or incorrect.

Then the auction began!  This part was so much fun.  I, of course, clearly explained the rules before hand, but shockingly enough- some students missed the key parts.  Those who understood how you could win did much better with the auction.

So each group got $1000 to spend.  The group who purchased the most correct answers by the end of the auction won the game.  BUT if there was a tie the group with the most money left over won.

Clearly one group understood the rules in my first hour.  They spent $300 early, then kept watch of the clock and when we were near the end of our time, jumped in with a sudden $700 bet and won the game with 2 purchased answers.

Others, however, did not understand the logic.  One round was going as predicted, and a group jumped in with a $999 bet.  While they won that round, they clearly didn’t win any other rounds, nor did they have the most money left in the end.

I loved it because it involved the logic of placing their bets without them even knowing that they were doing math!

As an aside, thanks for all the well wishes for the babies!  I will assume from my level of sickness that they are thriving in there… or else they are pretty mad at me.  But it is totally worth it in the end!

Excuse time…

Well it is finally time to reveal my lame excuse for why my blogging has slowed down…  I don’t share a ton of personal stuff on here, but this is big enough that I feel like I can share it.

My husband and I are pleased to announce that we are pregnant… with TWINS!

Wow, you are thinking, that’s great and all, but why do you think this gives you some sort of pass on blogging and why do I care?  No, this is not an annoucement that my blog is turning into a twin pregnancy mom blog.  It simply turns out that when you are pregnant with twins, you don’t only get twice the babies.  You get twice the nausea, twice the exhaustion… That plus working all day plus a 19 month old at home has left me one tired mess of a person by my daughter’s bedtime, and blogging just hasn’t been possible when I am fighting to keep my eyes open.

The blogging will continue as soon as I get my energy back!  (I predict that to be at least by the time the twins are 3.)

In the meantime, enjoy the questions and comments that my 7th graders came up with when I told them about my babies today:

“Is that why you eat all of the time?”

“You are going to get huge.  Like really huge.”

“Will you name one of the babies after me?”

“Do they both come out at once?”

“What did your husband say?”

“Where do the babies pee?”

“That’s a lot of diapers.”

“Is that why you’ve been wearing sea bands?  Cause you are nervous and they keep you safe?”

“Can I be the godmother?”

“Do you want a c section or a natural birth?”

“Is that why you have been so cranky this week?”

And on that note… This tired momma is going to get some rest!

Oh, Fractions!

We are working on Sarah’s Pre Algebra Road Trip this week.  Students start off by choosing 5 cities to travel to around the US.  They measure the distances, then they use the scale on the map to find the actual distances between the cities.  Because the distances were obviously not whole numbers, the proportions that the kids had to set up involved fractions.  So we needed to do a quick review of how to multiply with fractions.  We began by talking about fraction decimal equivalents.  Since we rounded to the nearest 1/4, this should be easy, right?  Ha.  So I began by asking the world’s most dangerous question. 

“What is 1/4 as a decimal?”

And I get the typical, yet still shocking and absolutely horrifying…

1.4?      0.14?  

No.  No. NO.  NO!

Next came my least favorite thing that students do.  If their first few answers were wrong, let’s just yell out anything!  We must happen upon the right answer eventually, right?

3?  1.5?  6.2?

How do students get to 7th grade having so little knowledge of basic number sense?  I obviously want them to understand how to convert between fractions and decimals, but really my major concern is that students have no idea that 1.4 means 1 whole and part of another.  Which means if it was a mixed number it would still have a 1 as the whole number, then a fraction to represent the part.  So if I just have a fraction, then we must have a 0 in front of the decimal point, because there is not a whole number part.

Let’s fix this, fellow teachers!

Candid Camera

I think today I may just have been on some new hidden camera show designed to put teachers in the most unusual positions and see what they will do.  It will be a huge hit.  Especially with today’s episode.  Here is some of the dialogue:

Me: Everyone turn to this page in your notebook.   Be careful, it is not the next page in your notebook.  That page looks similar, but I want you to turn to the first page we glued in.   It says examples at the top. 

Look around.  Half the class is on the wrong page.

Me: C, H, Q, M, J…- Look at your page.  It is not the page I have on the board.  Does your page say examples at the top?

Students: Why are we on that page?  That’s not the next page in our notebook.

Me: I know, but I want to show you an example before you do the work with your own data.  So turn to the page that says examples at the top…

Me: Now.

Me: C, H, Q… you didn’t turn the page.

Students: But that page says step 3 at the top, we are on step 5.

Me: No, mine says step 5.

Student: It does?

Me: Yes.  So turn to this page.

Student: But it is not the next page in my notebook. 

Me: No, I agree, it is not.  Which I actually already explained.  Turn there anyway.  Ok, so I am going to use this page to explain the problem from my example before you do this with your data from your project…

Student: This is a project?

Me: Sure.

Student: Why do we do projects?

Me: Because I planned to do one.  And guess what, I AM IN CHARGE.

Student: I like projects.

Me: Good.  Now, you are going to write down what I am writing with my data, then do this with your data on the other page.  So here is part 1….

Student: Do we write this down?

Me: Yes.  I just said this.  Write it down.  So we do part one like this…

Student: Do we do this with our data or with your data?

Me: My data.  It is my example.  You will do this with your data in a minute.  Ok, so here is how we do part 1…. (explain it) 

Student: What is this second part for?

Me: Part 2.

Student: When did we do part 2? 

Me: We didn’t.  Which is why my second row is blank.

Student: So we don’t need to do it?

Me: Well, you will need to do it, we just aren’t on part 2 yet, so we haven’t done it.

Student: Oh, so that is where our data goes?

Me: No, your data goes on the other page, this is my example page, so I am using my data.  As an example.

Phone rings.

Me: A- you have an appointment, head down to the office.

Another student: THAT SUCKS!!!! 

Me: Excuse me?  What sucks?

Student: That he has to leave math.  I feel sorry for him. 

Me: Well that is nice, but is there a different word you can use other than “sucks”?

Student: I didn’t yell.

Me: Well you kinda yelled, but my point is that the word sucks isn’t really the most appropriate word to say in the classroom.

Student: That’s a bummer.

Me: Much better.  Ever get the feeling you are on candid camera?

Student: Why is that?

Me: It just feels a bit like someone could be taping this right now and testing me to see my reaction.  Ok, so back to the example…

Student: What’s gibbits?

Me: Uh, excuse me?

Students: You said gibbits.  I don’t know what that is.  So I am asking.

Me: I did not say gibbits.

Student: She said camera.

Student: Oh, ok, camera.  That makes more sense.

Me: Wait.  You misheard camera as gibbits?

Student: Yes….

And it continues.  Unfortunately, this was just a tiny part of my day.  Not at all a bad day, just one where I feel as though I just may have been speaking a totally different language and that is why not one single thing I said was understood by any student today.  There really was a point today when I thought to myself, should I even continue to try?  Or just give up and try again tomorrow. 

On another note, the day ended amazingly, as we Skyped with David J. Smith, the author of If the World Were a Village.  I did a project based on this book and Mr. Smith found it and contacted me.  Skyping with him was so awesome for the kids who were able to come, and they were all so thankful and appreciative when it was done.  So glad that it all went well!

Pre Algebra Road Trip

I am excited to say that today we began Sarah’s Pre Algebra Road Trip project over at Math = Love.  I read about this project this summer, and immediately tagged it in my greader to do this year with the kids.  We had some other things to do today, so we did not get very far today, but the kids were super excited to get to choose the cities they wanted to visit.  Unfortunately, I also got to hear questions like, “I can’t find Paris, where is it on the map?”  We also measured the distances between the cities.  It absolutely amazes me that 7th graders really don’t know how to measure using a ruler.  I don’t know where this got lost along the way, but when I demonstrated, it was like I was showing them something brand new.  This is a major problem!  We need to get started on some real work application on this skill right away.

I’m Back! or Similar Figures Performance Task

The following is dedicated to @mr_stadel…

I have been totally MIA for a few weeks now.   Number one excuse I will give you is being busy at work, excuse number two will be under wraps for a little longer…  While you all ponder what in the world that could mean, I will get down to business!

Another reason I haven’t felt moved to blog in a while is because we are in the middle of our proportions unit right now.  I feel like for the first few units this year, I was able to come up with some fun and different ways to present the information.  For this unit, it may just be how busy I have been, but I haven’t come up with anything particularly blog-worthy lately.  I feel like you can do so many cool things with proportions, we just haven’t been able to get there yet because my kids are not able to move beyond the basics.  We have done similar figures in so many different ways, yet to some kids they are still a mystery.  One thing that I will be having the kids do on Tuesday is this Similar Figures performance task.  I will use it as an assessment, and I am hoping it will prove that my kids have actually learned this stuff!